Phone 7 Spawns The Death Throes of Windows Mobile

by Matt Klassen on February 16, 2010

As a telecom blogger, it is sometimes my sad duty to inform the world of a tragic loss in tech world; but today as I contemplatively endure a moment of silence for the inevitable passing of Windows Mobile, I have to think more people will be cheering rather than crying. The only unfortunate thing is that we’ll have to endure the agonizingly drawn-out death rattle of the old OS for the next nine long months.

On Monday, at the Mobile World Congress, Microsoft finally announced the release of the new Windows Phone 7 series, effectively rendering the old, antiquated Windows Mobile all but obsolete. After three years since the iPhone was released, Microsoft has finally produced a worthy competitor; a phone that several tech analysts consider an absolute game changer in the mobile world.

While for many the unveiling of the Windows Phone 7 (yes, that’s the official name) was a long time coming, its October/November release will immediately see Microsoft join its rivals Apple and Google at the top of the smartphone hierarchy. What is truly interesting is that this triumvirate of powerhouses in the realm of desktop computing all now stand to assume the same positions in the mobile world as well, as more and more phones are simply becoming PCs that are able to fit in your pocket.

With the Windows Phone 7 series, Microsoft has made a swift, but not so clean, break with the clunky and difficult to use Windows Mobile. Gone are the Windows-like pull-down menus that chained the user to a stylus, and its place is a innovative and intuitive set of touchable ‘tiles’ that you can tap, swipe, or rearrange to your liking, along with animated menus familiar to anyone who has tried the recent Zune HD.

This type of break from a their technological past is certainly a bold and revolutionary move for Microsoft, but it’s not the first time it’s been done in the tech world. In the early days of hand-held mobile devices, Palm found themselves at the top of the industry, the benchmark for technological supremacy. However, as their competitors continued to develop their own devices, Palm began to fall behind. In an effort to avoid their inevitable demise, Palm released the Pre with an all new OS, discontinued their older phones, and began working on rebuilding their reputation.

While Palm mercifully ended the life of their antiquated tech with one swift stroke, the death throes of Window Mobile will be painfully drawn out. The issue, as reported recently on tech website Gizmodo, is that Microsoft will paradoxically continue to produce smartphones that use the old Windows Mobile OS until the release of the 7 series at the end of this year. The problem is, “these [Windows Mobile] phones have just been so brutally and thoroughly maimed, and rendered so spectacularly unbuyable, that Microsoft has effectively taken themselves out of the phone market until October—at the earliest.

With the impending release of a vastly superior Windows Phone 7 OS, who in their right mind would purchase even the latest phones that still used the old Windows Mobile? Now I’m certainly no marketing genius, but effectively neutering your mobile sales for an entire year leading up to the impending release of your newest device does not seem like a great way to generate a buzz, to generate revenues, or to effectively compete with your rivals. Or, then again, perhaps it’s the best way.

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