Why Windows Mobile?

I was just catching up on a couple of blogs and noticed that Paul over at Modaco had an interesting Talking Point where they discuss “What keeps you stuck on Windows Mobile, and what tempts you away?” I tend to agree with a lot of his points but thought I’d add my own commentary, since I think it paints a more realistic story of the future for Windows Mobile.

– the brilliant Exchange sync story and super productive e-mail client
>> Couldn’t agree more.  The setup, sync and operational side of Email, Calendar and Contacts on Windows Mobile rocks.  Sure the UI looks super dated now and doesn’t work well with touch input but it definitely works.  I suspect that the POOM UI is probably the next cab off the rank for the likes of HTC, Samsung and Sony who all seem to be doing their own custom UIs for the home screen, application navigation etc.

– .net Compact Framework for simple development on the device
>> Again, being a techie I like to be able to write code for my device.  Unfortunately the .NET CF is a little bit heavy for doing serious mobile application development. This definitely contributes to the Windows Mobile problem of being bloated and requiring more hardware than imho it should.

– turn by turn navigation solutions at a low cost
>> Now we are starting to get somewhere – an awesome reason for going with Windows Mobile is there is actually a large number of super cool applications that you can download and/or purchase.  Unfortunately you’ll have to trawl Google to find them as there isn’t a single store to get them from.

>> Wish we had this app for Australia.

– an OS i’m familiar with at the very deepest level, and that I find productive
>> This is the same “I’ve always been a Windows user” concept.  Unfortunately it’s not necessarily a good reason for sticking with a platform

– a wide variety of devices with a wide variety of form factors
>> It’s definitely arguable that the iphone form factor isn’t for everyone… but it is cool, slick and looks great!

– high resolution cameras
>> Yes, and this will definitely get better.  I’ve always said that one of the things that a Windows Mobile device manufacturer needs to do for their device to be a consumer device is to wack a serious camera in the back.  Take the 5Mb camera on offer on some Sony devices, combined with an actual flash, this device would allow you to dispense of your camera.

– 20 key and 12 key touchscreen input (iPhone NEEDS this imho!)
>> Yes, I’m a big fan of the slide out keyboard too.  That said I’ve seen people type incredibly quickly and accurately on their iphone.


– App Store!
>> In how many ways and how often can we tell Microsoft this – we need a better process for developers to build and sell their applications.  I don’t care how great the application is, if you can’t sell it then it may as well not have been written

– applications that co-exist with apps I use on my mac, such as 1password touch and Things iphone
>> Sync’ing is a massive reason that Exchange w Windows Mobile is imho the best enterprise mail solution.  Do this with other applications and you can increase this value.  One of the big things that the Windows Mobile platform offers is a rich development environment that has proper support for background threads – this means that you can be sync’ing data, even when your application isn’t in focus.

– Regular, OTA OS updates
>> Again, this is a request that has been iterated again and again and again.  Instead of 2-3 yearly versions, why not release iteratively.  We’ve already seen two versions of the iPhone and it’s anyone’s guess how many more versions we will see before the next version of Windows Mobile?

The challenge for us Windows Mobile enthusiasts is to work out how we can leverage our deep knowledge of the platform and convert it into a compelling reason/feature/application that sets the Windows Mobile platform apart from its competitors.

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