Windows Mobile: Whats the Future Hold?

George Ponder

Editor
Dec 28, 2001
543
0
0
Visit site
An interesting question coming from a Web site dedicated to Windows Mobile, right? While we believe Windows Mobile headed in the right direction, you could make the argument (and, yes, many do) that it's stagnant, stale, and on it's last leg.

With the glowing (almost nauseating) success of Apple's iPhone, the ever present Blackberry, pesky Nokia Symbian OS as well as the new kids on the block Android and Palm Pre the smartphone arena has gotten crowded. Does Windows Mobile have enough staying power to last? Whats the future hold for this OS?

One potential factor in WinMo's survival rate is the number of phones that are on the way to market. Arguably, one of iPhone's strengths is that there's only one iPhone. There are dozens of Windows Mobile phones on the market plus two versions of the OS. Would Windows Mobile be more successful if there were fewer choices? What about a hybrid between WinMo Pro and Standard?

Well here's your chance to sound off on what you think the future holds for Windows Mobile. To help motivate you, we'll be giving away copies of Vito Technologies Communications Suite to ten randomly selected posts. Posts made between now and 5:00pm EST on Wednesday, July 29th will be eligible for the drawing. You do have to be registered to post in the forums, which is an easy process that starts here.

Thanks to Vito Technologies for sponsoring this post and providing the software prizes.
 

jfa1

New member
Dec 15, 2007
2,567
1
0
Visit site
Windows Mobile in a version that would run or either touch or non touchscreen devices . Thats an interesting idea. The OS is geting movement know and needs to accelerate even more get the OTA update thing going along with gestures and synergy and capacitive touch screens. Maybe its too late but I hope not. The platform has a lot of advantages but the past hgistory of problems need to be overcome. It can happen look at Palm's comeback from the brink!
 

Mort#WP

New member
Jul 25, 2009
2
0
0
Visit site
Rumor's for quite a while that touchscreen and no-touchscreen Windows are about to merge. I just wonder when it will happen, and if people will still use non-touchscreen Smartphones by then at all. IMHO, MS should have kicked that variant that didn't get a food on land compared to Symbian long time ago and made WM "Professional" (back then PPC Phone Edition) to something Apple did way better...

Well, what will happen? I don't know. For a mobile system, there are three important points:
1. the system itself - i.e. stability and usability. In regards of stability, WM is way better than it's image - but only until phone parts come in, where too many seems like a quick and dirty makeshift solution...
2. default apps like contacts, eMail, phone, office, etc. Well, WM brings quite a lot of features, but not really the greatest usability...
3. installable software from other vendors. MS has only one advantage there: DeveloperStudio is still one of the best known IDEs for desktop developers, and the step to develop WM apps is quite small. But all too soon, the developer gets hit by the drawbacks. No useful APIs to unify all the diversity of devices (like dynamic and easy to use dialogs - take a peek at Android SDK, and VS dialog editing makes your weep...), different bugs in different devices, either totally outdated EVC4 (which doesn't even run with Vista/7) or lots of $$$ to spend for development tools (unless you get the EDU version, which is still quite expensive compared to $0 for all competitor IDEs - though a Mac for iPhone development isn't that cheap either...).

So, what about the future?
MS did some nice first steps regarding my first point with WM6.5. Nice, but far from enough.
The 2nd still needs lots of 3rd party apps to make it useable. At least that's possible, unlike e.g. with the iPhone...
Development... If only that compatibility issue wasn't there... But then, most "old" apps, esp. games, won't run on many WM6.5 devices anyway (gx.dll becomes optional)...
The least MS could do would be to allow WM SDKs for its Express editions. And, hey, $99 for Marketplace shall compete to $0 for Android Appstore? (And most of my apps woundn't be permitted anyway... Well, money saved...)

And what about business? So far, WM had some base from business clients who don't like the openness from Android or that Apple has more control over iPhones than the own company. I think that might save MS some time. But not forever.
 

ustewjt

New member
Jul 25, 2009
1
0
0
Visit site
For me, WinMo is the only platform which effectively uses the Outlook / Exchange platform without the need for additional software on either the server or the device. So long as companies are using Exchange for communications, then my guess is that there will continue to be the need for WinMo phones.
 

