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Jun 3, 2010

Is Windows Mobile Completely Dead?

RiseAndFallOfPocketPC copy

Well, first Microsoft declared that Windows Phone 7 will not have backwards compatibility with WinMo apps, then they invented the term Windows Phone Classic for emerging markets, then they removed Windows Mobile development support from Visual Studio 2010…

Is that a hint?

Because I don't get hints…

But I do know how to read statistics:

According to iGR, last year Windows Mobile was "by far the most popular" in terms of number of developers writing apps for it. Flash forward one year later and it's now dead last.

"53% of the surveyed developers build applications for the Apple iPhone OS. The next most popular platforms were RIM BlackBerry OS, Android and Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5. - this is a drastic shift from iGR’s 2009 developer study in which Windows Mobile was by far the most popular OS."

Interestingly, visiting some mobility events targeted towards enterprise organizations – I still found that the companies from the service sector still develop and purchase Windows Mobile based devices or apps…

So, what do you think? Should I make a new version for my good old SpoonAlarm?



7 comments:

Saijo George said...

It is not dead jusy yet, but with the announcement of WP7 , Microsoft ordered the coffin for WM6.X , its just a matter of time

Develoeper support for the platform has been falling apart for a while now.. but its nice to see so many new devs trying to get apps ready for WP7

All in all I think PPC2003 - WM6.X  had it run in the market and there is now way it could have been updated to compete with the likes of Android and iPhone, MS did the right thing scraping the old OS and woking from the ground up with new OS

BruceT said...

I have to say, I hope Windows Mobile is dead.  I'm still sitting on my crappy little iPaq 612, rooted with 6.1.5 and a purchased SPB Mobile Shell to make it usable, but I am seriously looking at Android devices.

Microsoft stuck with its old-school pda stylus focused interface until earlier this year.  Ever try to type out a text message while walking down the street holding an umbrella? Meanwhile, the rest of the world had moved on to finger-friendly interfaces.  And 6.1.5 was just a bandaid (though a welcome one).

I just can't imagine why any device maker would go with an unproven, new, backwards-incompatible OS, which they have to pay licenses on, when they could go with a free, increasingly impressive Android OS, with a great application base underway.

-Bruce

Parrotlover77 said...

Awesome, BruceT.  You have a gripe so you hope the entire platform is dead for all who use it.  Excellent.

Anyway, back in reality-land, WM6.5 (and related devices) certainly are on the decline (as is expected with the WP7 announcement).  No doubt about that.  But at the same time, WM lives on in the service market (as you mentioned).  In fact, for non-phones, it's going to continue development. 

So the question you ask about "Is WM dead" really needs to be qualified.  No, it's not dead as a platform.  But it's "phone" aspect that was, honestly, shoehorned onto it at the beginning, is being shed and it's getting back to its roots: a small, specialized pocket PC OS on small embedded devices. 

It will be there for any device too small to handle CE 7.  And a lot of apps will be developed for it for some time.  Will they be consumer apps?  Not likely.  But so what?  WP7 is Microsoft's future -- that's a done deal.  I doubt the emerging markets phones ever were intended to have an active development community.  They are more likely going to be feature phones, despite their very hackable core.  Think the Kins, but you can actually install software on it, should you want it.

That said, boy howdy how has WP7 split the WM community.  Half are going to Android (probably what I'll be doing when my contract expires, but that's well over a year, so who knows) and the other half are now glad to be highly restricted, as long as Microsoft and not Apple is doing it.  I don't see the distinction, but I guess that doesn't make me a true fanboy.

That said, expect to see quite a few apps in the next couple years with the stragglers still happily hacking their phones and more damn power to them.  I'm tired of these ZOMG WM is DEAD posts everywhere.  Platforms are not on/off switches.  Changes happen over time and the smartphone market is growing at light speed.  So a percentage shift doesn't necessarily indicate nearly as drastic of a numerical shift.

BruceT said...

Well I have to say sorry, but I do hope it's dead, because there are times where standards (official or de facto) are more beneficial than choice.  The fact that an application developer has to develop to four or more platforms to reach an audience is simply bad.  The fact that you need four different phones to use all the applications you might want is simply bad.

Similarly, I wish CDMA was dead, and all providers were required to use compatible networks.  The fact that your phone is tied to your provider in the US (unlike almost every other country in the world), is simply bad, and only serves to hurt consumers.

Any advantages that WM, or Blackberry OS, webOS, etc. or CDMA vs GSM have are more than outweighed by the disadvantages of their incompatibility.  And I'm very pleased to see that Android, under the open-source banner and cashed-up benevolent dictator Google are shaping up to be the de facto standard of the future.

However I will grant you that proprietary OSs such as WM have a place in the embedded world, but that is a pretty niche market.

MobileSpoon said...

Good discussion, Talking about different mobile OS always brings up those arguments. 

I used to be a huge Windows Mobile fan, and I still wish it will find the way to continue in specific industries such as field service, transportations etc. 

My concern is that as consumer will switch into different platforms (android - for instance) - it will make it harder for Microsoft to convince IT managers to stick with it: they will be used to the newer OS and eventually want to deploy it. 

sabre23t said...

To me WinMo 6.5 will be dead when my favourite developer moves from it to whatever newer smartphone platform. He actually has recently released latest version of HS 3.2 build 6516 (released May 16, 2010). Ref http://home.comcast.net/~chrisant/hs3/hs3.htm .

I coincidentally followed Chris from PalmOS to WM5. However early this year when I was deciding to upgrade my TreoPro WM6.1 device, I chose to follow Chris to Omnia2 WM6.5, instead of going off to Nexus 1 Android 2.1.

And MobileSPoon, whatever platform you bring your apps to, it will also factor in the decision for my next pdaphone platform. ;)

regards, sabre23t =^.^=

Duncan Gunn said...

Providing a business service like myself, I feel that Windows Mobile is very much alive in this sector, although I do concede that for the general public it is certainly not attractive until WinMo7 comes along.

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