Microsoft's new operating system reinvents MS-DOS for mobile

Microsoft's got a new classically simple mobile OS and it looks rather familiar...

Microsoft has often been accused of not innovating enough in the mobile space but today, it is aiming to change this with its new productivity-focused MS-DOS Mobile operating system. Built upon the familiar interface of the DOS era - when Microsoft first reinvented productivity - MS-DOS Mobile comes with the classic C:/ Drive prompt and the ability to launch phone applications.

MS-DOS Mobile preview is designed to run on Lumia smartphones and combines the touchscreen functions of Microsoft's current mobile range with the iconic simplicity of the DOS platform. As part of the preview, the Redmond-based company has ported several iconic DOS features, including:

  • COLOR: change the DOS appearance with customisable background and foreground colours
  • CLS: Clears Screen
  • DATE: Displays current date
  • ECHO: Displays a customisable message on the screen
  • TIME: Displays current time
  • TYPE: Prints out the contents of a file (limited in size as cannot open large files)
  • VER: Displays current DOS version

MS-DOS Mobile has also built in several phone-specific commands including:

  • CAMERA.EXE: Opens the camera app
  • INTERNET / IE [url]: launches web browser. URL can be set as a parameter
  • EMAIL [address]: launches email client for you to type and send your message
  • MAP [latitude] [longitude] / [search terms]: launches map app with location or search results
  • MARKET: launches app marketplace
  • PHONE [number]/SELECT: launches phone with number. Use SELECT to open card in contacts
  • SEARCH/CORTANA [search terms]: Launches search/Cortana for the search terms

That's not all as there are some little gems (or easter eggs) that Microsoft has thought to bundle including:

  • ASCII/CGA camera: launches a camera with CGA and ASCII modes
  • WIN: Launches Windows 3.1
  • Rock Paper Scissors: Microsoft's DOS version of this game can be launched by navigating to C:\GAMES\RPS\RPS.EXE. If you score more than 20 wins, have more wins than the AI and select the secret combination, a secret mode is unlocked in the game!

Whilst most people would consider a smartphone the norm, there are still many users who feel intimidated by the complex smartphone world and MS-DOS Mobile aims to fix this. After extensive research, Microsoft reached the decision to go back to DOS and as Tom Messett - a marketer at Microsoft - reveals in the below video, it was not a popular decision.

We hope you were watching the video closely and spotted the secret phrase (it's near the very end) to unlock the secret mode. Think MS-DOS Mobile is for you and want to install it? The technical preview just went live in the Windows Store and you can download it at the link below.

Source: Microsoft

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