Waiting for the Windows Mobile Comeback

Yesterday evening we were witnesses to the greatest ever comeback: Leonard Cohen, at the age of 75, sang for 3 hours at the Ramat-Gan National Stadium for a crowd of thousands of people.

The show has been the last show of his current tourne, and followed previous comebacks of different artists that decided to dedicate a part of their tournes to this country: Depeche Mode, Pet Shop boys, Madonna, and others.

On the mobility subject, it seems that we are bound to see a comeback process of the same intensity with Windows Mobile. We are all aware of the expected launch on October 6th, and of the fact that a reasonable number of devices will be launched on the same date. It is also known that the OS will be from now on much more attractive to the consumer market while keeping all the important features which are required by the corporate market. And, surely, we have also heard about the 1,000 professionals at Microsoft developing WM7.

But things don't stop here. Many people who clam that WM is dead ask "what does it matter how many people are working on the new version of OS if nobody wants it and nobody will launch devices with it?" - and here is the big mistake.

Sources in the internet say that Microsoft knows for sure that there will be 30 different devices using WM6.5, from 15 different companies, being launched between October 6th and December 31th, 2009. Additionally, a great number of carriers around the word are expecting to be supporting the OS and launching their own flavours of the devices.

Now let's compare this number with the number of expected Android phones until the end of the year: according to PC World, Carl Howe, an analyst for the Yankee Group, is expecting at least 6 and maybe a dozen devices by the end of the year. Let's compare it also with ONE iPhone (which is indeed a phenomenum selling 10 million devices per year - but is stll one) and ONE CDMA-only Palm Pre which has been disappointing on sales (the GSM version will come soon and I expect it to disappoint no less). And then come the blackberries and the Nokias.

In summary, even if Steve Ballmer himself admits that Microsoft "screwed-up with Windows Mobile", the company did well in recognizing the mistake and pumping new talent into it, and the OS is ready to come out in version 6.5, which is more attractive and sexier, easier to operate, more finger friendly and with further investment on giving the private user all the functions he used his phone for: social networks, video, and much more.

Today there are around 20,000 applications for Windows Mobile on its different versions, most of them compatible with all versions of it. Those applications are being ported to 6.5 and prepared to launch at the application store.These applications are in their majority very different from the $1 games sold in the iPhone Application Store, and will make the Windows Phones much more useful than their counterparts.

So, let's put it like this: I too would like to see a Windows Mobile OS much more complete, much more updated; it's story isn't completely finished. And in my opinion there is only one thing that will permit us to finally get the OS we want: Windows Update. I call for Windows Update as a symbol of the effort which MS should do to take part of the power out of the hands of the device makers and the cellular operators. I want the updates to the OS delivered to my device immediately, over-the-air, and without requiring a hard-reset. So, Microsoft, go on and get this done, and there is no doubt that with this Windows Mobile will be the leading OS in the planet.

And meanwhile, let's wait for October 6th. I will surely be telling here whatever I see.