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07-30-2009 03:48 PM
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  1. Grogck's Avatar
    Microsoft isn't leaving the space. It's far too important and I think the delays on WM7, the acquisition of Danger, etc show that they realize they the next version is their best/only shot to regain significant marketshare. I honestly don't foresee them becoming the market leader at any point in the near future. But you don't have to be to make considerable money in the space. However, you DO need to be a top tier player for it to be worthwhile for a company like MS.

    I personally see WM7+ going the following route with 2 main offerings in the space:

    1) OEM-friendly offering, with improved emphasis on consumer/entertainment, but still catering to the functional/business crowd. There will be MUCH stricter guidelines for hardware specs and 3rd party software. Some people like lots of choices in hardware, but too many configurations makes it difficult to properly support all the permutations. Likewise, allowing low-end hardware could reflect poorly on your software experience. I think we'll end up seeing just 2 main screen configurations of WM7 (one for slabs, one for candybar-qwertys) both touchscreen.

    This of course will be with all the expected changes. Enhanced UI. Capacitive screens, Zune-like multimedia capabilities, tighter integration with other MS platforms/services and cloud-based services, etc. This is all pretty much expected stuff really and not that earth-shattering for us, although if they can pull it off well from a usability standpoint, it could open a lot of people's eyes to the power of WM. I always chuckle when I read reviews for most other smartphone platforms and they talk about great 'new' features that WM has had for years. They just need the current experience to take a major leap forward so that that power is realized. Could be big for MS, but probably not as big as the next version.

    2) MS proprietary device outsourced to only 1-2 hardware manufacturers focused HEAVILY on gaming/multimedia. It will still support all the usual smartphone functionality (apps, exchange/email, multitasking, browsing, etc) and will have largely the same underlying core as WM7, but will be MUCH more fixated around the entertainment experience.

    This is why Danger was acquired. Not to make just a 'Zune phone' but to make something FAR more robust. Gaming will be the cornerstone of the device and main selling point as it becomes the mobile compliment to the Xbox. Will have full Xbox Live integration, etc. Streaming multimedia features like Hulu/Netflix/YouTube, streaming audio (from either an established source like Last.fm or possibly from a proprietary Zune-based service) and home PC library streaming will be major components. Due to its gaming-nature it will not be just another buttonless slab. In fact, it will unsurprisingly heavily resemble the Sidekick in terms of physical appearance with a compliment of the necessary gamer buttons, d-pads, etc. And (perhaps most importantly) it will also be offered in a non-phone variation. The PMP market is drying up, but the portable gaming market is booming and MS has been conspicuously absent from this space for too long given their strong gaming pedigree. And from a marketshare standpoint, gaming is the main area where they not only have a chance to compete against the likes of Sony/Apple, but to beat both competitors outright. This has to be where the bulk of their efforts are going.

    Both of these options have been speculated about - the latter to a much lesser, and probably much less ambitious extent. But I think they realize they'll have to hedge their bets and go with two approaches (software only and software/hardware) in order to achieve success.
    07-27-2009 09:48 AM
  2. mirekluza's Avatar
    I would like to write here a bit about my personal experience with the recent buying of a WM device. It gave me a bit of new view on the Iphone inspired frenzy (so I think it belongs here - if you think otherwise, feel free to delete it)...

