Windows Mobile has seen many faces throughout the past ten years. Despite all of Microsoft’s changes to their mobile devices, it has been losing its share of the smartphone market year after year with 2009 showing a 20% loss. Microsoft’s Window Mobile is now the fifth most popular smartphone operating system. It falls behind Symbian, BlackBerry OS, Android and iPhone. In the United States, it is the third most popular smartphone operating system. Despite this, Microsoft is releasing the Windows Phone 7, after much revamping, later this year.
The history of Windows Mobile goes like this. First of all, there are three versions of Windows Mobile for various devices – they include:
Windows Mobile Professional runs on (smartphones) with touch screens, Windows Mobile Standard runs on phones with regular screens and Windows Mobile Classic which runs on ‘Windows Mobile Classic devices’ (Pocket PCs).
Microsoft first introduced the Pocket PC before releasing Windows Mobile.
The Pocket PC 2000 was a personal digital assistant or PDA. This PDA differed from companies such as Palm in that it contained Windows software like Office, Windows Media Player and other Microsoft products. The Pocket PC 2002 was released in 2002 and included Windows Mobile and the PDA capacity.
The Pocket PC 2002 was also called Merlin and it was powered by Windows CE 3.0. Features included those of the 2000 plus spell checker, word count, MSN messenger and more.
In 2003, Windows Mobile 2003 was released and called Ozone. It came in four editions – “Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Premium Edition”, “Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Professional Edition”, “Windows Mobile 2003 for Smartphone” and “Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Phone Edition”. New features included Bluetooth, picture applications, support for add-on keyboards, and a host of other items.
The Windows Mobile 2003 SE was released in 2004 and allowed users to backup and restore their device through ActiveSync.
Windows 5.0, named Magneto was released in 2005. It used the .NET Compact Framework 1.0 SP3 — an environment for programs based on .NET. It also had push functionality, photo caller ID, GPS and the QWERTY keyboard.
In 2007 came the Windows Mobile 6 “Crossbow”. It came in three different versions: “Windows Mobile 6 Standard” for Smartphones (phones without touchscreens), “Windows Mobile 6 Professional” for Pocket PCs with phone functionality, and “Windows Mobile 6 Classic” for Pocket PCs without cellular radios. Windows Mobile 6 was powered by Windows CE 5.0 (version 5.2) and is strongly linked to Windows Live and Exchange 2007 products. Windows Mobile 6 was meant to be similar in design to the then newly released Windows Vista. Windows Mobile 6 included Office Mobile, VoIP calling, improved Internet sharing, HTML email and Microsoft Office OneNote.
Windows Mobile 6.1 followed in 2008 with minor upgrades from 6. There were minor performance enhancements such as a redesigned Home screen with horizontal tiles that expand on clicking, threaded SMS, full page zooming, Domain Enroll, improved bandwidth in push email and improved battery life.
Windows 6.5 and then 7 followed. Windows Mobile 6.5 was described by Microsoft as not being the full release they wanted. The Windows Mobile 7, will be replaced by the Windows Phone 7, which arrives soon this year, 2010. WP7 is codenamed Photon. While the WP7 was to be released in 2009, many ideas were scrapped and progress was delayed as a new platform was designed. WP7 will include a new operating system and integration with Xbox Live and Zune services. To own a WP7, once it is released, will be relatively easy as the company has so many carrier partnerships, including all the large providers such as Verizon, Sprint, AT&T and many more. The company is hoping to have the handsets available before the holidays.