Abandon a platform only a few years after launch? Well I never...
Microsoft insists that its upcoming ARM-friendly version of Windows is no threat to its existing smartphone OS, Windows Phone 7. Windows for ARM is strictly for "tablets on up," Redmond says. But Intel CEO Paul Otellini sees Microsoft's mobile OS future quite differently. The tablets-on-up "Windows 8" will run on x86 chips as …
..."Pissing into the wind" ring any bells.
MS are late to the party, and brought a bottle of flat lemonade. Consequently, no-one wants to talk to them. Why has it taken them so long to realise that ARM processors power 90%+ of smartphones? Same applies to Intel. They had reasonable Risc chips years ago, but for reasons unknown, didn't seem to push them... i960, X-scale...
Microsoft should look at Motorola Atrix and copy that IMO.
When a phone is on it's own it should run a mobile phone UI but when you dock it with a screen, mouse and a keyboard, it should boot up or switch to the full Windows 8, mobile UI and Windows should be able to "communicate" with each other like it is on Atrix... if you have tabs opened in mobile Firefox, when you dock they should be open up in full desktop Firefox and visa versa.
That would be a killer IMO, might even kill laptops and tablets. Phones are reaching enough power to challenge laptops.
Having a single OS that runs on all platforms is a laudable concept. The reason Apple and Android can go that direction is that they're both working on a relatively compact core product that scales well. Microsoft has a huge frankenstein monster of an operating system that only still works because at least until 2005 the average PC was tracking the speed and storage requirements of each new release. We've seen with netbooks that the stack doesn't provide an acceptable experience on low power, low performance hardware. For Microsoft to have an OS that works everywhere, one would have to either start from scratch or redefine the meaning of "everywhere". I think it's a good move for M$ to resist this idea. It'd doom them.
As the former owner of a Windows Mobile device, I can say that Windows Mobile 6 and earlier proved that the Windows Desktop is a terrible paradigm for a small touch device. (Think "Start" button that's an eight of an inch high and a quarter inch wide. Now select it.) As an owner of a Windows 7 tablet, I can tell you that Windows 7 tablets adequately demonstrate that even "tablet enabled" Windows is a terrible, terrible interface for a touch device of ANY size.
So where does that leave Microsoft? If they plan to compete at all in the Mobile space, they need to continue with Mobile 7 because of the vanishingly small chance that a phone could be produced running full Windows that had anything like a decent user experience. This is their decision and I think it's the right one.
Windows on tablets? I suppose it depends on what the Windows 8 gui looks like. If it's like Microsoft Surface, I'll want one. If it's just Windows 7 with some window dressing, then Microsoft will continue to not play in the tablet market.
Nail hit firmly on the head.
Microsoft desperately need to re-invent their core OS, but there's such a massive amount of baggage, it makes the change to *nix Jobs insitigated for Mac OS look like a walk in the park.
Redmond need to go *nix to compete in the mobile market, simply because the core OS isn't malleable enough.
I suspect hell may freeze over first.
I agree with the drift of this. However, let's not forget that Windows 8 is supposed to be a major re-write of the OS, rather than a 'lets fix Vista and call it 7 to dodge the bad PR' exercise - if Vista had been written properly, we'd be talking about a new, upcoming Windows 7 on ARM/x86 boxes.
If it is such a major re-write, then the basic kernel may be fit for any hardware platform, be it phone, tablet or monster server. This moves the problem to designing the UI as appropriate for each. Win 7 is good on desktops or laptops (and servers as well, where needed), but for tablets down, they need to put more work in (WinMo7 is a step in the right direction, I agree Surface would be cool).
As an aside, if the kernel is small enough to run on tablets and phones, then finally MS might be able to have a crack at making Hyper-V small enough to compete with VMware ESXi.
They buggered around for years, then gave up, Rushed out something that sort of worked so they could get the upgrade treadmill running again.
