Looking for Windows Mobile smartphones? It might be tough…
Many customers are approaching me these days asking about Windows Mobile and our plans on supporting in the next couple of years.
Smartphones running WM are now part of an extinct species, so if you plan on going with an HTC / Samsung smartphone running Windows Mobile you may face some challenges to find them with a decent support contract.
So the question is: what is going to happen with Windows Mobile in a year or two?
Of course, there may be changes, but in general Microsoft has already announced few times in the past that Windows Mobile is not dead.
That’s nice, a new name, but who cares?
Well, Microsoft holds a dominant role in the small rugged mobile device market, with around 80% of it, but has been threatened in recent months by Android handsets, largely as Microsoft has been sun-setting Windows Mobile, leaving companies with an unclear strategy going forward.
Microsoft already released a new version of Windows Embedded Handheld to the hardware vendors (as was planned by the roadmap slide below) so we should expect to see new handheld devices running the Windows Embedded Handheld OS pretty soon. The only thing is that it’s not really new, it’s just Windows Mobile 6.5.3 with a new name… (the X.3 addition stands for some UI changes that were made to the OS just before releasing Windows Phone 7).
So now we have a new improved version of Windows Mobile, specially targeted for Enterprise use, in field conditions. That’s not bad in terms of the operating system, but what about new devices?
All of those devices are provided with long-life support and marketed by Microsoft’s Windows Embedded business unit.
I believe we will continue to see more similar devices being released as there are simply so many capabilities and existing applications that need those capabilities – it would be impossible to replace them all. Now it’s just a matter of how good those devices would be, given that most of us are now used to 1G CPU, or even more than that, with a capacitive display, and a modern friendly OS such as Android, iOS or Windows Phone 7 – would be hard to enjoy the good old Windows Mobile even with the new look and feel…