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Windows Mobile is a discontinued family of
mobile operating system A mobile operating system is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Examples of system software include operating systems like macOS ...
s developed by
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
for
smartphone A smartphone is a portable device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can per ...

smartphone
s and
personal digital assistant#REDIRECT Personal digital assistant The Palm TX A personal digital assistant (PDA), also known as a handheld PC, is a variety mobile device which functions as a personal information manager. PDAs have been mostly displaced by the widesprea ...
s. Its origin dated back to Windows CE in 1996, though Windows Mobile itself first appeared in 2000 as Pocket PC 2000 which ran on
Pocket PC A Pocket PC (P/PC, PPC) is a class of personal digital assistant#REDIRECT Personal digital assistant The Palm TX A personal digital assistant (PDA), also known as a handheld PC, is a variety mobile device which functions as a personal ...

Pocket PC
PDAs. It was renamed "Windows Mobile" in 2003, at which point it came in several versions (similar to the desktop versions of Windows) and was aimed at business and enterprise consumers. When initially released in the mid-2000s, it was to be the portable equivalent of what Windows desktop OS was: a major force in the then-emerging mobile/portable areas. Following the rise of newer smartphone OSs (
iOS iOS (formerly iPhone OS) is a mobile operating system created and developed by Apple Inc. exclusively for its hardware. It is the operating system that powers many of the company's mobile devices, including the iPhone and iPod Touch; the t ...

iOS
and Android) Windows Mobile never equalled the success and faded rapidly in the following years. By February 2010, Microsoft announced
Windows Phone Windows Phone (WP) is a discontinued family of mobile operating systems developed by Microsoft for smartphones as the replacement successor to Windows Mobile and Zune. Windows Phone featured a new user interface derived from the Metro design lan ...

Windows Phone
to supersede Windows Mobile with a more modern take on the industry. As a result, Windows Mobile has been
deprecated In several fields, deprecation is the discouragement of use of some terminology, feature, design, or practice, typically because it has been superseded or is no longer considered efficient or safe, without completely removing it or prohibiting its ...
. Windows Phone is incompatible with Windows Mobile devices and software. The last version of Windows Mobile, released after the announcement of Windows Phone, was 6.5.5. After this, Microsoft ceased development on Windows Mobile in order to concentrate on Windows Phone.


Features

Most versions of Windows Mobile have a standard set of features, such as multitasking and the ability to navigate a file system similar to that of
Windows 9x Windows 9x is a generic term referring to a series of Microsoft Windows Microsoft Windows, commonly referred to as Windows, is a group of several families, all of which are developed and marketed by . Each family caters to a certain se ...
and
Windows NT Windows NT is a proprietary {{Short pages monitor

Windows Mobile 6, formerly codenamed "Crossbow", was released on February 12, 2007 at the
3GSM World Congress 2007 MWC Barcelona (formerly but still commonly referred to as Mobile World Congress) is an annual trade fair, trade show organised by GSMA, dedicated primarily to the Mobile telephony, mobile communications industry. The event is held in Barcelona ...
and was based on the
Windows CE Windows Embedded Compact, formerly Windows Embedded CE, Windows Powered and Windows CE, is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Exampl ...
5.2 kernel. It comes in three different versions: "Windows Mobile 6 Standard" for Smartphones (phones without touchscreens), "Windows Mobile 6 Professional" for Pocket PCs with phone functionality, and "Windows Mobile 6 Classic" for Pocket PCs without cellular radios. Windows Mobile 6 is powered by Windows CE 5.0 (version 5.2) and is strongly linked to the then newly introduced
Windows Live Windows Live is a discontinued brand name for a set of web services and software Software is a collection of instructions that tell a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or log ...
and Exchange 2007 products. Windows Mobile 6 Standard was first offered on the HTC Vox, Orange's SPV E650, while Windows Mobile 6 Professional was first offered on the O2's Xda Terra. Aesthetically, Windows Mobile 6 was meant to be similar in design to the then newly released Windows Vista. Functionally, it works much like Windows Mobile 5, but with much better stability. Along with the announcement of Microsoft Office Mobile, Office Mobile 6.1 with support for Office 2007 document formats (pptx, docx, xlsx); OneNote Mobile, a companion to Microsoft Office OneNote was added to the already installed version. In addition to the newly included programs with Office Mobile improvements were made to existing applications. Such as HTML email support in Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Mobile. A large number of Windows Mobile users are enterprise users business environments were targeted. With ''Server Search'' on Microsoft Exchange 2007, Out of Office Replies with Microsoft Exchange 2007, and search ability for contacts in an Microsoft Exchange Server, Exchange Server Address Book being implemented. To aid development for programmers,
.NET Compact Framework The Microsoft .NET Compact Framework (.NET CF) is a version of the .NET Framework that is designed to run on resource constrained mobile/embedded devices such as personal digital assistant The Palm TX A personal digital assistant (PDA), al ...
v2 SP2 is now preinstalled with the OS. Developers and users also have access to SQL Server Compact, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition for storage and retrieval of information. AJAX, JavaScript, and XMLDOM support were added to
Internet Explorer Mobile Internet Explorer Mobile (formerly named Pocket Internet Explorer; later called IE Mobile) is a discontinued mobile browser developed by Microsoft, based on versions of the Trident (layout engine), Trident Browser engine, layout engine. IE Mobile co ...
along with improved devicewide Internet Sharing. Communication abilities were further enhanced with a new Microsoft
Bluetooth Bluetooth is a short-range wireless Wireless communication (or just wireless, when the context allows) is the telecommunication, transfer of information between two or more points that do not use an electrical conductor as a medium by which ...

