As some of you will be aware there is no distinct Mobile and Embedded DevCon this year. Instead the mobile content will be rolled into TechEd US. Personally I think this reaffirms the lack of love being felt by loyal Windows Mobile developers. Lets take a quick look at the mobile developer space across all platforms:
- Releases the iPhone with new generation of usability
- Initially no developer platform but very open to developers familiar with coding for MacOS
- Announced that there will be a developer SDK
- Weak integration into the enterprise
- Announced Android
- Focus on developer platform with a large ($10M) developer fund and apparently quite a comprehensive set of developer apis
- WM6 which fixes numerous issues with WM5 but only incremental improvements to the user experience.
- .NET Compact Framework v3.5 (which kind of went unnoticed since we haven’t had the official launch event for Visual Studio 2008)
- No further releases of the only half finished Mobile Client Software Factory
- Ongoing compatibility issues with WM, ActiveSync and the Windows Mobile Device Center (under Vista).
There have been some leaked screenshots of Windows Mobile 7 which is scheduled for 2009! By then I would expect that the likes of HTC will have worked out how to completely displace the WM user experience with their own extensible model (think TouchFlo with more than three sides and capable of hosting content from your applications).
Having said all this, Windows Mobile is still my preferred mobile platform. The integration with Exchange means that it walks all over any other platform in the market for enterprises wishing to equip their workers. With the future holding richer device management tools and network integration Windows Mobile will continue to reign in the enterprise space.
Over the coming weeks I hope to work with others in the mobile developer community to work out how we can simplify the process of building applications for Windows Mobile. The foundations are there, we just need the same quality of guidance that is available for building desktop and web applications.