    My first WM device was HTC Wizard (its T Mobile variant MDA Vario). Two years of my contract passed, so I was looking for something else. Limited by T-Mobile it looked like either Diamond or Sony Xperia. Both rather more expensive than I would like to and getting more expensive every month (T Mobile in the Czech Republic has been cutting phone subsidies this whole year). All the time there was an old cheap HTC Kaiser - they were selling it out - so quite cheap... But of course - I though: "I do not want Kaiser". There was a lot of bad publicity concerning missing 3D drivers, also it was just QVGA and just 400 Mhz Qualcomm... Really out of fashion...
    I have read often the (anti)MSMOBILES site and though I did not agree (well, I was kicked out from the forum there for my opinions), its opinions probably rubbed off on me...
    So I was cursing T-Mobile for being more and more expensive, HTC for leaving out buttons on new devices, Sony for price and at the same time looking for solutions how in future fix problems I saw on newer devices (utility to configure more buttons on Diamond under display, utility to run QVGA/VGA programs on WVGA - I think it was called VGAFIX3).
    Then one day I realized that there is something wrong with this - what do I really want and need? Do I need to buy an expensive buttonless, big screen device just to look for a ways how to overcome that and basically emulate there feature of an older, cheaper device?
    3D is nice - but what it is for now? Most of the people cursing Kaiser and looking for better drivers were just talking about how they scored in some synthetic benchmarks... I do not play 3D shooters, so any ports of DOOM etc are useless for me. And there is not much else. So the only thing a decent 3D accelerator would bring to me would be a warm feeling of its existence... I would have nothing to use it for, maybe just run a benchmark every day and brag about it to losers without any 3D accelerator...

    (Do not get me wrong: the 3D acceleration is important for the future of the platform... I just mean that for me personally it is at the moment useless).

    To cut the long story short: I bought the HTC Kaiser a few weeks ago (probably last from my operator, because a few hours later it was no longer available in e-shop). With my contract and points for past spendings I paid about 15 dollars. Diamond or XPERIA would cost me far, far more (not speaking about troubles with too little buttons or WVGA compatibility with old applications). I am completely satisfied and still congratulate myself to the decision... In two years I will look for another device...

    I wonder how many other people are there so blinded as I was - going for the newest device because of its own sake... It may be expensive, it may not suit me, but it is new and I must have it... Sometimes it is good to stop and think...
    07-27-2009 10:08 AM
  3. badchad#WP's Avatar
    Right now, we are in the middle of a "transitional period" where all the features previously associated with "smart phones" are becoming commonplace. Within 5 years, it will be standard to have the "full internet", GPS, email, navigation, music, games etc. on ALL consumer handsets.

    The next 1-2 years are going to be extremely critical for Windows mobile and the "smartphone" industry as a whole. Consider the following major players:

    *Palm has just released the Pre. The company's saving grace. In the next year, the Pre is going to be available on multiple carriers, and its quite likely that Palm OS will be feature on 2-3 new handsets. In the next year or so, we will know where Palm stands

    *android will be approaching maturity as well. Android will also be available on multiple carriers, and will have multiple devices. We are just now beginning to see the capabilities of android (e.g. the Sense UI). Within the next year or so, we'll have a better idea of where Android stands in the smartphone market.

    *Blackberry/RIM. It's no surprise blackberry is attempting to move from the "business-centric" demographic over into the consumer market. Again, we'll get the Storm out on different carriers, and the addition of the Storm 2. RIM will have to do the precarious dance of attempting to gain "mainstream" consumers while retaining it "business-class" base. We'll see if they can do it.

    *Apple. Ah yes, everybody's favorite. In my opinion, Apple is well aware that the competition is catching up. While they came out of the gate in force, and revolutionized the market, they will need to do something new with their 4th gen. handset. I don't think small, incremental upgrades are going to do it the 4th time around (e.g. voice command and "copy paste"). I predict Apple makes a significant change to their upcoming handset this coming year. We also need to keep in mind, that (like everyone else) at some point, Apple will expand to all major carriers. Again, within a year we get a new device from Apple, and widespread availability.

    Noticing a trend here? We are at major point in the smartphone game, where all the major players have mature OS's and will be widely available.

    So where does Windows mobile fit in? Right now, we know that MS is going to release Windows 7 in Oct. (its desktop OS). I think MS needs to heavily integrate its desktop OS, with its mobile counterpart. I also think MS needs to get it "right" with WM7 and they need to get it out on time, and before the new iphone.

    I don't think WM is going anywhere. MS has too many resources. However, they need to put those resources to use, and they need to do it quickly.
    07-27-2009 10:15 AM
  4. mharms1's Avatar
    There is no better time to own an Windows Mobile device. With best-in-class enterprise support, a WinMo device is the defacto standard for business users, especially for medium sized companies on a budget.

