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Should Enterprise Devs stick to WindowsMobile6 for now?

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  • User profile image
    DaveK

    First of all, let me say I love that users can now create pretty UI  using XAML. The design environment looks great, Microsoft.

     

    Unfortunately, for some developers control of the device and local data storage are really important. People using hardened devices like those from Symbol, Psion, etc. are really using more of handheld computer functionality than the phone. It's being used as a real business tool all day long that may or may not have phone functionality.

     

     It would be nice to create better UI for the enterprise too, but it looks like these users are not as big a priority for Microsoft as the average phone user. I understand, it's a much larger market. I wonder though, how long there will be people making enterprise equipment for WindowsMobile 6 since there is no access to XAML based development.

    I thought the WIndowsPhones was going to be a mobile computer with a phone, but as it stands its a phone with web access, since Silverlight it really a web technology(a browser plug-in). Running out of browser makes it more  but unless there is local db storage and access to things like SD cards its too dependent on the server. Servers go down or slowdown, bandwidth is sometimes scarce/non-existent or too costly. Workers cannot stop working when the server is unavailable. There's still alot of lost productivity during peek times on wired desktop networks where the server might be in the building!

    Personally, I think Silverlight on devices was not the correct choice if it precludes being able to store databases locally and even plugging in an SD card with huge amounts of database data and accessing it. It's a fatal flaw. I think there are many exciting and useful apps  for the device that will not be written if anything more than trivial amounts of data need to come from a server. and not just enterprise apps. It hamstrings the platform in the middle of a mobile revolution. This will force app writers who need this functionaliy to move to other platforms that provide local database access including the IPhone, IPod Touch and IPad. I hope Microsoft remedies this quickly. (Yes, I am the type of guy who will point out "I told you so" when it hits the fan.)

    I originally looked at the WIndows Embedded Compact Framework (unsure of the exact title) when it was announced around last November that  it would support Silverlight. But, if I understand correctly, it is a C++ dev environment and may still suffer from a lack of local db access.

     

    What's an Enterprise developer to do?

  • User profile image
    figuerres

    well for me it's not even an option .... we have about 130-160 devices out in use that i support the code for. they are not going to be replaced any time soon.

    if you want a rugged unit that can print and do some nice stuff go look at the casio IT-3100

    not a small sleek phone ... it's a tough handheld that can do a lot though.

    CE 5 OS, can run .Net CF 3.5 very well.

  • User profile image
    DaveK

    figuerres said:

    well for me it's not even an option .... we have about 130-160 devices out in use that i support the code for. they are not going to be replaced any time soon.

    if you want a rugged unit that can print and do some nice stuff go look at the casio IT-3100

    not a small sleek phone ... it's a tough handheld that can do a lot though.

    CE 5 OS, can run .Net CF 3.5 very well.

    Thanks a lot for the info. I'll take a look at it. It's always great to get feedback from people who are actually using the devices in the field. Any idea on the unit cost?

     

    Thanks

    Dave K

  • User profile image
    DaveK

    figuerres said:

    well for me it's not even an option .... we have about 130-160 devices out in use that i support the code for. they are not going to be replaced any time soon.

    if you want a rugged unit that can print and do some nice stuff go look at the casio IT-3100

    not a small sleek phone ... it's a tough handheld that can do a lot though.

    CE 5 OS, can run .Net CF 3.5 very well.

    Thanks

    I took a look at it. We don't need the printer, but they have an IT-800 that's a little more suited to our needs. There are so many devices out there. www.PDADB.Net does a pretty good job of tracking them, almost too good. It looks like they'll be a different model for every person on the planet soon.

     

    Thanks

    Dave K

  • User profile image
    Blue Ink

    It depends on your definition of Enterprise Dev. Most of the mobile applications we have worked with have become web applications or are based on web services anyway. The only exception (a remote controller for some robotic equipment) requires constant connection, so a DB wouldn't help.

     

    Your set of applications seems to have some characteristics that make them not very generic:

    - It is ok to work with stale data (this is often a big no-no).

    - It is critical that information is constantly available, but it's ok to queue up anything you need to send.

    - It must work in areas where connection is non-existent, and will stay such for a long time.

     

    I don't doubt such scenarios exist, but I cannot see them as being the most common in the industry, so my answer to your post title is "no, thanks".

  • User profile image
    DaveK

    Blue Ink said:

    It depends on your definition of Enterprise Dev. Most of the mobile applications we have worked with have become web applications or are based on web services anyway. The only exception (a remote controller for some robotic equipment) requires constant connection, so a DB wouldn't help.

