windows mobile

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Dude, we're not getting a Dell

Oh, Dell, what are we going to do with you? For months and months and months (and months) we're teased by rumors that you might be getting back into the smartphone business. And time and time again, we see nothing.

Now comes word from Barrons [via Giz] that Dell's been shot down by the carriers for producing a couple of prototypes that were too "Dell-like."

(Kaufman Bros. analyst Shaw) Wu says that he understands that Dell built prototypes using both Windows Mobile and Android, but that the carriers knocked the offerings for “lack of differentiation” versus current and coming products from HTC, Samsung, LG, Nokia, Motorola and others. He adds that the unveiling of the Palm Pre didn’t help, “generating interest from carriers as a viable competitor.”

Wu says that Dell's going back to the drawing board and could well be making acquitisions to try to get the job done.

Hey, it's touch to top what HTC's doing these days. And there's certainly tons of excitement surrounding the Pre. But shouldn't Dell have a little more to show by now?

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And now, the WMExperts players present "Juiced: Powering the iPhone in a 3.0 World."

Join us after the break for a very special WMExperts post as our little iPhone cousin dives into the deep, dark world of multitasking and background notifications. Will he thrive alongside his Windows Mobile brethren? Will he survive? In the end, there can only be one.

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If you're still wondering what's keeping Windows Mobile 7 from coming out for at least another year, this may shed a little light on it.

Microsoft has posted a job listing for Principal Development Manager. [via]

Windows Mobile 7 will change the way you view your phone. We aren’t just building a me-too iPhone or RIM competitor; we’re changing the way customers use and experience their device. In the OS Platform team we are responsible for the OS, file systems, security, hardware platforms and drivers, networking & connectivity, location framework and updateability. In other words, we build the foundation upon which the rest of Windows Mobile is built.

So it definitely looks like they're going ground-up on Windows Mobile 7, and they may well still be in the relatively early stages. And note the use of the word "updateability" above, and recall in the latest WMExperts podcast how Dieter explained that updates eventually will come from Microsoft itself, and (hopefully) not pass through (and be delayed by) carriers.

Businesses likely will stick around during the interim. Question is, will the rest of us?

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Palm and Sprint had their little online get-together today for the Pre and Apple tried to one-up that with invitations to the iPhone 3.0 event, so we'll forgive you if you missed this little gem from Microsoft that's making the rounds.

Yeah, it's more of a commercial showing what Windows phones can do, and not so much of a Windows phone actually doing anything. But it's snazzy, and it's new, and it's only a couple minutes out of your life.

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In business, it's all about doing better. Month over month, quarter over quarter, year over year. You need to do better than before. That's growth.

And numbers published today by the analysts at Gartner show that Windows Mobile is far from dead. Specifically, worldwide sales to end users were up 12.2 percent from 2007 to 2008, giving Windows Mobile 11.8 percent of the 2008 market share, behind Symbian and Research in Motion.

OK, WinMo's growth wasn't anywhere near as strong as RIM's (96.7 percent) or Apple's (245.7 percent!) or even Palm's (42.2 percent). But it's positive growth. The Symbian OS fell 6.1 percent from 2007 to 2008 but still has a little more than half of the world's market share. (For more on that, check out Nokia Experts' own Matthew Miller over at ZDNet.)  BlackBerry has 16.6 percent of the market, followed by Windows Mobile at 11.8 percent. The iPhone came in fourth at 8.2 percent.

What's it all mean? The smartphone industry is growing by leaps and bounds. Windows Mobile isn't dead, and there's still plenty of geeky goodness to go around.

JKOnTheRun via ZDNet

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Fine. You caught us. The Windows Mobile Marketplace aped Android's oh-so-unique idea of putting its logo on a shopping bag. We're guilty. And while we're confessing, here are a few more things we did to our open-source cousins:

  • We stole your ball.
  • We broke your crayons.
  • We took your lunch money.
  • We tied your shoelaces together.
  • We pulled your hair.

But don't let that cute little green robot fool you. After the break are a few things we believe might have been pilfered by Andy the Android, if that is his real name.

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My, my, look at that piece of pie. We can imagine that there's a little more gloating going on than is the norm at TheiPhoneBlog.com, with the mobile browsing numbers for February released by Net Applications, by way of cnet. And that's cool. Safari's a great browser on the iPhone. No denying that.

