I don’t know what to make of the way Microsoft handles Windows Mobile. You can’t look anywhere on the web without finding some information pointing to how far Windows Mobile is slipping behind the competition. Even enthusiasts, who regularly try to make sense of the direction […]


I don’t know what to make of the way Microsoft handles Windows Mobile. You can’t look anywhere on the web without finding some information pointing to how far Windows Mobile is slipping behind the competition. Even enthusiasts, who regularly try to make sense of the direction that WinMo is headed, keep getting beat back by the gang in Redmond.

I watched Steve Ballmer’s keynote address at the CES last week, and I kept waiting to hear him say something, anything, about Windows Mobile 7. That’s the next major version of WinMo after all, and all indications are it should be released this year. All I can recall from Ballmer’s keynote is how happy he was to show the HTC HD2, and how proud he was that it is coming to the U. S. Um, Steve, that phone’s been out in Europe for months. It runs Windows Mobile 6.5. There’s nothing new here.

How far out of touch is Microsoft with how to get WinMo 7 on track? This story on Betanews sums it up. It seems they interviewed Windows Phone Senior Marketing Manager Greg Sullivan at the CES, and they assumed the discussion concerned Windows Mobile 7. After all, what else would Microsoft be talking about that would get announced at the Mobile World Congress (MWC)?

Today Betanews was contacted by a spokesperson for Microsoft who “asked us to reiterate that, while we were given an overview of the direction of Windows Phone, we were not speaking specifically of Windows Mobile 7.

The spokesperson did not go into further detail as to which product the interview did concern.”

So on the surface it seems that Microsoft not only doesn’t want anyone to think that Windows Mobile 7 will be discussed at the MWC next month, they in effect are issuing “takedowns” to those who say they will be discussing WM7. Is it any wonder that Windows Mobile is floundering so badly?

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  1. What’s a “Windows Mobile”? Is that like that “Pocket PC” thing back in the day?

    Microsoft either needs to fold WM into the Zune (or Xbox) line or just drop it all together. They’re showing less software innovation these days than RIM, and that’s saying something. Google and Apple own the smartphone mindshare, and RIM is coasting along on installed base (not unlike the Microsoft of a few years ago). Everyone else (Microsoft, Palm, Symbian) is an also-ran.

  2. The problem with Windows Mobile related posts on this site is that they attract stupid comments like Jeff’s above.

    I expect Microsoft are going to announce WM7 at MWC but I also think they’re just trying really hard to control the flow of information. We’ve already seen them try this strategy successfully prior to the release of the Windows 7 Beta and I think they’re trying to repeat it. It could be to build hype or it could be to try and give them a clear development run free of media distractions. The only thing that we can say for certain is that all will be revealed in a few weeks.

    It’s interesting that you and other bloggers should get so frustrated by the lack of information coming out of Redmond but be quite happy to put up with the same thing from Apple. The old Microsoft was happy to release more than enough information well ahead of a release date but I think you’ll probably have to get used to the fact that that’s not going to happen as much any more as they attempt to control their PR better.

    I’m not sure you’re right to form a link between the lack of detailed information that’s currently available and the wider failings of the platform.

    1. I am simply forming a link between a horrible public image and the lack of desire for MS to correct that if they can. Nothing more. Apple’s lack of sharing is indeed frustrating, but there is a big difference between refusing to provide advance information from a position of strength, and keeping quiet when you are dropping further behind the competition. A very big difference, and thus my frustration as a long-time WinMo user.

      1. Maybe. You can’t deny that the strategy worked for Windows 7 though and they weren’t in a position of strength at that point either.

        One thing’s for certain – WinMo is certainly getting lots of attention at the moment and some of that is better than anything they’ve received for a long time.

        One other thing about the HD2 – it may have been old news as far as the rest of the world is concerned but it was still worth advertising to an American audience at CES. This is a big selling phone that’s getting a lot of publicity here in the UK and it’s sure to do well once it’s released in the US. Android may have greater mindshare at the moment but it looks like initial HD2 sales in Europe alone still eclipsed subsequent Nexus One sales in the US.

      2. James, I respect your opinion. I’m wondering what is it that the other OS’s do that you as a power user really need? I find av lot of the stuff on the other platforms seem to be fluff – stylish interfaces and finger friendliness but for the applications that can make me productive are really WinMo devices falling behind?

    2. The frustration lies with the fans of WIndows Mobile rather than most of us. I am more inclined to Apple’s OS or the competing Android and am not that interested in the other platforms. Why? Because they are not going to catch up to a shifting market.

      Palm, Nokia and Microsoft need to get the 80% part right. This means developing a solid, consistent interaction model. This will push past Android! And, developing the three or four things that people really want. I didn’t use apps on the iPhone for nearly a year other than Google search and maps. The browser is top notch! There is the key…

      I have stated many times that Palm has it right but lacks resources. Focus on a Google Chrome like scenario with a browser based OS. Dust off those old Internet Explorer exercises and look at the similarities. The world needs data, and by the world I mean everywhere but here. Most devices are sold in the second and third world. Bottom up!

