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back to article Microsoft just wants to be touched

Microsoft has been showing press the next version of their mobile operating system, with lots of finger control, integration with the cloud, and an application store. A bit like the iPhone. Only not as good. Microsoft would like the public to call their new version "Windows," though internally they'll still refer to it as …

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NaZ
Boffin

o dear

O dear!, well i hope we dont get the classic blue screen of death!,

up there with the ring of death on the xbox,, make be the mobile phone will have a red vibrating screen! with a cheesey window noise!,, well i surpose if that does happen, at least they could sell the phone with a female vibrator option.?:P

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Jobs Horns

You've missed the point

On it's own Windows Mobile, erm Phone is nothing compared to the shiny iPhone. But there are only the two flavours of iPhone - with or without 300kbps broadband.

Because Windows allow people like HTC and Palm to make all sorts of cunning devices for their operating system they are streets ahead of the Jesus Phone in terms of connectivity, ease of use and adaptability.

No copy and paste, no Slingbox, no 3.5G, no solid slide out keyboard, no choice of browser. No thanks.

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Looks like:

Bill Ray's trying to look for obectivity in Steve Job's behind.

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Anonymous Coward

They could at least file the serial numbers off

Application Store? Seriously?

I will laugh most heartily if MS manage to duplicate MobileMe's initial legendary flakiness

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Silver badge
Gates Horns

another word for dung?

>Microsoft would like the public to call their new version "Windows,"

I have had 3 phones with various iterations of windows muddle on them, and although each was different from the last I would not have characterised that difference as 'progress' in any way.

I have called the last 3 versions some very odd things. What the next one is called may end up being nothing to do with me, as I am trying to find the phone I want without any of their nasty snarfware on it.

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Anonymous Coward

Interface to Windowws for Warships

Can I drive my submarine from it?

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Flame

Windows

Rubbish.

XP is Windows, Vista and socalled Windows 7 are "Windows".

Windows Mobile 6.5 is a franken version of Windows CE. Which isn't at all windows either.

BSD, UNIX, Ubuntu, Android, Solaris and HPUX have more in common with each other than brain dead WinCE/Mo has with real Windows.

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Coat

So...

MS has actually made something which works from the massive steaming pile of junk which MobileMe is?

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A bit negative?

For a new OS that the author seems to have barely seen, its a remarkably negative article. A bit on the partisan side perhaps?

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No 3.5G?

@Liam Thom 3.5G is what the industry generally use to describe HSDPA enabled UMTS technology.

The speed test application I have on my iPhone typically gives me a download speed of 2.5Mbps over cellular (that's on a HSDPA enabled cell with a maximum download speed of up to 3.6Mbps). The maximum download speed of a non-HSDPA UMTS cell is 384Kbps.

So the iPhone 3G is compatible with HSDPA. Maybe they should have called it the iPhone 3.5G, but perhaps that name is too much of a mouth full.

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A bit negative?

@Bunglebear: That's because there's been a lot of info floating around about WinMo 6.5 for months, so none of it's really new news. In fact, given that HTC's TouchFlow (and the already-mentioned PointUI) have been wrapping up WinMo in a (slightly more) usable GUI than MS's efforts for months shows what a poor effort this is from the folks at MS.

The fact is, you can see from the screenshots already released that there are still 16x16px icons dotted around the place, meaning you'll still struggle to use the devices effectively with chewed fingernails and a lack of stylus.

But ironically, the fundamental problem with WinMo is not actually the GUI; I have a TyTN2 and manage perfectly well using the hardware keyboard and softkeys most of the time, with the odd well-placed fingertip for the exceptional circumstances.

No, the problem with WinMo is the underlying OS is still flawed in so many ways. It regularly slows down, hangs, crashes, reboots and is generally shonky (see, they've had the 'real' Windows experience on mobiles for years). I get sick and tired of missing calls because of the lack of proper pre-emptive behaviour which means that if a call comes in while I'm doing *anything* on the phone, by the time it's responded to my wild finger-stabbing, the voicemail's kicked in.

