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Revisiting Windows Mobile

Today's column evaluates the latest version of Windows Mobile, the Microsoft operating system for handhelds and smartphones.

I've changed my mind about it over the years: Back when it went by the name of Pocket PC, I pretty much hated it, and my opinion didn't get much more positive in reviews of such subsequent releases as Windows Mobile 2003 or

Windows Mobile 2003 SE
. ("SE," short for "Second Edition," used to be Microsoft's far-too-obvious way of identifying a new release as nothing special compared to its predecessor.)

But I was much more positive in this 2005 evaluation of Windows Mobile 5. It helped that the Palm OS grew stale over... you have to give some credit to the company that's putting any effort into software development.

This time around, however, I couldn't find much to be excited about. All the little things that I had thought Microsoft could easily fix remained unfixed--the lack of a memo-pad application on the smartphone edition of Windows Mobile being foremost among them. (The smartphone software, by the way, is now officially called the "Standard Edition"; the Pocket PC Phone Edition is now the "Professional Edition," and the plain old Pocket PC version--written for the handheld organizers that nobody seems to sell anymore--has been renamed the "Classic Edition." Confused yet? I am.)

Here's another example of a missed opportunity in Windows Mobile 6: When you're listening to a song, you can bring up a Properties screen that lists the artist, album, 1-to-5-star rating and so on--but the menu, instead of providing ways to edit any of this info, only includes one command: "Buy CD."

By Rob Pegoraro  |  June 7, 2007; 8:49 AM ET
Categories:  Gadgets  
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