windowsmobile

What'd we tell you earlier? Stay Tuned, right? Here's what's for: the WMExperts Podcast! Here's the deal: we'll be on every week, usually on Thursdays. We'll alternate every week between a short, 5-minute device focus / review (next week: Sprint Touch) and a longer, news and tips-focused podcast. The shorter podcasts will be hosted by Dieter Bohn, the longer ones will feature Malatasta (and also some guests, later on, if they'll lower themselves to talk to us).

Alright, so how do you get the sucker?

Be sure to email us -- podcast@wmexperts.com -- we want to talk about what you want to hear about.

What's the news on this podcast? Read on for the show notes

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The Smartphone Round Robin is nearly done, everybody, as each site works on its final round 'away from home.' This week, Kevin at CrackBerry.com throws some hate down on the HTC Fuze. Apparently, like Rene at TiPb, he's not a fan of the reponsiveness of the touchscreen, which appears to be causing the majority of his problems with the UI.

That's actually a complaint I've heard elsewhere as well and I've also heard that the Euro-version, the Touch Pro, is better in this regard. For me, the trick for 'getting' how the Fuze's touchscreen works is that there seems to be a significant different between how it deals with flat-finger swiping and fingertip tapping. If you use the flat of your finger and swipe, it almost always registers correctly as a swipe. To tap/select, you use the tip of your finger and press just a little harder. To be sure, neither is as responsive as a capacitive touchscreen would be, but it is a pretty elegant way of dealing with the resistive limitation -- once you know about it, that is.

What say you, did we mess up going with the Fuze for this year's Round Robin? Would a BlackJack II have gotten a better reception? Comment here on that or any other Round Robin subject to be entered to win a Fuze and a Redfly C8N.

Speaking of Fuze giveaways, our Fuze Sweepstakes Extravaganza ended on Friday and we've randomly chosen a winner: dlevymd! dlevymd looks to be currently using a Tilt, so this will be a nice upgrade:

Hands down, the thing that attracks me the most to the Fuze is the out of the box memory. I run my medical practice from my device and have very large databases. I also use NotifyLink and I have UpToDate mobile loaded in. Even with everything loaded on my storage card, my ATT Tilt gets into low memory states.

Congrats dlevymd, expect an email from us very soon!

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Around SPE - 9 Nov 2008

This week's Around SPE is sponsored by the the TiPb iPhone Accessory Store, which has long been your best source for iPhone accessories. A lot of iPhone 3G upgraders were left out in the cold when their car chargers turned out to not be compatible, but they've got plenty that are, not to mention plenty of headphones that are a step up compared to the standard white buds

Last week both CrackBerry.com and WMExperts found themselves on the cusp of major releases -- the BlackBerry Storm, BlackBerry Bold on AT&T, the HTC Fuze on AT&T, not to mention a few others on the Windows Mobile side. So while everybody has been anticipating new devices, all of the editors at SPE are anticipating something else that will be starting on November 17th. The hint is right up there in the picture!

Read on for the full skinny on what's been happening around SPE!

WMExperts

WMExperts made a big splash Friday afternoon with the 'net's first and only video of the HTC Fuze for AT&T! Be sure to check back Monday morning because we're also cooking up a full review of this latest and greatest Windows Mobile smartphone. It looks like the Fuze release date has finally been pinned down, too.

WMExperts also tends to cover some more general industry news, so all the action at the FCC last week definitely caught our eye. Lastly, we're more than a little proud of our writer George Ponder, who used a Treo Pro to help manage the election in his district.

CrackBerry.com

Over at CrackBerry.com, thousands of BlackBerry enthusiasts rejoiced as AT&T stayed true to their promised November 4th release date and launched the Bold. Picking election day turned out to be a smart move for AT&T and RIM, as stations like CNN played the new AT&T BlackBerry Bold commercial all day long.

The BlackBerry Storm, RIM's first touchscreen BlackBerry, continues to build on the hype leading up to its launch. Vodafone has dropped word of a November 14th release, and the Vodafone BlackBerry Storm bus has been traveling London which has turned out a bunch of Storm preview videos. While Verizon has not given official on the availability of their Storm, the educated rumor points to the week of the 23rd.

