Microsoft has formally announced Windows Mobile 6.5 and the umbrella branding for all new Windows Mobile handsets – Windows Phone.

Microsoft hopes people will talk about Windows Phone as a platform, just like they talk about BlackBerry or iPhone.

Microsoft expects partners to deliver more than 30 new phones in over 20 countries by the end of 2009.

"We all want to connect quickly to the people and information that's important to us from across our lives, at work and at home," said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. "A Windows phone lets people take their entire world of digital information, communications, applications and entertainment with them wherever they go."

The phones offer a new enhanced Windows Live experience with What's New feeds and improved Windows Live photo sharing across major social networking sites (such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Flickr).

There's also the ability to use PowerPoint and open and edit Word and Excel documents from phones with Microsoft Office Mobile.

Also launching today is Windows Marketplace for Mobile, Microsoft's app store. 60 applications are currently available in the UK, 246 worldwide. MyPhone is another service, enabling you to back up all the information from the handset.

Adobe Flash Player Lite is also available on selected handsets.