To counter the success of the iPhone, Microsoft is revamping its mobile operating system, according to Ars Technica. “Never one to back down from a challenge, Microsoft is busily preparing both a minor UI refresh (Windows Mobile 6.1) and a major new release of the operating system (Windows Mobile 7.0). A gallery of screen shots from the 6.1 refresh compiled by Boy Genius shows an emphasis on simplification: the screens are more task-oriented and have less clutter than their immediate predecessor. A new and clearer font adorns the UI, and new features such as zooming, copy and paste in Internet Explorer, and auto-configuring ActiveSync for e-mails are sure to be welcome additions to the platform. In addition, Microsoft is making it easier (and more Windows-like) to switch tasks by adding a standardized task manager to the platform.”
Windows Mobile 6.1, 7.0 Feature Big Changes to Compete with iPhone
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2007-12-18 1:03 amJPowers
The first thing to remember is that the iPhone and the S60 use the same browser engine.
What I want to know is how did they determine iPhone verse S60 users?
2007-12-18 4:57 pmsnozzberry
Simple. As per W3C regs, they report different UA strings. iPhone/iPod Touch:
iPod Touch user agent string:
Mozilla/5.0 (iPod; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420.1 (KHTML, like Geckto) Version/3.0 Mobile/3A101a Safari/419.3
iPhone user agent string:
Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1C28 Safari/419.3
S60 user agent string(s):
Mozilla/5.0 (SymbianOS/9.1; U; en-us) AppleWebKit/413 (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/413
Mozilla/5.0 (SymbianOS/9.2; U; en-us; Series60/3.1 Nokia3250/1.00) Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1; AppleWebKit/413 (KHTML, like Gecko) Safari/413
Parsing UAs for nothing more than “Safari” is like parsing them for nothing more than “Mozilla.”
Edited 2007-12-18 17:00
2007-12-18 8:36 pmWintermute
That depends on which browser you use. Unlike the iPhone, you can install whatever you want, without any hassle on S60 phones.
2007-12-18 4:01 pmDigitalAxis
The ‘hiptop’ is also known as the T-Mobile Sidekick, at least in the USA. Those are the gigantic GBA-sized phones with swivel screens popular with highschoolers these days, since they have a QWERTY keypad for TXTING!!!!!
The OS is by some company called Danger, and the phones are made by Sharp or Motorola.
i wish apple would create a “jump off a cliff phone” because it would be hilarious to see how quickly MS create a copy of it : )
2007-12-17 11:37 pmRavyne
Of course, first Apple would have people lined up around the block 3 days before launch, all of them ready to jump the cliff themselves.
The apple zealots are even quicker to follow The Steve than Microsoft
2007-12-18 3:23 amWorknMan
Of course, first Apple would have people lined up around the block 3 days before launch, all of them ready to jump the cliff themselves.
Haha, imagine that. And all gear released after the fact would come in 1 or 2 colors instead of 30, and people would once again crave substance over style.
2007-12-18 12:05 amHavin_it
i wish apple would create a “jump off a cliff phone”
God, that’s my dream. Every pretentious a-hole in the western hemisphere could be consensually exterminated in a matter of hours. We may face a shortage of graphic designers and “in media” people but hopefully humanity will muddle through.
Is there a suggestion box on the Apple site? I can’t stop fantasizing about this now
aesthetically MS still doesn’t compete with apple.
2007-12-18 7:52 pmrenox
Bah, Windows Mobile biggest issue isn’t its aesthetic, it is its usability which *sucks*:
– it’s buggy: I cannot synchronise Outlook with my AsusP526, all of these software totally made by Microsoft.
– many operation needs the stilet to be done even though when you have a touch screen, it’s much more faster to just use your fingers.
One example: my Windows CE smartphone AsusP526 doesn’t have a fastkey to change between ring/silent(vibrate) mode (a common thing to do with a phone!), and it’s not possible to do it with your fingers either: you have to use the stilet..
And it doesn’t have either a mode to first vibrate then sound..
To summarize Microsoft has done a poor job (as usual) and we can thank Apple as competition is making MS try to improve its product (a well known story)..
Microsoft plans to completely redo applications such as Internet Explorer, bringing the mobile browser up to par with Apple’s Mobile Safari.
Not before time.
Place your bets now – who’ll be first to match Safari – Microsoft or Mozilla? Me, I’d love to say Mozilla but after the debacle that was MiniMo I can’t see it happening. Not soon anyway.
2007-12-18 9:41 amwirespot
Aren’t we forgetting Opera? The Mini and Mobile versions are miles ahead of Explorer. And there are other very good browsers out there, like NetFront. The browser competition on small devices is quite fierce.
2007-12-19 2:17 amlinumax
A scared Microsoft is a good Microsoft.
If they do not put much effort into innovation on desktop, that’s because they already dominate the market and don’t have much to fear, at least in the foreseeable future.
In the mobile market, on the other hand, they are fighting an uphill battle against a range of fierce competitors, from Symbian to Linux, from Mobile Linux Group to the Open Handset Alliance (Android) and so on. Their competition is resourceful, aggressive and growing rapidly, meanwhile it can not be bought or crushed.
Basically, in order to survive and expand Microsoft has to innovate.
A living example of this concept is XBox, where Microsoft is really competing, fruits of which are innovations like Live and XNA, met with success and embraced by the gamers and developers.
SQL Server, .NET, even IE at a certain time-frame are other examples of how Microsoft could actually innovate. Of course, historically, innovation stops as domination arrives.
2007-12-19 12:12 pmPJBonoVox
“Place your bets now – who’ll be first to match Safari?”
Opera already did. Check your facts.
it’s funny how everyting ms does gets turned into copying from apple
i’d call it windows vista home basic ce from the looks of the screenshots…
Funny how MS decides to step up to the plate after someone lights a fire under their asses. God forbid they concede some part of a computer market to somebody else. Is there anything that is developed today, that’s remotely computer related, that Microsoft just sits back in their war-room and says…”Nah. It’s not worth it.”
They are late to the game in every “niche” that they’re in. They bring mediocre products to the table, when they finally hit the shelves. They can ride out horrible product lines because of their obscene stockpiles of cash. And then they use their extreme influence, and monopolistic measures to force feed everyone their crap to make it look like the All Microsoft solution is the best. Ahem, xBox…anyone?
2007-12-18 10:45 amGorgak
I think that very few of Microsoft’s modern products can be called “mediocre”. The Xbox 360 is a nice console, as was the old one. And I’d rather use Windows on the desktop than Solaris / CDE, for instance.
I think it makes sense for MS to diversify, since their current desktop monopoly might not last forever. Who knows what will be tomorrow’s cash cow? They surely have the money to try different markets.
I don’t use any MS products at the moment, and I don’t plan to, but I think “decent”, rather than “mediocre”, is a word that better describes their products.
Yes, it’s crazy that merely “decent” products rule the market… let’s hope that changes.
2007-12-18 11:52 amlemur2
And I’d rather use Windows on the desktop than Solaris / CDE, for instance.
Why on earth would you restrict yourself to use CDE with Solaris?
GNU/Solaris can make a perfectly reasonable desktop.
Over 12,000 Debian/Ubuntu packages, managed by apt/synaptic, with a GNOME desktop, running under a Solaris kernel.
CDE was at end-of-life six years ago.
In 2001, Hewlett-Packard (HP-UX) and Sun (Solaris) announced that they would phase out CDE as the standard desktop on their workstations in favor of GNOME.
PS: Microsoft products do not make the “decent” grade.
Edited 2007-12-18 12:07
2007-12-18 1:33 pmalban
The XBOX 360 is a nice console?
In the winter it does double up as a great fan heater. As a ‘media extender’ its ideal if you want to listen to music or watch a video accompanied by the sound of howling wind…
It also has to make environmentally unfriendly trips from the UK to Texas for repairs from time to time.
If it was (a) silent (or even quiet) and (b)reliable then it would be a nice console.
2007-12-18 7:19 pmJonathanBThompson
CAD/CAM software hasn’t been touched with a 10-foot poll by Microsoft, and perhaps it never will.
They certainly have the resources to do it, if they want, but it’s a very vertically-integrated industry and set of software tools that generally isn’t a large market of the general user population. Microsoft seems more likely to create products for business that are enterprisey in nature, OS-like, and have a broad market base they can aim for: CAD/CAM software just isn’t that.
CAD/CAM software is a market (for the high-end stuff) that has a huge barrier to entry, and I think part of it is that the high-end CAD/CAM software tends to require more personal hands-on sales to individuals and companies to convince them to pony up the (often) several $K per license. By contrast, common OS’s for such things as PC’s and phones is more up Microsoft’s sort of alley: mass market appeal and scope. Also, when it comes to CAD/CAM software, there’ a few biggies that really do have very good software, and having worked for one of Autodesk’s competitors, I can assure you, high-end CAD software is comparable in size but even worse for technical complexities than is general purpose OS software.
2007-12-18 10:57 pmPhloptical
Yeah, you’re right about that. MS isn’t in CAD…yet. There’s a TON of cash to be made in that arena, though. Kinda surprised they haven’t tried, to the best of my knowledge. The protection money that is paid out to these CAD/FEA developing houses is astronomical.
Microsoft would probably end up buying some low-end CAD manufacturer just to push DirectX. They should buy MasterCam….it sucks anyway.
2007-12-19 6:03 pmsmashIt
Microsoft would probably end up buying some low-end CAD manufacturer just to push DirectX.
there already are cad-tools that use directx, because it doesn’t matter what is used for rendering the nurbs and splines
2007-12-19 2:13 ambnolsen
MS is a marketing company. First and foremost.
What little tech/R&D they have (compared with the company budget) is generally spent on trying to chase new markets, not on entrenching older ones.
I’ve only heard very bad about windows mobile 6. From the things I see here mobile 7 is supposed to be more “windows like” which is exactly what embedded systems should never be.
That being said it’s best to wait to see what really comes out.
I cant wait till intel gets there x86 chicps into mobile products so that I can build WinCE devices as desktop replacements easier. 7.0 and the eventual 8.0 sounds great. as for as an OS goes CE is rather impressive and fully capable and incredible small. its one of MS’s most overlooked pieces of software but its one of their best.
2007-12-18 7:57 amLobotomik
CE is rather impressive relative to other Microsoft operating systems, but fully capable? small? You can put together a Linux package that is twice as capable in one half the memory. I have had a Compaq PDA first running WM and then Linux, and though the Linux distro also needed a lot more cooking, the difference was mind blowing.
I don’t use that PDA anymore, though (PDAs are not that useful to me), and I now have a new WM6 phone which is crap but fun and powerful. I’d install Android in it any day it became available, though, and kick WM into the bin of things that are better forgotten.
2007-12-18 2:09 pmpoundsmack
yes but i didnt say windows mobile 6, i was refereing to custome built winCE images. there is a lot there that most people dont know about.
Funny how MS decides to step up to the plate after someone lights a fire under their asses.
It has been like this since day one. Apple innovates and MS copies and mass produces elements of what Apple came up with. Look at IE 7. Some web developers hate it but everywhere I go in corporate America it now sits on everyone’s desktop. It has elements of other browsers like Opera and Mozilla and it is good enough for most people. The reality is the average desktop user surfing the web will probably think IE 7 is Firefox since it has tabs, sad, but so true. It seems like a winning strategy. Wait for others to innovate and then copy, modify and push onto people’s computers with Windows update. Now they are copying elements of the iPhone. Of course it will not be as smooth as Apple’s UI but, eh, it will be good enough and people will probably buy it. Same software copying pattern different product.