    Microsoft is heading in a great new direction with their upcoming App Store, MyPhone, WinMo 6.5 & 7, and others. My hope for the future includes the following:

    1. More standardization across different implementations of the WinMo operating system, especially for built-in apps like Windows Media Player.
    2. Codecs deployed in support of Windows Media Player should be more consistent. Users should not have to hunt down 3rd party software to play common media formats like AAC or h.264 on their devices.
    3. Better integration with Web 2.0 services and social networking sites. Microsoft's new Facebook app is great, but it's competing with other 3rd party offerings that are already more capable than MS's efforts and the product delivered is still not as robust as what's available for devices like Blackberry or Palm Pre. Flickr, Last.fm, Slacker, MySpace, and others should all be well supported with highly functional, easy to download apps that "just work."
    4. Improve desktop integration with Windows and Macs. On Macs, provide some kind of conduit to Itunes, Ical, and others. This needs to be out of the box, no 3rd party software required. On Windows, provide out of the box support for apps like Itunes along with the already superlative support for Outlook.
    5. Ensure that the App Store is smart enough to display only those Apps that will actually work on one's device. It's not a problem to have different work environments for different needs. Just as RIM makes Blackberries with both touch screens and different kinds of keyboards so should WinMo support a diverse array of hardware. Just make sure that the Apps on offer will just work.
    07-27-2009 03:13 PM
  5. gigifurd's Avatar
    i believe that Windows mobile will do just fine! it has been around for a while and with everything that is new, windowsmobile will just come up with something better!
    07-28-2009 10:47 AM
  6. zim2323's Avatar
    I believe we are just seeing the beginnings of a huge transformation for Windows Mobile. I think WM6.5 is going to be to WM7, what Vista is to Windows 7.

    I personally don't feel there are too many WM phones, but I do feel there are too many BADLY made WM phones with severe hardware issues. I'm now on my 4th HTC Touch Pro, and I know many more on their 6th or 7th.

    Apple is doing what China did to the car industry 30 years ago. America told everyone they wanted a big car. America said they wanted a small car. China gave America a small car and they took over the market. Microsoft has been telling people what they think they needed in a smart phone for several years, and it has been Apple, like it or not, who has stepped up and given people exactly what they asked for. Competition breeds innovation and I think we are going to see some great things from both Microsoft and Apple moving forward.

    Apple proved another thing. Managing your own hardware has more pluses then minuses. The only mistake Apple is making is that they want to be the only hardware manufacturer. Rumors have been flying that Verizon and Microsoft are working on project Pink, the first Microsoft branded phone. I like the idea of Microsoft bringing their own hardware to the market to set a standard for the hardware, not just the software.

    I personally am hoping for a Microsoft branded phone that combines WM7 and the Zune. If Microsoft can do that and create a reliable hardware base, I think that goes a long way towards setting the standards that the rest of the industry has let slide. With the announcement of the Zune HD, the WM6.5 interface looking more and more like the Zune interface, I predict the following:

    1. WM6.5 is released
    2. WM7 is announced to be released on a Microsoft branded phone first
    3. Zune app announced for WM7 through the App Store
    4. WM7.1 fully integrates WM7 and Zune capabilities as a single OS/Multimedia device for the buiness AND home user.

    I hope all this happens sooner then later. =)


    Chris
    07-28-2009 11:24 AM
  7. Cascade#IM's Avatar
    WM is not as far behind as the smartphone world thinks in my opinion. It's definitely got a good chance for a bright future. In raw capability, it's just as (in many cases more) able as anything out there. The problem is usability. Heck, a top to bottom re-skin of WM would make it pretty popular without changing anything in the OS. Don't get me wrong, we really need WM7 to change some things, but 6.x is not as obsolete as many make it out to be. The UI sucks and it should have been autopsied by UI folks, but there's no doubt that it's powerful.

    The thing I love most about WM is the diversity. Any form factor. Any "look". It's so customizable, and I hope MS doesn't lock it down so much that this is lost. Tough balance to appeal to the off-the-shelf new user and the power user geeks, though.

