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Doug's Mailbag: Microsoft and the Mobile Landscape

Microsoft hopes its upcoming mobile push will boost the Windows Mobile platform. But while WinMo has some fans, it faces plenty of competition -- and not just from Apple:

I've got to say that I've grown a real love-hate relationship with Windows Mobile over the years (and I'm a former Microsoft consultant who started on the PPC). My primary gripe is that synching the beast has always been inconsistent, with the latest version still losing its partnership regularly. Clients have had the same experience.

I moved off hosted Exchange to Google mail last year, and Android seems to be a great fit there. Everything else seemed incredibly well-integrated and the OS seemed pretty peppy, though still in its default config. I can't imagine anything short of a major overhaul of WinMo keeping me in the fold.

I was a diehard fan of WinMo phones until the iPhone 3G. They in no way compare to the iPhone in speed and multiple tasks, and synch with Outlook is even better on the iPhone. As for the Droid, it doesn't even synch with Outlook. iPhone FTW! I only wish it was on other networks or that WinMo phones would get it together.

I have HTC Snap with Windows Mobile 6.1 and I like it very much! HTC makes the best smartphones and my carrier of choice has HTC phones. So I'm very happy. Very easy to use and interfaces with the PC.

Palm Treo Pro with Windows Mobile stinks. I have to say I am not too pleased with this phone, which has a Windows Mobile OS. I have had to do three factory resets on it, and it is once again broken but I am just living with it the way it is until I can get rid of it. The phone dials even when the buttons are "locked," which makes for some embarrassing phone calls. I have done the "battery restart" more times than I care to mention. The Windows Media Player cuts the ends off of songs as you are listening to them. A real lemon!

Last month, I got an iPhone 3GS. I won't be going back to Windows Mobile any time soon. The only issue with the iPhone is battery life. Microsoft has a long way to go.

Got the new HTC HD2. Like many WinMo handsets, the manufacturer put its own skin over the top of Windows Mobile. So the interface looks first. Then when you go beneath the surface, you find old OS functions that are not designed for finger-touch. Some applications I installed need a stylus pen to use. Really? The stylus went out a decade ago, but still exists on Windows phones? So I will have to go out and buy the optional stylus pen for a phone that should not need it.

I would not recommend a Windows Mobile phone. It's clunky to use. My next handset will be an Android.

Just a quick note from my Moto Droid: Android rocks. I've used both Windows Mobile and now Android and I have to say that Android wins hands-down, bar none.

Left WinMo 6.0 a year or so ago for Android and have not looked back for a second.

I used to have a BlackBerry Curve and switched to Android, which rocks! I've played with iPhones and WinMo phones and Android kicks their butts easily, hands down. Android is THE new phone OS and I think it's here to stay. I wouldn't be surprised if it got upwards of 50 percent market share in a few years.

I got a Droid a few days ago. There's no way you'd be able to pry this baby out of my hands, even cold and dead. The Droid rocks! Be afraid, Apple. Be very afraid...

Overall, I'd have to rate Windows Mobile (in the most current version that I have) an unimpressive product. I can't try the 6.5 version, because apparently the Tilt is not supported (given the phone's age, that's not surprising). At this point, I'm not considering staying with WinMo. There are times I'd love to try out the Droid if it were available on AT&T, but that's not likely. My son just got a new iPhone 3GS, but Steve Jobs' siren song hasn't been much of a hit with me, even though I'll admit the phone is a nice piece of design.

It's really interesting to me that even though I've had a cell phone for over 10 years, and even though I've tried the newer features as they've become available, I am finding myself wanting just a plain phone that makes voice calls. Maybe I'm getting old and cranky, but the latest and greatest is becoming less and less attractive as I have to deal with its foibles and shortcomings. I wonder if I'm the only person feeling this way.

Watch this space for more reader letters tomorrow. Meanwhile, send in your thoughts to [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on 12/03/2009 at 1:17 PM


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