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Pocket Informant also not on board Windows Phone 7

WebIS Inc's. head honcho came out a few weeks ago, responding to a Twitter question, stating very boldly that they too have no immediate plans to develop their popular PIM client, Pocket Informant, for Windows Phone 7:

At the moment we do not expect to support Windows Phone 7. Its simply missing too much foundational for us. It could be done, but we'd hit a dead end at version 1.00 and it would be slower than people would like due to having to write all the recurrence/calendar code in C# without a good backend to help speed things up (like on BB).So I'd like to make it official. Based on the current beta Windows Phone 7 SDK, we will not be making a Pocket Informant for Windows Phone 7.

His reasoning comes down to what others have said: access to native code and limitations on the current API environment. They could make a PI application, but he suspects it would be slow and lacking in major features/integration with the OS. However, like others, once the OS matures and/or sales end up being really good, they'll reconsider.

All of this comes on the footsteps of Mozilla and Skype essentially saying the same thing. While unfortunate, lets not forget a couple of things: Mozilla failed to deliver a usable browser after two-years of development, Skype's WinMo client was really never that good and Pocket Informant has always been a giant, slow, heaping mess (with a ton of features that some swore by).

Maybe we're just being flippant, but some of us won't be missing some of these companies' mobile offerings all that much, judging from their past performance. Case in point, Alex came out nearly 4 weeks ago with this announcement.  Who noticed? That's not to say we don't wish them luck, we certainly do, but in the end, sometimes you have to make some breaks and let a new-class of developers step up and innovate.

Are we being too harsh? Comment!

[via Information Week]