Dave Evans

New member
Jul 26, 2009
2
0
0
Visit site
My personal feeling is that Windows Mobile is going to die. I'll even go as far as guessing the date: sometime in 2012. HOWEVER I think Windows CE will live long and prosper.

If we look at what HTC, Samsung and other manufactures are doing now, they all seem to be designing a UI of their own over top of what Microsoft is doing. Why continue this? I know there are many who feel that all Windows Mobile devices should have the same UI. After all, isn't that what makes it a Windows Mobile device? I guess...sort of, but it's not necessarily what makes it a Microsoft device.

I'm not a developer, and it has been awhile since I have been deeply involved with the goings on of Windows Mobile, so I may need some enlightening here, but I see no reason that as long as Windows CE stays as the core operating system that allows Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer, Outlook, Office and Exchange to continue, and still keep compatibility alive, developers can still continue with little change.

I'm sure there are some holes to be found in this, and hurtles to be jumped, but I think it gives Microsoft a much higher profitable product, without the hassles they are now seeing with Windows Mobile, yet it has little effect on the consumer or developer and allows manufactures more individuality. This way I see an easier win for everyone involved including Microsoft, designers, manufacturers, developers, carriers, and consumers.

Doing this takes the emphasis off Microsoft to continue to design a UI that pleases everyone (impossible) and allows them to concentrate of their highly profitable and very widely used Windows CE, and allows manufacturers to develop the UI their customers need and want.

Dave
 
Last edited:

j2inet

New member
Mar 20, 2009
4
0
0
Visit site
or lots of $$$ to spend for development tools (unless you get the EDU version, which is still quite expensive compared to $0 for all competitor IDEs - though a Mac for iPhone development isn't that cheap either...).

For the sake of any one wishing to get started the 800 USD price tag of Visual Studio 2008 Professional may make Windows Mobile development look rather prohibitive. But if you plan to get into Windows Mobile development and plan to have your application put on the market place you can join the ISV Empowerment program. For around 375 USD you get a MSDN subscription which includes licenses for several Microsoft products, operating systems, and tools with Visual Studio being one of the tools. If you want to find out the details of the ISV Empowerment Program in your contry you can see this page to find out who you should speak to. For more information on the program in general see this.


The least MS could do would be to allow WM SDKs for its Express editions.

I agree with you, I believe an Expression edition of Visual Studio for Windows Mobile is overdue. But until such a day comes the best zero cost alternative is to use the .Net Compact Framework SDK (which is free) along with a free IDE (I suggest Sharp Develop). On one hand this solution would only allow you to develop in C# or VB.Net (and not C++). But since most developers just starting with Windows Mobile Development would be using one of these languages that short coming is not an obstacle to most. I've detailed the instructions of setting up a free development environment here.

And what about business? So far, WM had some base from business clients who don't like the openness from Android or that Apple has more control over iPhones than the own company.

I can't say that I've personally observed conflicts over Apple control or Android's openess in business environments. As of yet the only carrier in the USA that sells android hardware is T-mobile. So from past to present I'd say Android has only been a choice for businesses that use T-mobile for their mobile communications.

One of the strengths of Windows Mobile is that it integrates so earily into the other Microsoft based systems in the work environment. If the IT support team is already using the System Center applications for maintaining the computers in the environment the learning curve for using System Center Mobile Device Manager to maintain the Windows Mobile devices isn't huge. WM already works with Exchange Server. For businesses that have in-house developers creating solutions for the Microsoft based machines there is a small learning curve to making a solution for a Windows Mobile device; the developer can use the same software tools and the same development language and the APIs reflect many of those available on the desktop.
 

Pony99CA

New member
Mar 7, 2008
8
0
0
Visit site
The Future, Conan?

