Trivia Tuesday: Some facts about Windows Mobile

After taking a break for a couple of weeks, Trivia Tuesday is back here at Neowin and I have a whole bunch of new facts and statistics this week relating to Windows Mobile. Yep, I’m talking about one of the oldest smartphone operating systems around and one that is rarely used today, replaced of course by Windows Phone 7.

Windows Mobile was first released on April 19, 2000 as Pocket PC 2000, and until February 2, 2010 there was active development on the platform. Windows Mobile is based on Windows CE, which is loosely based on Windows 95 code; Windows Phone today still uses Windows CE. The platform changed from the Pocket PC name to Windows Mobile on June 23, 2003 with the release of Windows Mobile 2003.

 

The Today Screen on Pocket PC 2000 (left) and Windows Mobile 6.5 (right)

Windows Mobile has had several major releases right up to Windows Mobile 6.5 (the latest version), and many of them have had cool codenames. These include “Rapier” and “Merlin” (for Pocket PC 2000 and 2002 respectively), “Ozone” (Windows Mobile 2003) and “Crossbow” (Windows Mobile 6). My personal favourite is Magneto, which was the codename for Windows Mobile 5.

Currently Windows Phone/Windows Mobile combined has a pretty poor marketshare: around 5.9% according to Nielsen’s reports for Q4 2011. However at one point this was not the case for Windows Mobile, with marketshare for the platform peaking at around 42% in 2007 and making it the most used smartphone platform in that year (behind RIM with 35%). Unfortunately for Microsoft, Apple launched the original iPhone in 2007 and since then Windows Mobile’s marketshare has declined rapidly.

HTC claims that they made not only the first Microsoft Pocket PC (in 2000) but also the first Microsoft-powered smartphone (in 2002). As far as I can ascertain, the first Microsoft-powered smartphone was indeed a HTC device: the HTC Wallaby (otherwise known as the O2 XDA) which was released in May 2002. It was powered by Pocket PC 2002 and included a 206 MHz Intel StrongARM processor and 32 MB of RAM. It also weighed a hefty 201 grams but had an impressive 3.5” display, which would have been huge back in 2002.

The HTC Wallaby/O2 XDA

The final mass-produced Windows Mobile device was made by Samsung, and (again as far as I can tell) it’s the Samsung B7350 Omina Pro 4 released in October 2010 and running Windows Mobile 6.5. This was just 6 months before Microsoft released Windows Phone 7, and the HD Mini was actually released after Windows Phone was announced.

Another interesting fact about Windows Mobile is that the OS licensing fees were around $8 to $15 per device in 2008; this is less than the $23 to $31 fee for Windows Phone as claimed by ZTE. For a Windows Mobile device costing $500-$600 this would have equated to around 2% of the device’s retail price.

The last thing I found that was mildly funny about Windows Mobile is that on Microsoft’s very own Windows Mobile website back in early 2010 they had a “Top 10 features in Windows Mobile 6.5” section. Coming in at number 4 is “Internet Explorer Mobile 6”, which is almost laughable considering that it’s based on an engine from a browser originally released in 2001. You can still visit the webpage where it says that via the Internet Archive.

Read all the past Trivia Tuesdays

Images courtesy of Wikipedia and XDA-Developers

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46 Comments

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"..and one that is rarely used today.." ?
Windows Mobile still has a bigger market share than WP7, Bada, Plam...

Nice post.

My 3 favorite Windows Mobile devies was first the Compaq iPaQ. Which was the first device, I remember to have "i", before Apple came along.

My 2nd was the Palm Treo 700wx which had Windows Mobile 5, but I updated mine to 6.1 with no problem after Palm finally decided to support it.

And lastly was the HTC TouchPro2. This I believe is the first device where HTC introduced the Sense UI/UX, which kinda slowed the low spec phone down. In a world where 1GHz was becomign the norm, 528Mhz was simply way to slow for Windows Mobile.

