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Microsoft hopes to double smartphone sales once again

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  • User profile image
    Devils​Rejection

    Source: http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20061023-8056.html

    Opinion and Question: Why aren't we getting any videos of the advances being made in the smart phone arena? Personally I am in the market for a smart phone as my life has reached a point were a paper based agenda isn't effective for me anymore. My top choices right now are the yet to be release T-Mobile Dash OR a Palm Treo 680. I'm leaning towards the Palm since my experience with Windows Mobile and with the Palm OS have taught me that Palm just gets out of your way, minimal amount of taps to do anything, and the UI is just snappier!

    Content:

    Arstechnica wrote:
    Microsoft hopes to double the number of Windows smartphones being sold this year, from 6 million at the end of 2005 to nearly 12 million phones by the end of this year. Additionally, Microsoft hopes to keep up with this rate of growth in coming years, according to an interview in German-language Euro am Sonntag.

    Microsoft's Mobile and Embedded Devices division head Peter Knook said that the number of devices operating on Windows Mobile doubled to 6 million last year, adding that they'd like to shoot for another 100 percent increase this time around. While goals of continually doubling numbers seem lofty, analyst firm Gartner said that the smartphone and PDA market expanded by 57 percent worldwide in the first half of this year, with an expected increase of 66 percent for smartphones over the entire year. Both Microsoft and RIM—who have about 6 million users each—are competing against Nokia, which currently comprises about half of the global smartphone market.

    It's possible that Microsoft could come close to doubling its numbers again this year just by the mere increase in overall smartphone sales, but in order to make strides against its competitors, Microsoft will have to start offering more incentive for users to switch over to a Windows Mobile phone. One option, according to Knook, is for Windows Mobile smartphones to connect to Microsoft's Xbox Live service, Live Anywhere, allowing users to message friends on their friends lists and download mobile gaming content.

    Push e-mail, as RIM has learned, has turned into big business, making smartphones into the pager of the 21st century. Microsoft has just gotten into the game, but has some ideas for ways to make Windows Mobile appeal to smartphone users—tight software integration. Microsoft, unlike some of its competitors, is gearing up to make money on all sides of the smartphone experience—Vista's built-in Mobile Sync Center syncing data from the phone with Microsoft Exchange being one of them. There is even potential for the Zune to start syncing game data from the Xbox 360 and Vista, which would then sync with a Windows Mobile smartphone. There is a lot of money tied into smartphone sales for Microsoft, and they're just dying to see how many of their products can be integrated into the smartphone user experience.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    The problem is the Smartphone already competes with PocketPC Phone Edition. IMO Microsoft should drop one of them and spend more resources on the other.

    The PocketPC Phone Edition platform has more compatible programs and only marginally higher requirements than the Smartphone. The Smartphone platform, despite being ActiveSync compatible, is very lacking in the PIM department (the ability to edit or create PIM entries is nearly impossible).

    ....now if they made Bluetooth "phone modules" for WM5.0 PPCs, I could ditch my separate smartphone.

  • User profile image
    An_Angel

    You will have to shout louder if you want to see some really cool vids etc on where MS want to take their Mobility stuff...

    *SHOUTING!* We would love to hear more from the MS Mobility team on their plans...

    Where are they going to be taking the platform? 
    How are they going to get the drivers vendors to convert their drivers over to CE6.0 (next verion MS Mobile +)
    Why aren't they doing a cheap device that is simple to use for the basic user? 

    Loads of questions.... lets have the mobile guys answer them... Charles... Why don't we interview them over at TechEd in Barcelona?  I know John's over there and no doubt Daniel will be there... and they have a mobility section from what I hear..

    Smiley

  • User profile image
    Devils​Rejection

    I think you hit on a key point, smart phones are for the elite, regularly costing over $500.

    Why isn't there a stripped down device?

    I know I want something with a QWERTY keyboard.

  • User profile image
    Charles

    Rory will be leading the C9 Mobility effort (he's a mobility geek, after all). Stay tuned for more mobility on C9!