Really of note is Android, which at 6.15 percent of total market share is as high as Symbian, and nearly as high as Windows Mobile. And that's with only being released in October 2008.

Obviously, this will be taken as a measure of how many people are using each platform. And it should be. But, ponder this: On which platform would you be more like to browser the Internet? And in what order would you rank mobile browsers? Safari likely would be first, and Android's browser isn't too shabby, either. It should be interesting to see what this chart will look like, say, in six months, when Mozilla starts to get its mobile browser into Windows Mobile users' hands.

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We touched very briefly a little while ago on Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's seven priorities for the upcoming fiscal year, or what Ballmer calls the "Big seven businesses" of Microsoft.

After digesting Ballmer's presentation at the Strategic Update Meeting (transcript link), let's dive a little deeper into what's going on.

We'll warn you in advance: This mostly isn't sexy stuff. There are no shiny phones on the other side of this story. There is a little talk of Windows Mobile 7, but nothing groundbreaking. But the steps being taken are important to us, and important to Windows Mobile, to better understand where it is Ballmer and Microsoft are taking things.

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What was on Steve Ballmer's New Year's resolution list for 2009? ZDNet's Mary-Jo Foley got a peek. Windows 7, netbooks, servers, enterprise, entertainment, it's all there.

As far as Windows Mobile, here's what we've got:

Windows Mobile operating systems and gaming/Zune entertainment services — not a combined hardware/software platform like the iPhone — is where Microsoft is investing, Ballmer reiterated.

Again, no Zune phone. Foley also was kind enough to dig up what Ballmer predicted for 2007 and 2008. Click through to the jump to find out what those predictions were.

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For all our gripes about Microsoft's problems when it comes to branding, this one's kind of a no-brainer. It was announced this morning at Mobile World Congress that if a Windows Phone (See? We can stick with it) is going to run Windows Mobile 6.5, it's going to have to have that familiar little Windows "flag" on it to serve as a start menu button. [via] And the flag button will take you to the honeycomb hideout start menu.

Above, you see said flag on the new HTC Touch Diamond 2 and Touch Pro 2. And assuming Microsoft holds manufacturers to the "no flag, no 6.5" edict, this should be a pretty clear indication of what phones will get upgrades to 6.5 — HTC's Peter Chou said the Diamond 2 and Touch Pro 2 will get free upgrades — and which ones won't. (Phil looks down at his trusty Moto Q9h and sheds a tear.)

Update: OK, OK. We didn't mean that quite as literally as it read. At this point we have no idea what will be updated from 6.1 to 6.5, save for the Touch Diamond 2 and Touch Pro 2. The Palm Treo 750 has a little flag start button on it, but it's a pretty safe bet we won't see it updated to 6.5. It's more of a future branding thing, folks, not a litmus test.

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer invited LG exec Skott Ahn up on stage at Mobile World Congress. The two ripped through a couple of showtunes, and then Ahn dropped the bomb — LG's making Windows Mobile it's primary smartphone operating system for the foreseeable future.

We're talking dozens (like, 50 or so) phones over the next three years. They two companies will have joint marketing services, and Ahn joined in on the new company line (which we also heard back at CES): "I'm sure we can take the Windows Phone market to the next level," he said.

We've had the less-than-stellar LG Incite on AT&T now for a while in the states. We're expecting to see at least a few LG Windows Phones (might as well get used to that moniker) here at MWC09.

Full presser after the jump.

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No, there still isn't going to be a Zune phone. But CNET's Ina Fried lends even more credence to some of Zune's features showing up on Windows Mobile phones. She reports that Microsoft's Zune team has been split in two, with the software end now reporting to the Media Center side under Enrique Rodriguez, and the hardware side falling under the auspices of Tom Gibbons, how also heads the design end for Windows Mobile. So, the phone's not coming to the Zune. But bringing the Zune to the phone?

Rodriguez wasn't ready to offer details on when the Zune service would come, say, to Windows Mobile, but he did say to expect products within this calendar year that take the Zune service beyond just Microsoft's own line of digital music players.

Add this to what we recently learned about Microsoft's "reference chassis" for the future of Windows Mobile, and the picture is continuing to become a little less muddy. Microsoft's moving the pieces around the board, and Zune services are just part of the start of something new. The end game definitely isn't year, and probably not even for 2010. But it's clear Microsoft is plowing ahead with Windows Mobile.

