As our trusty source had informed us would be the case, Microsoft has unveiled the rumoured update to its mobile phone operating system with the announcement of Windows Mobile 6.1.

Microsoft says Windows Mobile 6.1 will help people stay better connected to the individuals and information they need most, anywhere and anytime.

Its features will make for "simpler smartphones" with quick phone setup with a "Getting Started Centre", one-tap Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and tools for better socialisation such as threaded SMS and easier email management.

The other big change, as we previously reported, is a much more "intuitive" experience and a new homescreen design.

Microsoft says updates and new phones are expected to be available beginning in the second quarter of 2008.

The software giant also revealed that they are to offer a new and improved browsing experience for mobile users, with a "desktop-grade" experience promised for Windows Mobile phones thanks to an upcoming version of Internet Explorer Mobile.

IE Mobile will be available to mobile phone partners in the third quarter of 2008 with the first Windows Mobile phones using the new version to be available by the end of 2008.

Confirmed new Windows Mobile phones partners include: Alltel Wireless, AT&T Inc., ASUS, HP, HTC Corp., Intermec Inc., Motorola Inc., Orange, O2, Palm Inc., Pantech Group, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications, Spring, T-Mobile USA Inc., T-Mobile International, T-Mobile Germany, TELUS, Toshiba, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone.