Much was made of this week's slip-up by Motorola's CEO that Windows Mobile 7 is due in 2010 (something that's actually been expected for a few months now).
I've been curious about how Microsoft plans to try to catch up with its mobile-phone competitors given the slow, plodding pace at which it has been rolling out new versions of its Windows Mobile platform. After asking around, it sounds like the Softies are definitely aiming to speed up development.
While Windows Mobile officials won't talk about ship-date targets (hmmm... sounds like Windows client), some folks familiar with Microsoft's plans are talking. Here's the latest I'm hearing from my sources:
- Windows Mobile 6.5 RTM (release to manufacturing): April 2009
- First Windows Mobile 6.5 devices from cell phone makers: September 2009
- Windows Mobile 7.0 release to testers: November 2009
- First Windows Mobile 7.0 devices from cell phone makers: April 2010
When CNet first reported that Windows Mobile 7 had slipped, it sounded like the latter half of 2010 was the soonest the first Windows Mobile 7 devices would appear. My guess as to what's compressing the cycle: Fewer WinMobile phone carriers means closer working relationships with Microsoft. Potentially, it also could mean smaller, shorter beta tests and quicker release cycles.
Windows Mobile increasingly seems to be going the way of Windows client: Multiple, small milestone test releases involving just a few external partners. There doesn't seem to be an equivalent to the big public Windows client betas in the WinMobile world, but if you're only going to release the product to a handful of carriers, as Microsoft brass indicated was the plan earlier this year, maybe you don't need to....
I haven't heard anything recently about the feature set that Microsoft is planning to deliver as part of Windows Mobile 6.5 or 7.0. There have been a few tidbits about some of the gesture recognition and multi-touch capabilities in the works for future WinMobile platforms, but that's about all that's leaked.
Back in late 2007, Microsoft told some enthusiasts a bit about its plans for Win Mobile 7 and 8. Even back then, there were hints of the Skybox/Skyline/Skymarket services, if you read between the lines. While Microsoft doesn't seem to be tying those services to specific Windows Mobile releases, they do seem to be in lockstep with each other, from what my sources are saying. Skybox 2.0, for instance, seems to be timed to coincide with Windows Mobile 7, according to source reports.
What are you expecting -- and hoping -- to see Microsoft deliver as part of Windows Mobile 6.5 and 7.0?