     

    Your set of applications seems to have some characteristics that make them not very generic:

    - It is ok to work with stale data (this is often a big no-no).

    - It is critical that information is constantly available, but it's ok to queue up anything you need to send.

    - It must work in areas where connection is non-existent, and will stay such for a long time.

     

    I don't doubt such scenarios exist, but I cannot see them as being the most common in the industry, so my answer to your post title is "no, thanks".

    Hello

    Thanks for the reply.

     I'm not saying that no enterprise apps can be written using the WindowsPhone platform. I am saying that a lot of "out in the field" apps will not work if they have to hit a live server for data all the time. Also after listening to Charlie Kindle's WindowsPhone Intro webcast, it was immediately made clear in the question and answer period that I am not alone in the concern about no local db. Thanks you devs for speaking up.

    Charlie talks about user experience.

    Will the data come back faster from the device or a server?

    - obviously the device;

    Will it take more battery power to get the data from the server or the device?

    - obviously hitting the server will take more time and battery power and lower the user experience.

     

    He made it clear they are targeting the consumer in this release in the presentation. I just hope he realizes Apple might eat Microsoft's lunch in the enterprise while he plays catch up with the consumer.

     

    Dave K

  • User profile image
    Dodo

    Well, without absolute control for networking and storage, yep, you gotta stick with Windows Mobile 6.5, if you need it.

  • User profile image
    DaveK

    Dodo said:

    Well, without absolute control for networking and storage, yep, you gotta stick with Windows Mobile 6.5, if you need it.

    Thanks for the reply.

    Yes, I agree.

    Charlie Kindle made it clear. For an enterprise app that needs

    1) local db storage and

    2) no policy of deploy only through the store

    its WM6 for a while.

     

    I'll write some consumer apps, but I'm not hiding my dissapointment.

     

    I hope local db storage makes it to the phone before the makeres of WM6 devices abandon ship.And  I hope Microsoft does not forget about the Enterprise. I for one am going to also develop for the Apple platform now. I made the decision that after this I cannot put all my eggs in the Microsoft basket.

     

    Dave K

     

     

  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    DaveK said:
    Dodo said:
    *snip*

    Thanks for the reply.

    Yes, I agree.

    Charlie Kindle made it clear. For an enterprise app that needs

    1) local db storage and

    2) no policy of deploy only through the store

    its WM6 for a while.

     

    I'll write some consumer apps, but I'm not hiding my dissapointment.

     

    I hope local db storage makes it to the phone before the makeres of WM6 devices abandon ship.And  I hope Microsoft does not forget about the Enterprise. I for one am going to also develop for the Apple platform now. I made the decision that after this I cannot put all my eggs in the Microsoft basket.

     

    Dave K

     

     

    I for one am going to also develop for the Apple platform now

    I am crying. Expressionless

     

    Seriously, are you done yet? I mean, we realize that you know everything that's needed to know about WP7S, so just go and leave room for the real devs, ok?

     

    Thank you.

  • User profile image
    figuerres

    DaveK said:
    figuerres said:
    *snip*

    Thanks

    I took a look at it. We don't need the printer, but they have an IT-800 that's a little more suited to our needs. There are so many devices out there. www.PDADB.Net does a pretty good job of tracking them, almost too good. It looks like they'll be a different model for every person on the planet soon.

     

    Thanks

    Dave K

    Yeah our app is a mobile POS so the printer was a must have item.

    plus the same type of paper (thermal and the paper width) works in both the casio and the epson pos printers we use for stationary pos locations.

     

    I can tell you that the end users of the handhelds are really hard on them and they work really well in spite of the abuse....

    wish i had pictures for you of some of them that come back for repairs.....

     

    like touch screens with craters dug in from pounding the same spot all day long and using pens and whatever when they lose the stylus.

    we have seen some half melted from heat and sun... some that were thrown out of a car and ran over....

     

    you name it....

     

     

  • User profile image
    DaveK

    figuerres said:
    DaveK said:
    *snip*

    Yeah our app is a mobile POS so the printer was a must have item.

    plus the same type of paper (thermal and the paper width) works in both the casio and the epson pos printers we use for stationary pos locations.

     

    I can tell you that the end users of the handhelds are really hard on them and they work really well in spite of the abuse....

    wish i had pictures for you of some of them that come back for repairs.....