    6.5 seems like a good step in the re-skinning, but WM7 needs to be stellar. Not stellar in functionality (though I anticipate it will be), but stellar in usability and "fun". We know the biggest weaknesses are being addressed (usability and media) already. I think it would survive just by fixing those two areas, but I'm sure there will be much more to it than that. Just can't get it out soon enough!
    07-28-2009 11:27 AM
  8. Dave Evans's Avatar
    Well, yes, in theory they could. At least as long as they don't need to interact with those. E.g., if you want to write an eMail app, you wouldn't be able to read the address data from Outlook. And of course it wouldn't be possible to do something like all those iPhone like contact app replacements.....................................
    " framework seems to be bigger than an entire Android system by now already...), or vendors could support the Android VM on WM platform, if the Google license allows that. But compatibility would remain a big issue.


    I don't know if too much diversity would help. I mean, on desktop, exactly this is the advantage of Windows and MacOS over all the Linux distributions where none looks and works like the other.
    OK, Android allows alternative "today screen apps", but at least the general look and feel is the same.

    .
    Thanks Mort, as I said I'm not a developer, so your post clears a few things up for me. :)

    Dave
    07-28-2009 03:33 PM
  9. Pony99CA's Avatar
    Apple is doing what China did to the car industry 30 years ago. America told everyone they wanted a big car. America said they wanted a small car. China gave America a small car and they took over the market.
    You mean Japan, not China. China has about zero presence in the U.S. automobile market.

    Also, I disagree that Apple gave people "what they wanted". They gave people something cool and usable. I suspect that lots of people who didn't even want a smart phone got an iPhone because it was cool and different.

    Steve
    07-28-2009 04:33 PM
  10. bkrodgers's Avatar
    I think WM is still a good platform, but it's been fairly staggering how quickly the iPhone has gained traction. The problem MS faces now is that WM badly needs a major UI overhall, which takes time, but the speed of growth on the iPhone platform means they need to hurry. With people basically locked to a device for 2 years (unless they're willing to pay full price, which most aren't), every iPhone sold today is a customer that won't even consider a Windows Mobile phone until 2011. With WM7 not coming out until who knows when in 2010, you're looking at 2012, perhaps late in 2012, before customers MS loses out on in the meantime will reconsider. This is the time when a lot of new customers are moving from basic phones to smart phones, and what's out there on WM right now is not likely to grab their attention the same way the iPhone will. Maybe Windows Mobile 6.5 will help stem that tide a little, but I still think it's a problem.

    In the meantime, Apple's developer community will continue to grow. Maybe Palm Pre's will too. WM has had a strong developer community for a long time, but at this point I think they see far more lucrative prospects on the iPhone platform. You've got developers quickly putting together some fairly simple iPhone apps, selling them for $5, and making a ton of money very quickly. I don't think that ROI exists on WM now, and if WM doesn't successfully pick up a good chunk of the new consumer market moving to smart phones, WM may never offer that kind of an opportunity. At that point platforms can enter slow death spirals. Developers abandon it because there aren't enough customers, and customers then abandon it because there aren't enough interesting apps. WM's fate may not be that dire, but it could mean it becomes more of a niche player, or just a smaller one.

    So, time is their problem. There's at least another year before anyone can buy a WM7 device, and by then it may be too late if other platforms (iPhone in particular) are going strong.
    07-28-2009 08:31 PM
  11. mirekluza's Avatar
    There is also question what else is there to offer than WM for somebody who wants to be free to install any application, likes a few buttons in addition to touch screen and hopes for something programmable natively with full power (not in Java/Javascript - the mobile hardware is still not powerful enough to support demanding applications in them).
    There are strengths in WM which nobody matched yet...

    A few years ago (before current touch mania) I was choosing between Symbian and WM... Last year I was thinking about Android (I was quite enthusiastic about Linux phone, till finding out that it can be programmed only in Java)...

