Microsoft will begin offering phone makers a native version of its TellMe voice search technology customized for Windows Mobile 6.5 starting on April 29.
"Tellme for Windows Mobile phones will be available beginning Wednesday to manufacturers that want to load it onto Windows Mobile 6.5 phones. Come autumn, the general public will be able to find it (in English) on the phones, in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile, and directly from Tellme's mobile-optimized site."
Up until now, TellMe was not available on Windows Mobile phones even though Microsoft purchased the voice-activated-search vendor two years ago. (A beta of TellMe for the Blackberry has been available since 2008.)
TellMe's technology will be integrated with Windows Mobile 6.5 at the network level, but will be an optional feature. CNet reports that TellMe for Windows Mobile will make use of Live Search as its only search engine, not too surprising given the Microsoft connection.
Microsoft is slated to show off Windows 6.5 in mid-May at its TechEd conference in Los Angeles. Originally, the Softies were pitching May 11 as some kind of "launch" for Windows Mobile 6.5. But the Windows Mobile Team blog crew has since modified the original post, removing any references to the word "launch." (I have a copy of their original text on my site.) So it's now unclear whether Microsoft will actually release Windows Mobile 6.5 to manufacturing by the middle of May, still do some kind of a "business launch" of the platform, or simply show the same Release Candidate 1 demos of Windows Mobile 6.5 they've shown before.
The first Windows Mobile 6.5 phones aren't slated to be available to users until some time this fall.