Some galactically stupid design decisions mean that functions which could be hugely powerful (such as ActiveSync) work in such a counter-intuitive way that they prevent the device from being really useful. The fact that you have to install Resco Explorer (or similar) to get proper network connectivity (access to UNC paths, etc) just shows that the OS is behind the times, and I don't expect 6.5 to be much better than a GUI refresh.

WinMo 7 shows hints of being what WM6 always should have been, but by the time that's out it'll be way too late. I suspect that by then the market will have polarised into the iPhone ('consumer') market, for people who just want a stylish phone which works and does a bit of email etc, and Android ('geek'/'pro') market, with a more open development platform and better hardware support (i.e., lots of different individual handsets, all pushing the platform to its limits), leaving WinMo trailing as the "what might have been" option.

It still astonishes me to think that MS have been dicking around with this Mobile OS for 15 years, and yet they've only now realised what they need to do with it. A little foresight, and they could possibly have challenged all mobile platforms - and not just Apple et al in the smartphone arena, but Nokia, etc too.....

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@Bunglebear

Yes, he's only seen it for a while. And yes, it gives no real information beyond "MS nicks the idea of the 'application store' from Apple". Which isn't exactly the worlds biggest crime- it's not like you actually have to use it in WinMo.

It begs the question- given that there's an internet-full of apps for WinMo, how come it needs an Application Store?

Also, WinMo isn't Windows. If it was possible to scale down XP / Vista / 7 sufficiently to run on a small system like that there would be no call for the alternatives; it'd already be well programmed and scaleable. It's based on WindowsCE, which is about as close to XP as Linux is.

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Stop

I'm very happy with Windows mobile thanks.

I'm Using SPB Mobile Shell as the UI which is very nice and I have had no issues with crashing or unreliability with the underlying system which makes me wonder whether most if the WM bashing that goes on on this site is from people who have not really used it.

I used the iPhone btw. Nice UI granted, but it's stone age tech.

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Flame

@You've missed the point

Sling box is coming to iPhone. Cut and paste, fair point, can't say I miss it that much though. Solid keyboard, don't need one. No choice of browser, cluching at straws now, ditto no 3.5G. The need for a sylus is very 1992 and Newton. Ever tried to send a text from a windows mobile device one handed? I have had a number of Windows Mobile based handsets. They ALL sucked beyond belief. They were ALL desperately unstable. The hardware was cheaply made tat. Blackberry was much better, but not as good as the iPhone. I think that it is you that has missed the point. Lipstick on a pig or a polished turd? Either will work. BTW, you missed no MMS...

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Go

Steampunk

Though it may look like steampunk without the artdeco I'm quite happy with Windows Mobile too. It's not as slick as iphone, but it's way more usable for me. It works and has yet to crash on me in 2.5 years (before that I was using a treo), requiring a hard reset. I've done very few soft resets and usually after some software install that required it - oh and to change to the spare battery when long away from a recharge. It's also nice being able to charge or transfer files using a standard miniUSB cable.

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Pirate

looks like

they took HTC's touchflo and integrated it into the OS..... so just a facelift

I've used these winmo devices for a few years now, way back with 2002 edition.

Back then a reset meant 50/50 chance of losing data. Then the proper switch to solid state for everything including the OS came (i.e. a good step forward). Since then it has been small incremental improvements..... no earth shattering stuff.

They even took a huge step backwards by allowing ANY software to be run on it instead of certified apps (a la iphone), this let the pirates in proper. as you needed to know how to get round the locks before.

Maybe this new version will reintroduce the locks and take a good step forward, but I doubt it. It is now a pirates friend (no security) and will no doubt stop companies from taking it seriously until it goes back to a more secure design for software protection. No DRM is needed as it is already in the phone, it just says "this is uncertified continue?" or something like that.

I know I stopped developing for it when my apps were getting few sales but lots of tracker downloads.

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@Mac Phreak

Sounds like the iPhone is exactly what you were looking for in a mobile - either that or you've revised your requirements based around a desire stay within the Apple ecosystem rather than try one of the alternative offerings from a less fruity supplier - and that's fine and dandy, but please don't make the classic and utterly flawed assumption that everyone else's needs can be similarly met.

