Windows Mobile 7: An iPhone like grip, but open for everyone to play with?

MobileCrunch Editor John Biggs got an “insider tip” about Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Mobile 7 operating system and it’s a hell of a read. He says that it’s going to be launched at Mobile World Congress next month, that it shares no compatibility with previous versions of Windows Mobile what so ever, customization, like what HTC does with Sense UI, will not be allowed, there is no multitasking, and best of all Microsoft will only let hardware makers build a Windows Mobile 7 device if they agree to use a certain specification. Some may view this as draconian, but look at what being a Nazi has done for Apple.

In less than a month we’re going to find out if this is total bullshit or awesome fact. Either way, it’s not like you’re going to be able to buy a Windows Mobile device until later this year or early 2011 if you believe some of the rumours flying around the intertubes. I don’t doubt Microsoft’s ability to be awesome, and I’m hoping they pull through this slump and wow the world. Remember the first XBOX? Now look at the XBOX 360 and tell me Microsoft can’t improve when the market demands it.

  • Jeff

    It makes a good read. No compatibility. Everyone angry. App developers angry. Phone resellers won’t be able to sell their current stock.

    Microsoft was stuck in a bog (that it got itself into). Whichever way it chose to get out of that bog, there would be complaints.

    If Windows Mobile 7 was not something very different from the present Windows Mobile, people would have complained that Microsoft is just making more of the same.

    Now Microsoft makes something different to the previous WinMo, it breaks compatibility, so the vested interests are not happy.

    I guess Microsoft will just have to get WinMo 7 out the door very very quickly, as the sales of current handsets will crash.

    It will be fascinating to watch all this play out.

  • Kevin

    Is the offensive picture necessary?

    As for requiring a certain base hardware level, that has always been true of Windows Mobile. It’s just that the level was pretty low in order to support legacy devices.

  • Martin hill

    Wow, no compatiblity with apps written for older versions of Windows Mobile? That is insane.

    Considering Gartner has just reported that Apple has captured 99.4% of App downloads in 2009 against competitors such as Android which has been out for a year and a half, or RIM or WinMo which have been around forever – the prospects for Windows 7 starting from scratch looks utterly bleak.

    RIP Windws Mobile


  • Ahmed Eltawil

    If that’s the case, then I am a happier person and a potential Windows Mobile 7 customer. WinMo had very low hardware requirements and all the legacy apps are the reason why it was hard for Microsoft to give WinMo a complete overhaul. I really hope this piece of information is true. To hell with legacy apps, Microsoft has a new Marketplace in town for better and more creative apps.

  • Ez

    I agreed with you up until you said Xbox. Sony’s failures are what pushed the Xbox to the top not necessarily Microsoft’s brilliance. I wouldn’t call the highest failure rate in video game console history an improvement. There are a lot of good things about Xbox 360 but it definitely isn’t a good example.

  • Narmer

    Wow, I have to say, I enjoy reading just about everyone writing for IntoMobile, but calling Apple a Nazi, with the expertly photoshopped image: Stefan, you just won my heart forever.

    From my perspective this may come as good news because WinMo sets are a hard sell to me. I’ve never been an intense business user, and so have never required that facility with office apps on my handset, but I have come to really “need” a feature rich hardware/platform. So, if WinMo 7 will be able to up the ante in this way, then things could get interesting.

    The Xbox story is an interesting reference, Stefan. I don’t know if many of you mobile techies are gamers too (I’m a gamer first, actually), but there was much made about the Xbox 360’s limited compatibility with Xbox 1’s library of games. BUT, Microsoft began writing emulation software for Xbox 1 games and kept up a decent pace and now the vast majority of those older games are playable. It’s interesting also that perhaps the biggest, most vocal critic was Microsoft’s arch-competitor Sony. Now, as Sony evolved the PS3 into increasingly affordable incarnations, guess what? They have completely abandoned backwards compatibility…ENTIRELY!

    I don’t know how analogous the industries can be, or how much gaming’s (recent) history can be applied the mobile tech world, but Mr. Constantinescu made me consider it.

    • Narmer

      Sorry, I meant to point out that it could be possible for Microsoft, or someone else for that matter, to write emulators for older applications that would no longer function “natively” on the new WinMo 7. And really, isn’t it rather a trend these years to announce, or even “leak,” some “no way!” or “wtf, are they crazy?” aspect of a new product just for the hype-hook effect?

  • Chris P

    Yes yes yes, this is just what Microsoft needed to do – ditch the whole old OS, its just dire, people who disagree are just delusional. This sounds great apart from the lack of multitasking which I find pretty essential in a smartphone (the N900’s multitasking is just awesome).

    PS Can the hypersensitive pricks that find the picture in this post offensive just piss off.

    That is all.

  • Kevin

    Apple was also originally seen as “too far behind” because it had no third party apps at all.

    One thing that the iPhone demonstrated very well, is that it’s never “too late” to enter a market with a nicely done device.

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