Page last updated at 09:25 GMT, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 10:25 UK

Microsoft to smarten cheap phones

OneApp mockup (Microsoft)
OneApp will allow application packages to be tailored by region

Microsoft has unveiled new technology that will allow standard, non-"smart" phones to run applications such as Facebook or Twitter.

Designed for emerging markets, the OneApp software can be downloaded just like a new ringtone.

Rather than an application store like those offered by many manufacturers and networks, OneApp will offer a standard set of apps decided by operators.

Storage for the apps will be maintained by the operators, rather than users.

The lack of memory and processing power in non-smartphones has to date limited their utility for running applications.

"What we're letting you do is get access to the applications and services you want from a device you already own," said Tim McDonough, Microsoft's senior director of mobile product management.

"If you don't own a PC, or you share a PC, your mobile phone may be your first or only computing device."

In a few weeks' time, Blue Label Telecom in South Africa will become the first operator to run OneApp, offering apps for Facebook, Twitter, and Windows Live Messenger.

Application developers will be able to fine-tune the apps on offer in other regions. That will be made easier by tailoring the software to OneApp, rather than adjusting it for a variety of handsets.

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