What's Wrong With Windows Mobile and How WM7 and WM8 Are Going to Fix It

Posted by sumeethevans on December 15 2007, 6:18 AM. Posted in Windows Mobile.

We just got the scoop from Microsoft on Windows Mobile 7 and Windows Mobile 8, the two upcoming platforms that will fix what is undeniably broken about the Windows Mobile platform to date.

This was originally going to be a piece about how Microsoft had no idea what the consumer wanted, where I would explain what I thought Microsoft needed to do to fix it. Oh, I still discuss the flaws, but while talking to the Windows Mobile team, I learned about the next two versions of the mobile OS. Turns out, Microsoft knows exactly what's wrong with the WM platform, and it knows what to do to fix it. Trust me: there's hope on the horizon.

Before I get to the big Windows Mobile fix, it's important to see where it is now. Take a look above at the Windows Mobile Professional (the touchscreen version) and Windows Mobile Standard (the non-touchscreen, usually slimmer version). Got a good look?Before I get to the big Windows Mobile fix, it's important to see where it is now. Take a look above at the Windows Mobile Professional (the touchscreen version) and Windows Mobile Standard (the non-touchscreen, usually slimmer version). Got a good look?

The number one biggest problem with Windows Mobile is its UI.

I have no problems with Windows itself, and I work on a Vista PC (along with a Leopard Mac) every single day. WM's problem is that it isn't Windows. Here are a few of the unnecessarily complicated attributes that Windows Mobile doesn't share with desktop Windows:

• It's very hard to multitask. Multitasking is there, and you can run multiple programs at the same time, but everything is "full screen" and there's no easy way to switch between apps. There's no task bar to see what apps are open, and there's no indicator to the user that anything else is open. You actually have to dig into the Start menu, then Settings, then the System tab, then Memory, then the Running Programs tab just to see what's going on! Microsoft fixed this by inserting a dropdown task manager in more recent builds of Windows Mobile 6, but you still can't jump from app to app with ease. Which leads us to...

• Closing a program doesn't really close it. You'd think that pressing the "X" button on an app closes it, but all it does is minimize it. You have to dive into the menus to terminate a program or, on a newer build, go back to the Home/Today screen and close via the top-right icon. Not exactly what we call convenient.

• Different builds work differently. We can see why there are two major versions of Windows Mobile for phones—Professional and Smartphone—since different form factors require different UI philosophies for input. But when you compare the Tablet PC version of Windows with the standard desktop version, there isn't that huge of a difference. If you know how to use one, you should know how to use the other. Not quite so when you switch from the stylus input of Windows Mobile Pro to the D-Pad of Windows Mobile Smartphone. This isn't noticed by the masses, since most people only use one Windows Mobile device, but it is a telling concern. Plus, getting around with that D-Pad sucks.

Beyond OS structural design, the day-to-day usage of Windows Mobile isn't what you'd call "friendly," either. In fact, it'd probably punch you in the face if you even made eye contact. Take dialing, for instance. How can the main purpose of a phone—calling someone—be so hard to do?Full Story At Source