  3. Steve ‘Chippy’ Paine Friday, January 15, 2010

    The WM story is hugely frustrating but there’s always room for suprises. Even if WM7 launches in 2011 it would still have a chance. Holding back at this stage might actually be a good thing. Watch and learn from Android and iPhone and then ‘boom!’ MS come out with the best mobile OS for ‘smart’ devices.

    Having said that, the track record doesnt give me any confidence whatsoever that WM7 will amaze and impress us. I wouldn’t put any money on the above happening!

  4. Dude Lebowski Friday, January 15, 2010

    Like man, Windoze on the phone (any phone) is just plain WRONG. Those Redmond coders need to start from scratch and fix that super crappy user interface. Get a clue and look at Android and iPhoneOS for starters. Microsoft is big enough to overcome this setback but looks like they are gonna take their sweet’ol time at their own peril.

    Newsflash: The competition is not sitting still so you best be getting a move-on if use want to stay in the mobile game!

    1. Anyone who feels the need to call Windows “Windoze” automatically ditches 95% of the possible interest in their posts.

  5. In my opinion WM7 should be worth the wait. I’ve been a user of the platform since 2004. I can’t say I’ve been impressed with the incremental updates from 6.x, unlike the hardware which has advanced tremendously in the last 2 years.

    If the slew of upcoming Snapdragon devices due to release this year is any indication, I would suspect that WM7 will make a big splash indeed. I’m looking forward to the new hardware in particular that will be powering the new OS.

  6. Im using android, but have been a WinMo user for a while before. I dont see anything on android, that I couldnt do in WinMo. Im struggling with GPS turn-by-turn navigation on the android. I cant find a good offline application. That was no issue with WinMo.

    The application base for WinMo is just huge. There is an App for everything ;) Its just not that easy to find for dumb people…

    BTW: does anyone know of an offline GPS Nav for Android?

    PS: James I have seen you on the CES in Vegas! :)

    1. I believe CoPilot have an Android-compatible version of their navigation software.

    2. Yeah but most of those WinMo apps are OLD, CLUNKY and STYLUS-DRIVEN…in other words…They are not modern user-friendly apps. Get a clue please.

      1. Reginald, before being rude to people, please “get a clue” for yourself “please”.

        Tomtom has had non clunky, none stylus driven version for long time. I can only speak from Version 5 and onward, but they all worked great and smooth. I never needed to use the stylus either. I use 7 now and got rid of my stand alone GPS receiver too because it was cheaper to update maps on the PDA version.


    3. “The application base for WinMo is just huge. There is an App for everything ;) Its just not that easy to find for dumb people…”

      It is not that most people are dumb!! Why would anyone want to WASTE TIME looking for apps when they can find apps in ONE place.

    4. Dumb people may be most of your market, so I would be careful with terms like that! Software design means considering the “foolish” things that people do everyday. Appstores and such are now essentially part of the device…

  7. Carl Spackler Friday, January 15, 2010

    Don’t know about this huge WinMo application base you speak of. I am still looking for it. LOL

    Let’s dumb it down a little (ala Microsoft style)…

    Think NEEDLE.

    Think HAYSTACK.

    WinMo Application Base is NEEDLE.

    Apple AppStore is HAYSTACK.

    Get The Point ? LOL :-P

    1. Your point is fairly ridiculous.

      For starters, it’s nonsense to to suggest that it’s impossible to find applications for Windows Mobile. Apart from the fact that Microsoft now have their own Marketplace, there are a number of well known, well established websites that sell or give away WM apps. As such, finding apps for WM is about as difficult as finding apps for your PC or Mac (i.e. not difficult at all).

      Secondly, one of the strengths of the WM approach is that you are not tied in to a single source for apps and can download and install them from anywhere. The only way to gain this functionality on an iPhone is to void your warranty – hardly ideal.

  8. The problem right now is that WinMob 7 keeps getting pushed back. 6.5 was suppose to put in things like a touch interface and upgrades to all the MS apps but failed to compare with the competition in a number of areas. WinMob 7 is suppose to fix that but it keeps getting pushed back and its taking MS too long to recover in the market. If MS wants to recover its market share not only will 7 have to be all its cracked up to be but more and its going to take a Bing x2 marketing campaign to really get people to buy it.

    1. I’m going to guess that apps developed for WM7 are going to break with future updates as with these interstitial releases. The apps we developed, and the platform supporting them work on all versions of the iPhone OS. That is really an important aspect to developing.

  9. Just a little bit of information between all the ramble. They say that will be announced windows mobile 6.6 in MWC. Take a look to digiTimes (http://bit.ly/4JYG62) and there is also a reference in wikipedia to WM 6.6 (http://bit.ly/5xcFwU). So frustrating.

  10. love the dino bones graphic…nice touch haha

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