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Microsoft Cellphones Handhelds Operating Systems Windows

Microsoft To Add Yet Another Smartphone OS This Year 179

Posted by timothy
from the 5th-time's-the-charm dept.
GMGruman writes "Someone at Microsoft either really loves mobile operating systems or can't make up his mind as to which to use, because Microsoft Thursday announced yet another mobile OS, its fifth. The new Windows Embedded Handheld OS will succeed Windows Mobile 6.5 and run on at least some existing Windows Mobile smartphones. It is not the same mobile OS, known as Windows Phone 7, that Microsoft earlier this year said would replace Windows Mobile and break with it in terms of compatibility so Microsoft could better compete with the iPhone and Google Android OS."
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Microsoft To Add Yet Another Smartphone OS This Year

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  • All this talk about Jailbreaking Android phones is for people who want root access but *DO NOT* want to re-flash their phone.

    Or who discover, months into a contract, that they have a phone that uses tivoization to block re-flashing with firmware packaged by an individual.

  • by Burz (138833) on Friday June 18, 2010 @06:33AM (#32611346) Journal

    ...in smartphones and hand held devices in general.

    iPhone -- iOS Unix

    Android -- Linux

    Palm -- Linux

    RIM -- Moving to QNX

    That leaves Symbian and Windows Mobile as the two non-'nix holdouts.

  • by Threni (635302) on Friday June 18, 2010 @06:35AM (#32611356)

    There are very few changes to the various versions of Android, so you can ignore fragmentation and target 1.5 and pretty much everyone will be able to run it. The addition of wifi tethering, apps to sd etc in 2.2 makes no difference at all to users of 2.1,1.6,1.5 etc.

  • cannot run native code (and is useless if you have 8 years of C++ codebase you want to run on it)

    You're supposed to port your C++ codebase such that all array accesses and pointer accesses go through templates. Then the templates are implemented twice: in terms of pointers on unmanaged platforms (PC, Mac, Apple iOS, Android NDK) and in terms of C++/CLI handles on .NET platforms (WP7, 360).

  • by gbjbaanb (229885) on Friday June 18, 2010 @06:59AM (#32611466)

    maybe because they're all complicit in the uselessness? But the staff are questioning the leadership (well, whinging) [blogspot.com]

  • by BandoMcHando (85123) on Friday June 18, 2010 @07:15AM (#32611534)
    The version of the article on engadget (here [engadget.com]) seems a little more informative:

    "We're starting to see that philosophy play out today with the introduction of Windows Embedded Handheld, which is essentially a warmed-over version of WinMo 6.5.3 with some key UI and enterprise-focused enhancements. Microsoft is specifically calling out an "extended support life-cycle" for the platform, a sign that these phones aren't for the gotta-have-it crowd -- instead, the company intends to push these things through corporate fleets where Windows Mobile has traditionally dominated, places where Windows Phone's flashy stylings and locked-down underpinnings won't have the same draw."

    Mostly seems this *is* Windows Mobile 6.5 in all but name.

  • Re:Incompatibility (Score:5, Informative)

    by PhrostyMcByte (589271) <phrosty@gmail.com> on Friday June 18, 2010 @07:32AM (#32611642) Homepage

    That's exactly what they did!

    Windows Mobile looks like crap, and they know it. They maintained compatibility above all else, and the result is that you can use most of the familiar Windows API on it, and make all your apps look like tiny desktop apps. They worked but weren't very intuitive, especially in the new world of touch. Because of this, "Windows Phone 7" was announced as a completely incompatible OS, supporting only Silverlight apps. It's meant to be the next-gen platform that can compete with the slickness of the iPhone.

    The problem is that Windows Mobile had a lot of business users and they weren't too happy with everything they make and use becoming obsolete overnight. That's the void this fills. This "Windows Embedded Handheld" maintains the compatibility platform they bought into.

    I suspect the only difference between the two will be that one uses the old shell and one uses the new Silverlight shell -- it's already easy to confirm that Windows Phone 7 uses a similar (if not the same) platform underneath the new UI.

  • by CarpetShark (865376) on Friday June 18, 2010 @07:48AM (#32611762)

    As an N900 owner: do NOT try an N900. Nokia are even worse than Microsoft in terms of supporting their products. N900's Maemo OS is already outdated, and the N900 along with it. They must have been planning to do that even before releasing the N900, given the timelines, which is why you get people posting friendly advice to Nokia on how it can avoid death [arcticstartup.com].

    Nokia seem to think of their phones and OS's like Casio thinks of watches: a simple, closed-loop device that's done as soon as it hits the shelves. For all their hype of maemo's Ovi store and all, when it comes right down to doing the work and putting their money where their mouth is, it just doesn't happen. Now they're planning new products: N9/Meego, which will suck equally badly.

    The only thing Nokia has going for it is Qt, which they bought in from Trolltech (along with TT itself), and they'll probably find a way to kill.

  • by oodaloop (1229816) on Friday June 18, 2010 @07:52AM (#32611796)
    Um, except it's WEH OS: Windows Embedded Handheld Operating System. Still, you make a great point. It's a completely forgettable name.
  • by mdwh2 (535323) on Friday June 18, 2010 @08:17AM (#32611994) Journal

    The only thing Nokia has going for it is Qt, which they bought in from Trolltech (along with TT itself), and they'll probably find a way to kill.

