Microsoft has brought on a new hire -- a former founding member of Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie's Iris Associates -- to help the Redmond software company port the Windows Mobile operating system to new form factors.
Len Kawell, whose title is "Distinguished Engineer in the Mobile Communications Business Group," is charged with "defining the application model for occasionally connected rich Internet applications in the mobile environment," according to his biography on Microsoft's Web site. Kawell is also working on scaling Windows Mobile to "new kinds of devices with larger screens and faster processors -- also known as Mobile Internet Devices, or MIDS," his bio adds.
Microsoft hasn't talked much (if at all) publicly about MIDS; instead, the company has been championing ultra-mobile PCs (UMPCs) as the form factor most likely to occupy the space between notebooks/Tablets and cell phones. But Microsoft's processor pal Intel has been touting both UMPCs and MIDS. Intel distinguishes the two by noting that MIDS tend to be smaller (five-inch screen size) and not providing the ability to monitor "office apps."
Kawell joined Microsoft on or around March 10, based on the posting date of his bio on Microsoft's site. He was most recently with Pepper Computer, "a startup focused on mobile Internet device software for Web-connected applications." Kawell, like a number of other Softies, previously worked at Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) on the VMS operating system. He was a founding team member of Iris, Ozzie's company that developed Lotus Notes. And like Ozzie, Kawell graduated from the University of Illinois in Urbana, with a degree in computer science.
I'm wondering if Microsoft is going to cease its UMPC campaign and start pushing MIDS instead. While Microsoft officials said last year they expected the next generation of UMPC systems produced by Microsoft's OEM partners to feature smaller screens, Windows Vista was on tap to be the operating system that powered these devices. Maybe Microsoft has decided Windows Mobile is a better platform for these smaller, portable devices? What's your take?
(Thanks to Burton Group's Peter O'Kelly for the original Kawell link.)