     

    like touch screens with craters dug in from pounding the same spot all day long and using pens and whatever when they lose the stylus.

    we have seen some half melted from heat and sun... some that were thrown out of a car and ran over....

     

    you name it....

     

     

    Thanks for the info.

    We can be hard users too. I'd really like to get some input on tough devices from more people who use them in the field. They tend to be expensive and I'd like to find the best value for the money. Users can vary from using our software all day, every day to just a couple hours a week. I've used IPAQ's  for light use and the Symbol MC50 for heavier use. I found the MC50 sturdy, but advise people to skip the version with the keypad. It's setup pretty poorly.

    I am hoping the picture for enterprise developers gets better, before it becomes hard to find WM6 devices.

     

    Dave K

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    DaveK said:
    I am hoping the picture for enterprise developers gets better, before it becomes hard to find WM6 devices.

     

    I'm a bit late to all of this, but it sounds as if you didn't pick up on Microsoft's plans for this thing.

     

    This is a consumer OS. This is what MS has said it is from day one.  If I were you I wouldn't get your hopes up that it will be anything else.

  • User profile image
    DaveK

    Ray7 said:

    DaveK said:
    *snip*

     

    I'm a bit late to all of this, but it sounds as if you didn't pick up on Microsoft's plans for this thing.

     

    This is a consumer OS. This is what MS has said it is from day one.  If I were you I wouldn't get your hopes up that it will be anything else.

    It's just hard to stand idly by and watch Microsoft shoot itself in the foot in the mobile space again. They have a good arsenal of enterprise features in the pipeline like Azure and Sync (Huron). To me they seem to be trying to fight Apple's fight, instead of playing to their strengths. I'd like to see WP doing things the IPhone can't rather than trying to be the IPhone of two years ago, I can see chasing the regular consumer, since its a big market, I just hope they don't lose the enterprise instead.

     

    Dave K

  • User profile image
    Ray7

    DaveK said:
    Ray7 said:
    *snip*

    It's just hard to stand idly by and watch Microsoft shoot itself in the foot in the mobile space again. They have a good arsenal of enterprise features in the pipeline like Azure and Sync (Huron). To me they seem to be trying to fight Apple's fight, instead of playing to their strengths. I'd like to see WP doing things the IPhone can't rather than trying to be the IPhone of two years ago, I can see chasing the regular consumer, since its a big market, I just hope they don't lose the enterprise instead.

     

    Dave K

    Isn't that why they're keeping WInMob 6?

     

  • User profile image
    DaveK

    Ray7 said:
    DaveK said:
    *snip*

    Isn't that why they're keeping WInMob 6?

     

    I guess that's their plan.

    I just came from a Sybase-"IPhone on your terms" presentation in NYC. So while Microsoft focuses on delivering basically web apps on WP7S (available on IPhone in 2007) ,IPhone is coming after the Enterprise..  So Microsoft is promising to deliver in seven months technology that would only put it 2 years behind IPhone if it were released today. So by Christmas it'll only be 2 years and 7 months behind the IPhone instead of 3 years behind. You can say its not a web app, it's Silverlight,  but if most to all of your data is coming from the server the results are the same. Back in 2007 people complained about the slowness of the web apps, on the IPhone  so in 2008 Apple moved to creating apps that can access databases locally. If Microsoft had put local db access into the device they could legitimately say they were at parody with the IPhone this Christmas. They''ll claim it anyway, but they'll be wrong.

    In the mean time, the IPad will be here in a month. And it will help Apple A LOT in the Enterprise. Watch the IPad take off. So by Christmas it''ll be The IPad and the IPhone going full steam at the consumer AND the enterprise. Microsoft will be watching Silverlight apps that require a lot of data access being judged as too slow. Unless they have discovered a way to cheat the currently known laws of physics (wormholes maybe?) there is no way they're going to do a round trip data request from some data hub in Chicago or Texas to a phone faster than an IPhone/IPad accessing data locally.

     

    And to compete against the IPad/IPhone combo in the enterprise it'll be good old WM6.

     

    The Wall Street Journal estimates 10% of Microsoft employees use the IPhone for work, even though they have to pay for it themselves. So the IPhone is penetrating into MICROSOFT's own enterprise. And imagine how many IPods Microsoft's  employees' kids have. Add the IPhones owned by their spouses and relatives.

     

    I think Microroft has made great strides in the dev environment, they did a good job (except for local db access on the WindowsPhone.) Microsoft's strength up till now has been the enterprise, but they are not defending the castle because everyone has been mustered to try to attack Apple's consumer stronghold.

