David Progue Slams Windows Mobile 6

After reading the article in The New York Times, “Reaching for Apple, Falling Short,” David Pogue highlights a few frustrations with the wireless and mobile device market.

First, carriers have us over the barrel on what functionality the device will support (e.g., I’d try a BlackBerry Curve but ATT has removed WiFi support). Additionally, carriers offer similar yet different data and voice networks (CDMA/TDMA/GSM), requiring some efort.

The device manufacturers have to pick an OS to drive their machine. The OS has to work on a variety of devices and needs to be flexible, manage multiple radio frequencies/types (quad-band, Bluetooth, WiFi, etc.). Finally, it has to work for a consumer. It’s nearly impossible to hit a home run with a single device.

Which leads me to Google and Android. From the mouth of Eric Schmidt, “Android is the first truly integrated mobile operating system.” That seems like a bit of a stretch. Yes everyone else talked about it early in the week, but I waited. Which leads me to consider: “Can Google and myriad developers across the wireless industry really create a usable Mobile OS that device manufacturers, carriers, and “consumers” can use?”

It’s true that Andy Rubin has good credentials for the heading the task. The Sidekick had its own cult following. He did something right by nailing a specific target market with a device that hit the core needs of thumb communicating teens and young adults — although the “voice” use looked a bit strange when you had to put the brick up to your head.

Apple may have come close, but many have expressed they couldn’t do it with Rev 1.0 of the iPhone (including the opinion of yours truly). From what I read and hear, lots of users like the user experience, however.

I can’t help but think of Nokia‘s effort with Symbian (and Motorola, and Samsung, and others that have long since dropped off the bandwagon). Symbian is a very capable and powerful OS, but it’s missed the mark somewhere along the line (personally, as I learned from my imported E61, there were way too many steps to do any one thing).

Palm gave up and sold what appeared to be a great head-start OS to Access, long after their head start was passe. Access has yet to do anything other than wave their arms every 6 months with a new announcement in the press telling the world they are still alive — although their product roadmap appears dead.

Now back to David Pogue. In this article, he has a hilarious quote about Microsoft Windows Mobile:

Frankly, Windows Mobile 6 is a mess. Common features require an infinitude of taps and clicks, and the ones you need most are buried in menus. Apparently the Windows Mobile 6 team learned absolutely nothing from Windows Mobile 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.

So, here’s to Google’s effort at cracking the code on the new OS war: The Mobile OS. Heaven knows that many have lobbed many great suggestions (Peter Rojas at Engadget on Palm OS, David Pogue at The New York Times on Windows Mobile, Walt Mossberg).

Can Apple get it right w/ R2 of the iPhone? Will Apple “truly” open up a SDK that will appease developers (I think if this was here today, Android would be a yawner news).

Will Access ship a killer Linux OS — or will Motorola beat them to the punch with something that gets on to other smart phones?

Will Nokia be left to the low-end, non-smart phone market?

Can RIM continue to dominate the business user segment with their BlackBerry brand that appears to be a strong, yet pretty isolated from the interests of the third-party developer community?

Check back in a year.


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