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  (Source: rizhal.com/)

Windows Mobile 7 has reportedly been delayed until 2011, due to tough competition from Google's Android. With Microsoft's mobile OS marketshare already in decline, it doesnt look like a pretty year for the company's mobile business.   (Source: Unwired News)
If reports are true, future looks bleak for Windows Mobile 7

Reports indicate that the marketshare of Microsoft's Windows Mobile smartphone operating system has been plunging in recent months.  The company recently slid down to a mere 7 to 8 percent of the market, amid tough competition from RIM and Apple, and even from emerging competitor Android (Google).

One of the biggest problems with Windows Mobile are the numerous delays of Windows Mobile 7.  Much like Windows Vista, Windows Mobile 6 drew a lot of criticism.  However, in the case of WinMo 6, the OS's shortcomings were much more clear cut -- the OS was simply not as functional as competitors' specialized operating systems such as RIM's Blackberry OS (better at business) or Apple's mobile version of OS X (better at media).  Part of the blame was on the core components of Windows Mobile 6, part was on the lack of compelling apps.  Despite this poor performance, the OS has managed to leverage its veteran position to cling to a dwindling market share.

And this year, a Windows Mobile 6.5 refresh gave WinMo loyalists some hope.  Still, Microsoft and its supporters in the handset community are counting on Windows Mobile 7 to give the veteran OS brand a boost, much like Windows 7 delivered in the PC market.

Now European publication Bright Side of the News is citing multiple sources as saying that Windows Mobile 7 will be a no-show in 2010.  They cite a rather exhaustive list of sources at "Microsoft, Lenovo, Qualcomm, TI, Nokia, NVIDIA, HTC and many more" as saying that the mobile OS will not be released this year.  Reportedly the delay is due to stronger than expected competition from Google's Android OS.  Microsoft reportedly is afraid that Windows Mobile 7 won't measure up to Android 2.1, so it's going back to the drawing board to trying to further refine the new OS.

They say that the soonest we'll see a preview of it will be at the World Mobile Congress in Barcelona in February 2011.

That's bad news for Microsoft, as it is finding it increasingly hard to convince customers to buy WinMo 6.5 phones in the face of attractive Android and Blackberry offerings, in addition to the much talked about iPhone.  If WinMo 7 doesn't land until next year, it's fairly safe to say that Microsoft's marketshare will be in shambles at that point.

Whenever it does launch, though, WinMo 7 still stands a fighter's chance, to start over from scratch, emulating new entries like Google's Android OS.  It even has the advantage of having some residual brand power.  However, if Microsoft indeed doesn't deliver a mobile OS in 2010, it will have a lot of ground to cover when it finally looks to stage a handset comeback. 

Update 1: 10:00 p.m. Tues. Jan. 12, 2009 -

The report from the Bright Side of the News certainly stirred up a hornet's nest of debate online.  Neowin adamantly denies the report, writing:
If the original headline made you jump then join the club. It's sad that we're even covering this but when big named sites like PC World begin reporting this belief as "news" and Twitter spreads it as news then it's time to put some facts straight
...
The truth is, Windows Mobile 7 will be shown at Mobile World Congress next month and Neowin will be there live to keep you up to date. From what we've seen, it will blow you away. So as always, stay tuned.
PC World, as the Neowin report suggests, repeated the original story, citing the European publication.  And Beta News offers a slightly different take than any of the others.  It suggests that Windows Mobile 7, as we know it, may be getting scrapped in favor for a new set of connected smart phone services, including a revised core operating system.  It says that as all of these services may not come online until 2011, that may be what BSOTN was talking about.

The site writes:
Given multiple opportunities to clarify Valich's report, and to deny that any delay was in the works, Microsoft spokespersons would not provide Betanews with information that shed any light on the timeframe, or that would refute the information from vendors cited in that report. The company appears to be taking the position that, since it has never set a firm timetable on WM7's release, whatever date it announces, however far in the future that might be, is not a delay.
Ultimately, those skeptical of the accuracy of the reports absolutely are reasonable in being as such -- there has been no official information to confirm or deny the reports.  It is a bit strange, though, that Microsoft would not move to officially deny such a potentially damaging story.  Nonetheless, as can be seen from our original wording, we are careful to note that at this point all the sources are suspect and there has been no official word from Microsoft yet.


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Microsoft Is Screwed
By adiposity on 1/12/2010 5:45:20 PM , Rating: 1
I've been using WinMo phones for about 5 years. I really like a few things about them. One is, there are tons of apps. Yeah, surprising, huh? Unfortunately, installing them isn't the easiest, and some are obviously designed for WinMo 5 which typically had smaller screens. But just for example, there are 5+ multi-platform chat clients for Windows mobile (agile mobile, for example).