Bluetooth
Stack and VoIP (Internet calling) support with AEC (Acoustic Echo Cancelling) and RTAudio, MSRT audio codec. To improve security Microsoft added Storage Card Encryption so that encryption keys are lost if device is cold boot, cold-booted. Further updates both, security and feature, can now also be provided using Operating System Live Update. Among other improvements: 320×320 and 800×480 (WVGA) screen resolution, screen resolutiopport (The S01SH or "Em One" by Sharp was the first and only device to have an 800×480 screen on WM5), Improved Terminal Services, Remote Desktop access (available for only certain Pocket PCs), Customer Feedback option, ''Smartfilter'' for searching within programs and Generic Access Network, Unlicensed Mobile Access (UMA) support for select operators.


Windows Mobile 6.1

Windows Mobile 6.1 was announced April 1, 2008, and was based on the
Windows CE Windows Embedded Compact, formerly Windows Embedded CE, Windows Powered and Windows CE, is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Exampl ...
5.x kernel. It is a minor upgrade to the Windows Mobile 6 platform with various performance enhancements and a redesigned ''Home'' screen featuring horizontal ''tiles'' that expand on clicking to display more information, although this new home screen is featured only on Windows Mobile Standard edition. This was not supported in the Professional edition. Several other changes such as Short Message Service#Threaded SMS, threaded SMS, full page zooming in Internet Explorer and 'Domain Enroll' were also added, along with a "mobile" version of the Microsoft OneNote program and an interactive "Getting Started" wizard. Domain Enroll is functionality to connect the device to System Center Mobile Device Manager 2008, a product to manage mobile devices. Windows Mobile 6.1 also had improved bandwidth efficiency in its push-email protocol ActiveSync up to 40%; this considerably improved battery life in many devices. Aside from the visual and feature distinctions, the underlying CE versions can be used to differentiate WM 6.0 from WM 6.1. The version of Windows CE in WM 6.0 is 5.2.*, where the third and final number being a four-digit build ID (e.g. 5.2.1622 on HTC Wing). In WM 6.1, the CE version is 5.2.* with a five-digit build number (e.g. 5.2.19216 on Palm Treo 800w).


Windows Mobile 6.5

Windows Mobile 6.5 is a stopgap update to Windows Mobile 6.1, based on the
Windows CE Windows Embedded Compact, formerly Windows Embedded CE, Windows Powered and Windows CE, is an operating system An operating system (OS) is system software System software is software designed to provide a platform for other software. Exampl ...
5.x kernel, intended to bridge the gap between version 6.1 and the then yet-to-be released Windows Mobile 7 (Later canceled in favor of Windows Phone 7), that arrived in 2010. It was never part of Microsoft's mobile phone roadmap, and has been described by its chief executive, Steve Ballmer, as "not the full release Microsoft wanted" until the multi-touch-enabled Windows Mobile 7 (now replaced by
Windows Phone Windows Phone (WP) is a discontinued family of mobile operating systems developed by Microsoft for smartphones as the replacement successor to Windows Mobile and Zune. Windows Phone featured a new user interface derived from the Metro design lan ...