You'll want to keep it locked to CrackBerry.com this week. The What Would You Do for a BlackBerry Storm? Contest has come to an end and the top ten finalists have been selected. In order to win their new BlackBerry, the winners have to carry out their “To Dos” which will be published on CrackBerry.com as they come in. The first one hits on Monday!

The iPhone Blog

According to JD Power, the iPhone is absolutely destroying the Blackberry in *business* satisfaction due to it's drop dead ease of use and killer UI, but does Apple just not “get” the Four Pillars of PIM, something Palm nailed way back in 1997? Probably not, as the latest iPhone OS 2.2 leaks focus on over-the-air podcast downloads (admittedly super sweet!) and yet more App Store tweaks.

Speaking of the App Store, turns out Opera Mini was NOT denied (but probably would be), WeightBot's developers aren't done innovating on the iPhone just yet, and Shazam wants a piece of Midomi in our App vs. App battle royal for music mastery. (Leave a comment and you just might win an iTunes gift certificate). Of course, if you want to win a whole slew stuff -- an Ultimate iPhone Accessory Pack no less -- check out the Phone Different to find out this week's way to enter (hint: requires @theiphoneblog and rhymes with “sweet”.)

TreoCentral

Over at TreoCentral, we learned via a Barron's article that analysts at Avian Securities and Morgan Keegan downgraded PALM due to the belief that Palm's cash position will significantly erode ($248 million at the end of the latest quarter to $75 million over the next year) which leaves “little room for error.” The downgrade was also due to a U.S. retailer survey resulting in the belief that smartphone sales will come in below expectations for the next several quarters.

We also found out in that same Barron's article that we might not (corrected, thanks Scott!) be seeing the Treo Pro on AT&T and the Treo 800w on Verizon in time for the holiday shopping season.

Plus we learned that Apple almost bought Palm back in the summer of 1997. Jean-Louis Gassée noted in an article over at Monday Note:

A perhaps little known fact: in the Summer of 1997, Steve Jobs called Eric Benhamou, 3Com's CEO (the company owned Palm). “Give me the Palm and come and join my Board of Directors. Only Apple can make Palm a true consumer brand.” Nothing happened. Apple's foray into the product segment had to wait ten more years.

Android Central

We've settled in over at Android Central, now that the G1 seems to be out there and getting used by a surprisingly large number of people. Just check out these download statistics for the Android Market to see what we mean, or check out some the backstory behind Android Apps.

Our favorite new app: the Android Gameboy emulator! A close 2nd favorite use for the G1 might be the newly discovered tethering method, though. Meanwhile, we're keeping our eye on the just-discovered Android Jailbreak and security risks that have popped up.

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Windows Mobile 6.1 to Arrive April 1st? - Updated

Update: Looks like BGR received yet another one of those mysterious Q9s with WiFi. This one has what appears to be a finalized version of Windows Mobile 6.1 with a few new features. Go check it out.

...That's the prediction from Pocket Lint [via Gizmodo]. Sounds pretty good to us. We would normally be a little gun shy about this sort of prediction, especially since we whiffed our prediction it would be unveiled at MWC2008. However, CTIA just happens to start on April first. And Head-of-The-Division-That-Contains-Windows Mobile Robbie Bach just happens to be giving the keynote. And WMExperts just happens to be planning on heading over to Las Vegas for the show.

So file this one under “Very Likely.”

Speaking of CTIA: expect wall-to-wall coverage. We'll live-blog Bach's keynote, we started up a Twitter feed for WMExperts, and heck, we will even post up direct from the show floor via our trusty Motorola Q9h.

Windows Mobile 6.1, if you'll recall from the many leaks, features a much-improved Today screen experience and (FINALLY) native threaded SMS, among other improvements.

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12

YouTube Mobile's Site Works with Windows Mobile

Until recently if we wanted to watch YouTube on a Windows Mobile device, we had to to hack our Windows Mobile device to do it. Not anymore. Now YouTube improved its site so that Windows Mobile users can access it without a hassle. Again not all videos play perfectly but it

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You may have heard the news. Here's our live color commentary of the iPhone SDK event. There's a lot of information to parse out with regards to how this will shake out with Windows Mobile -- including how the applications on the iPhone looked stunning compared to most WM apps. More on that later. For now, let's talk about this: Apple licensed Exchange Active Sync.