A lot of the apps are free, but some are pay. Typically the cost for pay apps is a lot higher than $1 (the most common price on iPhone apps).

Now, the downsides.

1. Windows mobile really needs a stylus to work properly. This is actually an advantage sometimes, as it gives greater precision. But the disadvantage is that many apps assume that precision, forcing you to pull out your stylus to do even basic tasks.

2. Too many handsets. There is no good way to guess screen size and capabilities, making it difficult to program for accelerometers, gps, etc. This results in apps that only work on one device, or apps that don't use all of your devices features. Both options suck, obviously.

3. Slow. I mean really slow. It really sucks how it lags sometimes. The multi-tasking is a double-edged sword, because some apps remain in memory, and just kill performance. Browsing is slow, no matter what browser you use. The best performance I had was with an HTC Touch Pro with EnergyROM, but even that was slow.

Unfortunately, Microsoft can't fix any of these issues without killing backwards compatibility, in my opinion. And the backwards compatibility is what keeps people using WinMO, again IMO. To compete with Droid/iPhone, they need an OS that is built from the ground up to be touch friendly, which they could probably easily do. But, it wouldn't be compelling to their old customers, and new customers would have to weigh it verses Android and iPhone, both of which will have bigger app stores and market share when WinMo 7 comes out.

All MS can do is stop the bleeding for as long as possible while trying to build an OS that is fast, backwards compatible, and touch friendly. But the backwards compatibility puts them at a significant disadvantage on the other two, so they are mostly just screwed.

I switched to a Droid; I have given up on Microsoft after hoping WinMo 6.5 might be good enough. It wasn't. The biggest thing I miss is Microsoft Voice Command. Google has nothing like it, and I can't even do bluetooth initiated dialing on the Droid.

-Dan




RE: Microsoft Is Screwed
By mcnabney on 1/12/10, Rating: 0
RE: Microsoft Is Screwed
By Belard on 1/13/2010 12:57:20 AM , Rating: 2
I've played / worked with a few Winmobile phones, never liked any of them. Sure some of the features and abilities were "cool" - but overall, it felt like using a Win9x OS on a slot portable device. Slow, crashes, requiring lots of work to get anywhere.

A stylus will never work for a mobile device in the long run... Look at Apple's iPhone and google phones. A finger or two is a lot easier and a lot harder to lose.

One of my clients (an office) had some of those WinMobile phones. They went to the iPhone and never looked back... everything works 99~100% of the time and love them. (I don't own an iPhone or any apple products)

Not sure about your voice/bluetooth issue, may want to reseach that. I would assume that Android is really not much different than the G1 which a friend has. It has amazing voice abilities. He can talk into it, asking for a restaurant and a Google map will pop-up with choices... very cool.


RE: Microsoft Is Screwed
By adiposity on 1/13/2010 1:11:09 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Not sure about your voice/bluetooth issue, may want to reseach that. I would assume that Android is really not much different than the G1 which a friend has. It has amazing voice abilities. He can talk into it, asking for a restaurant and a Google map will pop-up with choices... very cool.


I have looked into it :)

https://supportforums.motorola.com/thread/15939

http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=...

This is an issue with ALL Android phones, including Nexus One. You cannot initiate a call using your bluetooth, but have to talk into the phone, and usually, you have to confirm with a screen press (sometimes if you have an exact match it will just call). However, the bluetooth does not become active until the call starts to ring. You have to talk into the phone speaker.

The voice capabilities are beyond anything any other phone has--but the voice dialing just sucks. Google has it listed as a medium level enhancement, for now :(

-Dan


RE: Microsoft Is Screwed
By 3minence on 1/13/2010 10:15:35 AM , Rating: 2
I think your missing one more point. MS has gotten too big and stuck in its way of thinking. It no longer "gets it". Steve Jobs still gets it. Google with it's Android OS gets it. Even Palm, after much reinventing, gets it. MS needs to do something within to have a chance to compete.

At one company where I worked we had a text based app that was quite important to the company but people hated using it. So we instructed our programmers to redesign it with a GUI to make it user friendly. Our programmers were all Mainframe types. So they created an app that was a GUI on top of a text based app. You literally went into a web browser, pulled up the app, then types SQL commands into the little interface. No drop down, no point and click, just a text box in a web browser. Obviously it flopped. We had to go hire a team of recent college grads to design it and they turned it into a very easy to use app. The kids "got it". The old mainframe guys did not.


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