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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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