Folks over at msmobiles.com, pretty much the best blog covering Windows Mobile, are talking about a refresh for Windows Mobile 6 SDK. We just kicked off Shockey Monkey mobile agent coding today so this comes at a really good time but I realize this sort of thing is not really very interesting to the readers of Vladville.. so why talk about it?
Well, Windows Mobile is rebranding. Again. As some of you that have been following the developments over the years can attest to, there has been a fair amount of confusion over just what constitutes a PocketPC, SmartPhone, Windows embedded, WindowsCE Powered, so on and so forth. To contribute to the confusion, some manufacturers labeled their PocketPC’s as SmartPhones, so when people bought those devices and didn’t get the right software or experience in the bundle Microsoft was to blame. So something that got announced and really explained in full detail over at the MVP Summit is the reasoning behind the rebranding. The public info is as follows:
- Windows Mobile for Smartphone = Windows Mobile Standard
- Windows Mobile for Pocket PC = Windows Mobile Classic
- Windows Mobile for Pocket PC Phone Edition = Windows Mobile Professional
So here is an easy way to think about this. At the bottom of the pyramid is the Windows Mobile Classic, your traditional PocketPC that doesn’t have cell phone functionality. Think of it as the old iPaq’s. On top of that are Windows Mobile Standard, or the old “smartphone” term for a Windows Mobile powered cell phone without a touchscreen. Think of that group as the old Audiovox SMT 5600 and iMate SP3 candy bar phones. On the top are cell phone, touchscreen and then some – now known as Windows Mobile Professional such as Siemens SX66, T-Mobile MDA, Windows Mobile powered Palm Treo’s and so on and so forth.
I’ve always had success explaining it this way (with new language adopted):
If you just need a PDA that doesn’t need to be a cell phone, get Windows Mobile Classic. If you need a really good cell phone with occasional need to check out email and correspond, get a Windows Mobile Standard. If you need a touchscreen, type in large amounts of text and don’t mind a big bulge in your pocket (or purse for the ladies) then go with Windows Mobile Professional.
That last point is blurring a little. With the arrival of T-Mobile Dash (first US phone offered with a Windows Mobile 6 upgrade) and Samsung BlackJack from Cingular you can easilly enter large amounts of text without the touchscreen functionality because these devices now come with keyboards eliminating the need for old T9 type of feeding text into the cell phone.
Whatever they call it, however they rebrand it, Microsoft deserves a mountain of credit for the work on Windows Mobile 6. While at TechEd last year I got to meet the guys in charge of the Windows Mobile 6 development, at Exchange Connections I got the first build for my MDA and I saw some awesome presentations at the MVP Summit – all in all putting a big axe in the heart of BlackBerry. While I am sure BlackBerry will continue to be a viable commercial alternative, the feature set is simply no longer worth the premium or the hassle of supporting BES. As a matter of fact, we do not offer BES or Good on any of our Exchange hosting plans and we’ve run into no obstacle at all.
Congrats WM team.
Update: Thanks to Tim Barrett for correction of my sales pitch.