Windows Phone
) arrived in 2010. Ballmer also indicated that the company "screwed up with Windows Mobile", he lamented that Windows Mobile 7 was not yet available and that the Windows Mobile team needed to try to recoup losses. Microsoft unveiled this version at the 2009 Mobile World Congress in February, and several devices were supplied with it. It was released to manufacturers on May 11, 2009; the first devices running the operating system appeared in late October 2009. Several phones that officially shipped with Windows Mobile 6.1 can be officially updated to Windows Mobile 6.5. This update includes some significant new added features, such as a revamped GUI, a new Today screen resembling that of Microsoft's Zune player with vertically scrollable labels (called 'Titanium') in terms of functionality with a styling similar to that of Windows 7. WM 6.5 also includes the new Internet Explorer Mobile 6 browser, with improved interface. Along with Windows Mobile 6.5, Microsoft announced several cloud computing services codenamed "SkyBox", "SkyLine", "SkyMarket". "SkyBox" has been confirmed as My Phone, while "SkyMarket" has been confirmed as
Windows Marketplace for Mobile Windows Marketplace for Mobile was a service by Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports ...
. This version was designed mainly for easier finger usage. Some reviewers have noted interface inconsistencies, with some applications having small buttons making them harder to operate using only a finger. Whilst this version of Windows Mobile does not natively support Capacitive touchscreen, capacitive screens, mobile manufacturers have been able to use them on their devices. In the months following this release, development shifted from Windows Mobile to its successor Windows Phone. As such no major upgrades were planned or released, although three minor updates; 6.5.1, 6.5.3 and 6.5.5; were made to satisfy consumers during the transition period. 6.5.1 brings larger user interface elements, including icon based soft buttons (rather than text based), an updated contacts app, native support for Assisted GPS, A-GPS, improved threaded text messaging, and performance improvements. It was unofficially ported to several Windows Mobile phones. The second minor update was announced on February 2, 2010, along with the Sony Ericsson Aspen which was the first phone to use this version. 6.5.3 continues the trend of attempting to provide a more finger-friendly user interface with several new usability features such as native support for multitouch; although device maker HTC Corporation created proprietary work-arounds to allow multi-touch to work on some applications it installed on its HD2 handset (However, Microsoft applications on this handset, such as the Internet Explorer web browser, did not support multi-touch.) and drag-and-drop start menu icons. Touchable tiles replaced soft keys." Internet Explorer Mobile 6 has also received some major updates including decreased page load time, improved memory management and gesture smoothing. As with other updates it was unofficially ported to some other devices. Additional features include threaded email and Office Mobile 2010. The last minor update and the last released version is 6.5.5. It first leaked in January 2010, and was unofficially ported to some Windows Mobile phones. The name Windows Mobile 6.5.5 has been applied to these newer builds, although this name remained unconfirmed by Microsoft. Although Microsoft released a similarly-named Windows 10 Mobile in 2015, this operating system is unrelated to the former Windows Mobile operating systems.


Hardware

There are three main versions of Windows Mobile for various hardware devices: * Windows Mobile Professional runs on
smartphone A smartphone is a portable device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can per ...

smartphone
s with touchscreens, * Windows Mobile Standard runs on mobile phones without touchscreens, * Windows Mobile Classic which runs on
personal digital assistant#REDIRECT Personal digital assistant The Palm TX A personal digital assistant (PDA), also known as a handheld PC, is a variety mobile device which functions as a personal information manager. PDAs have been mostly displaced by the widesprea ...
or
Pocket PC A Pocket PC (P/PC, PPC) is a class of personal digital assistant#REDIRECT Personal digital assistant The Palm TX A personal digital assistant (PDA), also known as a handheld PC, is a variety mobile device which functions as a personal ...

Pocket PC
s. Windows Mobile for Automotive and Windows Mobile software for Portable Media Centers are among some specialty versions of the platform. Microsoft had over 50 handset partners, when Windows Mobile was still being shipped on new devices. 80% of the 50 million Windows Mobile devices that were made from launch to February 2009 were built by one contract manufacturing group, HTC Corporation, HTC, which makes handsets for several major companies under their brands, and under its own brand.


Embedded Handheld

On January 10, 2011, Microsoft announced Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5. The operating system has compatibility with Windows Mobile 6.5 and is presented as an enterprise handheld device, targeting retailers, delivery companies, and other companies that rely on handheld computing. Unlike Windows Phone, Windows Embedded Handheld retains backward compatibility with legacy Windows Mobile applications.


