Microsoft's new Hawaiian codenames are all about mobile

Summary:Oahu isn't Microsoft's only Hawaiian-themed code name. Project Hawaii from Microsoft Research, an initiative "investigating how we can use the cloud to enhance how we use mobile devices."

Remember Microsoft Oahu? It supposedly was going to be a smaller (and somewhat cheaper) version of the Microsoft Surface table.

It turns out Oahu isn't Microsoft's only Hawaiian-themed code name. Visual Studio 2010 was codenamed Hawaii. But now there's also Project Hawaii from Microsoft Research, an initiative "investigating how we can use the cloud to enhance how we use mobile devices," according to an updated Microsoft Research page.

"Our goal is to foster the creation of a set of cloud-enabled mobile applications and associated support services so we can gain understanding about the systems and networking infrastructure needed to create the next generation of applications," the site copy explains.

MAUI, another Microsoft Research project, is part of the Hawaii project, as is a "university engagement" effort, via which Microsoft is enlisting student developers. MAUI (Mobile Assistance Using Infrastructure) is a system that allows for energy-aware offload of mobile code to the infrastructure that is written to take advantage of a managed code environment.

Hawaii applications can make use of a variety of cloud building blocks, according to the site. These include computation (Windows Azure); storage (Windows Azure); authentication (Windows Live ID); notification; client-back-up; client-code distribution and location (Orion).

(I wasn't familiar with Orion, but found more information about it via a recent TechRadar post by Mary Branscombe. Orion is a Wi-Fi location service that will be used for Windows Phone 7, Branscombe noted. She notes that Microsoft partnered with Navizon earlier this year so as "to use their Wi-Fi and mobile network location database.")

According to a short, downloadable slide deck about Hawaii, three universities -- University of Southern California, University of Wisconsin and Duke -- are using the platform to build class projects. The "(g)oal is to get students to build interesting applications for Windows Mobile," the slide deck says.

(I'm figuring it's now the goal to get them to build applications for Windows Phone 7 devices and their successors. I've asked Microsoft for comment on how Hawaii fits with Windows Phone 7. No word back so far....)

Earlier this week, as part of its Imagine Cup 2010 event in Poland, Microsoft awarded the 400 finalists with developer prototypes of Windows Phone 7 devices. Microsoft officials said last month that in July, the company planned to provide a select group of developers with test phones to help them create Windows Phone 7 applications.

Update: In more immediate Windows mobile news, Microsoft is now being sued -- along with Apple, Google, HTC, LG and Google -- by patent-holding company NTP Inc. for alleged infringement of its wireless e-mail patents. These patents expire in 2012. NTP managed to get a settlement from RIM over these patents a couple of years ago. Microsoft officials weren't commenting on July 9 on the suit, saying they had yet to be served.

Topics: Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Wi-Fi, Windows

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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