So we’re going to kick off this series of blogs looking at Microsoft operating systems and the reason for this is that in the rugged PDA world Microsoft is still the grandaddy of OS’s and the bench mark I think all other OS’s we’ll talk about should be compared to. Today we look at Microsoft Windows Mobile.
Windows Mobile Name 2012!
Before we go on though I want to clear up 3 little myths about the name and version we’re using right now as this is a really common mistake people make.
- Windows Mobile 6.5 is alive and kicking, it’s just called Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5 today. Its supported officially up to 2014.
- Windows Mobile 7 has never existed, never will exist and the only place you’ve ever seen this mentioned is Microsoft’s roadmap, before it was removed very quietly!
- Windows Phone 7 (We talk about in a few days time) is nothing to do with Windows MObile. Its a totally different OS.
Windows Embedded Handheld was so quietly launched and so similar to WM6.5 that even today we have to refer to WM not WEH, so for the rest of this blog I’ll follow suit!
Microsoft Windows Mobile Positioning
Windows Mobile is positioned fair and square at the “Mission Critical” end of the PDA market. It’s specifically designed to run on PDA’s and specifically its:
- Highly familiar to .NET developers of any experience.
- Easy to set-up and program using familiar tools like Visual Studio.
- Lots of developers around who can deliver WM solutions.
- It’s fully commercial, supported and built by 1 manufacturer.
- It’s mature. In 1 guise or another WIndows MObile has been around for decades and as such does a lot, and a lot very well indeed.
In the rugged world, 95% of PDA’s sold here are still WM in some way. Despite having had lots of activity on Android, the truth is no-one has bought it yet for PDA’s, maybe a few on Tablets!
Why is WM6.5 still the best Rugged Mobile OS?
Because not ony can you build secure, fast and reliable solutions with .NET on WM, but you can do it quickly, relatively cheaply and knowing that they’re a lot of people out there that can help you. It’s supported properly and has had the most time to mature and run on PDA’s over any other OS on the market today.
Why it might not be soon?
Well lets face it, Microsoft is still struggling with mobile in general and this market is changing fast. I think they’re finally getting it right with Windows 8 (more on that later) but they really need to “get with it” if they are going to succeed in this market. The facts are that they’re not cool, they’re also not open source so they do now have threats to their crown. They aren’t communicating what’s going on in this area of their business very well at all though and the tablet strategy for WM is non-existent as we speak today. Rugged PDA’s are getting smaller, being used in more and more scenarios and the market for mobile is ever-changing and WM, despite being great for solution building today, is not changing with the world.
So it is a case of whether it will still be the king in a few years time because right now we’re being forced to pick up Android and IOS to a degree to ensure we’re ready for whatever way things go.
Next we’ll talk about Windows CE.
The Rugged and Mobile blog.