Windows Mobile’s Bum Rap

A post over at one of my Favorite Mobile Blogs (JustAnotherMobileMonday.com) got me thinking. Why is the media being so harsh on Windows Mobile.  A lot of Bloggers and Media are hard on WM and how it is not Innovating. I know some of it is “fanboy” type attention from mobile guys that believe another OS(iPhone, Palm, Symbian) is somehow superior, I understand that, but… I made a reply post over there and will re-iterate some of the same points here.

Windows Mobile 6.1, which offers a bunch of pretty nice updates including new applications and even built-in Threaded SMS(competing with our Extreme Text), but yet the poster and a reply from some very in the know guys(and Ive seen many others) wrote how lackluster it is and how they expect more. 

For one thing, Windows Mobile 6.1 is a point release. Windows Mobile 7 (as some leaked screenshots have shown) and WM8 is where the real innovation will happen. And they are already well on their way so you know Microsoft has most of its Mobile Development Resources working in that direction. And people are quick to point out that WM6 isn’t doing what newer things are doing… There are 3 things wrong with this… 1. Windows Mobile is still arguabley the best out there. 2. WM is different. It is an open platform. Carrier and Manufacturers can license and develop anything they want to use with it. 3. It is competing with Applications for itself, Locked down platforms, and early APIs for overhyped Os’s that are still being created.

People think that Windows Mobile’s Internet Explorer should work as well as iPhone Safari.. And it should to an extent. And the features added in WM6.1 help that tremendously. It definitely needed work. But we are dealing with different form factors and almost exclusively smaller screens. Then people mention that the new SkyFox type browsers can do it better. Well but most people dont want everything they browse run through a server first. Privacy just went out the window and the idea just isn’t that ideal for Millions of phones…

And Programs like PointUI and the Touch Interface are neat. But they are the reason WM is an open platform. They can be developed or licensed as they are now. But a lot of them give slick simplicity and trade it for flexible power, Im not willing to do that and Im sure others aren’t either. And I think they can and will be done a lot better, hopefully in the new OS…

Now take iPhone. We still don’t have an API for it, but the promise of one has been more than enough for so many supporters. If Microsoft was dealing with 1 device in a single form factor with no 3rd party application support yet and only 1 set of drivers, well…Then they could ‘innovate’ faster as well. Instead they have to deal with Multiple Form Factors from multiple manufacturers and multiple carriers(consider all of the processors, memory, screen sizes, peripherals). And they understand the always overlooked need to protect the Large 3rd party developer base they have built up. So with flexibility they need to be a little more careful in their ‘innovation’.

And yes the Google Android OS API looks pretty. But it wasn’t complete on release and they are still working on the OS. It won’t even be ready and released for quite a while but yet it is almost considered “the next big thing” on word alone. I’ll be surprised if among any of the first devices there will  be a ‘Home Run’. And the kinks will still need to be worked out. So… It may be BIG, in 2 or 3 years… But wait, WM7+ will be around then too…

People tend to think that the Mobile Phone market moves faster than it does, and want to see cool-ness now. But consider that some of the biggest selling Smarphones right now are still running the Antiquated Palm OS…  Windows Mobile 5 was already light years ahead of that… 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Windows Mobile’s Bum Rap

  1. pedah

    You make some really good points, and I really enjoyed your comments over at JAMM, and this is a great post! The only point I would make is, most of us are not software developers, but software users, albeit knowledgeable. I think as such we expect large devs like MS [is that an understatement] to hear and respond to our most voiced complaints. 🙂

  2. Administrator Post author

    True. I think WM 6.1 did that to a big extent. It seems to address “exactly” some of the biggest complaints still in WM6. Unfortunately the way the game works for everyone except Apple, is that the Carriers decide if you get that update for your phone.

    And I guess the way business works, if they started flashing around the coolness of WM7 too soon. Well then that will kill the market on their current OS and devices that are just now getting released and marketed. Not good business either. It moves slower than that…

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