In just under a month's time, I shall be heading off to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, much as I do every year.
Apart from the pleasure of a visit to the Catalan capital, with the warmer weather that involves, one of the highlights of the trip is always Microsoft's Big Announcement. What will that be this year? If Redmond has its wits about it, it'll be Windows Mobile 7.
What WinMob7 will actually entail is another matter. Most of the rumours circulating around the interwebs... well, actually those are about Apple's magic tablet, but let's pretend for a moment that iSlate-mania doesn't exist... most of the rumours point to a Zune-derived interface, with a complete compatibility break from WinMob's past.
This would be both a great and a rubbish idea. Great, because WinMob is so desperately behind its competitors in the consumer market (no matter how much you prettify it with skins, the underlying OS is a five-year throwback), and rubbish, because the one market where WinMob is currently still vaguely attractive is the enterprise, where apps are an actual investment.
Some of the rumours suggest we're looking at two strands of WinMob7 development: consumer and enterprise. While this makes sense to some degree, for the reasons mentioned above, it makes a pretty confusing picture for anyone looking to maybe try this Windows Phone thing for the first time.
That approach would also be most irksome for developers. If Microsoft abandons legacy compatibility, it's going to have enough of a struggle getting coders to shift their attention from Android, the iPhone and the BlackBerry. Suggesting they may need to address two tines of one Microsofty fork just to stay in that game might be the last straw.
One final issue. Correct me if I'm being a techy snob here, but... does anyone, apart from those who have an investment in legacy WinMob apps, actually care about the platform anymore?
I used to love Windows Mobile because, believe it or not, it used to be the coolest, geekiest platform out there. There's still potential to make people feel that way again... maybe. Possibly.
Come on, Stevie B. Make me care again.