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Microsoft is wasting its time with Windows Mobile 7

Can Microsoft can re-enter the smartphone race?

Microsoft seems to have dropped out of the smartphone race, but it still has a chance to get reenergised and even pull ahead of the pack.

Glimmers of hope for Windows Mobile 6.5

Despite the seeming abandonment by the Microsoft faithful, there may be hope.

There is talk that Microsoft is making a comeback with its Windows Mobile product line.

It has slurped down a GU packet (an energy gel for those who aren't sports enthusiasts), got up off the pavement, and is back on track.

Where's that talk? In Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows and his article 'Microsoft's plan to save Windows Mobile', in which he explains a few important pieces of the plan.

The Windows Mobile group went through a realignment that pushed Windows Mobile 6.5 out the door in 2009 so that Microsoft could compete with Apple, as well as RIM, Palm and Google.

The product was only half-baked - easy to see if you play with one and note the frustrations of using a resistive touchscreen (which requires more pressure and can often cause accidental selections) as opposed to the iPhone, WebOS, and Android phones that use the much more responsive capacitive touchscreens.

To be honest, I often hit the wrong keys on my Droid too. Sometimes my fingers are simply too big and I'm still learning to hit a flat-screen keyboard properly.

Other times, it isn't me - it's the phone (I swear!). Microsoft has been working on this issue (and releasing updates to assuage the criticism), so we're supposed to see Windows Mobile 6.5 devices in 2010 that have the capacitive screen, the first one being the HTC HD2 smartphone due out this spring.

A second issue Thurrott notes is that while the 6.5 flavour of Windows Mobile starts off with some nice user interfaces and easy-to-tap UIs, once you get below the surface, you are faced with UI designs that go back to the days of the stylus.

Thurrott says: "These UIs actually predate Windows Mobile and were originally designed for the PocketPC and Windows CE devices of the 1990s".

Unbelievable - is there any wonder why Microsoft is losing this battle?

Starting with the 6.5.3 release, however, this will change and Microsoft will be able to stand on equal footing with the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and so on.

And then Microsoft has a chance to wow us with Windows Mobile 7.

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NEXT PAGE: Bad news/good news for Windows Mobile

  1. We look at whether Microsoft can re-enter the smartphone race
  2. Glimmers of hope for Windows Mobile 6.5
  3. Bad news/good news for Windows Mobile

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