What's it mean? Read on!

So the iPhone will gain push email, contacts, and calendar. That's big news for Microsoft - they'll pick up a lot of new users for their server products. In a lot of ways it's a bigger attack on RIM than it is on Windows Mobile. First - Apple denigrated the NOC during their presentation - just like Palm did - saying that a 3rd party in the middle is a Bad Idea. It's also a big attack on RIM because now two platforms do their push email via Exchange - Windows Mobile and the iPhone. Together the two might actually have a bigger marketshare than RIM for enterprise in very short order.

But now that the iPhone will support Exchange, will we see an exodus from WM to the iPhone? We'll definitely see some movement in that direction, yes. On the other hand, I am fairly confident in two things.

First, Exchange Active Sync Features on Windows Mobile will always be more advanced.notice, for example, that Apple seems to be writing their own management program instead of using Microsoft's RIM-Server-Killing Microsoft System Center Mobile Device Manager. So lock down, provisioning, and other management features will be more advanced with Windows Mobile. Yet that's the smaller point.

The second point is the bigger point: Apple's licensing of Active Sync is very likely to grow the overall Exchange pie at a much faster rate than their slice of it will steal from Windows Mobile. Which is to say, yes, some WM users will defect, but there will be even more new Windows Mobile users by dint of the ever-growing standardization on Exchange for mobile push email for enterprise.

...Or so it seems to me. Microsoft has until the release of the Apps in June to come up with something that looks like a response to the new features that will appear on the iPhone. Will they be able to deliver?

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During the Mobile World Congress The Unwired View sat down with Microsoft's corporate vice president of the Mobile Communications Group, Todd Warren. They discussed the XPERIA and also, somewhat excitingly, the multimedia and usability updates we can expect to come to Windows Mobile.

Warren:

we are also working on improving the base of media and picture experiences as part of Windows Mobile. You can expect, I would say, pretty dramatic changes to those in future versions of the product.

Really, though, head over and read the article. Good stuff on Zune integration, improvements to the Touch interface, and collaboration with HTC on making WM integrate better with HTC's TouchFLO

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You may have heard that there was a serious BlackBerry outage this week, millions of people were unable to get email or browse the web [corrected] on their CrackBerrys for several hours, causing some consternation amongst the addicts:

For Blackberry users, Monday left us feeling like a toddler with no Spongebob. Thought of “Why! Why?” and “What in the world is going on!” flowed through our heads. We cried to each other, and to those who could have cared less, and waited it out (as we had no other choice) and hoped for the best.

The worst part was twofold - as the above article claims, RIM wasn't immediately forthcoming about the problem. When they did let us in on what happened, it was the same thing that happened last April, a software upgrade gone wrong, a problem they promise would never happen again.

Of course, I did a little personal crowing about the entire situation. Turns out that I'm not the only one who had that thought, as Palm has launched what can only be called a multimedia, Simpsons-character-Nelson-style “HA HA!” directed at RIM. Though it rings a little tinny to CrackBerry fans, I find it hilarious.

First up - a new front page graphic at Palm.com and a New York Times full page ad to go with it. “Palm Smartphones include voice, email, text, Web, calendar and contacts ...And most importantly, uptime.” Take a close look at this picture of their NYT ad: “Has anyone heard from out West Coast team? Anyone? Anyone?” ...It must have taken a firm resolve not to add “Bueller?” at the end of that.

Now the hilarious graphic at top, from Palm's new “No Middleware” information page on the benefits on an Exchange Server.