     

    Getting the world to abandon ITunes for whatever the Zune version of ITunes is, will be a tough job. I've heard the new Zune is great. But as we know the mindshare (and the song collections), especially of the kids, are vested in ITunes. I think getting my 12 year old niece and her friends to give up their IPods will be akin to selling Honda's to Hell's Angels. The kids are growing up with that Apple logo imprinted on their lives. New York and LA pretty much define where the fashion goes in the country. And if your in a cafe anywhere around NYU, you'd think the market share of laptops was reversed with Apple in the huge majority.  And with the price premium, Apple laptops are pretty much like buying a pair of $400 True Religion jeans. The IPod has truly become fashion, with kids buying multiple devices, just in different colors. The number of kids with multiple zunes as fashion- I'd bet approximately zero. Maybe Bill Gate's kids? I even doubt that.

     

    I went to the Sybase event because, while I was leaving a Microsoft event in NYC early this week, another developer grabbed me and said you should go to this. He even found me the signup sheet from the computers available at the Microsoft's New York office. And when I went to the event there were more familiar faces. Long time devotees of Microsoft pushing others to "IPhone in the enterprise events". And they are there instead of watching the just released latest and greatest technology webcasts from MIX!

     

    Maybe I'm missing  Microsoft's grand scheme. But it had better come together soon.

     

    Dave K

     

  • User profile image
    davewill

    DaveK said:
    Ray7 said:
    *snip*

    I guess that's their plan.

    I just came from a Sybase-"IPhone on your terms" presentation in NYC. So while Microsoft focuses on delivering basically web apps on WP7S (available on IPhone in 2007) ,IPhone is coming after the Enterprise..  So Microsoft is promising to deliver in seven months technology that would only put it 2 years behind IPhone if it were released today. So by Christmas it'll only be 2 years and 7 months behind the IPhone instead of 3 years behind. You can say its not a web app, it's Silverlight,  but if most to all of your data is coming from the server the results are the same. Back in 2007 people complained about the slowness of the web apps, on the IPhone  so in 2008 Apple moved to creating apps that can access databases locally. If Microsoft had put local db access into the device they could legitimately say they were at parody with the IPhone this Christmas. They''ll claim it anyway, but they'll be wrong.

    In the mean time, the IPad will be here in a month. And it will help Apple A LOT in the Enterprise. Watch the IPad take off. So by Christmas it''ll be The IPad and the IPhone going full steam at the consumer AND the enterprise. Microsoft will be watching Silverlight apps that require a lot of data access being judged as too slow. Unless they have discovered a way to cheat the currently known laws of physics (wormholes maybe?) there is no way they're going to do a round trip data request from some data hub in Chicago or Texas to a phone faster than an IPhone/IPad accessing data locally.

     

    And to compete against the IPad/IPhone combo in the enterprise it'll be good old WM6.

     

    The Wall Street Journal estimates 10% of Microsoft employees use the IPhone for work, even though they have to pay for it themselves. So the IPhone is penetrating into MICROSOFT's own enterprise. And imagine how many IPods Microsoft's  employees' kids have. Add the IPhones owned by their spouses and relatives.

     

    I think Microroft has made great strides in the dev environment, they did a good job (except for local db access on the WindowsPhone.) Microsoft's strength up till now has been the enterprise, but they are not defending the castle because everyone has been mustered to try to attack Apple's consumer stronghold.

     

    Getting the world to abandon ITunes for whatever the Zune version of ITunes is, will be a tough job. I've heard the new Zune is great. But as we know the mindshare (and the song collections), especially of the kids, are vested in ITunes. I think getting my 12 year old niece and her friends to give up their IPods will be akin to selling Honda's to Hell's Angels. The kids are growing up with that Apple logo imprinted on their lives. New York and LA pretty much define where the fashion goes in the country. And if your in a cafe anywhere around NYU, you'd think the market share of laptops was reversed with Apple in the huge majority.  And with the price premium, Apple laptops are pretty much like buying a pair of $400 True Religion jeans. The IPod has truly become fashion, with kids buying multiple devices, just in different colors. The number of kids with multiple zunes as fashion- I'd bet approximately zero. Maybe Bill Gate's kids? I even doubt that.

     

    I went to the Sybase event because, while I was leaving a Microsoft event in NYC early this week, another developer grabbed me and said you should go to this. He even found me the signup sheet from the computers available at the Microsoft's New York office. And when I went to the event there were more familiar faces. Long time devotees of Microsoft pushing others to "IPhone in the enterprise events". And they are there instead of watching the just released latest and greatest technology webcasts from MIX!

