The complaints about Windows Mobile have been mostly about user interface. Windows Mobile looks simply pedestrian relative to the latest mobile operating systems from Apple, Palm, Android and Research in Motion. But the latest news on Microsoft's cloud plans raise an interesting question: Would you trade aesthetics for some cloud functionality?
Mary Jo Foley is reporting the latest on the Windows Mobile-cloud connection. In two weeks, Microsoft will give a few hints at how Windows Mobile and Skybox, Skyline and Skymarket cloud computing efforts will go together.
Mary Jo writes:
The most interesting member of the new Microsoft mobile trio, Skybox, is a hub for user data and information — a place for storing and accessing photos, contact lists, calendar items and more on Microsoft datacenter servers. If you lose or switch your phone, all your data and contacts are saved in your Skybox. Skybox is based on the Mobicomp synchronization technologies that the Redmondians acquired when they purchased the Portuguese services company Mobicomp in the summer of 2008.
By summer, Skybox will be connected to Windows Mobile. What's the big deal?
Windows Mobile with real cloud functionality could be dangerous. In fact, it may be a key differentiator. Mary Jo paints the following:
Skybox 2.0 is designed to allow users to manage their mobile devices from the Web; they will be able to change ringtones, backgrounds and manage their mobile apps, music and video all from the cloud, sources said. Version 2.0 will integrate with Skymarket, providing users with a way to buy and store applications and application data on remote servers. Supposedly, with Skybox 2.0, Microsoft also figures out how to integrate Windows Live services and Live Mesh with Skybox.
That's pretty handy. Of course, it's all in the execution though. If Microsoft delivers this vision is it enough to sway you to (or back to) Windows Mobile?
Also see: Rapid mobile OS development hurting Windows Mobile