As long as Apple continue to try and exert OTT levels of control over what the owner of their shiny phones are allowed to do with the devices they're paying not incosiderable sums of money for, I couldn't care less how polished the UI is, how slick the OS is, how beautifully crafted the hardware is (though some of the recent WinMo offerings from HTC are pretty damn solid build-quality wise, even if they might lack the finer aesthetic touches), because I won't be using any of it. The iPhone simply doesn't offer anything I need so desperately that I'd be willing to pay for a device that physically may be in my possession, but which is still at least partly controlled by Apple.

In contrast, despite their reputation for being something of a control freak in the desktop arena, Microsoft have continued to surprise and delight me by keeping the mobile OS pretty much an open book. Rolling your sleeves up and diving into the registry allows for untold customisations to be made, and third-party software is readily available without it first having to be blessed by the software high priests (and so giving you the choice to accept or reject it, rather than having to trust in the judgment or ulterior motives of someone else *cough* Apple *cough* to accept/reject it on your behalf). When I buy a WinMo device, it's mine. I decide how it gets configured, what gets installed. Granted, this means there's plenty of scope to leap with both feet into the smelly brown stuff and end up with a brick, but that's a risk and responsibility I'm happy to take on given the benefits.

Sure , there's lots to dislike about WinMo, even after all the iterations it's gone through, but until Android development steps up a gear or two, and until Android-compatible hardware stops looking and behaving like prototypes that've escaped into the wild, then there isn't any alternative for people who want a mobile OS that gives them the ability to tweak and twiddle and use the hardware to its fullest.

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Linux

Thank You M$

It looks like M$ has surpassed themselves in their ability to offer the absolute ordinary in such a absolutely ordinary way. Such progressives, such wankers!

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Flame

@Chris

No problem with your openning mate. Fair enough. I was merely pointing out the usual 'iPhone is crap because...' bollocks that you get on here. As previously stated the iPhone is 3.5G. There is no need for a hard wired keyboard, although I undestand why people may want one. Fair enough. Cut'n'Paste would be nice, but as I said, can't honsetly notice that I miss it. Believe me , I know its not perfect. Battery life could be better. No MMS, whilst I get why it isn't there (anybody heard of email?), it would be nice.

I have got a problem with what you go on to say though, and that you clearly think I am an arrogant [sic], stupid [sic] and delusional [sic] Mactard fanboy. Microsoft used to exert the same level of control ove ther Winmob ecosystem. The available software was limited though, and generally ridiculously expensive, we're talking Adobe/Autodesk ridiculous. Before, the software had to be certified to run on Windows CE. It doesn't now. Now piracy is a problem on the platform, and as a result the quality of software available I have found in my own experience to be poor. I would imagine that this is down to the fact that Microsoft let any Tom, Dick or Harry develop pointless shite for the platform. To be fair, the iPhone has a lot of pointless shite available for it, but at least it's quality controlled shite ;)! As for build quality, I sincerely hope it has improved. I had to replace three Tytn II handsets because they broke, one vibrated itself off of a desk and fell on a carpet shattering its screen! I don't want to have to wrap electronics up with cotton wool in order to use them. They sould be robust. The minute you introduce stylus' and 'slidy outy' bits, trouble is being courted. I've never owned a clam shell phone for this very reason. "When I buy a WinMo device, it's mine" I'd check the license and your contract if I were you...

I get the feeling that you dislike iPhone purely on the grounds that it's made by Apple. That's sad in an unhappy way(!). I bet that you think I'm a bit of a fanboy, "...Microsoft have continued to surprise and delight me...", no Sir, not me! I dislike Windows mobile (and Microsoft products generally, although their mice and keyboards kick arse!) because of the untold amount of shite they have sold to me, sometimes without me even wanting it! I dislike Windows Mobile because, through experience, it has been rubbish. The fact that it crashes, constantly because applications don't close when you think you have closed them, sucking battery juice for fun irks me. Why does the OS need to reboot after installing software practically EVERY time? I've seen people slag off iPhones 'poor' battery life regularly, but next to most winmob phones I've seen, had and used reglarly, it's pratically a fission generator!!!

Mate, you are of course entitled to your opinions, as am I and everyone else. You've also clearly had a much better Microsoft ride than me. The fact though remains that Microsoft have polished a turd. Again.

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