Windows Mobile 7 concept video shows why Microsoft dumped the platform

When Microsoft announced that they had gone back to the drawing board for Windows Phone 7 and that they were leaving their software ecosystem behind, it was a bold and calculated risk for a company that had fallen far behind in the mobile world. Windows Mobile, the predecessor to Windows Phone, had lived out its useful life and did not evolve with market needs, so Microsoft scrapped the platform.

The video in this post is a concept for what Windows Mobile 7, the platform Microsoft dumped, could have been (in 2010) and thank goodness it was kicked to the curb. For those of you who have used Windows Mobile, the concepts will feel somewhat familiar as it looks like a new coat of paint and some fancy transitions were applied on top of Windows Mobile to create the concepts. 

Now, you must consider that this concept is several years old and predates the launch of Windows Phone 7 which launched in October of 2010, so the hardware in the video does look a bit dated and nearly every smartphone today is based on touch input. Knowing how hardware has evolved, it's clear that Windows Mobile 7 would have been a disaster.

The video was created by Dave Brinda, who reportedly worked with Microsoft on Windows Mobile 7 and after seeing the results of the video and how the market changed, dumping the platform was the right thing to do. Sure, it was a huge reset for Microsoft, but seeing as they are now the third largest player in the smartphone OS market, it looks like that bet paid off.

Source: Dave Brinda | Via: Istartedsomething

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It's an obvious precursor to Windows Phone, and there's many navigation and element similarities to Windows Phone.

Back then it was called 'pivot menus' where functions are categorized (like contacts) and you moved up/down to go through it, and left/right to move to another category. It works great obviously with both a d-pad and touch. On Windows Phone, it's a basic element of how the Modern (Metro) apps function.

The home menu shows you quick bits of info and notifications in a card format, though given the screen size, they can only be viewed one at a time. On Windows Phone, they're now called "live tiles" and you can see more tiles at once on a bigger screen with better resolution.

I think the interface was very great for it's time, and it'd still be great if MS could make a sort of Windows Phone Lite for dumbphones like this, though of course with a Metro/Modern style makeover.

It is worth to remember that WM was available in two versions: Standard and Professional.
This video portrait the former, Photon Professional was very similar to Media Center and touch centric as well.

Although Windows Mobile was hard to work with and Windows Phone has come a long way, I did feel that Windows Mobile 6.1 was Superior to Windows Phone 7 when I switched in August 2011.

Windows Phone 7.8 though has come through in its ways and I don't look back anymore.

Dale said,
Although Windows Mobile was hard to work with and Windows Phone has come a long way, I did feel that Windows Mobile 6.1 was Superior to Windows Phone 7 when I switched in August 2011.

Windows Phone 7.8 though has come through in its ways and I don't look back anymore.

Sometimes I turn on my venerated HTC HD2 running WM 6.5 and I am still impressed by the functionalities of the OS; surely not for Facebook oriented users but for business ones a great OS.

my device was a 6.1 and couldn't be upgraded to 6.5 (in Canada), I turned my old Windows Mobile device, and I didn't remember how to use it, that's how complicated it was. My friends called it the Windows XP phone. I felt it was more advanced than anything WP could put out, but it was so ridiculously hard to use.

It suits feature phones well, but goes against everything Metro stands for. The effects are impressive, but too much of them. Anyway, glad that Metro is reality.

This looks terrible to me personally. I agree with others in that it might've made a great feature phone but that's obviously not what they were trying to accomplish so it would've been an epic failure...

Looks like a great mobile OS...for a feature phone with no touch capability. It was all up and down / left and right nav. That might still work on feature phones with no touch.

This would have been the most amazing feature phone of all time.

Except, it would have been marketed as a smartphone, and failed dramatically

This is just the non-touch concept. They had concurrent touch and non-touch versions of Windows Mobile. This seems to be the video/concept where those low quality screenshots came from years ago, before Windows Phone was shown and were at that point already old concepts/screenshots.