Pocket PCs

Pocket PC A Pocket PC (P/PC, PPC) is a class of personal digital assistant#REDIRECT Personal digital assistant The Palm TX A personal digital assistant (PDA), also known as a handheld PC, is a variety mobile device which functions as a personal ...

Pocket PC
s and
personal digital assistant#REDIRECT Personal digital assistant The Palm TX A personal digital assistant (PDA), also known as a handheld PC, is a variety mobile device which functions as a personal information manager. PDAs have been mostly displaced by the widesprea ...
s were originally the intended platform for Windows Mobile. These were grouped into two main categories: devices that lacked mobile phone capabilities, and those that included it. Beginning with version 6 devices with this functionality ran "Windows Mobile 6 Professional" and those that lacked it ran "Windows Mobile 6 Classic". Microsoft had described these devices as "a handheld device that enables you to store and retrieve e-mail, contacts, appointments, play multimedia files, games, exchange text messages with MSN Messenger, browse the Web, and more". From a technical standpoint Microsoft also specified various hardware and software requirements such as the inclusion of a touchscreen and a directional pad or touchpad.


Smartphones

Smartphones were the second hardware platform after Pocket PC to run Windows Mobile, and debuted with the release of Pocket PC 2002. Although in the broad sense of the term "Smartphone", both Pocket PC phones and Microsoft branded Smartphones each fit into this category. Microsoft's use of the term "Smartphone" includes only more specific hardware devices that differ from Pocket PC phones. Such Smartphones were originally designed without touchscreens, intended to be operated more efficiently with only one hand, and typically had lower display resolution than Pocket PCs. Microsoft's focus for the Smartphone platform was to create a device that functioned well as a phone and data device in a more integrated manner.


Market share

Windows Mobile's share of the
smartphone A smartphone is a portable device A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computer A computer is a machine that can be programmed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically. Modern computers can per ...

smartphone
market grew from its inception while new devices were being released. After peaking in 2007, it saw decline year-on-year. In Q1 2003, Windows Mobile was the third largest operating system in the smart handheld market, behind Symbian and
Palm OS Palm OS (also known as Garnet OS) is a discontinued mobile operating system initially developed by Palm, Inc., for personal digital assistants (PDAs) in 1996. Palm OS was designed for ease of use with a touchscreen-based graphical user interface. ...
. In Q1 2004, Windows Mobile accounted for 23% of worldwide smartphone sales. Windows Mobile was projected in 2005 to overtake Symbian to become the leading mobile OS by 2010. In Q3 2004, Windows Mobile (CE) surpassed
Palm OS Palm OS (also known as Garnet OS) is a discontinued mobile operating system initially developed by Palm, Inc., for personal digital assistants (PDAs) in 1996. Palm OS was designed for ease of use with a touchscreen-based graphical user interface. ...
to become the largest Personal digital assistant, PDA operating system. In Q4 2005 Microsoft shipped 2.2 million PDAs, which increased to 3.5 million in the same quarter the following year. Windows Mobile saw year over year growth between 2005 and 2006 of 38.8% which according to Gartner "helped Windows Mobile to solidify its stronghold on the market". But by 2008, its share had dropped to 14%. Microsoft licensed Windows Mobile to four out of the world's five largest mobile phone manufacturers, with Nokia being the exception. Gartner research data showed that while the total smartphone industry grew 27% between 2008 and 2009, Windows Mobile's share of the smartphone market fell 2.7% in that same period. It also decreased by 20% in Q3 2009. At one time Windows Mobile was the most popular handset for business use, but by 2009 this was no longer the case; 24% of planned business deployments of mobile application in the United States were for Windows Mobile, putting it in 3rd place, behind BlackBerry (61%) and iPhone OS (27%); In February 2009, Microsoft signed a deal with the third largest mobile phone maker, LG Electronics, to license Windows Mobile OS on 50 upcoming LG smartphone models. But in September 2009, Palm, Inc. announced it would drop Windows Mobile from its smartphone line-up. Gartner estimated that by the third quarter of 2009 Windows Mobile's share of worldwide smartphone sales was 7.9%. By August 2010, it was the least popular smartphone operating system, with a 5% share of the worldwide smartphone market (after Symbian OS, Symbian, BlackBerry OS, Android (operating system), Android and iOS (Apple), iOS). An October 2009 report in ''DigiTimes'' said that Acer Inc., Acer will shift its focus from Windows Mobile to Android (operating system), Google Android. ''The New York Times'' reported in 2009 that Windows Mobile "is foundering", as cellphone makers desert it in favor of Google's Android (operating system), Android phone platform. It cited the difficulties in Microsoft's business model, which involves charging handset manufacturers up to $25 for each copy of Windows Mobile, while rival Google gives away Android for free. From late 2009 analysts and media reports began to express concerns about the future viability of the Windows Mobile platform, and whether Microsoft would keep supporting it into the future. Samsung Electronics, Samsung announced in November 2009 that it would phase out the Windows Mobile platform, to concentrate on its own Bada (operating system), Bada operating system, Google's Android, and Microsoft's Windows Phone.