    Sara, perhaps we can interview some mobility people at TechEd. Why not?
    C

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    I can't upgrade. None of the 3G Windows Mobile smartphones on sale support dual line sims.

    *mutter* idiots. Back to a nokia for me I guess.

  • User profile image
    Devils​Rejection

    Charles wrote:
    

    Rory will be leading the C9 Mobility effort (he's a mobility geek, after all). Stay tuned for more mobility on C9!

    Sara, perhaps we can interview some mobility people at TechEd. Why not?
    C



    any time frames would be appreciated

  • User profile image
    kettch

    W3bbo wrote:
    The problem is the Smartphone already competes with PocketPC Phone Edition. IMO Microsoft should drop one of them and spend more resources on the other.

    The PocketPC Phone Edition platform has more compatible programs and only marginally higher requirements than the Smartphone. The Smartphone platform, despite being ActiveSync compatible, is very lacking in the PIM department (the ability to edit or create PIM entries is nearly impossible).

    ....now if they made Bluetooth "phone modules" for WM5.0 PPCs, I could ditch my separate smartphone.


    No, both platforms should stay. If I needed a PocketPC Phone I would get one, but they are too big to carry around in the way that I need. On days when I'm not as concerned about portability, I carry a full PocketPC, and make sure that they are sync'ed at the end of the day. The smartphones offer a decent compromise and are the same size as any other phone and are even available as flip-phones.

    Everyone's mileage is going to vary, but it's better to have the flexibility that the two form factors allow.

    As far as price goes, every smartphone that I have seen is in the same price range as the full PocketPC phones.

  • User profile image
    Rory

    W3bbo wrote:
    The problem is the Smartphone already competes with PocketPC Phone Edition. IMO Microsoft should drop one of them and spend more resources on the other.


    They don't compete at all - they serve different markets.

    It's very simple.

    The SmartPhone is for someone who wants a phone first and a PDA second.

    The PocketPC Phone Edition if for someone who wants a PDA first and a Phone Second.

    It's about priorities.

    I use both, depending on what I'm doing. If I'm going on the road, I'll usually bring a PPC Phone Edition because I might find myself in the middle of nowhere with the need to access the net and do a lot of typing.

    Most days, I just carry a SmartPhone.

    But, either one can use my Stowaway Bluetooth folding keyboard, so it really just comes down to screen size.

    The platform is nearly identicle between the two.

    W3bbo wrote:

    The PocketPC Phone Edition platform has more compatible programs and only marginally higher requirements than the Smartphone. The Smartphone platform, despite being ActiveSync compatible, is very lacking in the PIM department (the ability to edit or create PIM entries is nearly impossible).


    It's not "lacking" in the PIM department.

    I sync with Exchange - I have all my Exchange contacts - I sync with my POP3 accounts - I get my text messages - I have net access - I have document viewers - I have my calendar (again, synced with Outlook).

    It's just lacking in an easy to use data entry medium, but that's normal for a SmartPhone from any manufacturer.

    However, once you get good at T9, it's very easy to enter info. And just entering a new contact, even without T9, is trivial.

    But if it's really that hard, than a BT keyboard can be used.

  • User profile image
    Rory

    blowdart wrote:
    I can't upgrade. None of the 3G Windows Mobile smartphones on sale support dual line sims.

    *mutter* idiots. Back to a nokia for me I guess.


    It's not that they're "idiots".

    It takes time for the hardware to pass certification.

    But we're getting a much stronger response this year than ever from OEMs, so expect to see improved models in the near future.

    Really, this is the first year, in my opinion, that WM has been ready for Joe Consumer. We're still ramping up - things are going to get much, much cooler.

  • User profile image
    Rory

    DevilsRejection wrote:
    I think you hit on a key point, smart phones are for the elite, regularly costing over $500.

    Why isn't there a stripped down device?

    I know I want something with a QWERTY keyboard.


    Buy a SmartPhone with a plan - you can get a nice WM 5.0 device (at least in the states) for a couple hundred bucks.

