If sources at Taiwanese mobile handset manufacturers can be believed, Microsoft plans to keep both Windows Mobile 6.5 and Windows Mobile 7 alive well into the next decade, in a bid to compete with Android-based cellphones and the iPhone.
A Windows Mobile 7 launch planned for the fourth quarter of 2010 and would potentially compete with the iPhone.
If true, that’s a seriously long lead time and makes me wonder just how serious Microsoft is about keeping and gaining mobile OS market share.
I know there are people who swear by Windows Mobile, and those that have little choice but to use it because of the corporate policies they’re tied to, but Microsoft surely has to pull something spectacular out of the bag for its next WM versions, because you know that Android OS and iPhone OS X won’t be standing still over the next year.
Apple has a distinct advantage over the other two OS developers in that it controls both the hardware and software. Granted, this means less consumer choice, but given how quickly each successive iPhone handset is snapped up, that doesn’t seem to be a problem.
Mobile hardware will continue to evolve over the coming year. I can see Android OS developing to keep pace. Will Windows Mobile? Why maintain two versions?
Bear in mind that this is all speculative at present. We’ll keep an eye on Microsoft’s mobile plans.