    So overview of competition (really subjective opinion):

    Iphone - native programming(good), certain application not allowed(bad), touch only (bad) - there are some applications (like console emulators) which are not so well usable with touch screen as with buttons

    Android - no native programming (bad) - on the current mobile hardware Java cannot replace native programs, Linux power unaccessible for normal user(bad)

    Palm Pre - I guess something like Android or worse, Linux hidden, supposedly programmable in Javascript(bad)

    Symbian - native programming(good), SymbianSigned disaster and general unfriendliness to freeware and small developers which scared most of them away (bad), still carrying some architecture legacy from the time the mobiles were far less powerful (bad, Symbian programming learning curve is steep).

    Whether I like it or not WM is only choice for me... Everything else is limited in some way. Give me widely used (not just by a few hobbist) mobile with unlocked Linux (native applications, not Java as in Android) and I will have difficulty to choose... Till then the only choice is Windows Mobile... (And actually it does not look like there will be anything else - direction is opposite, I find it sad, that people must jailbreak their own phones to use applications which were not allowed by a Big Brother in Nokia/Palm/Apple).
    07-29-2009 09:49 AM
  12. jonathanparham's Avatar
    .
    Then one day I realized that there is something wrong with this - what do I really want and need? Do I need to buy an expensive buttonless, big screen device just to look for a ways how to overcome that and basically emulate there feature of an older, cheaper device?
    3D is nice - but what it is for now? Most of the people cursing Kaiser and looking for better drivers were just talking about how they scored in some synthetic benchmarks... I do not play 3D shooters, so any ports of DOOM etc are useless for me. And there is not much else. So the only thing a decent 3D accelerator would bring to me would be a warm feeling of its existence... I would have nothing to use it for, maybe just run a benchmark every day and brag about it to losers without any 3D accelerator...

    (Do not get me wrong: the 3D acceleration is important for the future of the platform... I just mean that for me personally it is at the moment useless).

    To cut the long story short: I bought the HTC Kaiser a few weeks ago (probably last from my operator, because a few hours later it was no longer available in e-shop). With my contract and points for past spendings I paid about 15 dollars. Diamond or XPERIA would cost me far, far more (not speaking about troubles with too little buttons or WVGA compatibility with old applications). I am completely satisfied and still congratulate myself to the decision... In two years I will look for another device...

    I wonder how many other people are there so blinded as I was - going for the newest device because of its own sake... It may be expensive, it may not suit me, but it is new and I must have it... Sometimes it is good to stop and think...
    I'm an owner of a new phone, due my PPC 6700 breaking. I got this phone by insurance default. I've only owned two smart phones, but I've been using pdas since 1995. I think there are some basic things about users. There are people who 'use information' and people who 'view information'
    Windows has always been about the former. You need to have all your office apps as well as outlook in your hand because you NEED to USE it. I think apple has pulled in folks who 'view information,' Over the last couple of years I feel like I'm seeing more inexpensive apps in the $15 or less range or Winmo but as a reaction to Apple. I hope this trend continues.
    Window needs to figure out how to get people who view information. I've happily paid $30+ for software to make my device more functional and Intuitive.
    I think that's one of the keys.
    The other key for Windows is perhaps Windows needs to do what Apple does and pull several manufacturer and designers to make a WINDOW device. Apple has done it. visual voicemail is not apple it was designed by another firm and apple puts their label on it. Window needs to have a cool super device and have their name on it.

    sincerely,

    Jonathan
    07-29-2009 09:59 AM
  13. dribblegirl's Avatar
    I think the key for Windows Mobile in the future is embracing its identity. Microsoft has always positioned itself as a software company, not hardware.

    The primary bells & whistles of the competitors product is usually OEM related. WM should emphasize the business end:applications/enterprise/security models. Maintain & increase the business market. When I hear businesses & government agencies using the Iphone that just strikes me as odd.

    Without delving or parroting the previous observations, I'll offer my own quick history.
    Less than a year ago, I had an idea. Do I pay a developer or do I pick up some books? I'm cheap, so I started reading. The company I worked for used pc's. I had a pc @ home. The company also used Sharepoint. When the time came to develop I asked a friend who asked her brother "What language should I learn"?