    I've been seeing them all over the place - especially the T-Mobile SDA and MDA (and the variations from other carriers) - being used by "normal" people and not just geeks.

    The retail prices are high, yeah - but who pays retail? People usuall buy phones with a contract deal.

    If you don't, then you're going to pay full price, and you pretty much get what you pay for.

    With WM devices, you'll get what's basically a small computer. With the competition, you get a fancy phone.

    If all you need is a phone, then go with the competition. Nothing wrong with that.

    But if you want a phone that runs several web browsers, has Exchange support, has a wi-fi card built-in (with skype), and for which you can develop using the .NET Compact Framework, then a Windows Mobile SmartPhone is what you want (with an extensive catalog of available software, I might add).

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Rory wrote:
    
    W3bbo wrote:The problem is the Smartphone already competes with PocketPC Phone Edition. IMO Microsoft should drop one of them and spend more resources on the other.


    They don't compete at all - they serve different markets.

    It's very simple.

    The SmartPhone is for someone who wants a phone first and a PDA second.

    The PocketPC Phone Edition if for someone who wants a PDA first and a Phone Second.


    My PDA features a 3D graphics chip (you can play Q3A on it), VGA screen, and 256MB user storage space. There isn't a PocketPC Phone that meets this criteria. The PocketPC Phones I have seen have smaller screens.

    Rory wrote:
    

    W3bbo wrote:
    The PocketPC Phone Edition platform has more compatible programs and only marginally higher requirements than the Smartphone. The Smartphone platform, despite being ActiveSync compatible, is very lacking in the PIM department (the ability to edit or create PIM entries is nearly impossible).


    It's not "lacking" in the PIM department.

    I sync with Exchange - I have all my Exchange contacts - I sync with my POP3 accounts - I get my text messages - I have net access - I have document viewers - I have my calendar (again, synced with Outlook).

    It's just lacking in an easy to use data entry medium, but that's normal for a SmartPhone from any manufacturer.

    However, once you get good at T9, it's very easy to enter info. And just entering a new contact, even without T9, is trivial.

    But if it's really that hard, than a BT keyboard can be used.


    Granted, my Smartphone is of the 2002 variety, I haven't tried a WM5 Smartphone (not even the device emulator, I really should though), which doesn't allow you to edit Task entries (only to change their "completed" status), and none of the PIM apps on the phone (and my PDA) include custom fields.

  • User profile image
    Rory

    W3bbo wrote:
    
    Rory wrote: 
    W3bbo wrote: The problem is the Smartphone already competes with PocketPC Phone Edition. IMO Microsoft should drop one of them and spend more resources on the other.


    They don't compete at all - they serve different markets.

    It's very simple.

    The SmartPhone is for someone who wants a phone first and a PDA second.

    The PocketPC Phone Edition if for someone who wants a PDA first and a Phone Second.


    My PDA features a 3D graphics chip (you can play Q3A on it), VGA screen, and 256MB user storage space. There isn't a PocketPC Phone that meets this criteria. The PocketPC Phones I have seen have smaller screens.


    I have a Windows Mobile 5.0 PocketPC Phone Edition with 3G service, three other GSM bands for standard service, a 680x480 VGA swivel screen (it works like a tablet), two cameras (one is next to the screen - it's for video phone calls when you're on a 3G network), a keyboard, a total of 256MB internal memory for system/user, but an SD card for much more space, an implementation of DirectX, and you can develop for it using Visual Studio 2003/2005, eVC++, eVB, Java, and a few other tools. It has wifi built in, can make videos (as well as snap the usual pix), comes with Word, Excel, a read-only PowerPoint (so you can practice on the way to a talk), IE, Skype, some games, a few other apps, blah blah blah. I've also installed SQL Server CE on it just for kicks. The device itself fits into my pocket.

    And that device is almost a year old now (in fact, it might just be older).

    Windows Mobile devices are extremely sophisticated.