Now, there are a few benefits to having a Network Operations Center handle everything - namely it takes some work off of the shoulders of IT folks and end users. It's a philosophy I don't ascribe to, however. Were my Exchange server to go down (it happens), I could call up the person in charge of it and ream him out directly, not wait for a faceless giant to clue me in. It ties in very directly with my thoughts on the BlackBerry during the Smartphone Round Robin (First Look and Final Thoughts), where I hijacked Umberto Eco's comparison of Macs and PCs for the purpose of comparing Windows Mobile to BlackBerrys:

In this case, the Catholic smartphone is the BlackBerry, the Protestant Smartphone is Windows Mobile. Basically, the BlackBerry takes all the work of setting email up and moves onto the priests of BlackBerry - the BIS servers.

The benefit of having a 3rd party company handle your email pushing is, as I said, getting work off your shoulders. Here's the thing, though, that work is getting much much easier for both IT pros and for end users. Microsoft is very close to perfecting their auto setup for Pocket Outlook and on the IT side, when then release Microsoft System Center, Mobile Device Manager 2008, they will have all the important management features of the Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) and match its ease of use for people standardized on Microsoft tech. RIM will keep innovating, though, so there may always be an “this is easier on us” advantage to their NOC, but the ease-of-use margin is getting thinner, thin enough that a little something like a nationwide service outage might be enough to push some folks over.

At that point, there are only reasons I could see using BES:

  1. Lock in - you're already on BES and changing over to a full Exchange solution is a hassle
  2. You're not on Microsoft tech for your server and email solutions.

Microsoft really needs to address the 2nd reason someday -- offer a push email and management solution that's not dependent on Exchange servers. They never will, though, so we'll be depending on companies like Seven, Good, and, yes, RIM to fill that hole. As for the first reason, well, jump on in, kids, the water's fine. ;)

...Back to Palm - check out the chutzpah, right? Company's had all sorts of bad press lately, but despite all that they're unapologetic about the Treo and its capabilities. Sure, they've been all about the Centro as a low-end consumer device lately, but their Enterprise/power user Windows Mobile Treos are still pretty darn good, too, and they don't want us to forget it. Sure, they're not top-of-the-line (yet: the Treo 800w and the Drucker can't come fast enough), but they're solid devices. I still think that the Treo 750 has the best one-handed usability of any device out there by dint of its great keyboard and the ability to use a touchscreen when needed.

I'm not going to convince BlackBerry users of that, of course (check out the comments on our sister site, CrackBerry.com - where they posted about Palm's teasing), but that's alright. Next time (and there will be a next time) your Crackberrys are all cashed out I'll be standing over on the street corner with a WinMo device in my pocket. When you come over, shaking and needing a fix, I'll tell you the truth: Windows Mobile is a much more powerful hit.

So Bravo, Palm, for having the brains to add Windows Mobile to your Treo offerings way back when and for not being shy about its qualities now. Some haters are going to tell you that you should be one to talk after all the problems you've had in the past year or so. Don't listen to them, just put your energy into righting that ship and delivering unto us the Treo 800w and the Drucker postehaste.

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My, but it has been a big day here at WMExperts. Our review of the Motorola Q9h -- normally the sort of article that sits at the top as a shining achievement -- has been lost on the front page amidst a flurry of great news coming out of the Mobile World Congress. We're seeing great news like Microsoft is beefing up WinMo's consumer chops by purchasing Sidekick creator Danger; like Sony Ericsson joining the Windows Mobile Team; like HTC releasing/announcing one, two, three new devices.

What better way to cap off such a great day for Windows Mobile than to provide a bit of perspective to the recent iPhone sales numbers. In the past 6 months, 14.3 million Windows Mobile devices have been sold worldwide. That number has been driven by the surprising success of the HTC Touch (2 million devices) and the Samsung BlackJack (over a million). It's a heapin' helpin' of smartphones, and the number is only going to get bigger in the next 6 months with new devices and new OS updates to add more enterprise and consumer features.

[via Pocket-lint]

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Truth be told, beyond a few more catch-up CES postings later today, there wasn't actually as much action as we'd hoped for, Windows Mobile-wise, at CES 2008. There wasn't much action outside CES, either, but there were a few pieces of Windows Mobile news you might want to know about.

First off, our favorite software keyboard, TouchPal, has hit version 2.0. For those wondering how CooTek managed to give it away for free before, now we know. There's still a free “standard” version, but they've added a “professional” version for $19.99 (on special for $10.98 for the rest of January) that has some fancy new features like Mistyping correction, Dynamic layout resizing, and more. If you're rocking either a Touch or a slider device, we still recommend this software - it's as cool as when we first saw it.

