Welcome!

Wearables Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, Shelly Palmer

Related Topics: Wearables, Mobile IoT, Microsoft Cloud, Adobe Flex, SYS-CON MEDIA, Machine Learning , AJAXWorld RIA Conference & Expo, FlexSeminar.com, Video, iPhone Developer Summit 2008 East

Wearables: Article

Windows Mobile Discussion During iPhone Developer Summit

A Shrunken, Crippled Version of Windows

During the Q&A period after one of my sessions at the iPhone Developer Summit last Thursday, there was someone there from Microsoft Competetive Intelligence. She asked myself and some other folks who were lingering nearby to describe, in our unbiased opinions, what we thought was wrong with Windows Mobile.

Talk about a can of worms. My unbiased opinion is actually pretty close to my biased opinion. I've written Compact Framework applications for Windows Mobile and Pocket PC 2003 and have written Embedded VB and Embedded C++ apps for Windows CE, and I've even written applications for Palm OS ($%#@!#@! endian conversions can bite me!). The Compact Framework makes developing for Windows-based mobile devices brainless, easy, and extremely productive. That said, Windows Mobile is fugly.

My response to her was that Windows Mobile is a crippled, shrunken version of Windows. By this I mean that when you are using Windows Mobile, you do not ever, at any point, feel as though you are in the middle of a user experience designed for mobile users and mobile devices. In fact, what you really feel like is that you are mired knee-deep in a bastardized Windows desktop experience that has been hacked, slashed, cut, and mangled until it is nothing more than a limbless victim bleeding out on the mobile device battlefield. Granted, even cut and slashed as it is, its an extremely powerful OS rich with capability. But that's the problem: it has capability, but it has a terrible experience.

Why does a mobile device need a Start menu and/or button? Basically what you are left with is the feeling that someone thought (quite erroneously) that since all mobile device users are at some point Windows desktop users and said users are stupid and incapable of adaptation that Windows Mobile must look and feel as much like what those users are familiar with on the desktop as possible. This is stupid and this is why no one actually wants to use Windows Mobile! Think about it, when was the last time you, as a windows mobile device owner, actually felt pleasure while using your WM device? When was the last time you said "Awesome, I'll just whip out my WM device and we'll check that (insert query) online!" Probably never. In fact, the conversation usually goes something like this:

Buddy: Hey, when is (movie) playing?
You: Hellifiknow.
Buddy: So get off your ass and check it online.
You: Dammit. No laptop nearby.
Buddy: Don't you have net access on your phone?
You: Yeah, but its Windows Mobile.
Buddy: f**k. Well, I'm gonna go get a coffee while you check.
You: Dammit. You check.
Buddy: You check.
... and so on
20 minutes later someone has suffered through IE on the mobile device or, if they're lucky, they have a movie time application that they use that they also suffered through (only less so than with IE)

What's the moral of the story? Windows Mobile devices are a means of last resort. A last ditch effort. A necessary evil. People use them because they have access to corporate e-mail, some of them play music, and they have access to a plethora of ugly-ass applications with a few gems hidden in the endless sea of available shareware/freeware apps. When a WM owner needs to check something online using a browser, it involves cringing, sighing, or just giving up.

Developers writing WM applications need to exert tremendous influence and effort on the lowest level functionality to avoid and escape the terrible experience and provide something that users actually enjoy using. Windows Mobile was not designed from the ground up to be a mobile experience. Using WM feels kludgy, slow, unproductive, and alien. If you are going to build a mobiel device that people enjoy and people want to use, then the first step is to actually design an experience that fits the mobile form factor and the mobile digital lifestyle. Anything less is a hack. The only reason why WM has so much proliferation is because it is the defacto standard for corporate mobile devices. It is like the phone company of the days of old. Service sucked, support sucked, prices sucked, but people used it because they had to. Once people had other options (VoIP, voice-over-cable, cheap cellular, low-cost competitors) they took them and they took them in droves.

What will happen to Windows Mobile once people have an alternative that is both pleasant to use and works with both their corporate and personal lives? Adapt or die. At some point Microsoft must rearchitect Windows Mobile from the ground up to be a compelling mobile user experience.

