Friday, July 31, 2009
There were a lot of posts this past week about the world's un-sexiest mobile OS...Windows Mobile. This is a product that gets absolutely no love despite being pretty solid from a technical and UI/UX perspective. Some of this can be attributed to the favorite sport of the tech press, Microsoft-bashing. Some of it is simply the curse of being an OS that's been around the block a few times (its roots are PocketPC 2000)...so for many it's associated with non-phone PDAs like the HP iPAQ (about as cool as grandma's socks). Some of it has to do with unfortunate partnership decisions MS made with handset manufacturers...most notably by taking their first big jump into the smartphone fray with the super-suckilicious Motorola Q. Company president Robbie Bach basically fessed up to this, according to a story in The Business Insider, at an analyst day event in Seattle earlier this week. And then of course there is the new mobile OS hotness, Android which is hooking up with all the sexy handsets (and some Moto devices as well). Om Malik, who has never been a fan of Windows Mobile fan, reported on GigaOM that Google's Android OS is beginning to pose a real threat to Microsoft despite having a fraction of its install-base (11% in US). My feeling is that Windows Mobile still has a lot of potential game, but the key to getting consumers and the industry re-interested will have a lot to do with how they execute on a number of key events in the next couple of months. First they need to get the delayed Windows Mobile OS 6.5 (which MobileGamesBlog is reporting may be re-branded Windows Phone) launched in early Q4 and complement it with the simultaneous launch of a well stocked (they plan 600), well designed Windows Mobile Marketplace app store (think Xbox Live Arcade). Next they need to hit their April 2010 launch target for Windows Mobile 7 (by which time they should have thousands of apps in their store) and announce a bunch of key handset relationships. Then they need to buy RIM.