I've only been down to Cannes (France) once for this event to present a very short session about Pocket PC Phone Edition to a mostly non developer audience. I spent most of my time on the Microsoft stand answering techie questions and showing off the 'shiny', as they say. There is not much at the event for developers but there are two great reasons to go at least once in your life: you get to wander round stands and see the absolute latest device hardware from every manufacturer, play with prototype handsets and network technologies etc; and secondly the event is just packed full of marketing people all trying better each other with bigger, more lavish parties held on excessively large yachts all week long - getting an invite to the best parties can be a little challenging when labelled as a geek, but I proved its still possible.
This years GSMWC kicked off with the traditional flurry of announcements. These two looked quite interesting:
Flextronics licenses Windows Mobile
Flextronics are a worldwide ODM (Original Design Manufacturer) and they are talking about building a very flexible device core called Peabody that can be ‘skinned’ for different operators or OEM’s to meet their specific branding needs. Haven’t seen any hardware specs yet beyond the inclusion of GSM/GPRS radio.
Nokia licenses Microsoft Exchange Server ActiveSync protocol for integration with Nokia's business-optimized devices
Microsoft started licensing the Exchange Active Sync technology last year giving other device and OS manufacturers the option of offering direct sync into Exchange mail. It’s an interesting move which was seen by some as a possible dilution of the Windows Mobile platform strengths, but in reality this moves the point of competition from the sync protocol level to the consuming application e.g. the best PIM software wins, with the idea that PIM competition will benefit consumers and the industry in the longer term. As far as I am aware Palm Source and Nokia have licensed this technology so far.