Tho I loved it, I simply couldn't keep such a slow device. I went back to my Treo. The 800 Treo Pro which I would have gotten was to much like the Palm Centro, only bigger and I didn't like the Centro.

But Windows Mobile has only progressed a little. Windows Phone is just Windows CE yet again with better "eyecandy". The good thing about Windows CE, is that on today's 1Ghz phones for an OS designed to run on less than 1/2 that, Windows Phone will always be fast.

The only thing I don't like about Windows Mobile/Phone, is apps always cost more for the same app sported on other platforms. Hopefully if Windows moves up to 2nd place, apps cost will drop. Especially if 50,000 devs jump on the platform to create competiton.

Me surely miss Windows Mobile and am looking forward to using Windows Phone. I present have my iPhone 4S slongside my HTC Surround with Mango. You can tell the old roots of CE are still underneath and MS just basically did a UI job on it.

But the OS needs to offer more than just glance an go. It needs more enterprise features and please bring back syncing with Outlook.

And with all the money MS makes from Office, Office Mobile should be a bit more powerful. I'd gladly pay $100 for a better version of Office Mobile.

TechieXP said,
You can tell the old roots of CE are still underneath and MS just basically did a UI job on it.

Care to share specifics? The kernel is indeed Windows CE, but I believe they replaced the entire top part. Everything from the APIs to the UI.

surely the hd2 should get a mention, the most popular phone on xda-dev for 2 years running! i remember flashing old win 6.5.1 roms to it, dutty's all the way!!

"loosely based on Windows 95 code"? What basis or reference do you have to say this? I thin that's incorrect. Windows CE is a real-time OS, desktop Windows isn't.

xpclient said,
"loosely based on Windows 95 code"? What basis or reference do you have to say this? I thin that's incorrect. Windows CE is a real-time OS, desktop Windows isn't.

He's maybe referring to the APIs which I believe share some similarities to Win32.

xpclient said,
"loosely based on Windows 95 code"? What basis or reference do you have to say this? I thin that's incorrect. Windows CE is a real-time OS, desktop Windows isn't.

They took all the good bits and removed the windows shell coding with actual OS integration. Basically you could say Vista was based on Windows CE if you wanted to.

Anyone else think it's funny that ultimately even today's most advanced smartphones are still showing the exact same information on the homescreen as the original PocketPC? Schedule, new messages, time, date, volume control widget, and an application menu, lol.

We've just made them bigger and shinier, if you think about it.

/and 9001x faster

Indeed, there is - the TerreStar Genus. One of the world's first smartphones with both cellular and satellite connectivity built in, I believe.

Still available on AT&T for business customers, I believe!

Long history... I hope, it will not die so soon. It's pretty easy to program for mobile devices (manufactures, scanners, so on...)

cpu said,
Long history... I hope, it will not die so soon. It's pretty easy to program for mobile devices (manufactures, scanners, so on...)

Unfortunately, it has died, Windows Phone killed it off. I still have an HTC Touch II for work although I disabled Sense and just use the standard WM 6.5 UI.

I've also used different versions of Windows Mobile on the Compaq iPaq 3650, HP Mobile Media Companion and the Samsung Omnia i900.

I still have my original T-Mobile MDA but use as backup to my T-Mobile HTC Touch Pro2. TBH I still think WinMo5 was better than the WinMo6.5 in terms of usability. Unfortunately I don't know what happened to HTC but I never had the MDA replaced but the Touch Pro2 was replaced 3 times! My next phone will be the Nokia Lumia 900 (if it makes it's way to T-Mo).
P.S. I also had the Compaq Ipaq...I wonder why HP never sued (law suit loving) Apple for use of "I" in a competing product!!!

PoohGQ said,
I still have my original T-Mobile MDA but use as backup to my T-Mobile HTC Touch Pro2. TBH I still think WinMo5 was better than the WinMo6.5 in terms of usability. Unfortunately I don't know what happened to HTC but I never had the MDA replaced but the Touch Pro2 was replaced 3 times! My next phone will be the Nokia Lumia 900 (if it makes it's way to T-Mo).
P.S. I also had the Compaq Ipaq...I wonder why HP never sued (law suit loving) Apple for use of "I" in a competing product!!!

