Windows Mobile - The End?

RiseAndFallOfPocketPC copy

Today I found this sad article about Windows Mobile poor sales performance in Q3 this year.

Sad, but true.
Windows Mobile is indeed a dying OS. I know many of the readers will argue about it, but one thing is for sure: no matter how strong the platform is, no matter how many of us like toying around with tweaks and hundreds of cool freewares out there, most people just don't find WinMo attractive anymore.

I still remember getting all excited about my first iPaq. Then came some other devices, but the one I still consider as my favorite one is the Palm Treo 750. Took me a while to get this one, and I still think it was one of the best smartphones ever created. Too bad it doesn't have WiFi - otherwise I would have continued using it...

Then came all those HTC Touch devices, I have to admit - they were never my favorite ones. There was always something missing: decent D-Pad, screen sensitivity, too many customizations...

And now, HTC, Motorola, Samsung, and all the gang is switching away slowly but surely to other operating systems, another sign of the slow death of Windows Mobile.

Hopefully things will look different in a year when WinMo 7 is out (is it? when?). Until then, I'm crossing my fingers for Windows Mobile, but using BlackBerry and iPhone...


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Parrotlover77 said…
Did anybody but Apple have a great Q3?  Hello?  "It's the economy, stupid."

Counting out Microsoft is nearly always a losing bet.  This is not a struggling "we're going all in" company (ahem, Palm, ahem).  Do you honestly think that even if WM 6.5 and WM 7.0 are complete failures that Microsoft will throw in the towel?  If that was the case, the Zune and XBox wouldn't exist right now.

"They have explained their pessimism by noting that the operating system has been in the market far longer than the popular Apple Inc. iPhone but is still fourth in global rankings for smartphones."

It's amazing what nonsense passes for tech punditry these days.  MacOS is OLDER THAN WINDOWS but Windows dominates the PC market.  On the other hand, does 3% market share prevent Apple from selling at full price minor OS upgrades to MacOS X?  Nope.  Do they still make money hand over fist?  Yup.

This is the same "Apple is dying" tech punditry from the 90s recycled, searched and replaced "Mac" for "Windows Mobile" and "Apple" for "Microsoft."

Dean Murphy said…
In my opinion the lifeblood of a mobile platform is software and applications.

I've been an avid fan of Microsoft mobile operating systems from the early days of CE 2 (1997).  I’ve had a Microsoft based PDA/phone in pocket just about every day for the last 12.  The familiarity of the user interface and the vast availability of software have differentiated this platform in the market.

I had a brief affair with a Palm Vx in 1999, the usability was great - mainly driven by simplicity.  I terminated the affair in 2000 due to a better range of software available on the newer Pocket PC platform – the innovation that Compaq brought to the market with the iPAQ 36xx range was great – I had a WiFi enabled PDA with GPS as far back as 2001 and I had a choice of sat nav software.

At the start of this year I took out a 2 year phone contract on a HTC Touch HD (already a retired product) with the view that I’d review the platforms at the end of that period and see whether I should jump ship to iPhone or Android.  The concerns that prevented me from choosing iPhone were lack of decent navigation software (no longer the case) and lack of background task support (still the case).  The concerns that prevented me from choosing Android were lack of any software and immature platform with limited device choice (no longer the case).

There is another factor in my platform choice is that my job requires knowledge of Windows Mobile devices and the best way to build and maintain that knowledge is to use the platform on a daily basis.  I work for the same company as the Gil (the author of this article) and as soon as he extends our mobile product set to support iPhone and Android then the last thread tying me to Windows Mobile will be cut and I’ll have the freedom of choice.  Gil – you have until February 2011 to pave that path for me :)
MobileSpoon said…
Actually they did write that:
<span style="">"Decline occurs despite overall smartphone growth"

So I guess it is a bad Q for Microsoft - but as they mentioned - it's before the release of WinMo 6.5. Who knows, maybe some of the new devices made some differences for the buyers
MobileSpoon said…
Hey Dean! Always a pleasure to have you as a guest.
Thanks for the comments.

Without giving away too many details I can only promise that things will become very interesting soon...
Patrick Hermawan said…
Microsoft MUST release WM7 in 2010, before everything getting worse..
I believe, when WM7 released, Windows Mobile will get it's market share that have been stolen by BlackBerries, iPhones, and Palms..

But, if Microsoft release WM7 in 2011, it's too late.. no one will be suprised, no one will be impressed, no one will try it, trust me..

Because, if there's no WM7 in 2010 (at least at the end of 2010), I will buy Android..
Parrotlover77 said…
That's one of the biggest fallacies I've read on a blog in a long time.  "Because I will do this, therefore everyone will..."

No, Microsoft could, in fact, skip five years of WM and come out with a new device.  It would be a poor strategic decision and they could have just as much success.  Why?  Because Microsoft basically has infinite resources!  The mobile device is no more brand-locked than any other industry with sufficient competition. 

If Toyota doesn't make a car you like today, would you still not even consider them five years from now?  Highly unlikely.

That said, I do believe MS should release WM7 in 2010.  Not because of some doomsday scenario, but because WM7 looks frakking cool.

BTW, why does everybody have such a hardon for Android?  I wasn't that impressed when I played with one.  It feels just like WM 6.1.  The only novelty is the notification system, which could be written into WM quickly.  Android only looks cool when SenseUI is layered ontop of it.

So far Apple and Palm are the only device manfacturers with a good UI out of the box.  But Palm's market share is basically 0%, so they are a nonfactor.

So why the hard on for Android and hatred for MS?!  I don't get it!!  Google was starting from scratch!  They could have made something as slick or slicker than Apple, but instead they chose basically a slightly tweaked Windows 3.1 look.  At least MS had an excuse due to the fact that Windows CE/WM have been around forever, so they have a "legacy" UI.  But when you start from scratch, there is no excuse.

Tech punditry frustrates me!  lol.
Robert said…
I've been using WM smartphones for some 3 years and come to accept the platform with goods ( choice of browsers, ebook reader, nav apps) and bads (known).
Iphone I can not afford so I will not comment.
Android brought a lot of promise but at the moment feels still a bit imature for me - mostly the facts you can not install apps on external storage, lack of good all format video player, unknown OS upgrade path, unknown portability of apps over the many OS versions (1.5, 1.6, 2 ....) and screen sizes. These last topics are shared with WM.
Symbian I wrote off 3 years ago, but now a Nokia 5800 with free OVI Maps navigation and decent browser does not sound that bad of a poor man's smartphone.