     

    Maybe I'm missing  Microsoft's grand scheme. But it had better come together soon.

     

    Dave K

     

    We are waiting for Microsoft's plan as well.  WinPhone7 is definitely not a business fit for our customers yet we have not heard what the plan is for WinMobile.  To date we have treated the WinPhone7 as a fork and patiently wait to hear the news regarding the other prong.

  • User profile image
    DaveK

    davewill said:
    DaveK said:
    *snip*

    We are waiting for Microsoft's plan as well.  WinPhone7 is definitely not a business fit for our customers yet we have not heard what the plan is for WinMobile.  To date we have treated the WinPhone7 as a fork and patiently wait to hear the news regarding the other prong.

    In the Q&A after the first Windows phone session by Charlie Kindle, they talked about not providing new features for WindowsMobile just supporting what's there. So I guess the other branch of the fork will be something else. Some day.

     

    Dave K

  • User profile image
    ScanIAm

    DaveK said:
    Ray7 said:
    *snip*

    I guess that's their plan.

    I just came from a Sybase-"IPhone on your terms" presentation in NYC. So while Microsoft focuses on delivering basically web apps on WP7S (available on IPhone in 2007) ,IPhone is coming after the Enterprise..  So Microsoft is promising to deliver in seven months technology that would only put it 2 years behind IPhone if it were released today. So by Christmas it'll only be 2 years and 7 months behind the IPhone instead of 3 years behind. You can say its not a web app, it's Silverlight,  but if most to all of your data is coming from the server the results are the same. Back in 2007 people complained about the slowness of the web apps, on the IPhone  so in 2008 Apple moved to creating apps that can access databases locally. If Microsoft had put local db access into the device they could legitimately say they were at parody with the IPhone this Christmas. They''ll claim it anyway, but they'll be wrong.

    In the mean time, the IPad will be here in a month. And it will help Apple A LOT in the Enterprise. Watch the IPad take off. So by Christmas it''ll be The IPad and the IPhone going full steam at the consumer AND the enterprise. Microsoft will be watching Silverlight apps that require a lot of data access being judged as too slow. Unless they have discovered a way to cheat the currently known laws of physics (wormholes maybe?) there is no way they're going to do a round trip data request from some data hub in Chicago or Texas to a phone faster than an IPhone/IPad accessing data locally.

     

    And to compete against the IPad/IPhone combo in the enterprise it'll be good old WM6.

     

    The Wall Street Journal estimates 10% of Microsoft employees use the IPhone for work, even though they have to pay for it themselves. So the IPhone is penetrating into MICROSOFT's own enterprise. And imagine how many IPods Microsoft's  employees' kids have. Add the IPhones owned by their spouses and relatives.

     

    I think Microroft has made great strides in the dev environment, they did a good job (except for local db access on the WindowsPhone.) Microsoft's strength up till now has been the enterprise, but they are not defending the castle because everyone has been mustered to try to attack Apple's consumer stronghold.

     

    Getting the world to abandon ITunes for whatever the Zune version of ITunes is, will be a tough job. I've heard the new Zune is great. But as we know the mindshare (and the song collections), especially of the kids, are vested in ITunes. I think getting my 12 year old niece and her friends to give up their IPods will be akin to selling Honda's to Hell's Angels. The kids are growing up with that Apple logo imprinted on their lives. New York and LA pretty much define where the fashion goes in the country. And if your in a cafe anywhere around NYU, you'd think the market share of laptops was reversed with Apple in the huge majority.  And with the price premium, Apple laptops are pretty much like buying a pair of $400 True Religion jeans. The IPod has truly become fashion, with kids buying multiple devices, just in different colors. The number of kids with multiple zunes as fashion- I'd bet approximately zero. Maybe Bill Gate's kids? I even doubt that.

     

    I went to the Sybase event because, while I was leaving a Microsoft event in NYC early this week, another developer grabbed me and said you should go to this. He even found me the signup sheet from the computers available at the Microsoft's New York office. And when I went to the event there were more familiar faces. Long time devotees of Microsoft pushing others to "IPhone in the enterprise events". And they are there instead of watching the just released latest and greatest technology webcasts from MIX!

     

    Maybe I'm missing  Microsoft's grand scheme. But it had better come together soon.

     

    Dave K

     

    Or what?  You'll incessantly whine some more?

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