Windows Mobile – The Forgotten Mobile Technology Revisited

Over the past two years, it seems as if the WindowsMobile platform has completely fallen out of favor especially with the media and, to a slightly lesser degree, the blogosphere. The media darling of the moment is definitely Apple’s iPhone. There isn’t a day that goes by where someone isn’t commenting on how great (or horrible) the iPhone is. In the midst of the iPhone frenzy, solid devices running WM6.1 gets minimal attention.

I have a big soft spot for Windows Mobile. It was with WM2003 that I started integrating seamlessly between my workstation and my mobile devices. Sure, I had Handspring products before my first WM2003 device, but back in circa 2001, the software wasn’t quite mature enough on Palm’s OS to really call it seamless integration. There were actually big giant rips in that seam. Those issues were mostly put to rest when I made the jump to WM2003. Every subsequent upgrade to WinMo has increased functionality and connectivity. WM6 is significantly better than WM5, which was a HUGE improvement over WM2003.

Fast forward to yesterday and today. Leaked information regarding a new Palm device running WM6.1 goes almost unnoticed. Rumors of T-Mobile releasing the first Android based smartphone has garnered more interest and chatter than an official leak of a device many consider the pinnacle of design and functionality. Palm was the first to release a device incorporating a touchscreen and qwerty keyboard in a candybar form-factor. The phone itself looks very sharp:

But alas, nothing has come of it, really. Maybe Microsoft needs to release WM7 just to keep things interesting. Unfortunately, in this day and age of iPhone fanaticism it doesn’t matter what hardware gets released for Windows Mobile, they all simply get dismissed as inferior to the iPhone or is deemed a failure at capturing/replicating/copying the iPhone’s greatness. I’m getting kind of tired of the iPhone, personally. It’s surely a great device with the best GUI available to date. Will it replace my WM6 based device? Not any time soon. Give me seamless integration to my Word, Excel, and Outlook necessities with a keyboard that doesn’t take up most of the screen then we can talk. Until then, no thanks.

This morning, Akihabara News posted the first of a three part interview with John Starkweather, Microsoft’s International Director of Product Management – the topic: WINDOWS MOBILE! In this part of the interview, Mr. Starkweather explains what he does at Microsoft and goes into the history of the Windows Mobile platform. It’s like a breath of fresh air!