    As for the 3D gaming - yeah, you can do it, but I honestly don't have any interest there. I just play my Ninento DS when I want gaming (or my PSP, although I the games suck).

    W3bbo wrote:
    
    Granted, my Smartphone is of the 2002 variety, I haven't tried a WM5 Smartphone (not even the device emulator, I really should though), which doesn't allow you to edit Task entries (only to change their "completed" status), and none of the PIM apps on the phone (and my PDA) include custom fields.


    WM5 is quite different.

    Anyway, the whole point of the response was that you said we should drop one of the platforms, and I was pointing out that they were different. That's all.

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    Rory wrote:
    
    It takes time for the hardware to pass certification.

    But we're getting a much stronger response this year than ever from OEMs, so expect to see improved models in the near future.

    Really, this is the first year, in my opinion, that WM has been ready for Joe Consumer. We're still ramping up - things are going to get much, much cooler.


    I'd disgree I'm afraid. I've looked at the 3G offerings, and the PocketPC phones that preceeded them, and neither support dual lines. The loss of that feature is a killer for me, I keep my work and personal numbers seperate. The feature seems to have quietly dropped in the last year.

  • User profile image
    Rory

    blowdart wrote:
    
    Rory wrote: 
    It takes time for the hardware to pass certification.

    But we're getting a much stronger response this year than ever from OEMs, so expect to see improved models in the near future.

    Really, this is the first year, in my opinion, that WM has been ready for Joe Consumer. We're still ramping up - things are going to get much, much cooler.


    I'd disgree I'm afraid. I've looked at the 3G offerings, and the PocketPC phones that preceeded them, and neither support dual lines. The loss of that feature is a killer for me, I keep my work and personal numbers seperate. The feature seems to have quietly dropped in the last year.


    I'm not sure who's missing whose point here, but I was saying that the feature might come back since our OEMs are really ramping up on the catalog of available phones.

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    Rory wrote:
    

    I'm not sure who's missing whose point here, but I was saying that the feature might come back since our OEMs are really ramping up on the catalog of available phones.


    So you're convinced it's missing from hardware, as opposed to lack of support in Windows Mobile?

    Thing is, it's not a hard thing to support, it's simply a special SIM, but since WM5 it hasn't appeared, which leads me to suspect it may not be a hardware problem at all. HTC supported it in the older phones, why would they drop it as WM was updated post WM2003?

    Is there any documentation publically available that states all WM versions have code for dual line sims? It's not that I don't believe you personally, as Rory, it's just it feels like the support was dropped in the OS.

  • User profile image
    Tensor

    Rory - have you tried posting on these forums from IE for WM 5 yet?

    Go on. try it.

    Mad

    </myPetPeeve>

     

  • User profile image
    An_Angel

    Good point well made!  I was going to say when are MS going to .mobi all their sites and make them mobile standards compliant?

    Something for the C9 guys to consider when they are redesigning their websites.

    Qn Rory: Do the different content departments ever ask for advice when building their sites within MS regarding making them mobile device compatible?

    Also, yes you can buy a mobile here in the uk on "business contract" that is a high spec Smartphone or PPC but generally they aren't all that readily available on standard contract... hopefully this is changing but that issue is more one with the operators and their desire to make as much profit as possible and not subsidise as many of these devices if they can help it. 

    The overall issue is that the functionality is great but without the operators and the providers making the devices available to people at a reasonable price and on good contracts the MS OS won't grow.  There are some big barriers for PPC and Smartphone functionality over here in the UK at the moment, cost of data transfers for personal devices, cost of contracts and cost of devices.... all too high. 

    This is why events like Mobile Mondays exist around the world... the issues are similar wherever you go.  The thing is the OS providers, hardware OEM's and operators all have their own agenda's and don't seem to be able to work together for profit to all parties and the benefit of the customer... they are too mixed up in inter organisational politics and such.  At the end of the day the customer is the one suffering at the moment if they actually want to use the technology.  This is just wrong...

    OK... enough for now.. that is my rant for the week out of the way Wink

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