I'm disappointed that they stagnated after WM6 so long. This was supposed to have been released a VERY long time ago. Long before Windows Phone was even developed. Instead Microsoft slowly released WM6.1 then 6.5 then 6.5.1-6.5.3. Heck they even stagnated after WM5 which was released in May 2005. WM6 was barely an improvement to that and came out nearly two years later. WM5 made WM the most advanced mobile OS of its time. It really was awesome. It fully supported VGA screens which at the time was jaw dropping. It did pretty much everything. It was a HUGE upgrade over WM2003SE and added a TON of features and usability improvements. By the time WM was dead at 6.5 5 years later it had barely progressed at all. They added a very poor threaded messaging system, WVGA supports, and a couple other pretty useless features

If they released this soon after WM6 it would have had a fighting chance. If it was released a year after WM6 it would have come out in early 2008. Android might not have even existed. This is what Android looked like in April 2009 when version 1.5 was released.

http://cdn.tripwiremagazine.co...2012/05/android-1.5-gui.jpg

Is that honestly better than these concepts? Hell no. That looks like crap. If they had continued down this route Windows Phone would have SO MANY more features than it even currently has with WP8. It would have eventually transitioned to NT and Metro UI. There is already a hint of Metro in these concepts with the pivot views. It also wouldn't have lost all its users. Windows Mobile at one point had a pretty huge marketshare.

I think at the time that they did make the decision to abandon Windows Mobile it probably was the right call. WM7 was years overdue and still getting nowhere. But that was only after letting Windows Mobile go without major development for years. If they didn't let Windows Mobile stagnate so much and actually worked on it before the iPhone lit a fire under their asses (and still they waited a year or so to react) it could have been so much more.

although I am happy and glad they went into the direction of this new platform,windows phone, whos to say it wouldn't have evolved into a successful touch interface? I take it you haven't seen the early android concepts that had it looking like blackberry?

this is nothing more than a lousy UI showing off a designer's great photoshop skills. Windows Phone's people-centric approach was way more groundbreaking, and, let's face it, the flat design, the emphasis on people, the emphasis on a fluid interface, the emphasis on the phone being "alive with your information" with the live tiles, they were all quiet industry game changers.

Edited by FalseAgent, May 20 2013, 1:47pm :

I have seen some really bad Android OEM Skins but that was baaad, even by Nokia S40 standards. That weird candy reflection effect is so iphone 2007.

Looks so much like Windows Mobile on acid that it hurts. Glad they ditched all this and started over with Windows Phone!

I don't think you could get any further from WP!!! Embossment, overgradientation and 200% drop shadows/highlights. Thankfully this never went through

ingramator said,
I don't think you could get any further from WP!!! Embossment, overgradientation and 200% drop shadows/highlights. Thankfully this never went through

Indeed. I love Windows Phone and am very glad they went the route they did... Scrapping Windows Mobile was one of the best things they ever did...

This was supposed to have been released a VERY long time ago. Long before Windows Phone was even developed. Instead Microsoft released WM6.1 then 6.5 then 6.5.1-6.5.3. They stagnated. If they released it soon after WM6 it would have had a fighting chance. I don't see where they got 2010 in this article from.

HTC with their TouchFLO 3D UI/UX had already shown MS that they had to go for another route, completely ditching WM. The first TouchFLO 3D phone (HTC Touch HD) is dated 2008, just like Android.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
What? Just cause the majority doesn't like it I can't either? Meh no. I actually do like it.

Fair enough. But my "no" was from Microsoft's perspective, this isn't different enough to get attention in a crowded market. Just like Jolla and Salifish.

Yeah, I quite like it. One obviously has to bear in mind that this would have been released years ago and would have had to evolve to utilise touch screens and high-PPI displays. The transitions are particularly impressive.

That said, Microsoft ran Windows Mobile into the ground and really needed to get away from that branding, so the transition to Windows Phone was probably the best.

I agree. And this is just the non-touch concept. They had concurrent touch and non-touch versions of Windows Mobile. This seems to be the video/concept where those low quality screenshots came from years ago, before Windows Phone was shown. I'm disappointed that they stagnated after WM6 so long. If this had been released around a year after WM6 then Android might not be as big as it is today.

theyarecomingforyou said,
The transitions are particularly impressive.

The transitions actually remind me a bit of Windows Phone. Very similar to the way the Mail app transitions between All, Unread, Flagged, etc.