(via pocketnow.com)


Given alltel's track record of picking up phones, it's not surprise that they are now offering the HTC Touch. The specs are identical to the Sprint version, but the cool silver is all alltel. It's $199.99 after contracts and whatnot. The only bummer here is now when we refer to “HTC Touch” we have to specify whether we're talking about the GSM or the alltel verion. Ah, branding.

(via Mobileburn)


We're thinking something was lost in translation when Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported that Bill Gates said Microsoft wouldn't compete with the iPhone. Gates said, “No, we won't do that. In the so-called smart phone business we will concentrate solely on software with our Windows Mobile program.” We're going to assume that he meant that Microsoft would never release a phone that was just media + phone, but rather that they're sticking with the power of Windows Mobile.

Yahoo News


We don't use Windows Live on Windows Mobile ourselves here (we would if more of our buddies would drop AIM or if Microsoft and AIM would start talking to each other, civilized-like), so we missed the brief moment of panic many had when they saw the error message at right. It basically implied Windows Live client on WM may not be free for much longer. Not to worry, though, Microsoft doesn't currently plan on charging you directly for their services (yet), opting instead to let the carriers keep paying for it (yep, they are).

MoDaCo

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Are you Pro or Standard?

I'm a little busy today folks, reporting for the other side of the Smartphone Divide (and ogling that sweet MacBook Air). Judging from the state of the internets, it looks like there's going to be a dearth of Windows Mobile news today anyway. So here's a question, posed by Coppertop in the forums:

For those who jumped from the 750 (or any other Palm Device) to the BlackJack II, do you miss the touch screen?“

...Which raises a bigger question: Are you Touchscreen or not? Are you Pro or Standard? I recently made the jump from Pro to Standard myself and I don't think I'll be looking back anytime soon. The memory management seems to be just a hair better to me on Standard (or maybe I just am sick to death of deciding how to deal with that ”X“ button).

You?

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Covering Macworld yesterday the only big iPhone news was a minor feature update - we still get to look down upon its lack of 3G and the fact that it's handcuffed to AT&T like a cliché sitcom episode where the two adversaries become best friends forever after 23 minutes (plus commercials) of being chained together.

Ahem. There is one new iPhone feature that we need to tell Microsoft about, but fixing the same problem on Windows Mobile turns out to be a very thorny issue. Read on for much more on this after the break!

Envy the Jiggly

We still have to envy that iPhone browser and now there's one more thing to envy - iPhone users can easily re-arrange their home screen. Yes, on WM Pro devices, adding, deleting, and re-arranging the Today screen is a relatively simple affair. On WM Standard devices, it's a freaking nightmare trying to customize the Today screen. On both - not only is it darn near impossible to re-arrange the Programs folder, in many cases that Programs folder is cluttered with carrier-sponsored “crap-apps” as well. Let's not discuss that items in WM Pro's Start Menu don't appear under Programs, because it's just too painful.

The bright light at the end of this customization tunnel is that Microsoft may finally be learning that they can control the user experience themselves a bit more - and thus let us control it at well. Someday that time may come, but that day is going to be a long way off.

Whither Windows Update

Here's the essential problem. Because AT&T has managed to cow AT&T so effectively, they have kept AT&T off their home screen. More to the point, they can seemingly push out updates with little-to-no interference from AT&T, testing-wise. This may not be the case at all -- AT&T may just fast-track iPhone updates -- but I think it is. Compare the relative ease with which Apple can develop and distribute an update with the situation with Windows Mobile.

On nearly every Windows Mobile device that has needed or deserved a serious update of some kind, there seems to be a delay. There are a few counter-examples, but they are few. Compare that to the situation with updates to Windows Mobile 6, or even AKU updates and critical bugfixes. Microsoft has to develop the update, the manufacturer has to try it out on their device, the carrier has to have their say, it all has to get tested and run up and down that three link chain a few times, and then the update gets out to the user -- who so rarely applies these major patches that he or she is usually unaware of the patch, afraid to apply the patch, confused about how to do it, and so on. And all that assumes we're talking about a single device here, for updates meant for all WM devices you need to iterate all of the above across the hundreds of different WM devices out there.

