CNET reports Microsoft has delayed Windows Mobile 7 to the second half of next year. Previous reports claimed WM7 devices were expected by early 2009.
The delay is a significant blow for the software maker, which has been counting on the next version of Windows Mobile to enable devices that better rival Apple's iPhone. Among the features widely expected to be part of the release is advanced gesture recognition, perhaps along the lines of the iPhone, but possibly also using the camera as a means for reading gestures. Microsoft's Tellme unit, which focuses on speech input, has also been working on Windows Mobile 7 features.
The delay also comes amid stepped-up competition. Google is preparing Tuesday to launch the first phone running its Android operating system, while Apple has its updated iPhone 3G, and new models are also debuting from BlackBerry maker Research In Motion.