I just posted my first impressions of the SE XPERIA X1a, which is the Windows Mobile device with the highest specifications available today. Then I read Zack's post a bit later today slamming Windows Mobile so I thought it would be appropriate to address his issues and post why I think Windows Mobile still has a lot to offer even though today they get no respect, as Rodney would say.
I have to start out by saying I tend to agree a bit with his recent article discussing touch technology in the computing industry. The iPhone is a fun device, but has too many shortcomings for me to use as my everyday device. Unfortunately, now everyone else thinks they need to focus on touch interfaces as well and IMHO too many companies are focusing on the touch experience. RIM makes excellent BlackBerry devices and should stick with non-touch screen devices and keep innovating there. Nokia and Microsoft have non-touch devices that are fast and stable and work extremely well as phones and I am personally a bit tired of the whole touch focus.
Back when the Pocket PC started out in 2000 there were bugs and issues, but as a HEAVY Windows Mobile user I have to say they have been pretty solid devices the last couple of years and the non-touch screen devices have been rock solid for even longer. I think Zack should switch to a non-touch screen Windows Mobile Smartphone and give that a try before completely dropping Windows Mobile.
If you have an Exchange server like my company does, then there is NO better Exchange experience out there than what you find on a Windows Mobile device. I love that I can access my global address list, setup and respond to appointment requests from multiple attendees, search my server email account, quickly smart filter through my email, and have a seamless experience on the go. I actually prefer to create appointments and quickly browse through email on my Windows Mobile device rather than using Outlook on the PC.
You can find 3rd party applications to turn your device into a mobile computer, including a FULL Office suite from SoftMaker, Project applications, database applications, and much, much more. I personally load up about 20 applications right off the bat when I get a new device and try out more every week as I look to make my device perfect for my needs.
Windows Mobile also has an extensive 3rd party developer community that supports the platform and if you are a tweaker like me you can find many treasures over at the XDA Developers site. Granted, new users shouldn't have to go there to tweak a device they buy and I don't think they have to. The option to customize and make your device even better is there though and that is a strength of the platform in my book. It is pretty rare to find any mobile phone that lets you print, but there are actually 3rd party application for Windows Mobile that let you do this.
I will also agree with Zack that there are aspects of Windows Mobile that Microsoft needs to completely take out or revamp, including the customer improvement option, useless Windows update utility, Internet Explorer Mobile, and Windows Media Player Mobile. They need to slap in the Zune interface for media and upgrade the browser or just use Opera Mobile like all the manufacturers are today anyways.
I think Zack needs to try out a Palm Treo Pro or a non-touch screen Windows Mobile device, but given his ranting post I don't think he will give the platform another chance. I rarely touch the display on my Palm Treo Pro, which is one major reason I like it because I get the full power of the Windows Mobile Professional OS without having to touch the display much.
Zack, you might want to check your recollection of history since Palm has not had the upper hand for years and is a company that needed a spark from CES 2008 to even remain relevant in the mobile space. True, Palm was the leader in the mobile space for many years and I still can't believe how fast Microsoft was able to overtake them and pass them up for good. Windows Mobile actually ended up keeping Palm on a lifeline for a couple years and now their new WebOS needs to get launched to keep them afloat and help make them competitive again. Palm let Microsoft pass them up because Microsoft was offering devices that could "do it all" and Palm said people just wanted to use a PDA as an organizer. Palm was wrong and now Microsoft has to make some changes to do what they do better. However, they are very relevant in the enterprise space even today and offer solid products in just about any form factor you could want, which is another strength of the platform.