I’m not talking about eleven years ago - just a few months shy, when Pocket PC 2000 codename “Rapier” was launched by Microsoft, but back in 2003, when the first release under the branding Windows Mobile saw daylight with Windows Mobile 2003 codename “Ozone” and it was designed especially to run on Pocket PCs with phone functionality.
Since “Ozone”, over a period of eight years, we’ve arrived to Windows Phone 6.5(.x) at present. Let’s not forget the ancestors:
- June 23, 2003 - Windows Mobile 2003 codename “Ozone”
- March 24, 2004 - Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition
- May 9, 2005 – Windows Mobile 5 codename “Magneto”
- February 12, 2007 – Windows Mobile 6 codename “Crossbow”
- April 1, 2008 – Windows Mobile 6.1
- May 11, 2009 – Windows Mobile 6.5
- February 2, 2010 – Windows Mobile 6.5.3
Over the past couple of years, I’ve been reading, researching and talking to people a lot and I can honestly say that there were more and more people complaining about Windows Mobile. I do sense a dose of hypochondria floating around but it can be as well associated to basic human behavior: we all get bored of things over time! Couple that with another human behavior of always wanting something more, newer, faster, shinier, other, etc., and the chance for an alternative, and you’ve got yourself a pretty unsatisfied crowd.
What’s wrong with Windows Mobile? It can do today the same tasks you fell in love with some time ago, and even more. But I’d dare to state that the biggest problem of the platform is also one of its biggest advantages, the one that allows you to customize, to tweak, to improve.
Let’s be honest for a second: over the past couple of years we tweaked the heck out of it! We did file system tweaks, registry tweaks, application tweaks, user interface tweaks, generally speaking all the usability, functionality and aspect related tweaks we could find after the experience of these past eight years. And let’s not forget all the Frankenstein creations after playing with OSes between devices (of different class) and cross platform ports. You can physically tune an engine up to a point where it breaks the same way one can lift weight up to a limit where if a fly settles on it you drop it. Think about it for a second: what if Windows Mobile was a rigid platform that didn’t allow you Registry editing, file system access, etc.?
A year or so ago, someone complained while talking to me at a party that the platform is slow and how nice it would be to have more memory and a faster processor. Wish granted, welcome Snapdragon! It’s a huge difference compared to the old 500 MHz processors but the funny thing is someone sent me an email asking for advice on improving the speed of an HD2 that’s being terribly slow! My first comment when I’ve got my hands on the HD2 was that it was instant in everything it did. I guess it’s just a matter of perspective: spend some time with the HTC P3300’s 200 MHz OMAP 850 processor…
I’m a big fan of evolution! I love to get new things! But you can’t break the rules of physics. Yesterday at the office a colleague showed me his HTC Touch Cruise, a wonderful device by the way, practically crawling, running a custom Windows Mobile 6.5 ROM. Needless to say that it launched Outlook for e-mails in 15 seconds, after booting up in three minutes or so (and I’m being indulgent here). “The platform’s crap!” he said. “No sh!t!” I replied.
Another thing people complain is the need for daily Soft Resets (or worse, multiple times per day). You’d be surprised to find out I never Soft Reset. “Bullsh!t, fanboy!” you might think. Bear with me for a second: most of the times, it’s not the actual OS that hangs but an application or a process running on top of it. And you’ve got plenty of those, I know, just check your Task Manager!
So what’s the problem with Windows Mobile? I’d say: its users who forgot to actually use such a device for its purpose. Yes, it might have become a bit wrinkled and older compared to newer OSes, but the brains are still there. And there’s the past eight years to prove it!
Next time you want to say something bad about it, just take the following test. You don’t have anything to lose since you already might think about turning away... Hard Reset and use it as it is. Don’t install hundreds of apps and apply all the tweaks just for the heck of it, limit yourself to using the Device the way it was intended to. Install the apps that you really use on a regular basis, just ignore your urge to customize the taskbar icons or tweak Sense till you choke it and then come back and drop me a comment. Till then, thank you Windows Mobile/Phone for existing in my life! I support Windows Phone 7!