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

19 Comments
  • Not much to say on whether or not WebIS will write for the next generation of Windows phones just wanted to point out that Pocket Informant isn't an Email client as you stated it is a PIM.
  • Good point and duly noted!
  • It's not a question of developers "Stepping Up" and "innovate". This is speculation, but I believe its more a question, at least in the case of Pocket Informant, of where to invest time and resources to deliver a product customers will be happy with AND will purchase. If, because of the changes in Windows 7's PIM functions, its not possible to provide a product with acceptable performance without writing from scratch the entire product, AND Windows Mobile's market share is significantly behind Android and Apple, this is a case of making a business decision to invest where the market exists to make a return on investment, isn't it? Look on Webis's forums - its full of feature request for the iPhone products, Blackberry products, pleas to write a version for Android. WebIS isn't Microsoft. They don't have unlimited resources to throw at different platforms. Like any well run business, each decision has to be made considering investment, potential sales (ROI) and opportunity cost. Pocket Informant will continue to run on Windows Mobile 5 and 6.x, and new devices continue to be released on those operating systems. Lets not fault developers because Windows Mobile is moving to a more closed system.
  • One more comment. I'm sure this wasn't a decision made in a vacuum. Pocket Informant for Windows Mobile is WebIS's flagship product. No doubt this was a difficult decision, not taken lightly.
  • I'm going to have to agree with the sentiment that this application, along with the others mentioned wont really be missed. PI in particular is more of an application so called power-users would use, and they have all but to a man swore off WP7 anyway, the average consumer will be quite happy with the default calendar to keep track of appointments, they wont have any exotic requirements to have journals, advanced time tracking, etc, plus PI was a real bloat-fest as well. Judging by the comments Alex has made over the years I dont think he will be mourning the loss of WM users anyway, he like everyone else seems to favour the iphone so as you say, good luck, I definitely wont miss them. On the other hand, this is how you move forward when a new platform is released, if Resco can do it why cant Webis? http://www.resco.net/developer/company/news.aspx?file=2010-05-18-2
  • I think they are not gonna make it because they already know Windows Phone 7 and Windows Live Essentials 2011 (including new Hotmail services) covers everything people need. Windows Phone 7 already has amazing good looking calender and from preview of new Windows Live Essentials 2011 you can tell it has so many new good features thats cover everything user need. So when Microsoft covers whatever people need for free (when they buy their new Windows Phone 7) they will not pay for WebIS ugly and slow application. Therefore they are not gonna make money. So I guess that is the main reason they decide to not make it. But they have to come with excuse so they blame native code or C#. It's funny because C# is one the best programming languages and it is actually very fast and easy. I am sure many people not gonna miss them on their new Windows Phone 7 anyway.
  • i'm sorry some of you feel this way about PI, but the truth is that while C# is fast and Resco is building their software from scratch for WP7, none of that really compares to PI being written for WP7. As for PI being ugly - it was as pretty as the OS it was on. I do agree that PI was a bit bloated on WM and that's a function of it being a WM app and the history behind it. If you look at our Android, BB, and iPhone apps you see that they are total rewrites from the bottom up not just in engineering but design. Even Apple featured our graphical UI. I wouldn't call it ugly. The built in WP7 calendar is very weak. It has a great Agenda view, awesome integration with services, but that's about it. Maybe I should have put it a different way. I love C# and I think Silverlight is going to be great for the platform. However without native access to the built in calendar data and native Exchange sync access I see the amount of work, the lack of interest by mainstream users, by power users, and even by Microsoft in many ways, and I simply don't see the business benefit. WebIS built it's business on Windows Mobile so it's a sad decision. As for being a new class of developer, considering we've moved from one platform to four and are being very successful on those (we sell in one week what we sold on WM in one month) - I think we qualify.
  • One thing I was thinking about here is I'm really disappointed by the attitude being displayed here. Why the hate? PI was #4 in all mobile apps sold for several years going and in the top 10 for most of the last decade. I get the feeling most of the hate comes from people feeling like we bashed WP7 or Microsoft and embraced Apple/iPhone. What I use as my personal device has little bearing on how well we support our platforms. Don't get me wrong - I'm very happy that Microsoft is releasing WP7. I like C# and I like Silverlight and am quite happy that its the basis of the new platform. But its the lack of depth in the APIs that means its just not going to be a viable development platform for us day 1. Some really awesome apps can be written for WP7 easily - Twitter, Facebook, and stuff like that. But none of those apps have to have the depth of data handling, processing, management that a calendar app does.
  • Thanks for your aditional comments Alex. I used your PI Lite included with Franklin Covey's PPO version 5 on my Treo Pro. I must admit that when I was forced to change devices due to recharging issues that I have not reinstalled the PPO on my tilt2. I wasnt sure that it would continue to work and I was not sure that I really needed it. I am still on the fence about that. I miss the agenda view and continue tio mull over installing it on my tilt2. I am planning on keeping the tilt2 for a long time (at least a year).
  • For the most part, I think your position on not writing for WP7 is actually legitimate--at this point, developers just don't have access to depth of the OS you would need to make a comprehensive PIM. That's not really an opinion, but fact. While PI has always sold well and I know of a lot of people who swear by it, the fact is it has also had a lot of stability/performance issues. I'm not chalking that up to non-professionalism on your part, but rather just the limitations of what WM5.x/6.x was capable of in respect to what you wanted to do. WM5.x/6.x allowed developers access to a ton, regardless of effect on performance. That's one reason why I think MS has backed off of allowing such development in WP7...at least initially. Appreciate you stopping by though and going into more depth on your position. It is an interesting conundrum that you and many other developers are in with WP7.
  • Or just give it up and get a real phone EVO BABY!
  • Or just give it up and troll somewhere else!
  • "Skype's WinMo client was really never that good ..." Wow, that's a pretty bold statement. Starting with my HTC HD, Skype worked surprisingly well except for the front speaker issue, which wasn't Skype's fault. (It was Microsoft's by design.) Welcome to the Spin Zone...
  • Sorry, Skype's client is what 10-12MB in size? That's huge for a WinMo app, let alone one just for VOIP. It was slow and clunky. Talk about "spin zone", the front speaker issue WAS solved by 3rd party Fring who offers Skype connectivity. When did they "fix" this issue that Skype could never address? January 2009--yup 16 months ago. http://www.wmexperts.com/fring-gets-updated-now-supports-earpiece-use-hu... So yeah, the earpiece thing is 100% Skype's fault, no need to defend them. Meanwhile, Fring also does Google Chat, AIM, ICQ, Twitter and Facebook chat, all for free and get this...the app is a tiny 1.03MB vs Skype's bloatware. So did I miss something? Why is the Skype client that much better than Fring's? Because at a 1/10th the size, universal earpiece support and multiple IM support, I see nothing but the "fluff" left over in the Skype client e.g. useless emoticons.
  • PI has been one of the reasons I kept hold on WM. It showed the real power of WM over all other platforms. Now, I don't see enough motivation for me to go to WM7. My next device will be either an (HTC) Android or Apple iPhone! Thanks Pocket Informant. You have served me well for years. I'd even follow you on other platforms. WM7... good luck!!
  • I totally agree. I think the hatin' stems from PI being 'too powerful' for most users. All the extensive features and options easily translates to 'difficult,' 'cumbersome,' 'slow,' and 'bloated.' But if you need those feature/options enough to figure them out, then PI is none of those things! And the UI being 'ugly' is a direct result of the same thing. Prettiness is sacrificed for practicality. It is like having a set of hand tools. If you really use them, the beauty of the tool really stems from what it does not what it looks like. For example, I have an extensive task management system setup in MS Outlook (with Exchange). ONLY PI (on WM) can exactly replicate this on a mobile!
  • I agree with you but remember there are so few power user that it does not matter right now. If by next year enough devices are shipping to mainstream consumer and MSFT opens up native code development(as they have said they would later), developers will be back. They follow money. Rest is mute.
  • I have to agree with Alex here. There have been some improvements but C# and the limited APIs are no where near fast enough to handle what we have to do in Organizer applications. You will see a lot of more simple applications and nothing as advanced as PI or XA on the new devices until we get more power back. The crazy tricks we had to pull to get performance even as good as it was, which usually included going around Microsoft's slow buggy APIs, to reverse engineer and hit the default databases by hand are just not possible with enough performance in the new closed system. If you really think PI is slow, well it would have been 10x slower had Alex used the APIs given to us by Microsoft. Now move that to C# which is slower.... We're just out of luck, its basically not possible now. Whether you are a C# lover or not, you simply can not get the same performance as with writing applications in native code. So Extreme Agenda will not be moved to WP7 either until we can write native code and Microsoft starts opening the OS back up. They moved in the wrong direction in this regard with WP7. They went too much like Apple instead of Android, and didnt notice that Apple is slowly moving back a few steps towards where WM6 and Android are openness wise. Oops... So yes, simple and yet neat apps can be thrown together but full featured applications will be very limited for quite a while. But some of the applications will be prettier. Which helps with consumer perception...If thats really what you are worried about..
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