    Answer: whatever you feel comfortable with. I chose two of the .NET languages. Easy enough. Now I wanted to turn my desktop app into a mobile version. Again, what language? I purchased Visual Studio, so it was an easy choice. Of course friends think I'm foolish & strangers on twitter don't understand why my app is only on WM.

    If my first inclination was to design a mobile app without transitioning from a desktop model; honestly, I most likely would have went directly to the Iphone. As my first mobile app is more directed to the populous, and not business oriented. It will take spectacular apps & OEM designs specific to WM to change this mindset. Great advertising wouldn't hurt. I love Bing & the I'm a PC. What about WM? You have to love yourself if you want others to love you:)

    Naturally, I will expand to other languages, but for pure business apps-WM will always be a logical choice.
    07-29-2009 10:20 AM
  14. synergy's Avatar
    Well, I think enough has been said, both positive and negative. My position is - WM will be in the future in many forms and on many devices. It will be behind iphone, android, rim and now palm pre because each has a well defined market niche. WM will be trying to do all, but the result is it will never be the best in any given category. And there will always be customers who are interested in having such a phone just because some need all in one device. That is why I have my 3rd WM devide now and do not regret it. Finally, don't forget WM is a product by MS and it is known for average products but steady profit, plus WM is not the major profit generator, so is not on their top things to do list. Look at the main competitors i mentioned before: all of them have their PDA as their number one product except google android and that is why i think android will never be a leader as welll.
    Last edited by synergy; 07-29-2009 at 10:58 AM. Reason: new thoughts and some typos
    07-29-2009 10:52 AM
  15. zim2323's Avatar
    You mean Japan, not China. China has about zero presence in the U.S. automobile market.

    Also, I disagree that Apple gave people "what they wanted". They gave people something cool and usable. I suspect that lots of people who didn't even want a smart phone got an iPhone because it was cool and different.

    Steve
    lol China, Japan, same thing right? =) j/k Thanks for the clarification.

    If Apple didn't give people what they wanted, then why is Microsoft scrambling like crazy to try and put the same type of functionality into WM6.5/WM7?

    Suspecting something means nothing in light of action, and Microsoft's actions in product development tell us everything we need to know. Their actions, or lack their of, with no effort of improving the interface over the last 5+ years, even with iPhone release, show they cared nothing about it or saw no need for it. They now know people like how the iPhone works (what the users were given) better, and they know they have to duplicate that feat in some manor. Microsoft has always played the "we'll give you want WE think you need" game. Now they are being forced to play by what the users want.

    That being said, underneath, we all know WM is a much better product. As one other post stated, it's not as much about OS core as it is about the interface the user sees. While their may be some core differences, the only real difference I see between 6.1 and the 6.5 betas I'm using is just a UI update, and those aren't more then choice of a new Today screen. It still does what it does well, but if they want to attract the masses, they better give them what they want, and that's something like the iPhone. Truth hurts.
    07-29-2009 01:14 PM
  16. George Ponder's Avatar
    Okay... by the clock on my wall, it's 5pm EST and posts prior to this will be eligible for the software give-away. We'll send out notifications to the winners later tonight or tomorrow.

    By all means feel free to keep this discussion going and give us your thoughts on what the future holds for Windows Mobile.
    07-29-2009 04:03 PM
  17. Pony99CA's Avatar
    If Apple didn't give people what they wanted, then why is Microsoft scrambling like crazy to try and put the same type of functionality into WM6.5/WM7?
    I think my earlier post answered that, but I'll reiterate. Apple gave people a cool device. I don't think a lot of iPhone buyers "wanted" a smart phone before the iPhone came out, but they bought one because it was so cool.

    The difference is that I think people only wanted the iPhone after it came out and there was so much buzz about it. Apple gave people what Apple thought the people would want, not what the people actually did want at the time. It's a subtle distinction, perhaps, but an important one.

    Microsoft is scrambling because they saw a huge increase in the demand for smart phones triggered by the iPhone. Yes, Microsoft rested on their laurels (after beating Palm) for too long, but they weren't the only company that did. Look at how many feature phones and smart phones came out looking like the iPhone -- the LG Voyager, the BlackBerry Storm, the Samsung Omnia, the HTC Diamond, etc.

