Windows Mobile to come to Mobile Internet Devices

Windows Mobile to come to Mobile Internet Devices

Summary: 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.


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.

Windows Mobile to come to Mobile Internet DevicesLen 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.)

Topics: Software, Emerging Tech, Tablets, Operating Systems, Mobility, Mobile OS, Microsoft, Laptops, Hardware, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • I would love to see more focus on this

    Isn't it funny how we started long ago with Windows CE devices that had nice sized keyboards and clamshell designs and then we moved to small smartphones and are now headed back to the Windows CE-type designs? The HTC Advantage is almost perfect for me as an ultra portable with the wireless connectivity (WiFi, Bluetooth, HSDPA), long battery life, large display for the size of the device, and instant-on. The one aspect that needs work is the web browser and if that was up to snuff then I would not need a full blown Windows OS to be productive on the go.

    I would love to see Microsoft take a look at improving a couple of aspects of Windows Mobile and putting it on devices that have a form factor like an Advantage or Nokia N810. Windows Vista on an ultra-portable is generally not a good experience and should be abandoned, IMHO.
    palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
  • Hallo' Arlo England : that cabinet <dll> is worth just as much as a mobile"

    I have lost my abling desire to do and though stuff for peace in Jerusalum and my runtime models from the FDA. Thanks for all your twelve hundred dollar contributions into the salvation of the human socialist movement.
    Cellphone anyone?
  • Very nice (NT)

    P. Douglas
  • Good Lord, I hope not...

    I love WiMo like a brother - but it's a brother that's kind of mentally challenged.

    Look, [gets the soap out because he has to say this] for all the hype on the iPhone, it does do one thing that Microsoft *needs* to look at: it puts a full OS on a portable device.

    The iPhone OS is a stripped version of MacOS X with the UI head replaced with a simpler version (Core Touch replacing Core). This means that iPhone developers don't have to deal with missing API or reduced functionality API-clones like .Net CF.

    What Microsoft needs to do it the OPPOSITE of what you're suggesting. They need to take Windows and remove all the stuff they don't need, compile it for ARM and these new lightweight x86 processors and at the same time tell all manufacturers to get the base storage up to at least a gig. Why ANY PDA or MID ships with less than 1 GB of flash core storage is beyond me.

    The iPhone and iPod Touch OSes are 250MB+. Windows Mobile and Windows CE are designed to stay under 32MB for the OS AND core apps - but can, if you're careful, get them up to 64MB.

    It's time to get rid of the 'small is better' mindset. Memory is cheap. Give the developers a big, roomy playground instead of forcing us to program in a shoebox.

    This is one time where Apple really does get it [ironically, since they don't want to let developers play in their playground] and Microsoft doesn't.
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