I think that WM will be fine providing Microsoft keeps OEMs happy. You read about companies like Motorola and HTC backing away from Windows Mobile and have to wonder. I hope they're just adding Android support, and not planning to dump Windows Mobile, because if HTC does, WM is in trouble (HTC supposedly makes 80% of WM handsets sold).

Steve

P.S. What's up with the log in system here? When I log in using Firefox 3.0.12, I get taken to some odd profile screen. I go to the site's home page and see that I'm logged in, but when I go to the forum, I'm not.

I had to log in from IE 7 to post. :confused:
 

robschoenfeld

New member
Jul 26, 2009
1
0
0
Visit site
Windows Mobile - The End or The End of the Beginning?

Microsoft has one last shot to get this right. Windows Mobile Seven needs to hit the ground running. One of the biggest challenges currently facing wm is lack of a cohesive ecosystem. These "data silos" of programs need to become one with wm 7. This device needs to be untethered to a pc and offer a seamless ecosystem with the cloud. Gaming and and third party apps will also become very essential.
 

pelona#WP

New member
Nov 9, 2007
1
0
0
Visit site
What's the fastest growing gaming platform: the iPhone. What platform are people going to use most often to get online: smartphones. It's not a question as to whether Windows Mobile will live or die; Microsoft can't and won't abandon the market. The question is will Redmond be relegated to a bit player with little impact in the smartphone marketplace?

There's also little doubt how Microsoft arrived here: neglect. The company sat back as Apple proved customers were willing to pay premium prices for a figure friendly device that was constantly improving via OS updates and easy downloads from a centralized online app store. Microsoft must change how it approaches Windows Mobile:

* Embrace the entire WM customer-base, not just new ones. We all know the drill: once you walk out the store with your-brand new WM-based phone, the OS is essentially frozen in time (unless the carrier or manufacturer decides to bless you with an update.) Contrast this to the iPhone, Palm Pre, Android, etc., that will get updates and fixes as long as the hardware supports them. Microsoft needs to stop using WM updates just to drive hardware sales and instead use them to build customer loyalty. This means that Microsoft will need to encourage manufactures to give their WM handsets enough headroom to handle upgrades.

* Open, socialize, and take a loss on Marketplace. It was dumb when Microsoft announced that Marketplace would be limited to WM 6.5 and later. They reconsidered and announced that 6 and 6.1 would be included too. Why stop there? Why not make apps compatible for devices running earlier versions of WM available as well? And the fees? For free apps? If anything, Microsoft shouldn't charge to be in the store when it opens, and later, once things are established, charge a small percentage based on the gross revenue an app actually generates. Let customer feedback and ratings be the main certification tool; so many complaints or a drop below a certain rating level leading to de-listing. Finally, stand behind sales with a customer-friendly return and refund policy applying to all apps sold.

* Integration, integration, integration. Live was a good step in backing up my appointments, contacts, etc. to the web. (To bad you had to buy the application from a third party!) I should be able to share and sync any contact, appointment, file, etc. with my Live account with any device running a Microsoft OS (and maybe a few others as well) with an Internet connection and share and sync with other Live accounts, and I should be able to do it right now!

* Branding, branding, branding, It's clear that if you're going to be a player in this market, you have to have your "own" phone (think Apple iPhone, Palm Pre, etc.). Getting you logo on a key just doesn't cut it. Of course, this will mean Microsoft will have to exert more pressure on manufacturers and carriers. But who knows, maybe that will mean some of those hot new phones that never seem to become available in the US will start showing up on our shores with the appropriate 3G bands. And if the manufacturers and carriers balk? How about a Zune Phone?
 

benjimen

New member
Apr 2, 2008
1
0
0
Visit site
WM isn't going anywhere, they're not going broke... They have however missed out on the opportunity to become any sort of standard, that spot was nabbed by the iPhone ;)
 

SpriteGF

New member
Jul 8, 2006
17
0
0
Visit site
Windows Mobile has staying power, but it's partly the culture of Microsoft to blame. As a former employee, their legal team seemed to make sure integration of products didn't happen as well as it could have due to the antitrust litigation and controversy of the 1990's (the death of Netscape in part due to Internet Explorer bundling with Windows). In other words, all the things that Apple did ? tight integration of iPhone and iTunes, an App Store, a tightly-integrated browser and mail client ? were things Microsoft probably couldn't have pulled off on its own due to possible litigation by third parties.

