Microsoft is hoping that a new crop of phones this fall will help the company in its quest to stay relevant in the cell phone market.

The software maker said on Tuesday that the first phones running Windows Mobile 6.5 will launch worldwide on October 6 and will include phones running on AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless.

The new crop of phones will also be the first that Microsoft will sell under the "Windows Phone" brand, an effort to tap into the marketing power of its flagship desktop operating system.

With Windows Mobile 6.5, Microsoft is hoping to convince users that its phones are not just good for doing work. Much of Microsoft's phone focus in recent times has been on improving the operating system's consumer features in an effort to regain ground lost to rivals.

"We know people want a phone for their whole life," said Stephanie Ferguson, general manager in the Windows Mobile unit. "They just frankly want to do more. That's why we've shifted."

Full story: c|net