Nightmare.

Now, Microsoft has included a Windows Mobile Update app in Windows Mobile 6, but it's unlikely (bordering on impossible) that we'll ever see that little bugger offer us any new updates. There are just too many hoops that updates have to jump through.

3rd Party Apps to the Rescue

In the meantime, however, we the users can fix this situation -- with 3rd party apps that extend and improve upon the Windows Mobile interface. On Windows Mobile Pro we're all still very fond of SPB Mobile Shell (especially for the new user). On WM Standard.. well, I'm still looking for my favorite solution and haven't found it yet. I would love to hear suggestions for non-touchscreen devices.

So while the fact that Microsoft knows they need to offer simple features like rearranging icons is the light at the end of the tunnel, that tunnel seems very long right now. Yet, while stuck in the dark tunnel of WM's user interface, you can use a 3rd party app to light your way. Nice, eh?

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Making a cameo appearance on the big screen during the Gates keynote, a future version of Windows Mobile! Maybe. It could be Windows Mobile 6.1, but it doesn't look anything like what BGR leaked awhile back. And yes, it could be just a custom skin. If that's the case, then color us impressed with HTC's customizations. If that's not the case, then either we just caught MS with their pants down or they're viral marketing geniuses (or this isn't new at all and we're the ones lacking trousers).

Take a look at the new Start Menu of listing programs / settings / etc. It looks like there's a left/right menu on top to switch between “Programs,” “Settings,” “Photos,” “Internet,” and so on, then up/down to switch between the stuff within those categories.

Full gallery after the jump!

(p.s. since we lost connectivity last night, expect our live coverage article to be updated with some photos in just a bit)

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40

iPhone #2 in the USA?

So on Friday afternoon, Mike over at our iPhone Blog stumbled across this primo piece of linkbait over at Roughly Drafted. It's not good news:

In its first full quarter of sales, the iPhone has already climbed past Microsoft’s entire lineup of Windows Mobile smartphones in North America, according to figures compiled by Canalys and published by Symbian.

Ok: some context. You can't get Canalys' number's without paying a lot of money, so instead what many folks do is find some sucker who's willing to pay for those numbers and publish them. Symbian is often that rube, and so we have the numbers and they show something startling: in one quarter (maybe two, we're working secondhand here), the iPhone had garnered 27% of US marketshare in the smartphone category. Ouch.

Now we're going on record saying that we're not believing the numbers 100%, but we can't tell if the fishy smell of the numbers is coming from the fact that the report is fishy or the fact that we're living in De Nile. It might be the denial thing, since we've already seen numbers claiming that the internet sees more Mobile Safari users than it does PocketIE users.

So now what? Well, like Morning Paper (thanks for the link, there, pals!), we're taking the news philosophically. Well, philosophically with a side of “we don't believe it yet.” Look at the bright side - if it's true, we're suddenly rootin' for the underdogs, which is more fun and more gratifying. Plus: it looks like the platform that lost the most to the iPhone is the PalmOS. We're not saying, we're just saying.

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PC Mag Rounds Up Various WM Devices


PC Magazine has come out with their best WM Phone List….is yours on it? Each phone on the list has a link to read a detailed review of it. Windows Mobile has been taking a beating lately, from David Pogue and also in the (I humbly admit, pretty accurate) feedback from the Round Robin over at Phone different and CrackBerry.com In my totally unbiased point of view of being a writer for WMExperts.com, I thought PC Mag's take was important as well:

We've taken Microsoft to task for the company's various faults in Windows Mobile 6. But despite our qualms, it's still our Editors' Choice for the best mobile operating system [...] What does Windows Mobile 6 offer compared with, say, BlackBerry, Palm, and Symbian operating systems? For starters, it integrates beautifully with Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office, including out-of-the-box connectivity to corporate Exchange servers. Handsets running WM6 also serve as nifty portable media centers that synchronize well with Windows Media Player.

