Windows Mobile Heading into Serious Competition

Ashesh Shah
August 18, 2017
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Windows Mobile Heading into Serious Competition

Microsoft has reached a lot of milestones in the PC market with every new operating system that they unveil with the most recent Windows 7 getting a lot of success worldwide as the fastest selling operating system on the market with more than 60 million licenses already sold. Although Microsoft maintains a comfortable lead in the operating system market along with other Microsoft software, its top competitors Google and Apple and making waves in the mobile market and Microsoft aims to get a piece of that as well.

Microsoft’s Push to the Mobile Market

Microsoft is actually the first company among Apple and Google to get into the phone market by outfitting Pocket PC devices sold in 2000 with the Pocket PC 2000 operating system which is based on Windows CE 3.0. Some of the built-in features came in familiar applications present in Windows 98 and 2000 including a mobile version of Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, Microsoft Money, and Pocket Office suite of applications. This OS appeared in several Pocket PC devices while existing Palm-size PC devices can optionally update to the OS. Microsoft had its first taste of the smartphone market with the following release of the Pocket PC 2002 which had similar design elements to Windows XP and some enhancements to some of the applications.

The Windows Mobile Name

Two years after the release in June 2003, Microsoft made the Windows Mobile name official when they brought Windows Mobile 2003 to Pocket PCs and smartphones. Coming in four editions to cope up with the different models available, newer features were added without changing the interface very much. Some of the biggest features were the support for add-on keyboards and Bluetooth connectivity. The following year saw the release of Windows Mobile 2003 SE which adds WPA support and wider screen resolution support.

Bigger Updates

While Microsoft was busy working on the Longhorn project which later turned out to be Windows Vista, Windows Mobile saw another change in name where the version numbering system is used when Windows Mobile 5 succeeded the previous version in 2005. Many new features were provided including Microsoft Exchange Server push support, upgraded versions of Windows Media Player and its office products along with greater Bluetooth and GPS support. Performance and battery life has been vastly improved while the interface has a polished, yet familiar look.

A month after the release of Windows Vista came Windows Mobile 6 released on February 12, 2007. This time, the interface sported more noticeable changes that relate to Windows Vista, but the functionality still remains similar to Windows Mobile 5. Like other major updates, many new applications and features were added to the mix including support for HTML emails, better JavaScript and AJAX support on the browser end, and improved office applications that can read the .docx and related formats. It was widely praised for its stability and led to two minor updates.

The 6.1 version offered minor enhancements on the performance side with some added features to keep up with the competition like threaded SMS. The unintended 6.5 release does vast improvements to the GUI and serves as a gap to the much awaited Windows Mobile 7.

Windows Mobile Future

Not many details have been shared about Windows Mobile 7, but it promises to be a major upgrade and is rumored to take advantage of multi-touch and Silverlight technologies which is just what Microsoft needs in competing with its fast growing competitors – Android and iPhone OS.

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