Software development

Software could be Software development, developed by third parties for the Windows Mobile operating system. Developers had several options for deploying mobile applications. These included writing native code with Visual C++, managed code that worked with the
.NET Compact Framework The Microsoft .NET Compact Framework (.NET CF) is a version of the .NET Framework that is designed to run on resource constrained mobile/embedded devices such as personal digital assistant The Palm TX A personal digital assistant (PDA), al ...
, writing code in Tcl-Tk with eTcl, GCC using CeGCC, Python (programming language), Python using PythonCE or server-side scripting, server-side code that could be deployed using
Internet Explorer Mobile Internet Explorer Mobile (formerly named Pocket Internet Explorer; later called IE Mobile) is a discontinued mobile browser developed by Microsoft, based on versions of the Trident (layout engine), Trident Browser engine, layout engine. IE Mobile co ...
or a mobile client on a user's device. The .NET Compact Framework was a subset of the .NET Framework and hence shared many components with software development on desktop clients, application servers, and web servers which had the .NET Framework installed, thus integrating networked computing space. To aid developers Microsoft released software development kits (SDKs) that worked in conjunction with their Microsoft Visual Studio, Visual Studio development environment. These SDKs included emulator images for developers to test and debugging, debug their applications while writing them. Software could be tested on a client machine directly or be downloaded to a device. Microsoft also distributed Visual Studio 2008 / 2005 Professional Editions, and server/database counterparts to students as downloads free of charge via its DreamSpark program. Third party integrated development environments could also be used to write software such as Lazarus (software), Lazarus, Resco MobileForms Toolkit, Lexico (programming language), Lexico, NS Basic and Basic4ppc. Some third party development environments allowed coding to be done on the device itself without the need for a computer. Developer communities have used the SDK to port later versions of Windows Mobile OS to older devices and making the OS images available for free, thus providing the devices with newer feature sets. Microsoft had tolerated this procedure for some time but decided in February 2007 to ask developers to take their OS images off the net, which in turn raised discussions. At the same time Microsoft offered upgrades to Windows Mobile 6 versions to manufacturers for free. On July 5, 2009, Microsoft opened a third-party application distribution service called
Windows Marketplace for Mobile Windows Marketplace for Mobile was a service by Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports ...
. In 2011, Windows Marketplace for Mobile stopped accepting new admissions. and then fully closed on May 9, 2012.Redmond Channel Partner: Microsoft Shuttering Windows Mobile Marketplace in May, 9 March 2012
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Connectivity

In the early years of Windows Mobile devices were able to be managed and synced from a remote computer using ActiveSync; a data synchronization technology and proprietary protocol, protocol developed by
Microsoft Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational corporation, multinational technology company, technology corporation which produces Software, computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services. Its best-know ...

Microsoft
, originally released in 1996. This allowed servers running
Microsoft Exchange Server Microsoft Exchange Server is a mail server Within the Internet email system, a message transfer agent (MTA), or mail transfer agent, or mail relay is software that transfers electronic mail messages from one computer to another using Simple Mail ...
, or other third party variants, to act as a personal information manager and share information such as email, calendar appointments, contacts or internet favorites. With the release of Windows Vista, ActiveSync was replaced with Windows Mobile Device Center. Device Center is included with Vista and Windows 7 and provides many Front and back ends, front end enhancements, allowing a home user to sync PIM information with Microsoft Outlook 2003 and later, photos from Windows Photo Gallery, videos or music from Windows Media Player and favorites with Internet Explorer; without the need for a server Front and back ends, back end. Devices at this time also included a base driver compatible with Mobile Device Center so a user can connect to a computer without a need for any configuration.


See also

* List of defunct consumer brands *


References


External links

*
Windows Mobile Team Blog
{{Good article Windows Mobile, Windows CE Microsoft franchises Mobile operating systems Defunct consumer brands Discontinued products ARM operating systems Discontinued Microsoft operating systems Discontinued versions of Microsoft Windows