The penultimate OS we’re going to talk about from Microsoft in our best Mobile OS’s Blog is also the newest and most sexy one to date, in the form of Windows Phone.  This OS is specifically designed for Smartphones, rather than Rugged PDA’s but we thought it deserved a mention anyway if for no other reason but to clear things up a little bit for us.

Windows Phone Today

Windows phone was launched about 18 months ago as Windows Phone 7.  It got a serious update about 6 months ago in the form of Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) and Windows Phone 8 has been announced and will hit the streets in 2013.

The Pro’s of Windows Phone

  1. It has a cracking interface.  So as a smart phone and using all the “smartphony” features like email, web browsing, Facebook and Twitter, it’s a really nice usable tool on a level with Apples iPhone rather than a 10-year-old PC!
  2. It has an App store, so whilst it’s small compared to Android and IOS, it still hast the same App store mentality meaning users with little to no technical knowledge can soon be using their smartphone for all kinds of things.
  3. It’s a lovely up to date, feature packed, well-developed and supported OS.

Con’s of Windows Phone

So Windows Phone 7 is really great, new and even (dare I say it) a bit cool!  So why is it not a great tool for the commercial rugged market then?  Well actually it has some serious flaws as we’ll see below:

  1. There are some commercial features missing or different so creating DB aware solutions is not as easy as Windows Mobile.
  2. You need a whole new set of development tools which do not work for Windows Mobile or CE.
  3. The OS goes out of date after a few months, great for keeping up with the smartphone market but what happens to your 3-5 year committment to your business solution?
  4. The OS versions are proving not to be greatly backward compatible.  It’s also not one of the features Microsoft focuses on with WP like it does with WM.
  5. The OS is fatter too.  It requires better hardware and it wouldn’t run well on a lot of hardware that is still well used in the rugged market.

Our thoughts on Windows Phone being Rugged

Well….it’s not and thank god you can’t get it on a Rugged PDA!!, although we do wonder if a rugged smartphone  might one day appear with WP 8 on it?  WP is all about coolness, keeping up with changes in user behaviour and keeping Microsoft in with the end-user.  It’s simply not a mission critical OS, despite being well put together and pretty decent stood on its own.  Software houses developing for WP and telling you it’s fine are not doing understanding the true needs of a mission critical environment.

tomorrow we’ll look at the last mobile OS from Microsoft, Windows 8…

The Rugged and Mobile blog.

About The Author

Dave's one of the founders of Raptor, his rants are memorable, his thoughts are stimulating and his heart is set on helping, entertaining and making things like mobile, Android, ruggedness, 3D printing and IOT simple.

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4 Responses

  1. dsellen

    I for one would love a rugged windows phone 8 just for my clumsy active life style and work out doors.

    Now your windows mobile platform

    Not sure if it is 100% but you have to know it is coming if it hasn’t already. Microsoft is moving forward. It must to stay profitable. Your right microsoft should have sold the division to private company (or investors) that would have the responsibility of providing services for that platform instead of just killing it.

    Now windows 8 and windows phone 8 are telling you microsoft is changing even if we like it or not. Developers will always need to learn new sdk’s and stay up with the times. The days of learning one language and making a career of it is long gone. Operating systems keep getting bigger not smaller. Look at windows 7 vs windows 98. Now for whats next to come. Who do we need to yell at to get a company to build a rugged windows phone 8 device??

    Thank you,

    • ruggedandmobile

      Hi There. All this was, was Microsoft pulling Windows Mobile support for the App store. The reason it did this was to remove the “app” mentality from an OS which is designed to be a Mission Critical one where Apps have no place. Windows Mobile lives on in the Data Capture world as Windows Embedded Handhedl 6.5 and Windows Phone (or Windows 8 Phone as it is now called) lives on in the smartphone consumer world. They are totally different Operating Systems designed for totally different purposes.

      Microsoft has no intention of stopping Windows Mobile, it’s still highly supported in the “rugged” world and it is here to stay as far as we know right now and I doubt you’ll see W8 Phone on a rugged device any time soon as it is simply not designed for this area of the market.

      Sure you can write apps for business customers on Windows 8 Phone but the platform is not stable enough in terms of it’s versioning to be a good idea for this and Microsoft themselves state this and you can see this in the versions of W8 for tablet. RT is for the cheaper “App” market like IOS and Andorid. W8 X86 is for the serious Mission critcal tablet market as well as the PC market too.

      The reason Microsoft has not been the power they have been is 3-fold (In a nutshell!)

      1. They ignored the web, they want all the power on the PC so they can sell expensive OS and Office licenses. They learnt this the hard way…
      2. They were very slow to react to Mobile. They thought putting a “Windows” like experience on a smartphone was the right way forward. Apple and Android soon showed them how it was done.
      3. They have not had an organised Mobile strategy for Windows “Whatever”, whilst the world has gone mobile!

      Microsoft is finally getting themsleves back on track in my view, but I think it will be critical what happens next in the Rugged market with Windows Mobile.


  2. Eddie Tan (@southadam)

    Hi Dave,
    I think you have confused yourself between windows 8 and windows phone 8.
    As far as I’m concerned, windows phone is fully backward compatible. I can run my wp7.5 app on wp8 too without changing any code.
    From what I see, wp8 is capable to do the same as what android and iOS on light LOB app which does not required integrated hardware like barcode, RFID, card reader.
    I agree on wp8 unable to do intensive scanning applications, but it is 200% capable of doing SFA, crm, field service and etc.

    • ruggedandmobile

      Hi Eddie

      Microsft are in the middle of changing how they market their operating systems, so it is confusing and I guess writing about it is hard too! Lets try and clear this up.

      Windows Phone 7.X is a smartphone OS, designed for smartphones, not rugged equipment, where Windows Mobile (now called WEH 6.5) is alive and kicking up until about 2017 according to the hardware manufacturers we talk to about it. WP 7 changes a lot and as far as we have heard from customers even changes from 7.0 to 7.5 have created issues for users with apps not fully backwards compatible. You also have the same issue with the hardware. What if you need to pinvoke into the hardware? What happens when that hardware is not available after 9-12 months?

      It does matter what your app does. For instance if you have a few forms you enter data in to then I guess these will work no problems. But if your app is a little deeper then this is when problems appear.

      Windows 8 is not just a desktop OS any more per se and marks the beginning of the new way microsoft is doing things. Rather than have “Windows” (which is a desktop and server OS, we now have “Windows 8” which is Microsofts OS that will be flavoured for the device it sits on. This is far more mobile in its approach and largely why they have been losing ground against Apple and Android (in my opinion).

      W8 RT – is for locked down, ipad style tablets (the surface is one of them) that are for ARM based tablet devices. You have to use the app store to install apps on to these.

      W8 Phone – Takes on Windows Phone 7.5 and I heard Microsoft themselves say that WP 8 will not be 100% backwards compatible with WP7.5 although they said most of the code will be reusable, whatever that’s supposed to mean!!

      W8 X86 – will be for desktops, laptops and tablets running the X86 architecture. This will be like “full” windows as we see it now where you can install Visual Studio, Office etc on to it as normal. I htinnk this will be a big area that Microsoft win in the tablet market as i’ll only need 1 microsoft tablet rather than a laptop and ipad.

      So W8 is hard to talk about in the context of this blog as it is a mobile OS, but it also isn’t!

      Hope that clears your question up, please come back to me if not.