Compaq wasn't own by HP at the time...right?

Take a gander at these - http://www.gsmarena.com/result...Search=yes&sName=HPiPaq

HP bought Compaq in 2002.

PoohGQ said,
I still have my original T-Mobile MDA but use as backup to my T-Mobile HTC Touch Pro2. TBH I still think WinMo5 was better than the WinMo6.5 in terms of usability. Unfortunately I don't know what happened to HTC but I never had the MDA replaced but the Touch Pro2 was replaced 3 times! My next phone will be the Nokia Lumia 900 (if it makes it's way to T-Mo).
P.S. I also had the Compaq Ipaq...I wonder why HP never sued (law suit loving) Apple for use of "I" in a competing product!!!

Compaq wasn't own by HP at the time...right?

Take a gander at these - http://www.gsmarena.com/result...Search=yes&sName=HPiPaq

HP bought Compaq in 2002.

PoohGQ said,
I still have my original T-Mobile MDA but use as backup to my T-Mobile HTC Touch Pro2. TBH I still think WinMo5 was better than the WinMo6.5 in terms of usability. Unfortunately I don't know what happened to HTC but I never had the MDA replaced but the Touch Pro2 was replaced 3 times! My next phone will be the Nokia Lumia 900 (if it makes it's way to T-Mo).
P.S. I also had the Compaq Ipaq...I wonder why HP never sued (law suit loving) Apple for use of "I" in a competing product!!!

I would say, Compaq should have sued for the "I" exclusitivity.
But see, many companies were happy to just compete in a space. Not sue instead.

Id say the trivia aspects to Windows Mobile are that it was
* one of the most advanced smart phone operating systems of its time;
* it captured the business market - lack of competition;
* it used touchscreens (resistive largely) years ahead of the iphone;
* Windows Mobile was so poorly marketed that features of the platform that existed for years were seen to be revolutionary on the iphone;
*in contrast to windows phone Windows Mobile was an extremely customisable O/S....so much so that OEMS tried for the last couple of years before its retirement to completely hide the OS;
* The mid spec HTC Touch was one of the best consumer selling devices on the platform, largely attributed to it being the first WinMo device on release to have an 'affordable' price point and it was launched to a range of carriers world wide.
* Windows Mobile ran on some large devices the unique dual tablet HTC Shift @ 7" and the fully WinMo HTC Advantage X7500 @ 5"...yes a 5" square phone...try fitting those in your pocket.

While everyone is reminiscing about their old phones .... I miss my old Nextel i730 .... maybe one of my favorite phones of all time!!

I still have and use my old O2 XDA II, it looks a bit battered but still functions well and has all the modern stuff like a new phone has except 3g

The article is wrong, one the very last mass produced Windows Mobile 6.5.3 phones is the Samsung Omnia Pro 4 B7350 (Omnia 735)

MMaster23 said,
The article is wrong, one the very last mass produced Windows Mobile 6.5.3 phones is the Samsung Omnia Pro 4 B7350 (Omnia 735)

Thanks for the info, I'll update the article. It was really hard to determine which was the latest

MMaster23 said,
The article is wrong, one the very last mass produced Windows Mobile 6.5.3 phones is the Samsung Omnia Pro 4 B7350 (Omnia 735)

And it says it was by HTC but it is a Samsung.......


What?

I love Trivia Tuesdays, and this is another great one. Takes me right back... I still miss my HTC Blue Angel, and my HTC Star Trek. Those were the days!

I guess XDA developers got its start dedicated to that O2 XDA. It's funny, I tried out the HTC Flyer yesterday, and Sense still borrows and looks so much like Touch Flo 3D / Sense on Windows Mobile.