2007-12-18 3:41 amSoulbender
2007-12-18 11:11 pmGzzy
What elements of the iPhone are they copying? the article claims Microsoft is making big changes because of the iPhone but if you look at the proposed changes they are really not related to the iPhone but to fixing long-standing problems with Windows Mobile.
the only issue they bring up that has anything to do with the iPhone is the web browser… which the new version , codenamed Deepfish, had been in semi-public beta for months before the iPhone was announced. Even the Deepfish blog pre-dates any iPhone announcements.
Ballmer, in an interview with USA Today in April 2007:
Would I trade 96% of the market for 4% of the market? (Laughter.) I want to have products that appeal to everybody.
Now we’ll get a chance to go through this again in phones and music players. There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I’d prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.
From zero to wrong in under eight months, a new Ballmer Land-Speed Record. Why do they continue to let him do interviews?
What a shame, if Microsoft could just be creatively proactive instead of defensively reactive, the increased competition would be better for the entire computer industry.
Edited 2007-12-18 03:37
Apple really innovated in terms of interface with the iPhone. We’re still waiting to see how much momentum they are going to gain with third-party applications… if they ever do get some, that is. However, thanks to them, the competition is now compelled to improve their products, which is a 100% benefit for the end user.
MS has been marketing Pocket PC pretty well: it is endorsed on a plethora of devices, creating a broad user base with lots of third-party applications.
Most of the applications “just work”, and you can install them on any device built running Pocket PC.
As a desktop Linux user, I’ve had a frustrating experience with a Zharp Zaurus and eventually resolved to get a Pocket PC, which will enable me to use some of my favorite applications such as Keepass and Skype on the go and straight out of the box. I would love to have a Linux PDA or phone that handles WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS without looking like a prototype running beta software. It looks like I might have to wait a long time before that wish comes true: embedded Linux does’nt seem to be doing well. Sharp, Trolltech, Palm, Nokia, Google and OpenMoko are all involved with different flavours of Linux, which obviously will not interoperate between them. Every month, some new Linux phone project pops up, adding to the number of iterations and forks, while spreading the ressources thin. It will eventually spread so thin tere won’t be enough developers willing to work on one iteration.
In the meantime, MS is trying to get their act together. They won’t likely achieve something as “cool” and “hip” as OSX for the iPhone, but unless something sustainable comes from Embedded Linux (or Palm or Symbian), it looks like it’s gonna be a piece of cake for MS to keep its broad marketshare.
Edited 2007-12-18 07:56
2007-12-18 1:43 pmLaurence
“Apple really innovated in terms of interface with the iPhone.”
Adding an awkward 2nd finger to old technology then sealing it in pretty black plastic isn’t ‘innovation’.
Apple created a pretty product that does a lot of things well but ultimately thier technology specs (Camera resolution, lack of 3G, etc) were aready a couple of years behind their competitors from even the first iPhone press release and does little other in addition to existing products aside the tightest vendor lock ins we’ve seen to date.
At the end of the day I think Microsoft need to realise this; the iPhone isn’t going anywhere until it is world wide and unlocked. Apple would never come out in a million years and offer an unlocked iPhone which one can purchase off the shelf anywhere in the world, then head down to Vodafone or TelstraClear and choose the plan of my choice. Sure, France is unlocked, but it only works in France. How is that ‘choice’ for the rest of us?
In a business, it won’t take off; I look around in New Zealand, everyone is using Blackberry – I don’t see a single Palm any more. Big Asian vendors like Samsung, Hyundai, Kyocera, SonyEricsson have come to the party – so where is iPhone? by the time the iPhone comes to the Asian/Pacific region people are going to dismiss it as a waste of money because cheaper and better things would have come out by then.
