I (and others) have been wondering and speculating whether Microsoft might be holding its Windows Mobile 7 cards close to the vest and be planning to show, or at least talk about, Windows Mobile 7 at this year's Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in mid-November.
The answer is no, a company spokeswoman definitively told me on September 11. If Microsoft does talk mobile at its developer conference, Windows Mobile 6.5 -- and not even the rumored interim 6.5 update designed to get Win Mobile working on capacative touch screen devices-- is the only content on the docket.
Here is the e-mail from the spokesperson:
"As I'm sure you know, Microsoft and its partners are squarely focused on introducing the Windows phone brand through the launch of Windows Mobile 6.5 in October [October 6], which includes working closely with ISVs and developers to add even greater value to the Windows Mobile platform and new business opportunities for its mobile channel ecosystem. To properly set your expectations, wanted to let you know that Microsoft is not planning any sessions for PDC that look past the Windows Mobile OS in market at that time."
I followed up and asked whether Microsoft might be privately showing anything post Win Mobile 6.5, or maybe talking/showing new bits in the keynotes or hallways at the conference, which kicks off November 16. After all, it wasn't that long ago that Windows Mobile 7.0 was still expected to go to phone makers in November 2009 and show up on phones in the first part of 2010....
The answer came back again as no. The spokesperson reiterated that Microsoft would not be doing anything related to Windows Mobile 7 at the PDC.
I guess this could mean one of two things:
- Windows Mobile 7 really isn't going to debut before the end of 2010, after all. If Windows Mobile 7 phones were coming out in the first part of 2010, as originally expected, wouldn't Microsoft be working now with developers to help them write apps for the new mobile-phone operating system?
- Microsoft is not planning to use the PDC to communicate with the Win Mobile developer community but could be holding some other public/private conference where it will share more on Win Mobile 7.
What will be on the PDC 2009 docket? So far, there are sessions for those interested in/working with Microsoft's Azure cloud platform, .Net 4.0, Visual Studio 2010, Office 2010 and Windows 7. Those are the primary topics planned for the PDC, which is slated from November 16 to 19 in Los Angeles.
There were a couple of other interesting Windows Mobile tidbits this week. Long Zheng over on istartedsomething.com got Microsoft officials to acknowledge that the company is attempting to speed up the delivery of new Windows Mobile releases by working toward allowing updates to be downloaded directly to users' phones (some time in the future), rather than requiring OEMs to preload the new bits.
And IT Pro UK managed to get Microsoft to confirm what I had heard months ago: That the Mobile team's plan is to work more closely with fewer handset makers by providing them with chassis specs to which they can build. One such chassis spec: The Windows Mobile 7 one that a source provided me a few months back.