The only way I could see them getting anywhere would be to make the core OS of Windows 8 (or more likely 9) all new, with no backward comparability at all. Then stick a copy of windows 7 as a Virtual machine (like XP in Windows 7) to handle existing software. Good chance they would still find a way to screw it up, maybe lock in down like the iPhone/Phone7 and require you to get all native applications from their app store.
So...let me get this straight, we've had Kin, MS Live (the strategy in general) , Vista, Silverlight, Zune and now WP7 bomb. How does Ballmer still have a job? There is more than a little desperation in MS's corporate voice these days, and nobody finds it attractive. Why are they having to beg people to look at the Windows phone when they've spent 500MIllion hyping it and people are queuing round the block to buy iPhones? Is it because the buying public buys MS products only when they are pretty much forced to by backwards compatibility and sees them as all but irrelevent outside of Big windows, Xbox and Office? Yes quite possibly. Either way, whenever you discontinue and dump a platform foor your long term strategy, those early adopters (dev's, end users) who bought into it will likely hate you forever...just saying.
There's never going to be one UI for both mobile devices and desktops- we can forget that dream right now. And while MS is in a pretty awkward spot right now, the fact that W7 apps and a lot of Windows apps are written with the same framework ought to be a huge help.
After all, Apple's mobile OS success isn't that it runs the same OS as a desktop Mac, it's that the APIs are the same. Beneath that point the average app developer doesn't really need to care much, if it's done right. So, irregardless of what processor or form factor we're running on, provide a consistent API through .NET. While you'll still have plenty of internal headaches, the rest of the world will be able to get on with developing for your product.
Thanks for bringing up an important point that is often overlooked. Microsoft's .NET is definitely the solution to the perceived problem outlined in this article. Not just .NET (whoops, for a moment that said .NEWT), but XNA and Silverlight too. These are APIs available across the board, and regardless of the core operating system any applications developed for Windows Phone 7 will port with great ease to the main Windows platform.
Microsoft's strategy over the last decade or so has led them to a point where developers can target common APIs available on the majority of Microsoft platforms without worrying about the underlying kernel or hardware abstraction layer. That's good in my opinion.
Otellini sees a future where the aging x86 architecture can be the heart of mobile phones, and at the rate technology shrinks and power requirements are reduced that is entirely feasible. It's very plausible that one day phones will run full-blown Windows but with a specialised UI based on .NET. In the meanwhile WinCE and its latest incarnation WP7 will be just fine for the mobile market.
.NET the solution to MS' mobile market troubles!?! Do me favour! Which mobile device out there do you think has the capacity for the 5 different installable iterations (all intedependant) of that particular pigs-ear?
.NET is an a joke to either code for or use on a fat client let alone a smartphone and MS historically won't have the wherewithall to port it properly jsut as they couldn't port the Windows UI to Mobile Phone 6.
MS need to write an OS from the ground up and not the kind of "ground up" they said Vista was, their desire to pander to the masses and support all configurations is what has, and still does hold them back.
Have just bought first smartphone - a £100 Android PAYG device with 800x480 screen, no less.
The lady in the shop says that the WP7 devices are selling, but for business use (probably the same people who were blindly buying WP5, WP6, etc.).
I most definitely do *not* want the bloated, endlessly self-updating, and cracker-playground "big windows" experience on a phone... in fact it has been liberating to use something that is free of the down-sides of the "big windows" experience and if the phone had a bigger screen I'd probably use it for all of my communication.
Businesses are buying smart phones with WP7 but I won't say they are doing it blindly. Most of those business that didn't go with Blackberries and RIM went with windows mobile devices to allow for integration into Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Office. With Exchange many early devices didn't properly support mailbox syncing and provide the ability for the IT staff to enforce security protocols. So, upgrading to WP7 from those earlier versions makes sense even if many of the issues have now been resolved especially with Android.
In my company I think I am the only user with an Android phone while everyone else has one version or another of a Windows smart phone with a few Apples owned by higher level people that can twist the arm of the IT staff.
WP7 might or might not be great but after having thrown my old Windows Mobile 6 out the window in complete and utter frustration and then replacing it with an Android phone I have no desire to even look at the new OS from Microsoft.