Ultimately Microsoft doesn’t have a thing to worry about, Apple’s own inept myopic view of the world will kill the iPhone.
Edited 2007-12-18 08:37
The iPhone was never meant to appeal to business, it’s a consumer item. It was never designed to go up against the blackberry’s in business. In london, the blackberry is still king due to it’s intergration to business email infrastructures. However this is not to say that some people have been using it for business as they prefer the device.
The device is an excellent consumer version of the blackberry, it brings email and web browsing to users who don’t have an administrator to set it all up. It’s very popular and it will continue to gain traction.
As for the article itself, i say good. Im glad Microsoft, LG etc are copying features and ideas from the iPhone, it means that everyone benefits from the innovations the iPhone brings. Not innovations of being the first to the market, but the innovations of implementing these technologies in an easy to use package.
As many people have said there is room in the market so one product doesn’t have to kill another, there is room for them both to exist. I would say the loosing would be if a product is removed from the market as we loose a chunk of competition.
Boot Camp for iPhone!
Honestly. How can anybody say “copying the iPhone”? The iPhone platform is very young, Apple had to copy everything from other companies (including Microsoft).
Edited 2007-12-18 10:19
2007-12-18 1:16 pmrb2k
OSX isn’t very young…
2007-12-19 1:39 pmmono
“OSX isn’t very young…”
The iPhone version of OS X is very young (GUI borrows a lot of things from other solutions).
Edited 2007-12-19 13:41
Apple does not really innovates.
These people are just very good at what they do and they bring products that actually look like they where made nowadays and not 3 (Microsoft) or 5 (Nokia) years ago.
As for the technology specs being several years old that might be true. But the iPhone still is the snappiest smartphone I ever used and it really feels like every other competitors are several years behind.
As an aside, beside the true 3d acceleration in the device, the cpu is also running at a very modest 620mhz. Talk about lagging behind…
I am glad to hear they are making the UI easier, but that is not why people are buying the iPhone now is it? MY friends who have the iPhone DO love the simplicity of the UI, but its the design of the device that is the killer feature it seems.
It doesn’t help if the windows mobile is a exact copy of the iPhone software if the device itself looks and feels like shit…but its a step in the right direction at least…unless they at the same time kills the power of windows mobile.
I like Windows Mobile as far as the OS goes – I don’t think it’s unintuitive and what MS is doing is definitely going to improve it a lot from the sounds of it. My only problem with current Windows Mobiles phones is the devices themselves – it’s always something missing or they are just god awful (call me a snob but I like my phone to look decent at least – but that’s not MS’s fault though).
Also, why do people constantly say that Microsoft is copying Apple – that is total B.S. IMO – do you think their R&D department has been sleeping and just now woke up with the release of the iPhone. I am almost positive that a lot of the things they are introducing in their new versions have been cooking for some time. I am sure that they will take some notice from the iPhone but generally they seem to follow their own route. To me current Windows Mobile devices resemble Vista much more than anything and their future ones seem to keep that direction while introducing a lot more mobile-centric features and ideas.
All that being said, I am still biggest fan of the S60 system as I think it’s still the best thought out system for mobile phones and I am eagerly awaiting to see what Nokia will do with their S60 Touch UI. I’m sure the 1st generation devices will be very rough around the edges but from what I’ve read about prototypes and from various blogs it sounds like they’re on the right track. Their software ecosystem is already pretty healthy and if they don’t break compatibility too bad, it should all be good in Symbian land.
I’d approach the statement that iPhone has overtaken Windows CE in terms of browsing marketshare with skepticism, there is no methodology on how they collected that data and in general it seems to be pretty random.
I mean what the hell is a ‘hiptop’? And don’t tell me that there are more hiptop users than S60 users. Maybe this just for the US, but no way do ‘hiptop’ users have a larger presence on the net than S60 users.
People who get S60 phones tend to know what they are doing and use the features of their phones.