Source: Smartphone-Freeware.com

Is this Windows Mobile 7? Who knows. Will it be released this spring? Again, anybodies’ guess. Once again Microsoft is secretive and evasive. Don’t try to plan anything. Just wait to see what happens. With the disappointing release of Mobile 6.5, and some manufacturers, such as Motorola, deciding to opt out until next year’s release of Mobile 7, many of us are relegated to holding onto our 6.1 devices, watching and waiting, suffering from iPhone envy while Microsoft  gets its act together. Microsoft either doesn’t get the importance of brand loyalty, or they believe they have such a corner on the market that they don’t need loyal users. This may be true of the Windows platform running on PCs, but not so of mobile devices. Apple and Google are eating Microsoft’s lunch, and more and more users are scampering away from Windows Mobile. What should we do?

Mobile 6.5 – A Feeble Attempt at Placation

The reviews are in. Windows Mobile 6.5 is an ineffective band-aid, hardly worth buying a new phone. Most people will wait to see Mobile 7 (or bite the bullet and change their OS–enough is enough).

The following PC World article, entitled Windows Mobile 6.5 Arrives, Mostly Disappoints, sums up what most people think of Mobile 6.5:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/173186/windows_mobile_65_arrives_mostly_disappoints.html

The following article from Communications Technology Watch, sums up the frustration we’re all feeling over Windows Mobile in general:

http://commtechwatch.com/?p=678

Where is Mobile 7?

Now there’s a good question. Right now, nobody knows. It’s questionable as to whether Microsoft knows. There’s all kinds of speculation around the Web. The timeframe seems to be anytime next year. Helpful, right?

While I have found all kinds of post claiming dates ranging from mid- to late-2009 through early- to late 2010, the latest consensus seems to be 3rd or 4th quarter 2010 before we actually see devices running Windows Mobile 7, as in the following post from the folks over at Windows Phone Mix:

http://windowsphonemix.com/windows-mobile-7-rtm-and-office-mobile-7-release-date-leaked/

Hold the Phone! The folks over at newsoxy.com are saying early next year:

http://www.newsoxy.com/mobile/windows-mobile-7/article11803.html

Earlier articles are touting 3rd or 4th quarter 2009. But it seems pretty obvious that’s not going to happen.

Is Mobile 7 Worth Waiting For?

As Microsoft plugs along on its new mobile OS, iPhone and Android continue to get more and more feature rich and sophisticated. It’s really starting to look like Mobile 7 will be just another version of catch-up. Check out this feature review on Gizmodo:

http://gizmodo.com/341287/windows-mobile-7-details-leaked-+-multi+touch-motion-gestures

Notice that this article was posted back in early 2008. At that time, these would have been ground-breaking features. Now, nearly two years later, they are just me-to’s.

Here’s a more in-depth early review from Pocket PC Central:

http://www.pocketpccentral.net/windows_mobile_7_brief.htm

Looked good then, but today it’s nothing new.

The point is, now we’re waiting for our Windows phones to be as good as the competition. Not a great marketing position, Microsoft.

William Harrel – www.williamharrel.com

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We’ve all been watching as Microsoft ‘s mobile OS struggles to catch up with Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android. Granted, creating a modern operating system for handheld’s can’t be easy, but Microsoft’s competitors have proven it can be done. The question is, why can’t Microsoft keep up? Windows Mobile 6.5 is definitely a step forward, but hardly a finished competitor. Besides, many of the Mobile 6.1 devices out there are not upgradeable, meaning that a substantial number of Windows phone users will have to buy new devices to take advantage of the upgrade. With Mobile 7 so close to being released (perhaps as early as April 2010, more likely the second half of 2010), why would we bother? Especially since there is a good chance that many 6.5 devices probably won’t be upgradeable, either. Has Microsoft sold us short again? Should we shell out a few hundred bucks for an incremental upgrade? Does this upgrade get us close to iPhone and Android functionality? What are reviewers saying about Mobile 6.5? Let’s take a look at 6.5, compare it to Mobile 7, and decide whether we should wait to upgrade.

iPhone Clone?

Take a look at the homepage on the Samsung phone in the picture above. Look familiar? If not, check out this phone:

Apple iPhone

Apple's iPhone

Looks pretty similar, doesn’t it? Well, just because it looks like a duck… While there are some things I don’t like about the iPhone, such as the lack of slide-out keyboard and that you are relegated to using AT&T cell service–Windows Mobile 6.5 is still lacking several iPhone key features. Here are a couple of the most notable:

  • Multi-Touch technology allows users to move and stretch images and application windows with simple multiple-finger input gestures, increasing ease of use and productivity.
  • Shake and Bump features allows users to manipulate and exchange data, images, videos, and play games with other users with simple shake or bump movements of the phone.

If you’ve ever seen an iPhone user say something into the phone, and then shake the device to execute the command, it’s pretty slick. We won’t see either of the above features until Mobile 7. Mobile 6.5 has only the single-touch function, a function that, until now, was only available to Windows Mobile users through overlays built into the device by the phone manufacturer. Multi-touch is still not available.

The Sad Truth

Where Mobile 6.5 is concerned, the real story is what’s missing. The upgrade really is a yawn, as recounted in this Gizmodo post:

http://gizmodo.com/5374876/windows-mobile-65-review-theres-no-excuse-for-this

Now compare this to early reviews of Mobile 7:

http://www.engadget.com/2008/01/06/is-this-windows-mobile-7/

Granted, this post is old, but it is a pretty good recap of what we can expect from Mobile 7.

Me? Well, since my phone is not yet upgradeable to Mobile 6.5, I plan to wait until it is or until Mobile 7. I’m sure not buying a new phone just to run an incremental upgrade, at best.

[Watch for the release of my book Windows Mobile 7 for Dummies with the release of the Mobile 7 OS.]

William Harrel – www.williamharrel.com

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