Despite all the iPhone posts around here lately, I’m still a big fan of Windows Mobile. For that reason, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what is next for Window Mobile. What sort of plans does Microsoft have for the OS? Are they gearing it for the consumer market? Or are they only interested in enterprise? And what about rumors of a scalable version of the standard desktop OS that would run on a mobile device?
So if you’d like a little insight into the sort of things a software company thinks about as they decide on their future plans…read on!
In recent months Microsoft has been a little bit mysterious about Windows Mobile. (Perhaps they are taking a page from Apple’s book of marketing?) The result is that I’ve spent a fair amount of time puzzling over what the future holds for the Windows Mobile operating system. I do this in part, because I need to keep my finger on the pulse of the industry as I prepare to make decisions about the future direction for our company. The other reason is that, as I mentioned, I like the Windows Mobile OS and I’m just plain curious about it!
That said, here are a few of my musings…
Windows “Enterprise” Mobile: So maybe MS is planning to position themselves as theenterprise platform. I’ve seen quite a few of my friends who work for large corporations coming home with shiney new Windows Mobile devices to replace their BlackBerries. This makes a lot of sense since their desktop products already have a strong foothold in this area and their enterprise mobile solutions seem really strong. And you have to love the flexibility the OS gives you. If you need proof of this, the next time you’re in an Apple store, check out the handhelds the employees are using. They aren’t iPhones!
Windows “Touch” Mobile: Or maybe MS wants to go head-to-head with the iPhone as a core consumer device. They certainly offer a compelling alternative to people who want more control over their handheld computing experience. The question, of course, is whether MS can market this. It strikes me that MS has never had the greatest marketing team on the planet. Attempts to make their products “cool” end up looking like John Hodgman wearing a turtle neck and spouting “Hey, dude.”
Windows “Zune Phone” Mobile:I know how people feel about the Zune but MS does have a proven track record at breaking into markets “they don’t belong in.” Look at the XBox. It isn’t impossible that MS could come out with a really strong Zune Phone that offers people a choice. People like to comparison shop. If Microsoft can offer a feature set that is almost as easy to use as iPhone but with the flexibility we’ve come to expect from WM, this might work!
Windows “Mini-Desktop” Mobile: This is one that really has me intrigued. A little while back I read a blog that talked about a plan for the new desktop OS to be scalable. That is to say, the same core OS would function on a variety of device regardless of their hardware. This would be an amazing feat and if MS could pull it off it might be a first step towards a true “everywhere computer.” No more maintaing unique environments with separate software installations and constant compatability issues. Your desktop would be your handheld would be your laptop would be your web app. I’m sure that something like this is in the future, I just wonder if MS might be further along than we know?
So there you have it – my musings on Windows Mobile. Whatever the result, it looks good for us. Our application line up is universal making them equally suited for the enterprise environment or the individual consumer. And scalability is something we’ve been dealing with for the past 11+ years!
So what are your thoughts? Where do you think the Windows Mobile OS is heading?