    Qt is now their standard development kit for Symbian and Maemo, so to suggest they only bought it to kill it is false. And as a new learner on Symbian, I have to say I'm very impressed. Qt looks to be a very good API. It's also cross-platform, not only meaning the same code will compile for Symbian and Maemo, but also making it easy to develop for Windows, Mac and Linux (so you can pretty much compile for 100% of the desktop market, and 50% of the mobile market). And it means you can use standard C++, where as the old development kit for Symbian apparently used an awkward cut down version.

    And as for "only thing Nokia has going for it", there's more to Nokia than Maemo. Like the small matter of their other OS with 50% market share, or the hundreds of millions of phones they sell every year. Never used an N900, but I love my 5800.

    In fact your entire post seems to be extrapolating from the single point of "Maemo is discontinued". By all means warn the OP, but your claims about how they therefore kill all their phones, OSs, and SDKs, is just plain ludicrous. Symbian has been around for many years. You might as well claim that because Apple have ditched their Mac OS before (not to mention 68K, PPC), that therefore they're about to ditch OS X or IphoneOS at any moment!

  • by CarpetShark (865376) on Friday June 18, 2010 @08:27AM (#32612088)

    No, you got bugfixes that essentially brought it out of beta status months after it was released. On the same day, you saw the first release of Meego, their new system, which Nokia have clearly said that they will NOT properly support on the N900. The work to fix major bugs was essentially just a woefully inadequate fairwell gesture. A full, supported meego release with potential for another 2 years of app compatibility for the N900 might have been a less stupid gesture.

  • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Friday June 18, 2010 @09:48AM (#32613052)

    So would this be a fair assessment for someone familiar with the current product lineup?

    1. WEC7 is a rebranding/retread of Windows CE 6. There will be industrial PDAs using it like the MC55, Psion Ikon, DAPtech etc
    2. WEH is basically the Windows Mobile shell on top of WEC7, just as WM6 was the shell on top of CE5. In theory it should be possible to recompile/port existing C++ codebases and will be a useful upgrade path for large corporations who currently run their bespoke stocktaking/delivery/survey applications on top of WM6.
    3. Windows Phone 7 is a completely new offering built on the WEC7 kernel. It has a locked-down userland aimed at being flashy for the consumer market which cannot run native code (and is useless if you have 8 years of C++ codebase you want to run on it).

    That list also gives one a glimpse of what is wrong with Windows Mobile in general. It is clunky, unintuitive and fragmented. It seems I can't pick up two phones purportedly running the same version of the same Windows Mobile OS and use the same procedure to configure half the things I want to. Some time ago I configured a HTC S620 smartphone to work over a a VPN connection. It took quite a while to figure out the clunky UI and the badly documented process needed to accomplish this (Mostly HTC's fault for writing a crappy manual) but it worked fine in the end. Recently the thing broke down and I was provided with another type of HTC smartphone of the same vintage running the same OS version but the configuration process was totally different. Although it usually ends up working OK if you have the patience to do battle with the UI and read the (often) crappy user manual, I passionately hate setting up and configuring Windows Mobile.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2010 @10:04AM (#32613232)

    I laugh at the Iphone.

    The OP makes a valid point, in that Ballmer was criticising something that MS have now gone and done. But it is a flawed argument for you to say that people are wrong to criticise products at all, just because it's Apple (for the Iphone) or it's a market leader (for the Wii).

    The difference is MS is the CEO of the most powerful software vendor in the world. Whereas you are an insignificant shit-ass on a web forum whose opinions are less than worthless. When Ballmer is consistently wrong, over and over and over again about the one thing he should be most right about, it deserves being put under the microscope. Comparing your own ignorance and saying it justifies Ballmer's is laughable. Please get some perspective before posting again.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 18, 2010 @10:37AM (#32613600)

    Yeah, and Google is still paying Firefox to ship with Google set on default. I guess they aren't so confident that people would just use Google. FWIW Google hardly develops anything themselves anyway. They just buy out other companies.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Google_acquisitions [wikipedia.org]

  • by CarpetShark (865376) on Monday June 21, 2010 @01:59AM (#32637794)

    What makes you think that?

    The N900 uses an old type of touch screen that can't do multitouch (properly). Meego uses multitouch as an everyday input method.

    There's already a Meego alpha available for the N900, but there's no UI (just a shell).

    Almost. Meego is available for Netbooks, but Nokia released "Meego Core" for the N900, not "Meego". Honestly, individual skilled hackers have released more of android for N900 so far. Nokia have said that they're not supporting N900 because it's not an open hardware platform, and so they can't release drivers for it.

    Honestly... the iPhone 4 just came out with half the thickness/weight, better styling, higher screen resolution, multitouch, proper app store with books and audiobooks and thousands of (useful, commercial-quality, varied) apps, working front-facing camera and the promotion to make that a well-used communication tool. Android is similarly polished, and is making progress constantly with new versions. There are a heap of Chinese companies that have, up to now, been making cheap iPhone rip-offs, but are now able to put Android on their phones and compete on a global stage as full-blown phone manufacturers --- and promote Android at the same time. Meanwhile, Nokia is bringing out huge, expensive phones, which are only good (relative to other phones in the price bracket) because you can ignore the crappy solutions Nokia gave you and hack your own stuff in there. They're just not competing on the same level as Google and Apple lately.

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