    Suspecting something means nothing in light of action, and Microsoft's actions in product development tell us everything we need to know. Their actions, or lack their of, with no effort of improving the interface over the last 5+ years, even with iPhone release, show they cared nothing about it or saw no need for it. They now know people like how the iPhone works (what the users were given) better, and they know they have to duplicate that feat in some manor.
    Yes, Microsoft probably saw little need to improve usability or even to address the consumer market. (MS removed WiFi syncing from Windows Mobile, something consumers liked, because of security concerns by business.)

    However, being reactive isn't necessarily the right way to go. Microsoft has never been able to duplicate Apple's cachet even though Windows beat the Mac OS. If Microsoft tries to "duplicate that feat", they'll just be viewed as a "me too" competitor. They need to do something different.

    Microsoft has always played the "we'll give you want WE think you need" game. Now they are being forced to play by what the users want.
    Funny, I always thought Apple played the "we'll give you want WE think you need" game, too. How many people wanted a windowing OS before the Mac, an MP3 player before the iPod or a smart phone before the iPhone.

    Sure there were some who saw the promise of those devices, but the companies that created those innovations aren't the leaders today.

    That being said, underneath, we all know WM is a much better product. As one other post stated, it's not as much about OS core as it is about the interface the user sees. While their may be some core differences, the only real difference I see between 6.1 and the 6.5 betas I'm using is just a UI update, and those aren't more then choice of a new Today screen. It still does what it does well, but if they want to attract the masses, they better give them what they want, and that's something like the iPhone. Truth hurts.
    Except that's not the truth. ;) WM 6.5 isn't just a visual refresh. It's adding online services, too, like My Phone and the WM app store. While those may work on other versions of the OS (I'm using My Phone now), they were created for WM 6.5. It's those kinds of services that may end up helping Windows Mobile more than the UI.

    Steve
    07-29-2009 05:06 PM
  18. Pony99CA's Avatar
    With people basically locked to a device for 2 years (unless they're willing to pay full price, which most aren't), every iPhone sold today is a customer that won't even consider a Windows Mobile phone until 2011. With WM7 not coming out until who knows when in 2010, you're looking at 2012, perhaps late in 2012, before customers MS loses out on in the meantime will reconsider. This is the time when a lot of new customers are moving from basic phones to smart phones, and what's out there on WM right now is not likely to grab their attention the same way the iPhone will.
    While every iPhone sold is probably 2 years lost to Microsoft, the problem may not be that bad.

    First, the iPhone is still only on one U.S. carrier. That means that if somebody on another carrier wants the iPhone, they have to be willing to jump to AT&T, and I bet most of the people willing to do that already have done that.

    Yes, there are rumors of Verizon getting an iPhone, but I've also heard that may actually be the Apple tablet, so who knows?

    I think Android is a bigger threat in that regard than the iPhone -- if carriers other than T-Mobile introduce Android devices.

    Second, not everybody may want a pure touch device. Many users insist on a QWERTY keyboard and Windows Mobile has more form factors that most other devices. (Symbian smart phones may also have lots of form factors, but they don't sell well in the U.S.)

    Finally, the iPhone is still lacking the one big thing that many people want -- multitasking. That's a huge deal for busy people.

    To see one person's perspective on why those are important, read my Using The iPhone For Work Is A Chore article.

    Steve
    07-29-2009 05:51 PM
  19. CSMR's Avatar
    Great thread. Here are my thoughts:

    -Biggest strength of WM has been Exchange. But that is not a consumer technology (some oddballs like us aside). MS needs good "cloud"-based free/cheap e-mail/contacts/calendaring natively supported by WM. (Stripped-down version of exchange or "Live" integration with Outlook mobile.)
    -Must have a good media interface. ("Zune integration")
    -Must bundle map software. MS has map data; it needs to create and bundle a basic app that works online and offline with GPS. Now that all phones have GPS this is a must.
    -Can Microsoft make a device that looks good as both a pda and a handheld gaming device? It makes sense for MS to be in handheld gaming and if it can make something that also does e-mail/web/GPS&maps/media/phone that will generate some excitement. Gamers are an important market.
    -MS should continue to license WM but also produce its own device(s). As a move to create standard products that get noticed and to bring technology to market faster.
    -MS needs to be aggressive, invest a lot, take short-term losses to gain back market share and keep developers on the platform. Then WM will have long term prospects.