"Businesses are buying smart phones with WP7....." Same reason as ever - we need to read documents created on Windows desktops with M$ Office when out and about, without having to fire up a laptop, securely delivered by email. I really like RIMs phones and the BES setup, but I'll honestly admit I think the only reason for their success (and the smartest move they made) was because they had that full-on compatibility with Exchange and could convert MS documents back and forth. Whilst a less than ideal experience - ever tried editing an Excel spreadsheet on a candybar like the 7100? - it was convenient enough to be valuable. In some ways, all the consumer junk being added to BBs is making them more troublesome as business devices.
"....Most of those business that didn't go with Blackberries and RIM went with windows mobile devices...." Someone once told me something like 80% off Winphones were sold to businesses rather than consumers. As regards work phones, the only two options we allow are BBs and Winphones, period. Whenever we look at options to the Crackberry experience, the only one that comes close is a total switch to Winphones, even when Winphones only had pull email with the additional costs of polling. Android, Symbian or iOS? We've tried those using the web interface to Exchange (seems to work pretty well with just about anything that can run a browser), but they still don't compete to the integrated BES experience or Outlook on Winphones, and then there is the problem of converting the latest Office formats properly. As long as Exchange rules the roost in business email, there will always be a chance for Winphones in the businessplace even if they're not winning with consumers. So, I see the MS desktop OS, MS server OS and MS Exchange teams and Winphone teams as being complimentary for all their benefit, with the key still being the ability to handle desktop Office docs on the next gen Winphone. Should that get broken in the rush to please consumers then I see poor prospects for Winphone.
I had a monthly e-mail from Vodafone the other day listing most of the phones available on our corporate contract.
iPhone: Check (They're still advertising the white iPhone...)
Symbian (Various versions): Check
Win 7: Er, just one phone.
Doesn't really help push Windows 7, with a handset line of just one, does it ?
(OK, No need to go on about iPhone/IOS. You know what I mean)
All the OEMs know that you have to be Microsoft's special friend to get survivable Windows pricing, and that means you have to ship Windows on everything no matter what your customers want. The more Windows units you sell, the more leverage Microsoft has to dictate features and terms - and they'll use every bit of leverage they get to its fullest, to server their other ecosystem needs (server OS, browser, Bing, Office, etc, etc.)
So Windows on ARM brings a situation where if it fails, they're out money and if it succeeds, they're beholden to Microsoft which is worse. If they go that way they'll be competing against an army of Android, Chrome OS, iOS vendors with lower costs and considerably more freedom of action.
There is no way they can win except not to play.
Windows on ARM will sink Windows Phone! No matter how M$ "sees" it.
The problem is this:
Some tablets are grown out of smartphones (Android system).
Some tablets grew out of laptops (current generation Windows Tablet PC's)
So it's clear that eventually these technologies will merge. In the case of Windows 8 vs. Windows phone, it's obvious that Microsoft can't maintain 2 codebases of 2 OS's.
Apple is the best example of this scenario. They had 2 OS's, first and foremost their BSD-based OSX and secondly the more commercially successful product-OS from the iPOD and its derivates. At the release o/t iPhone Apple realized that 2 separate and different OS's was a no go. So they unified its BSD-based OSX with iPod-OS to make it run (or at least a subset of it) on small devices, rebranding the thing as iOS. Obviously next desktop OSX variants will have UI elements from their iOS-based products. For example I predict that in OSX 1.7 the dock will be replaced or complemented with the programs-grid from iOS. So in essence the developments within Apple is what eventually will happen with all these vendors, including M$.
I would even go so far that the future even Samsung will have to decide between Bada-OS and Android. The same for Nokia. But they will realise too late that they should have kept investing in Symbian since Meego will indefinitly being delayed by Intel until it's too late. It's been proven again and again that US companies always have hidden agendas when cooperating with European companies. In the case of Intel it's just to keep Nokia busy so that they can't come back. And since Nokia is too focussed on a promise to invade the US-market (with the suposed Meego-deal) they won't see it coming. The fools.