I actually quite loved my HTC Touch Diamond... looks a lot nicer than a lot of current HTC devices do. They really do need a fresh design language there at HTC.

Edited by ~Johnny, Jan 24 2012, 2:57pm :

~Johnny said,
I guess XDA developers got its start dedicated to that O2 XDA. It's funny, I tried out the HTC Flyer yesterday, and Sense still borrows and looks so much like Touch Flo 3D / Sense on Windows Mobile.

I actually quite loved my HTC Touch Diamond... looks a lot nicer than a lot of current HTC devices too. They really do need a fresh design language there at HTC.

The Diamond was a nice looking device. I think HTC would be well served to release a greater variety of phones honestly. They don't ALL have to look the same...

I have an HTC Touch Pro 2 with 6.5 and with the Sense UI it still looks and works great. I will probably get an android or windows x phone in a few years but this phone still has some life in it for sure. I installed android on my phone but found I preferred my windows 6.5 phone TBH.

SonicSam said,
I have an HTC Touch Pro 2 with 6.5 and with the Sense UI it still looks and works great. I will probably get an android or windows x phone in a few years but this phone still has some life in it for sure. I installed android on my phone but found I preferred my windows 6.5 phone TBH.

I would recommend Windows Phone. It's a really great platform. I've never looked back.

I used a few Windows CE devices during the late 90's. They were ok but the Win95 UX just didn't fit the small screens, the speed and functionaility wasn't too bad from these devices which were quite low on resources. I had always thought that Windows CE was a completely different code base from Windows 9x / NT and that the only thing borrowed was the UX.

I then went on to own an Compaq iPaq when they were first released in 2001 with PocketPC 2000. It was a real breath of fresh air, the screen was high quaility, color and very easy to use. I owned a PDA on PocketPC, Windows mobile up till Windows Mobile 5, after that i gave up on the platform.

I never liked any of the Windows Mobile smart phones, they were incredibly slow, often hamstrung by the mobile phone operator bunging on loads of extra processes leaving little left for other apps and OS processes. Things were even worst with WM5 which had a limit on the number of processes you could run at anyone time.

I always used symbian for smartphones as they tended to be quite stable, my favourite being my Sony P900i/P910i.

Ohh old times, my dad had 2002 and I had the 6 and then updated to 6.5 thanks to XDA forums, even though the OS was totally flexible the speed was a problem for me, and sometimes it used to freeze in the middle of the night making the alarm unreliable. That's why I'm happy with the new Windows Phone, with less options and personalization but with a nice marketplace, stability and speed.

daniel_rh said,
Ohh old times, my dad had 2002 and I had the 6 and then updated to 6.5 thanks to XDA forums, even though the OS was totally flexible the speed was a problem for me, and sometimes it used to freeze in the middle of the night making the alarm unreliable. That's why I'm happy with the new Windows Phone, with less options and personalization but with a nice marketplace, stability and speed.

Agreed 100%. And Windows Mobile 6 I found to have some weird quirks. Sometimes you'd be doing something and it would just lock up, or an icon would disappear for a while. lol I'm VERY happy with Windows Phone.

wow, the HTC mini looks soooooo much better than some of the HTC phones we have today!
looks like HTC has lost some of it's DNA...

UndergroundWire said,

I had one too. But I would not call it the best device ever. It was the best at the time.

lol, I was joking about the best. The battery life was pathetic. The touch points would get a bit off sometimes, and I would had to manually correct it.
Low battery life probably was because of full multitasking.

But I still loved the device and OS. Wouldn't have exchanged it for anything at that time.

Nice article, on a site note I still have my HTC HD Mini and I love it, I would change it out if TomTom came out for Android but until them I'm sticking with it.

PalletTown said,
No matter what the subject is I always read trivia Tuesdays, thanks for taking the time to put them together

Same thing.

Muhammad Farrukh said,
Trivia Tuesday is awesome

M_Lyons10 said,

Agreed. My favorite article series on Neowin honestly. I hope they keep coming.


I completely agree as well...