    Even though the market has turned quickly against WM, I expect the next phase will be very important since hardware is going to evolve very quickly over the next year (tegra, snapdragon etc.) and will reward the system that makes the most out of it.
    Last edited by CSMR; 07-30-2009 at 11:21 AM.
    07-30-2009 10:23 AM
  20. Pony99CA's Avatar
    -Biggest strength of WM has been Exchange. But that is not a consumer technology (some oddballs like us aside). MS needs good "cloud"-based free/cheap e-mail/contacts/calendaring natively supported by WM. (Stripped-down version of exchange or "Live" integration with Outlook mobile.)
    That's already done. Look at My Phone, which is already in Beta. I've been using it on my Omnia for at least two months, and I think it will be part of WM 6.5

    -Must have a good media interface. ("Zune integration")
    Eh, not so important to me. I think the current Windows Media Player interface is mostly fine. I would much rather see broader codec support. (Why can't I play MPEG, AVI, FLAC or OGG files without a third-party program?)

    -Must bundle map software. MS has map data; it needs to create and bundle a basic app that works online and offline with GPS. Now that all phones have GPS this is a must.
    For online access, I agree -- and Microsoft already has the Bing mobile client (formerly Live Search). I don't know if it will be bundled with WM 6.5, but I don't see why not.

    However, for offline mapping, I disagree. There are two issues -- cost and space.

    Cost is probably the biggest because MS would have to license mapping data, and I think mapping companies (TeleAtlas, Navteq) charge more for that than for online data. Don't believe me? Look at the price of stand-alone GPS software.

    There's also the space issue. Maps of the U.S. can take 1-2 GB depending on the POI database. That's not so bad if you have internal storage of 4 GB or more, but not all devices have that much.

    You might also get into some anti-trust issues with bundling stand-alone GPS software being anti-competitive, although as Microsoft doesn't really have a monopoly in mobile, maybe it's a non-issue.

    -Can Microsoft make a device that looks good as both a pda and a handheld gaming device? It makes sense for MS to be in handheld gaming and if it can make something that also does e-mail/web/GPS&maps/media/phone that will generate some excitement. Gamers are an important market.
    They're a niche market (albeit a large niche). How many mobile gaming devices really made it big? Nintendo with the GameBoy and DS, sure, but I'm not sure if Sony's PSP is a success. I won't even mention the Nokia NGage, the Gizmondo or the Tapwave Zodiac. ;)

    I think casual gaming (card games, simple puzzles, Tetris/Bejeweled, etc.) will be a much better market, and you don't need the horsepower that arcade gaming requires.

    Although I'm sure there are people who play Madden or Call of Duty on their WM devices, I have to wonder whether they're really satisfied with the experience. I wouldn't think that small screens, mediocre graphics and sketchy controls would appeal much to hard core gamers. :D

    But let's assume that Microsoft does produce a WBox (Windows Mobile XBox). Are you going to get one? If so, I suspect you'll still need a separate phone (good for Microsoft, not so good for you). Can you imagine trying to make a phone call on a DS or PSP? :eek:

    -MS should continue to license WM but also produce its own device(s). As a move to create standard products that get noticed and to bring technology to market faster.
    I think that's a horrible idea. If MS starts competing with their OEMs, I think that's the day the OEMs move to Android. Who would want to compete against the owner of the OS?

    MS should produce reference designs (maybe using Danger) of devices, but shouldn't market their own.

    Even though the market has turned quickly against WM, I expect the next phase will be very important since hardware is going to evolve very quickly over the next year (tegra, snapdragon etc.) and will reward the system that makes the most out of it.
    Let's hope so. :)

    Steve
    07-30-2009 03:48 PM
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