With praise like this I am sure some Palm, iPhone, & Blackberry lovers might be asking how much did Microsoft pay for advertising in this month’s PC Magazine! =) But here at WMExperts we all know that it is well deserved (setting aside, of course our must have list of improvements for the next version of the OS).

But as I mentioned above the best part is the list of their best choices of the current WM Phones. Whether you already own one of the phones on the list or are drooling over getting one of them, you will find their individual phone reviews very interesting to look at as well. You can find the full article and reviews here.

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Windows Mobile Marketshare on the Rise

So, hot on the heels of posting that Handheld sales are down 40% we have another report saying that PDA shipments are up 40%. What What WHAT?

The second report comes from Gartner and the devil's in the details here, specifically what the definition of "PDA" and "handheld" are. Gartner has an awfully strange definition of PDA indeed:

a data-centric handheld computer weighing less than 1 pound that is primarily designed for use with both hands. These devices use an open-market OS supported by third-party applications that can be added into the device by end users. They offer instant-on/off capability and synchronization of files with a PC. A PDA may offer WAN support for voice, but these are data-first, voice-second devices. Examples include the RIM BlackBerry 8707v, HP iPAQ 69xx, Nokia E61, Motorola Q, T-Mobile Dash and Sidekick 3.

The Dash and the Q are "voice-second" devices? Riiiight. That's opposed to "smartphones," which are "phone first." So, you know, the Treo 750 is not a PDA. Confused yet? Me too, Gartner's "PDA" seems like a pretty useless product category. But the numbers in this silly little product category are pretty impressive:

Company 1Q07 Shipments 1Q07 Market Share (%) 1Q06 Shipments 1Q06 Market Share (%) 1Q06-1Q07 Growth (%) Win CE 3,184,703 62.1 1,937,667 52.8 64.4 RIM 928,239 18.1 929,883 25.3 -0.2 Palm OS 314,353 6.1 489,220 13.3 -35.7 Symbian 288,000 5.6 132,000 3.6 118.2 Linux 33,400 0.7 43,530 1.2 -23.3 Others 377,150 7.4 137,000 3.7 175.3 Total 5,125,845 100.0 3,669,300 100.0 39.7

So basically, if you ignore the Treo, Windows Mobile is dominating. If you ignore the Treo. I wonder how Gartner will define the iPhone?

Read: Gartner Says Windows Mobile Devices Drove Worldwide PDA Market to 40 Percent Growth in First Quarter of 2007

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iPhone May *Help* Windows Mobile

Seeking Alpha's Sramana Mitra puts into words something like what I've had in the back of my mind for quite awhile now: it's possible that the iPhone could actually help WM. I'm not on board with her "the iPhone is actually laptop competition" argument, though. But consider this:

In a relatively small lakeside town in Minnesota, Excelsior, a new bar/restaurant opened up in December called Jake O'Connors. Everybody was thinking: this place is so nice that all the other bars and restaurants are going to have to shut down, there's just not enough space to go around. What actually happened, though, is that Jake O'Connors is doing great and all the nearby restaurants are doing better than they ever before. The new kid on the block made people want to come to that block, not necessarily just to see the new kid.

The basic idea here is that the smartphone market is growing -- quickly -- and it's likely that the iPhone will accelerate that growth. But the growth could come for the entire smartphone market, not just for the iPhone portion of it. There are a lot of feature phone users out there who are just starting to think "I need a smartphone", and the release of the iPhone could set them looking. I think its fair to say that there's a portion of those people who will choose WM over the iPhone.

It's like the old saw that opening a new fast food restaurant immediately next to a competing fast food restaurant actually improves business for both. A rising tide raises all ships. A bird in the hand.. wait, that last metaphor doesn't work.

So the iPhone may not spell doomsday for everybody else, after all. I agree with Mitra on one point - the iPhone's robust OS should make consumers demand a robust OS from their smartphones, whatever kind they decide on. Right now, Symbian, RIM, and the PalmOS don't cut it and that's an opening for Windows Mobile. There's another mixed metaphor for you - people tend to rise to the level of expectation; perhaps smartphones will too?

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