- Anyway, this has been a verbose description of my own two cents. Your mileage may vary :)

tags:    
links: digg this del.icio.us technorati reddit

More Stories By Kevin Hoffman

Kevin Hoffman, editor-in-chief of SYS-CON's iPhone Developer's Journal, has been programming since he was 10 and has written everything from DOS shareware to n-tier, enterprise web applications in VB, C++, Delphi, and C. Hoffman is coauthor of Professional .NET Framework (Wrox Press) and co-author with Robert Foster of Microsoft SharePoint 2007 Development Unleashed. He authors The .NET Addict's Blog at .NET Developer's Journal.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Adam Lein 03/26/08 10:00:36 AM EDT

First of all, it sounds like you're talking about Windows Mobile Professional, not Standard.
The Start menu is just like having a Home button that brings you to a list of applications. How do you expect to access other applications without an easily understandable method of doing so?
Having the feel resemble the desktop version of Windows is actually very smart. This lets users bring what they already know about interacting with computers to the mobile device thus decreasing the learning curve and increasing the sense of intuitiveness.

In reality many users do want to use Windows Mobile. 20 Million this year was it? If you've ever used the Live Search program for Windows Mobile, you'll see how ridiculously easy it is to find and purchase movie tickets. It even has voice recognition for search queries!! Myself and other Windows-Mobile-using friends do this all the time. Heck, it's easier than opening a web browser on a desktop computer and searching for movies that way! I often use the Windows Mobile Live Search program to do those kinds of things even if I'm sitting in front of a desktop. It's just so much easier.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
In a recent survey, Sumo Logic surveyed 1,500 customers who employ cloud services such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP). According to the survey, a quarter of the respondents have already deployed Docker containers and nearly as many (23 percent) are employing the AWS Lambda serverless computing framework. It’s clear: serverless is here to stay. The adoption does come with some needed changes, within both application development and operations. Tha...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, will lead you through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He'll look at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn't require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbui...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
SYS-CON Events announced today that N3N will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. N3N’s solutions increase the effectiveness of operations and control centers, increase the value of IoT investments, and facilitate real-time operational decision making. N3N enables operations teams with a four dimensional digital “big board” that consolidates real-time live video feeds alongside IoT sensor data a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TidalScale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TidalScale is the leading provider of Software-Defined Servers that bring flexibility to modern data centers by right-sizing servers on the fly to fit any data set or workload. TidalScale’s award-winning inverse hypervisor technology combines multiple commodity servers (including their ass...
As hybrid cloud becomes the de-facto standard mode of operation for most enterprises, new challenges arise on how to efficiently and economically share data across environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Product at Elastifile, will explore new techniques and best practices that help enterprise IT benefit from the advantages of hybrid cloud environments by enabling data availability for both legacy enterprise and cloud-native mission critical applications. By rev...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant th...
Digital transformation is changing the face of business. The IDC predicts that enterprises will commit to a massive new scale of digital transformation, to stake out leadership positions in the "digital transformation economy." Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, Oct 31-Nov 2, will find fresh new content in a new track called Enterprise Cloud & Digital Transformation.
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software. They hope to capture value from emerging technologies such as IoT, SDN, and AI. Ultimately, irrespective of the vertical, it is about deriving value from independent software applications participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kausik Sridhar, founder and CTO of Pulzze Systems, will discuss how given the magnitude of today's applicati...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Golden Gate University will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Since 1901, non-profit Golden Gate University (GGU) has been helping adults achieve their professional goals by providing high quality, practice-based undergraduate and graduate educational programs in law, taxation, business and related professions. Many of its courses are taug...
What is the best strategy for selecting the right offshore company for your business? In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, will discuss the things to look for - positive and negative - in evaluating your options. He will also discuss how to maximize productivity with your offshore developers. Before you start your search, clearly understand your business needs and how that impacts software choices.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ryobi Systems will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ryobi Systems Co., Ltd., as an information service company, specialized in business support for local governments and medical industry. We are challenging to achive the precision farming with AI. For more information, visit http:...
As popularity of the smart home is growing and continues to go mainstream, technological factors play a greater role. The IoT protocol houses the interoperability battery consumption, security, and configuration of a smart home device, and it can be difficult for companies to choose the right kind for their product. For both DIY and professionally installed smart homes, developers need to consider each of these elements for their product to be successful in the market and current smart homes.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of hybrid cloud enablement solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere Systems was created by file systems experts determined to reinvent storage by changing the way enterprises thought about and bought storage resources. With decades of experience behind the company’s founders, Avere got its ...