Windows Phone 6 Starter Edition?

HTC HD2 in hand

Late last year we reported that Bsquare had been named a distributor for Windows Mobile products. Microsoft had awarded the channel distributorship to Bsquare, allowing them to license and support Windows Mobile products going forward. This relationship is about to muddy the waters for Windows Phone products, as a press release by Bsquare announces the launch of “Windows Phone 6 Starter Edition” for “new and emerging markets.”

So what is Windows Phone 6 Starter Edition, you ask? That’s not clear, although Bsquare indicates there will be a version without Office Mobile, long part of the Windows Mobile/ Phone ecosystem.

Bsquare will offer two versions of the Windows Phone 6 Starter Edition SKU: Multilanguage versions with and without Microsoft ® Office Mobile.  The Windows Phone Starter Edition SKU supports 2G (GSM), 2.5G (CDMA2000 xRTT, EDGE, GPRS), CDMA (Rev A, EV-DO Revision A) and TD-SCDMA radios.

It’s not explained in the release what constitutes a “new and emerging market,” or how this Starter Edition might impact existing Windows Mobile 6.5.x distributions. Are you confused yet? It was only yesterday that word leaked out the Windows Mobile 6.5 would be known as Windows Phone Classic. Now we throw a “Starter Edition” on top of that, which is reminiscent of the Windows 7 Starter Edition, a netbook fixture. You must be confused by now. Fortunately for Microsoft it has a few months to figure this all out and clue us in to the big picture.

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