Big Windows has a huge footprint and needs far more resources than Windows CE. That means bigger and more costly electronics and shorter battery life. All the things you don't want in a phone.
Microsoft has made a huge bet on their new tiles interface. Dumping that and going to a Big Windows interface just does not work on phones.
the biggest problem is that MS is organised in a way that means they'll ship their org chart not something that makes sense.
the big windows posse are very much the alpha dogs and will do anything they can to scupper the success of little windows (metro on a tablet would make so much more sense than trying to run the big brother UI or any of it's apps) no matter what pain this causes the users or the rest of the company.
SteveB needs to use some of this newly consolidated power to bring some common sense to the decisions and politics
I dunno, this saga has a long way to play out and frankly anyone who says anything is just guessing at the moment, but i dont think its a coincidence that Windows 7 and Windows Phone 7 share the same name(ish) i suspect that whilst it will be different we will see a Windows platform theme, i suspect that with Windows 8 we will see a Phone 8 not long off its heels.
MS has been very sucessful on the desktop market by makeing its OS instantly recognisable to almost anyone, take any version of the OS and upgrade to a new one and the basics are the same, this is one of the reasons people subconciously like it, you dont need to spend days learning how to use it, by taking that to the mobile / tablet market as well may work out quite well for them, but who knows, they have the money to keep battering away at "phone" and im sure they will get there eventually.
As I type this I am laughing at the thought.
That said if MS actually adopted an open source model for smart phones (ala android) and made it interoperable with their non standards, they could at least save some face in the bigger OS/Device areas that are surely just going to follow as Android, Meego and iOS grow up...
Whatever they come up with it's got to be damn good, Android and iOS have plenty of development time to improve on already good products.
However things pan out it is going to cost MS considerably more than it should have done if they had bothered to focus on tablets and a Phone OS earlier. I suspect the Vista debacle sucked in more resources to get it right than we suspected.
PS remember folks Windows ARM is going to be MS's usual initial beta release so expect the odd engine to fall off in the first year, look what's happening with the data gobbling bug on WP7. Do you want to take the risk with Windows ARM when it arrives or stick with the mature and stable iOS and Android ? Answers on a postcard please as I'm off for a pint and to watch the footy.
Anyone developing apps for Windows Phone 7 may as well stop now.
The platform is going nowhere. It will never be expanded into tablets. It's only a matter of time before the inevitable announcement that Windows Phone 7 has been axed, to be replaced with Microsoft's Plan-B... "Little Windows" running on phones.
But sadly, both will fail.
"...but if Windows Phone 7 doesn't win the hearts and minds of the smartphone-buying world..."
It was released by far later than any of the other competors, it rides on the back of WM6 WM5 and earlier that crash on a semi-regular basis, the "removable" memory card can't actually be used as a removable memory card because they're tied to the device, and best of all no cut and paste.
You're asking *IF*? I'd be surprised if it DOES take off. Because let's face it, without some seriously drastic changes, it won't have any more appeal than right now. And by that stage, you're going to have an entirely different product. Good luck to them with their wPad.
I was in London the other day, saw a working windows 7 phone in the orange store on oxford street. The HTC Mozart. (Back right hand side of the shop)
Very swish, very clean. But it was 4 clicks to get to word to open a document. It took three swipes to read an email. You can't do what you want with it, instead you have this prescibed front end that you have to live with. And I can't stand that. Shortcuts don't exist like every other app based phone, you can tell you are just rifling through menus you don't want or need.
"Will Windows on ARM sink Windows Phone 7?" No "Windows phone 7" will sink "windows phone 7."
The user visible part of Windows Phone 7 is largely a shell. There is no reason that MS couldn't gut the kernel and put WIndows underneath. While I think a Windows for ARM desktop is largely pointless at the moment I can see merit in porting the kernel and core services to host phone / tablet apps. A few years down the line you might even see devices which are mobile most of the time but can be docked and turned into desktops.