However, I have faith that Microsoft can satisfy new needs (e.g. consumer-friendly touchscreen interaction) while keeping the best of Windows Mobile (multitasking, backwards compatibility). They were able to pull this off with the Xbox, Office 2007, and ? despite its late entry to the crowded MP3 arena ? the Zune.
 

badersk

New member
Nov 6, 2008
79
0
0
Visit site
I think WM will continue to have a strong presence in the enterprise however unles WM 7 comes quickly and is a game changer it will continue to loose market share to the iPhone and others.
 

Alli

New member
Jul 11, 2002
10
0
0
mytreo.net
Microsoft needs to drop back to one mobile OS. No choices of touch or non touch. I believe that touch is the way to go. They also need to lock down a few things - maybe not as much as some of the competitors, but enough that developers can have an application that runs smoothly on all the different hardware supporting WM. Right now an app can run fine on one WM device, but not run at all on another due to hardware limitations. There needs to be a standard.

I hope they can add in support for multitouch...but in a way that the hardware manufacturers will want/be able to continue using resistive screens so that we can continue with the kind of precision control that will never been seen with capacitive screens.
 

Dieter Bohn

Ex Editor in Chief
Feb 1, 2001
241
0
0
smartphoneexperts.com
I think that WM will be fine providing Microsoft keeps OEMs happy. You read about companies like Motorola and HTC backing away from Windows Mobile and have to wonder. I hope they're just adding Android support, and not planning to dump Windows Mobile, because if HTC does, WM is in trouble (HTC supposedly makes 80% of WM handsets sold).

Steve

P.S. What's up with the log in system here? When I log in using Firefox 3.0.12, I get taken to some odd profile screen. I go to the site's home page and see that I'm logged in, but when I go to the forum, I'm not.

I had to log in from IE 7 to post. :confused:

Hey Pony -

We have shared cookie login but sometimes it get a little ..off. If you log out of the homepage in firefox and log back in, that should take care of it. Otherwise you *may* need to clear the cookies from WME to fix it.

Shoot me an email directly if you have continued problems - dieter@wmexperts.com
 

Sandra Rosenzweig

New member
Jul 26, 2009
1
0
0
Visit site
I have argued both sides of this, and I'm not sure what I believe anymore. From my current perspective, it seems that users are reacting to the eye candy and novelties such as movement sensors to make buying decisions. The iPhone and the Android are certainly gorgeous machines, and Microsoft has been slow in the past to make things beautiful as well as functional.

However, the emphasis on function over form has made Windows Mobile the OS of choice for hefty programs doing serious processing. For example (one of trillions), I use a complex Chinese dictionary program on my iPAQ and, before that, on my Axim. The versions for the other platforms are crippled by the non-MS OSs. E.g. using the iPhone for serious study of Chinese is a joke.

If WM fails, it will die a slow, lingering death, probably because they failed to implement the frivolous stuff even after the competing platforms have implemented the functional stuff.

At least for now, you'll have to pry my WM PDA out of my tiny cold, dead hands.
 

ron_from_rifas

New member
Jul 26, 2009
3
0
0
Visit site
The future of Windows Mobile rests on the success of WM7. If Microsoft can't get a solid winner together with WM7 not only will I leave the platform, but Microsoft will lose all credibility from the Windows Mobile community.

I hope they get it right. I really feel that the future of Microsoft relies on it.
 

mirekluza

New member
Jul 26, 2009
3
0
0
Visit site
I think Windows Mobile will go on succesfully.

