Windows Mobile is good enough for U.S. Army
Sure while everyone is taking pot-shots at Windows Mobile and market share hub-bub, people are using it left and right to get things done in the world. The latest group to do so is not some fly-by night company but the United States Army.
Launching their Go Mobile Gear, designed for the modern, tech savvy solider (who would be laughed off the battle field for having a pansy iPhone), the U.S. military has approved a handful of "...communications and conferencing devices that can fit into a soldier’s pocket while going easy on the service’s pocketbook."
Soldiers can use these devices to access "...the Army Knowledge Online portal, a repository of online information, distance learning tools, e-mail and other resources for 2.6 million Army users. The Web-based service is now part of a broader service known as Defense Knowledge Online."
So what does the military consider to be solid devices for the troops?
- HTC Ozone
- Samsung Epix
- Palm Treo Pro
- HTC Touch Pro
- Celio Redfly
- Planon Prinstik portable printer
- Solar Charger
- Myvu Solo Goggles
(Funny, I have half of that stuff....Army here I come!)
The whole kit (we imagine only one phone of course) can be had for about $1,000. It's a pretty huge endeveor too by the military, which states:
And joking aside, the military is evidently "tech agnostic" as they do plan to look at and roll out iPhone and Android sometime in the future. But for now, it's all WinMo baby.
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.
There are less than four WM devices that I can find bearing input other than hardkeys (d-pad) and/or touch. Both are miserable ways of interfacing with the OS on a regular basis when any degree of accuracy is desired. the Epix, like the BJ in its bloodline, has a simple optical trackpad that, apart from being less than stellar in very bright direct sunlight, makes doing everything with the device fantastically easier and faster, even typing on a SIP (though my skills are primitive compared to most at telephone data-entry). My Epix suffers now from a loose or failing component somewhere in the earpiece audio loop, which has it destined for the knackers' yard, much as I hate to see it go (especially given the prices of new devices!). I've resigned myself to the fact that if I wait for another WM device with a trackball/trackpad/mouse/whatever to arrive, I will have to trade for it, as this Epix isn't going to hold out another year. My crosshairs, being on AT&T, are on the Touch Pro2/Tilt2, but its specs just barely meet minimum requirements and it's hard to 'settle' for three hundred bucks. I honestly wish the Clie program had never died and made the transition onto smartphones. Though that was many years ago, all signs pointed to the device's superiority in all the important areas. The OS was actually being developed. It did things other devices couldn't do. It had years of battery life. It wasn't all cutesy and thin and light like some goddamned jap fashion model; it had heft and a sense of structural soundness. It even had gee-whiz cool factor, which apparently in today's market means a great deal. Now we have a wedge in the middle of the industry, with frilly apple shit on one side and this unmanageable heap of everything else on the other, and we're not innovating, not satisfying, and not excelling. The economy's just part of it, I don't think MS is scared to take risks here, it's the device manufacturers. Given free reign to spec and sell whatever they feel like, there's no cohesive sense of this unitary sort of Windows Phone that MS is trying to market. Everyone just keeps slapping the lowest-common-denominator barely-upgrade bits and pieces in essentially the same devices, aiming at each other's designs, and charging an arm and a leg for them. No wonder they're not selling! There has to be more centralized control, somehow, of what has to be present in these design specs and some sense of how far one needs to go to be able to issue it as a new product. Cut down on how often you release hardware and make the differences in those phases much more dramatic; give people a reason to want to upgrade, especially as they're going to end up bending over to the carrier to do so anyhow. Restructure the parasitic relationship between hardware and carrier and eliminate the rebranding bullshit; that alone will sell those carriers' accessories, where the profit margin really is. If the carriers won't play ball, just start retailing the devices everywhere at any kind of price point lower than the carriers want. The system is fantastically complex, but it doesn't look like anyone's trying real hard to dig themselves out.