That's what prompted my thoughts although I've seen prototypes of the same concept going back years. I recall IBM had some cigarette pack sized touchscreen PC thingy a few years back that you could carry but plug into a dock and turn back into a desktop.
The concept is very interesting, I think it will become more interesting on Android with v3.0. Basically I would hope to see Chrome OS like functionality (mouse & keyboard) to justify the expense of the peripheral.
I also think that Windows on ARM could offer a TRUE desktop when docked, i.e. you get Windows Phone like UI when your tablet / phone is on the go but plug it into a dock and suddenly you get desktop. The devil is in what the hell you do with it if Windows on ARM if it doesn't support x86 emulation. Probably not much is the answer, maybe MS Office & IE and precious little else.
"Ditching Windows Phone 7 for a Little Windows for smartphones – with, of course, a drastically rejiggered UI – might also be a boon to Microsoft. Apple has shown how a single set of OS innards can work across smartphone, tablet, and desktop with its Mac OS X and iOS. "
Except that Microsoft's actual OS is an unholy mess, with layer after layer of kludge and cruft, circular dependencies, with clear evidence that some bits were just hacked until they worked and shipped, and with publicly commented-on fear of seriously reworking much of the kernel due to fears it'll break various "legacy code". (As an anecdote, when a lot of currenlty taken for granted features like power management, 3D, and so on, were not in the Linux kernel yet, it took a LOOONG time to add them. There was often a "quick hack" to get some feature immediately up and running, or a second method that involved writing a new subsystem, that'd have stronger guarantees of stability on odd hardware, more flexibile, easier to modify in the future, and more scalable, but take longer to implement. The Linux guys picked the long path every time. There's clear signs the Windows guys go for the "quick hack" from time to time, and it really does hurt years down the road.). On the other hand, MacOSX is not the greatest design either (passing so much through the Mach microkernel slows it down a bit) but is far more scalable and flexible. As is the Linux kernel as used by Android. (Personally for a tablet, I'd rather use a full Ubuntu with touch support than Android though I thnk. My dream tablet would also have to have a keyboard (even if it's tiny), since I can't stand touchscreen keyboards). Basically, the Windows kernel itself is really no asset. Absolutely the only reason to use Windows at the moment is essentially moment, it's large base of available software. But, none of that is for the ARM.
@AC Re: Motorola Atrix. Agreed, that phone is SICK.
"However, let's not forget that Windows 8 is supposed to be a major re-write of the OS"
Well, yeah. Microsoft is truly the king of vaporware. Windows 95 was supposed to be a major rewrite (if you ever used WFWG 3.11 with Win32S, it wasn't.) Windows XP was supposed to be a rewrite compared to 2000. Vista was REALLY supposed to be a complete rewrite. In terms of features there's features microsoft promised in the Win98-2000 timeframe that they STILL are claiming they'll get in by the next version of Windows. If you see any bog posts by people "in the trenches", they are TERRIFIED of rewriting the OS.
@Alastair 7, apparently they're stupid. It appears that Microsoft is stepping back from .NET and Silverlight for general use, while emphasizing them just for use on mobile development. I do agree that Microsoft could essentially ditch the horrifying cruft of most of the Windows kernel, run .NET stuff on top, and have a much cleaner API that apps must use. However, Silverlight and .NET are already the primary development platforms for Windows Phone 7, and I think focusing on this would essentially eliminate any minimal reason that still exists for using Windows on anything (the base of existing available software.)
So, will Windows for ARM hurt Windows 7 Phone? I think Win Phone 7 is doing a pretty good job of failing on it's own. I don't see Windows for ARM being successful either.
It isn't going to work.
As a Linux user, I know that when I download a package, it isn't tied to a specific architecture. It will Just Work on x86, x86-64, ARM, MIPS, PowerPC or anything else that will run Linux. It might even Just Work on BSD or Solaris.
Windows on multiple architectures will require architecture-specific packaging, sophisticated auto-detection and still get it wrong when someone downloads an app for their phone using their PC intending to transfer it via SD card.