There is one thing most of critics forget or deny... The solid base system. Yes, I have read the oposite "too many legacy things" or "Microsoft should forget Windows Mobile and write something new". I think these opinions are completely uninformed. They are based on the idea that Windows Mobile is just a badly adapted version of Windows for PC (and going back to Windows 3.1 or at best to the current NT based systems). If it was like that, it would be bad... But Windows Mobile is based on Windows CE which is a separate operating system designed for real time/mobile/industry applications...
The fact the Win32 API is used is an advantage for developers (and it does not mean that WM is a bad port of Windows 95 - which is clearly impressions of those who recommend to scrap everything and start new).
GUI possibilities of WM are also not bad - I think that if things like TouchFlo or SPB Mobile Shell etc. appeared as a native GUI on a new smartphone without WM, the same people (who now talk about WM being years behind) would write how wonderful the GUI is...

The main problem at the moment is the atmosphere "ignore os, just say it is a multitouch with capacity display". I remember one article comparing Iphone/Android/Palm Pre some time ago (before Palm Pre was launched!), concluding that Palm Pre is the best (at the time when no one outside Palm had it... and of course Windows Mobile was ignored completely...). I wonder - is it possible that good initial presentation is more important than the product itself? I really do not think that this is sustainable... It kind of remids me DOT.COM bubble, where a good presentation also counted more than reality... This is nothing against anybody, I just cannot understand exstatic reporting about products just announced and not yet tested...
From WM competitors so far only Iphone fullfilled its promises, in other cases I see mostly a lot of pride, big plans and big ambitions... Only time will tell what will prove itselves and what was just DOT.COM bubble enthusiasm... I will not go deeper to this, I would jusk risk useless flame war... Time will judge all contenders...

There was an idea mentioned here to scrap WM phones without touch screen. This sounds to me plainly stupid... Regardless of what anyone thinks about touch screen phones, it is good to remember that there is significant group of people who deliberately do not want touch screen phones (regardless of whether they are single or multi touch)... I may disagree with them, but I may not deny its existence. Concentration only on touch screen leaves these people out... One of the strength of Windows Mobile is that it has mature products for both (Iphone/Android are touch only, Symbian is touchless, only recently trying to add touch GUI).

In short - the sure way to kill WM would be to follow some of naive advices like:
- scrap the OS, write something new (well, probably writing a good os is a weekend task...)
- break compatibility with existing software (Symbian has never recovered from compatibility break a few years ago...)
- concentrate on imitating Iphone only - scrap touchless version (you do not like touch screen? - go away, you stone age relict...)

Following these advices, Windows Mobile would remove most advantages it has... And it would become pointless... The important thing is to have good OS which is up to the task (and improve it), not a second rate copy of Iphone...
 

ullal

New member
Jan 26, 2009
14
0
0
Visit site
Microsoft needs to drop back to one mobile OS. No choices of touch or non touch. I believe that touch is the way to go. They also need to lock down a few things - maybe not as much as some of the competitors, but enough that developers can have an application that runs smoothly on all the different hardware supporting WM. Right now an app can run fine on one WM device, but not run at all on another due to hardware limitations. There needs to be a standard.

I hope they can add in support for multitouch...but in a way that the hardware manufacturers will want/be able to continue using resistive screens so that we can continue with the kind of precision control that will never been seen with capacitive screens.

I agree with Alli that some things need to be locked down for quality and consistency purposes. If everyone reskins WinMo is it really WinMo?

On my Samsung Epix there is a problem with the contact search from the Today screen. I can't find every contact (800+) just by typing a few letters. I have to go to the Contacts application sometimes to find a contact. This is an example where something should just work consistently and out of the box because my WinMo Treo worked perfectly. Then there is the way favorites (speed dial) are implemented on the Treo vs the Epix.

Lock down the basics and send updates OTA. Let vendors customize the rest.

Also, insist on a certain min amount of memory on these devices. I could use my Treo 750 except that it kept running out of storage memory. Provide tools to handle these issues.

I think it is a great OS but MS need to rethink its relationship with its partners and make the platform easier to use. Also, it is time to merge the two versions of WinMo to make it easier for developers.
 

