Cringely's right, unless Microsoft gets around to doing something really radical with Windows Mobile, the platform will be all but dead in a few years.
So, why will Windows Mobile be dead in a few years? Like Cringely, I think that several factors are at work here:
Windows Mobile is an awful platform
Not only is it an epic fail in terms on being a cut-down version of Windows, it can also be flaky and highly unreliable. I'm not saying that all WM smartphones are rubbish (some, such as Samsung's BlackJack were actually quite decent), but the experience between vendors was very variable. I think that developing a good WM device was expensive, hence roundabout announcement that they are exiting the high-end (read WM) phone game.
Internet Explorer for Windows Mobile
Hello Microsoft .... was this supposed to be a joke applications or something?
There are too many competing platforms
iPhone, Android, Symbian, RIM, Windows Mobile ... that a crowded market.
The high-end cellphone market is only so big
85% of folks out there are more than happy with a dumb handset.
Only so many developers to go around
iPhone and Android platforms are attracting a lot of developer attention. With ready-made stores, Microsoft has nothing like this to offer developers. As much as I like the Symbian platform on my new Nokia, I have to admit that iPhone and Android have some cool apps.
Unless you're #1 or #2, what's the point
Is Microsoft really going to pour the money and commitment that Windows Mobile really needs if there's no chance the platform can't be at the #1 or #2 spot? I don't think so.
Time for Windows Mobile to evolve or die ... and I'm not holding my breath expecting to see any evolving.