So what will 2006 bring for Windows Mobile?
Well firstly there will be a huge number of Push Email enabled devices! With AKU 2.0 now in the hands of the OEMs and the
first device now in Market from Gigabyte (http://www.msn.com.tw/3c/windowsmobile/hot/product12/) There will be a huge number of
Push Email devices becoming available. These devices will be both Smartphones, QWERTY devices and combined PDA Phones.
Now that it's easier for customers to deploy mobile email there should be a huge growth .
I think 2006 will be the year of Mass Adoption of Mobile Email making it available to everyone rather than the executives.
What will stimulate this is the reduced cost (thanks to the Exchange team providing the capability in SP2), the reduction of
complexity and support overhead because of the integration with Exchange and finally the huge breadth of choice of devices.
Windows Mobile already has 40+ OEMs shipping devices and I expect to see this number grow even further!
Speaking of QWERTY devices there are lots of rumours circulating right now that the Treo 700w will be launched January 5th.
I'm not in a position to confirm or deny these rumours however it's exciting to see that device come to Market! The other
device which is gaining lots of interest is the Motorola Q. I had my hands on both these devices recently and they are just
fantastically well built devices and the thinness of the Motorola Q is bound to win over the 'Blingberry' boys.
3G, WiMax, HSDPA
I hope to see more 3G devices coming available. Right now the only 3G Windows Mobile device is the HTC Universal
which is available through many operators and is a phenomenal device. I personally now use this as both my main device when
travelling but also as a 3G Modem for my laptop as it avoids me having to carry a 3G Data Card as well.
My personal dream for a device would be the HTC Wizard device with 3G in it! :)
It'll also be interesting to see the battle between 3G, WiMax and HSDPA. Some operators such as O2 in the UK are already
testing this - http://news.zdnet.co.uk/communications/3ggprs/0,39020339,39197006,00.htm
Their results are quite interesting...
In the test calls, a five-megabyte music file was downloaded in less than 15 seconds, compared to two minutes over a
traditional dial-up connection A 45-megabyte MPEG video file was downloaded in about three minutes, compared to 15 minutes over
dial-up. An e-mail with a five-megabyte attachment was downloaded in 20 seconds.
Of course which technology will win depends on the adoption by consumers and businesses defined by the tarrifing and service
that each operator puts in place!
Whenever we talk about VOIP the first question is always - Will the mobile operators embrace this technology or ignore it..... 2006 will show how they respond...
The area I think people forget or miss is how VOIP could be a replacement for existing landline based phones.....
Whilst a lot of focus has been placed on email - another huge area I believe will take shape in 2006 is in the form of Instant Messenging - we are working on our Live Communication Server Client which will provide Windows Mobile device users secure, enterprise grade Instant Messenging.
IM is better than email for quick conversations as it's state based (I can see who is online, busy or unavailable) and real-time!
It's been amazing to see the adoption of Digital Photography over the past few years. 2006 I believe will see many new devices
with much better Megapixel cameras in them. We've already seen this start with the HTC Prophet carrying a 2 Megapixel camera.
What will be of interest is whether people will stop carrying Cameras and just use their mobile device for photography. There
will always be the purists that want a really good camera but for the 'happy snapper' once we reach 4-5 Megapixel - will they
bother with a camera?
From a convergence standpoint the Samsung i300 is the first phone with a Hard drive integrated into it.... I hope to see more
devices carrying larger storage capacity. I've found the i300 really useful not only for carrying music and video but also for
storing files with it's USB Mass Storage mode. Will we see devices with Flash rather than Spinning Hard Drives... who knows...
The death of the PDA....
Everyone has been talking about the death of the PDA... it's actually still a growing business! What we will see though is more and more people move to a converged device. That is a device with either WiFi, GPRS, CDMA or some form of communication technology in it. Having used devices with connectivity in for the past 3 to 4 years I can't imagine not having integrated GPRS or Wifi in a device! The majority of growth in the PDA space in the UK has been through Sat Nav usage.
Here's to 2006!
Whilst the majority of the above is pure speculation - one thing I can guarantee is that I'll blog as soon as I can on any of the new developments in the Windows Mobile arena! In 2005 it's been great to see so many people reading my blog and bumping into people who actually read it! 2006 is going to be an exciting year for mobility!
Happy New Year!