ChristopherDean

New member
Jul 27, 2009
1
0
0
Visit site
Windows Ce is Nice but....

My personal feeling is that Windows Mobile is going to die. I'll even go as far as guessing the date: sometime in 2012. HOWEVER I think Windows CE will live long and prosper.

If we look at what HTC, Samsung and other manufactures are doing now, they all seem to be designing a UI of their own over top of what Microsoft is doing. Why continue this? I know there are many who feel that all Windows Mobile devices should have the same UI. After all, isn't that what makes it a Windows Mobile device? I guess...sort of, but it's not necessarily what makes it a Microsoft device.

I'm not a developer, and it has been awhile since I have been deeply involved with the goings on of Windows Mobile, so I may need some enlightening here, but I see no reason that as long as Windows CE stays as the core operating system that allows Windows Media Player, Internet Explorer, Outlook, Office and Exchange to continue, and still keep compatibility alive, developers can still continue with little change.

I'm sure there are some holes to be found in this, and hurtles to be jumped, but I think it gives Microsoft a much higher profitable product, without the hassles they are now seeing with Windows Mobile, yet it has little effect on the consumer or developer and allows manufactures more individuality. This way I see an easier win for everyone involved including Microsoft, designers, manufacturers, developers, carriers, and consumers.

Doing this takes the emphasis off Microsoft to continue to design a UI that pleases everyone (impossible) and allows them to concentrate of their highly profitable and very widely used Windows CE, and allows manufacturers to develop the UI their customers need and want.

Dave


I don't believe Windows Mobile will die; At least not completely. Windows CE is in fact the core structure that all WinMo Operating systems are built on, but it is surely not the same thing. The Windows Mobile Os adds nearly everything involving call functionality and mostly everything that makes the system suitable for a phone. (I.E. Dial pad, Radio extensions, etc).

For that reason microsoft will continue to provide some kind of layer that provides functionality for the phone side of things. However, I don't disagree that it will be the same as it is today. If Microsoft wants to push Windows mobile to the next level, they need to look to merge WinMo and WinCE. If both parties were closer integrated they could focus on more of a single "project", bringing innovation to both WinCe and WinMo simultaneously.

Also, Microsoft needs to just drop WinMo standard. Every device I've seen with WinMo standard on it, would have been an even better devices if they ran windows mobile professional. Too much fracture in features/capabilities creates a split in your market. Microsoft has too many projects going on right now (Concentrating more on internet services than WinMo... :( NOT Good for WinMo ). After Microsoft clean house a little ( refocuses on key products) they need to take into account that mobile phones today have live data connections standard. Live updates NEED to be streamed for apps (preferably all) through some sort of Windows Update app. Keeping software at the cutting edge makes even outdated hardware feel new. (Just ask all the users of Custom Roms like the ones built at www.PPCKitchen.org !). All of this would Make a World of Difference for Microsoft.

I Try to be unbiased (as a programmer) to all the Operating systems, But I love my Touch Pro (thank the HTC gods for a hardware keyboard!!!). And with devices coming out like the Toshiba line containing SnapDragons! Windows Mobile isn't dead yet! I think The Android line will be great in the future, especially if HTC is backing them. And I think the IPhone 3GS is great, but not enough advancement over the IPhone 3G. (Plus AT&T is not doing so well) However HTC won't easily forget its roots with Microsoft, and it will continue to be my favorite Os, even if I have to pay $90 US. Thats nothing compared to what Windows Mobile apps can bring in! Look at SPB! Even if they begin making Android apps, They aren't going near the Iphone. Why? because they are making a killing by turning out qaulity apps for Windows Mobile!

If Microsoft Makes good decisions in the next 8 months, I think this whole thing could turn around. Depending on how Microsoft supports new technologies like openGl ES 2.0 will make or break my feelings for them, how ever OEM support is almost gauranteed for Android.... SO We will just have to wait and see if Microsoft pulls their head out of some of their asinine projects and makes a come back to the skepticism they've recieved.
 

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
323,208
Messages
2,243,460
Members
428,046
Latest member
shadow1412