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Mobile World Congress starts Monday, and we're expecting Microsoft to officially unveil Windows Mobile 6.5 at some point early in the event.

Unofficially, the leaked ROMs keep flying through the Interwebs. One of the more recent – and the best we've seen since learned about Outlook Live earlier this week – hit today at PocketPC.ch. [via] There are a few dozen large shots reportedly taken of an HTC Touch HD, and we get a great look at the (er, HTC) on-screen keyboard, as well as the phone screen, both of which you can see above.

We've got more pictures after the break, and hit up the translated page for more chatter.

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Yeah, you read that right, and you'll likely see more headlines (See exhibits A, B, C and D) about losing the "Mobile" name. But before we all start freaking out, this is something we have recently discussed:

We all heard Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in his CES keynote refer to "Windows phones." (Read our liveblog here.) And that spurred the following in a reponse to one of our readers about viruses and Windows Mobile. Quoting, well, ourselves:

Given that Microsoft decided to call their mobile Operating System Windows Mobile and given that more recently they seem to want to refer to their stuff as "Windows Phones" (As Steve Ballmer did in the CES keynote), it's not mere paranoia to wonder about these types of issues, but a legitimate confusion about just what Windows Mobile is and how it relates to Windows now and in the future.

So what should we expect? Digitimes (that's Exhibit A, above) has a source claiming that "going forward, Windows Mobile-based handsets will be promoted simply as Windows phones without specifying an OS version number." 

Windows Mobile ain't "Windows," but there's a lot more opportunity for people to get the integration possibilities by calling it a "Windows Phone," not to mention fewer syllables.  We've been heard to complain that "Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard" doesn't exactly make for easy advertising copy, so in that sense "Windows Phone" is a lot better.  On the other hand, the prospect of having to explain that a "Windows Phone" is actually "Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard" and so can't run World of Warcraft give us the heebie-jeebies, just a little.  You?

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We're trying not to become too worried over the recent rumor that we're not going to see Windows Mobile 7 until 2010. So, we keep reminding ourselves that great things must be afoot, and that takes time. Reinforcing that optimism is news that Microsoft recently moved several exec-types to the Windows Mobile team.

From Techflash [via]:

Confirming a tip we received, the company acknowledged this afternoon that Zune executive Joe Belfiore and Windows Home Server GM Charlie Kindel have shifted to the Mobile Communications Business, the group responsible for Windows Mobile. They join Terry Myerson, who came from the Exchange team last year.

OK, there's no Zune phone coming. We know that. But lends even more credence to the reports that Windows 7 will be more Zune-esque or multimedia-centric. Bossman Steve Ballmer himself will be speaking at Mobile World Congress, so maybe we'll learn more then. If not? We'll just have to keep beating the bushes till 2010.

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Acer Smartphone Confirmed: Feb 16

We knew that after Acer's acqusition of E-Ten that it was only a matter of time before we saw an Acer Smartphone.  That time will apparely come February 16th at Mobile World Congress.  We're hoping for some 6.5 action, but honestly we'd settle for something new and interesting and not just a rebrand of E-Ten's Glofiish series -- devices which are nothing to sniff at, but still aren't really the makings of of a brand new launch.

MWC09 should be pretty exciting, we'll be there. 

[Read: Pocket-Lint via BGR]

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Microsoft just announced that its next desktop operating system will come in five flavors, much to the chagrin of many:

  • Windows 7 Starter
  • Windows 7 Home Basic (for "emerging markets")
  • Windows 7 Home Premium
  • Windows 7 Professional
  • Windows 7 Enterprise and Ultimate

Here in Windows Mobile world, we've got two choices within the OS – Professional (for touchscreen phones) and Standard (for those who like to keep their fingers off the screen). And, really, how much more would we need? We already know from the beta testing that Windows 7 plays just fine with Windows Mobile.

But here's a twist: Will Windows 7, which save for the multiple versioning has gotten mostly rave reviews, kill off the fledgling mobile companion market? We've seen from jkOnTheRun how well Windows 7 runs on netbooks. Between that and what we're hoping to see with Microsoft's new cloud services, will there be any room left for a devices that doesn't do it all? And as we saw in our Redfly vs. MSI Wind smackdown, is there any room for that now?

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