Rugged Mobile trends for 2013 – Trend 10 – Windows Mobile Dies!

25 01 2013
Is Windows Mobile walking on thin ice?

Is Windows Mobile walking on thin ice?

OK, OK, so a top 10 mobile predictions from Rugged and mobile wouldn’t be the same without a few shock statements and we all really discussed whether we should publish this one but the truth is the statement does have some real smoke.  Don’t forget that we also all grew up here on Microsoft and still all love the technology but lets see why we think this could be true…

1. Windows Mobile 7 was taken removed form the developer line.  It’s true!  It was there, now it isn’t, nothing replaced it and with support officially ending in 2014 where’s the replacement?

2. Visual Studio 2008 Sucks! You have to use VS2008 to develop WM solutions and quite frankly it’s just too old and we’re sick of it here!  CSS3, HTML5 and JavaScript/jQuery are ill supported so the projects (despite being well written) look like they have bugs all the way through them, VS2008 is really ol in its look and feel and quite frankly and it makes WM projects expensive, time-consuming and complex to produce well, especially when compared to the new range of IOS, Android and hybrid HTML5 based apps that are where it’s all happening right now.

3. HTML5 support is non-existent and is actually being supported by manufacturers rather than Microsoft.  This turns a hybrid app into a native one in our view but more worryingly why isn’t Microsoft supporting the OS?

4. Manufacturers are telling us that Windows Mobile is gone and Windows 8 will be its replacement.  Either Microsoft is planning a “Data Capture” version of W8 or it’s hoping we’ll all just revert to the smartphone OS.  It wouldn’t be a poor strategy but it would indicate that they are aggressively pursing the BYOD mentality rather than the Mission Critical one of yesterday.

5. No-one knows anything about the replacement for WM6.5.  No one!  Manufacturers are all focussing on Android, we’re all moving on and adopting IOS and Android and in the absence of decent developer support for WM and communication about the road map, there may not be anyone listening by the time there is!  Why would you develop for 2% of the market anyway is the attitude of many suppliers like us.

So plenty to think about.  We think this will be a critical year for Windows Mobile and how the resellers of rugged Kit operate in the years to come so hopefully I’m proved wrong.  I don’t think I will be though!

The Rugged and Mobile blog.


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3 responses

25 01 2013
Nicolas

What about Windows Embedded 8 Handheld? For me it seems like a replacement for WIndows Mobile 6.5. See http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/Features/2013/Jan13/01-14Handheld.aspx

29 01 2013
ruggedandmobile

I think we actually wrote the blog before this announcement as it was one of our Christmas shut-down blogs that got rearranged! We have to rely on many manufacturers about the OS roadmaps and so very often we simply can’t follow what Microsoft are doing per-se. It’s what the mnaufactruers implement that counts for us and what they tell us too!

25 01 2013
Joshua Barker

The successor for windows mobile has been known about publicly since November and officially announced 2 weeks ago. It is called Windows Embedded Handheld 8 and is a modified version of Windows Phone 8. The development environment will be visual studio 2012 and a new version of the compact framework will be released. OEM releasing is expected around the end of the year or early next year.

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/windows-embedded/archive/2013/01/14/windows-embedded-8-handheld-joins-the-windows-embedded-8-family.aspx

Motorola Solutions has already developed early builds of it and has a huge contract with Home Depot for all their stores to use them.

The success of windows mobile isn’t about new innovations, its about leveraging already existing investments. With so many windows mobile applications in ruggedized enterprise scenarios (warehousing, shipping, etc), it is almost guaranteed, that their transition path will be to WEH8 given that Microsoft will undoubtedly have a migration path that is easier than starting from scratch and moving to android.

I’ve talked with the OS strategy teams at motorola solutions, intermec, and honeywell and have been told the same thing by all 3. They are lightly pursuing android as an alternative, but the high spec requirements, patent uncertainty (and required payments to Microsoft in most cases), and low cost of windows embedded software licenses are going to be a factor in lower android sales.

None of this mentions that many of the google cost added services to android such as the marketplace, maps, push notifications are not going to be on a lot of the ruggedized handhelds because companies like motorola have said that their customers don’t agree with google’s data collection policies and don’t want all of their web traffic being funneled through google’s servers for security reasons so they have removed most of these items completely. So, with no marketplace, you have to rely on some form of private deployment (which google currently doesn’t have an alternative for)

Also, HTML5 applications are great for the near constantly connected consumer phone world of android, but it doesn’t do so well in ruggedized scenarios. To get around the limitations, you have to use something like RhoMobile from motorola and even that won’t get you enough control to do all you need.

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