Mobile
Commentary
4/8/2009
02:50 PM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Commentary
50%
50%

Will Microsoft Ship Windows Mobile 6.5 Before It Is Ready?

I read a post yesterday that was speculating that Microsoft may ship Windows Mobile 6.5 before all of the intended pieces were put in place and then rely on the update mechanism to release patches and updates after it ships. I have no idea if that is the plan or not, but if it is, I actually find it encouraging.

I read a post yesterday that was speculating that Microsoft may ship Windows Mobile 6.5 before all of the intended pieces were put in place and then rely on the update mechanism to release patches and updates after it ships. I have no idea if that is the plan or not, but if it is, I actually find it encouraging.I've made it known that I've not been happy with the update scenario on the WinMo platform because, well, there is no update scenario. Not even simple daylight savings patches are released via Windows Update on the devices. Last month, Microsoft published a job posting that said "In the OS Platform team we are responsible for the OS, file systems, security, hardware platforms and drivers, networking & connectivity, location framework and updateability." I don't know if "updateability" is a word, but I'm going to run with it.

Updateability isn't new in Windows Mobile. There were some service packs for Pocket PC 2002 that burned themselves into the ROM of the devices, but I am not sure what happened to that model. It was not used between WinMo 2003 and WinMo 6.1.

It wouldn't bother me in the least if WinMo 6.5 shipped a bit earlier without all of the new features we've seen. Certainly the UI and basic functionality would have to be there, but features like the much rumored Zune interface could come at a later time. Even some of the Today Screen functionality or Widget support could come a month or two after 6.5 shipped. I don't think anyone would mind. The alternative is you get nothing until it is all ready. Windows Mobile also has crash recovery reporting that is sent to Microsoft if you allow it, just like a Windows desktop. As Microsoft gathers those reports they can address the most common or critical issues with updates as well.

Apple has been doing this since the iPhone launched. I've lost count of how many updates they have released over the last two years, including a major revision going from 1.x to 2.0.

Again, I've no clue if the rumor posted in the WMPowerUser blog is true or not, but if it is, it isn't a sign of desperation by MS to get the product out the door. It is a sign of flexibility. Newsoxy is also reporting that WinMo 7 will be out in early 2010, so WinMo 6.5 may be more of a stop-gap than previously thought. All the more reason for MS to push their ability to update not only for patches and minor features but the full OS, just has Apple has done with their iPhone. Wouldn't it be nice to buy a phone and keep it current for 18-24 months without falling one or two versions behind?

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Elite 100
InformationWeek Elite 100
Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Dec. 9, 2014
Apps will make or break the tablet as a work device, but don't shortchange critical factors related to hardware, security, peripherals, and integration.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of December 7, 2014. Be here for the show and for the incredible Friday Afternoon Conversation that runs beside the program!
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.