ARM phone using A9, ARM on any larger Mobile device uses A9, where's the problem !
simply put all these will have the exact same base spec as they all use the same SOC so you can draw an artificial line sure, but that doesn't make it real.
anyway, will we see an alpha/beta windows running on these ARM quad SOC before sep 2011 , and will we see them with with Mali T604 “DirectX 11 and with OpenCL 1.1 internal Gfx cores at low prices
"“The i.MX 6 series is Freescale’s first ARM-based multicore SoC and first Cortex-A9 model. The processor advances the i.MX family with dual-stream 1080p video playback at 60 frames per second (fps), 3D video playback at 50Mbps, desktop-quality gaming, augmented reality applications, and novel content creation capabilities, says Freescale.
The SoC is also touted for being one of the first applications processors to offer hardware support for the open source VP8 codec.
VP8 drives the related WebM (MKV) open container format, both of which are supported in the most recent Android 2.3 release….”
“the SoC is claimed to enable 1080p video (single stream) with only 350mW consumption. As a result, the i.MX 6 series can deliver up to 24 hours of HD video playback and 30-plus days of device standby time, claims the company.”
“Freescale tells me the single core chip will be available to device makers for under $10, while the quad core will cost more than $20, with the dual core model falling somewhere in between. Sure, that means the quad-core chip will cost more than twice as much as the single core chip, but we’re still not talking about a lot of money here.
The company has been a bit behind the curve in the dual core chip space, but by launching new single, dual, and quad-core chips at the same time, Freescale will be among the first companies to make quad core ARM-based chips available. All three new chips will begin sampling in the second quarter of 2011, and the company expects devices using the new chips to hit the market before the end of the year."
Mali is designed to work with ARM's latest CPU core, the Cortex-A15, which targets smartphones, tablets and even servers. Up to 16 2.5GHz cores can work together for these larger systems.
Mali T604 will be compatible with Microsoft's DirectX 11 and with OpenCL 1.1, both programming frameworks for parallel processing over multiple cores. The inclusion of DirectX 11 aroused speculation that this programming technology would soon be supported fully in Windows Phone 7. Currently, full compatibility with DirectX 11 is only seen in Windows 7, but that does not run on ARM processors (though its ties to the Intel x86 design may be broken at last if ARM moves up to servers)."
Back in the Psion3 days I was trying to explain the difference to a windows CE fan. If you have a document in CE and copy some text you have 2 copies of the text vs one in Epoc.
Now with 'real' windows on our phone you will also have another copy of the doc 'on disk' and a 4th copy in the hiberfile to allow the phone to sleep.
There is a slight difference between an always non-volatile memory phone and an OS designed around a disk operating system.
We've all been waiting for ARM netbooks for years here on the Reg (don't even pretend you've not!), but every time someone comes close to shipping one it suddenly disappears without a trace. The cynic in me reckons that could be Microsoft applying a little OEM pressure to lock them into Windows, where the ARM netbooks (you know, with the week-long battery life) would tend to run Linux (and would be incapable of running Windows).
So, if Microsoft ship Windows for ARM, their hardware-manufacturing "partners" (or lackeys if you're that way inclined) end up building ARM computers, and the netbook is a perfect device for ARM. If they're building the hardware anyway, perhaps they could ship Windows and Linux variants. If they won't, I don't imagine it'll take a particularly long time before someone crams Ubuntu (or similar) on there at home. Finally, freedom from the mains socket!
If Microsoft get it right (not a small if) then we could have decent Windows netbooks. If Microsoft produce another travesty like Bob(TM), we'll just end up with decent Linux netbooks. Everyone's a winner, baby!
That's what I thought. ARM = netbooks. Currently the < £99 netbooks are available with an ARM processor running CE. Having ran CE on a VM it isn't the best user experience in the world.
If a low power netbook can have a Win7- like OS/UI, giving it instant on and 6+hr battery life, the vendor would be on to a winner.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019