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More Details on Future Versions of Windows Mobile Emerge

While it's clear that there's still plenty under wraps, we are seeing more details about Windows Mobile showing up today.

So, what's the gist of what's coming down through Microsoft's pipe? Everyone knows that Windows Mobile 6.1 is coming through the tubes, and that it's a relatively small update. It does some stuff that will be awesome (threaded messaging, for example), but beyond that and a few minor key tweaks, nothing fundamentally significant will change for the people using it.

For the next version after that, Microsoft is going to pare down their desktop version of Internet Explorer and stick it into Windows Mobile. Core apps like Office, Outlook Mobile, Windows Media, photos, etc. will all be re-vamped (re-imagineered?) so as to be easier to use. It sounds like the tweaks will be subtle enough that it won't freak out long-term users but still deliver some good, solid UI improvement payoff.

The next version of Windows Mobile after that last version of Windows Mobile is going to get the crazy redesigns, fully integrated search love, and should be able to present information to you based on your context. For example, while you're on the phone with someone the screen shows you their card in your address book, or a driving map to where they are, or the meetings you have with them in the next 2 weeks, or the next 20 emails you're going to send to this person. Microsoft will no longer optimize Windows Mobile for styli at this point, unless you think of your index finger as a stylus.

At this point, with 6.1 and then the next and then this version of Windows Mobile getting rumored, I don't know where to put the codeword "Photon." My guess is that it applies to all of them and none of them. Might be time to retire that particular codeword.

At the recent CTIA conference, Ballmer was asked about the Zune phone. As usual, he dodged the question, but said that they'd probably roll achievements from the Zune into Windows Mobile. As to which version of Windows Mobile will get those improvements, we've got no answer yet. Unofficially, it sounds like piecewise into both of the next big versions. At any rate, we know it's coming someday.

WC Staff
WC Staff
5 Comments
  • "re-imagineered"?
    Is SPE having a company party at a nearby theme park? ;-)
  • And we should believe this why exactly? Remember Cairo? Remember what was promised for Longhorn?
    Shame on Microsoft for continuing to announce "what's next" and failing to deliver what's already here.
    Mobile IE will someday match today's Mobile Safari? How about *exceeding* it and, until they do, shutting up and sticking with the dev work?
    Did Apple announce iPhone 5 years ago? Of course not. This is more in keeping with Cobalt and Palm Linux... So frustrating.
    If Microsoft wants credibility, Gates needs to show up at his final CES and pull out a working game-changer of his own.
    Spouting perpetual BS just to appease sticklers and befuddle customers who may otherwise go elsewhere (to existing innovative products in the current marketplace) is shady dealings, and something Microsoft has a history of doing far to much of (history of OS2, Quicktime, Java, etc. much?).
    What's even crazier is all the blogs just taking the news and reporting it without the historical context :(
    Give us some hard hitting insight (hopefully Dieter and Mike will do that on the next podcast...)
  • "re-imagineered"?
    Is SPE having a company party at a nearby theme park? ;-)
    Heh. Most of them are in Florida. If I had to guess, though, they'd choose Universal over Disney. In my one trip back, that's where we opted to hang out in Orlando.And we should believe this why exactly? Remember Cairo? Remember what was promised for Longhorn?
    Shame on Microsoft for continuing to announce "what's next" and failing to deliver what's already here.
    Mobile IE will someday match today's Mobile Safari? How about *exceeding* it and, until they do, shutting up and sticking with the dev work?
    Did Apple announce iPhone 5 years ago? Of course not. This is more in keeping with Cobalt and Palm Linux... So frustrating.
    If Microsoft wants credibility, Gates needs to show up at his final CES and pull out a working game-changer of his own.
    Spouting perpetual BS just to appease sticklers and befuddle customers who may otherwise go elsewhere (to existing innovative products in the current marketplace) is shady dealings, and something Microsoft has a history of doing far to much of (history of OS2, Quicktime, Java, etc. much?).
    What's even crazier is all the blogs just taking the news and reporting it without the historical context :(
    Give us some hard hitting insight (hopefully Dieter and Mike will do that on the next podcast...)
    I think we'll be talking about this in the next treocast, to be sure. Maybe we'll talk a bit about it in the phone different podcast as well, not sure yet. I'll have to talk to Dieter about it.
    And yes, Microsoft definitely has a history of spreading FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt), and they also have a history of over-promising and under-delivering at least with their desktop operating systems, but I don't doubt for a second that their intent to re-vamp windows mobile in a fundamental way is true.
    That they will be focusing on improving windows mobile is a good thing, which is why I'm unwilling to toss negative spin on this news. That they realize that the UI for much of the platform is an issue for lots of people means good things for everyone.
    The rest of what I think I'll save for the podcast. ;)
  • Thanks Mike,
    It's just gotten to the point where, with Microsoft's press announcements, I believe none of what I hear, little of what I see, and only most of what I use on a daily basis.
    I want that maniac Balmer waving Photon around CES "on his feet", I can't keep taking these Windows 7 will have touch! meta-bloopers any more...
  • More here.
    Sounds like the good stuff is years away.