Windows Mobile Weekly Roundup

by Todd Ogasawara

Here's the weekly summary of a mix of Windows Mobile and general mobile tech related items from my personal blog.

Microsoft Changes Windows Mobile Naming Scheme (again)
Along with introducing Windows Mobile 6, Microsoft is once again changing the device naming scheme. The new device type names along with what we call them now are:

* Standard Edition == Smartphone
* Classic Edition == Pocket PC
* Professional Edition == Pocket PC Phone Edition

To make things even more interesting, the Standard Edition (Smartphone) includes a read-only (no editing) version of Office Mobile. Does all this really help differentiate the different Windows Mobile device types for the non-techie consumer (i.e., the vast majority of people buying these things)? I think not. My guess is that a common scene that will play out again and again are executives asking IT why they were given the obviously inferior Standard Edition instead of Professional Edition based solely on the naming scheme. This doesn't help anyone and, in fact, may confuse even more people. Microsoft should have just renamed the phone-less Pocket PC to Pocket PC Standard Edition and left the other two names alone.

Microsoft .NET Micro Framework
So, we've got .NET Framework for PCs, .NET Compact Framework for Windows Mobile, and, now, .NET Micro Framework for MSN Direct and other embedded systems. It appears that this category also includes Windows Vista SideShow devices. Here's a bunch of links to help you sort out the information. First up is the press release...

Microsoft .NET Micro Framework Is Now Available

Next is the frameworks website...

Microsoft .net Micro Framework

And, finally, a brief video (WMV format) providing examples of the types of devices that might run .net Micro Framework...

.NET Micro Framework demo video

MSDN: What's New for Developers in Windows Mobile 6
The Microsoft Developer Network(MSDN) has a new overview page for developers interesting in creating Windows Mobile 6 applications. You can find it at...

What's New for Developers in Windows Mobile 6

The page has a broken link to the Windows Mobile Wiki. I found it and have it linked correctly below.

Channel 9 Windows Mobile Wiki

Live Search for Windows Mobile and Live Search for Java
Microsoft announced and made available Live Search for Windows Mobile and Live Search for Java over the weekend. Unlike most Live services, this Live Search requires installing client software. The other interesting aspect is that versions for both Windows Mobile and Java based mobile devices (such as Nokia smartphones) were made available.

You can either download the software to your desktop (for later installation on your phone) at...

...or download it directly to your phone by visiting...

This service includes live traffic information for 25 U.S. cities. Maps and driving directions are available for other locations.

Hotmail Push Email for Windows Mobile 6
So, this push-email (made popular by the RIMM Blackberry) is all good and well. But, you are a Windows Mobile device user and do NOT use an Exchange Server for your email. So, big deal. Right?

Well, it turns out that push-email can be had with the free Hotmail service from Microsoft and the upcoming Windows Mobile 6 devices. Here's a link to an article on the MSDN Blogs that describes how to set up a free push-email service.

Push Email with Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Mobile 6.0

ActiveSync 4.5 Ate my Device Partnerships!
Although I have a PC setup running Windows Vista Ultimate Edition and the new Windows Mobile Device Center (ActiveSync replacement), my main PC that syncs with most of my Windows Mobile devices runs Windows XP Media Center. Since...

Microsoft ActiveSync 4.5

...was released for those of us still syncing Pocket PCs and Smartphones with XP, I decided to upgrade from 4.2 to 4.5 today. No problem right? Simple upgrade, right? Wrong...

The upgrade process itself went smoothly. However, when I brought up ActiveSync 4.5 (without any WM device attached to the PC), I noticed it had lost all of its device partnerships! This meant that I had to re-partner every device. The pre-Windows Mobile 5 devices partnered quickly as usual. However, because Windows Mobile 5 devices keep their PIM data in slow non-volatile RAM, the partnership for WM5 boxes took forever. I'm talking what seemed like 5 to 10 minutes per device.

The Windows Mobile platform is over 10 years old now. This sort of problem should have stopped happening during the last century. ActiveSync continues to be a user-hostile application and continues to earn its nickname of ActiveStink. Let's hope its successor, WMDC, doesn't earn its own pejorative nickname.


2007-02-21 17:02:17
VCD Cutter
Douglas W. Goodall
2007-02-22 02:37:04
I own an $800 dollar HP Pocket-PC which I think was a useless waste of money. The fingerprint reader and bluetooth and wi-fi are all cool except there is not enough memory left to do anything once the bluetooth and wifi are turned on. I wante to write programs for the device, but the development support software and documentation from Microsoft has been fragmented and difficult. They change the name of the product and the version numbers so much it is actually impossible to keep the device current. Actually after the add on cards and extra batteries (all of which are dead now, I spent well over $1000. The entire experience was a huge frustration and expensive debacle and there is no way I will shell out big bucks again for a Microsoft device with ANY form of Windows CE in it, no matter what they call it. I admit it, I am bitter about the whole Microsoft experience. I call it the 99% effect. The Microsoft experience is 99% polished and beautiful, but the other 1% is broken glass sticking out from the surface, so as you use their products, you bleed a little anywhere you touch it. You pay a lot, you get beta quality software, you find frustrating limitations, and the arrogance leaves a stink in your nose. By whole body and mind are scarred from my exposure to Microsoft and it's software and policies. Goodbye M$.
Todd Ogasawara
2007-02-22 08:15:05
Umm, thanks for the link to VCD Cutter. But, what is the point? It does not seem related to Windows Mobile and does not produce AVI or WMV files that Windows Mobile device can play (without adding a 3rd party media player)?
Todd Ogasawara
2007-02-22 08:21:28
Douglas: Your frustration is easily understood. Although I was a huge fan of the old HP Jornada line, I have not had much luck with the iPAQ line HP got through the Compaq purchase (and then dropped the better designed Jornada line). I've had four Compaq Aero and Compaq/HP iPAQ devices (three were given to me) and all four died (the older HP Jornada devices all still work!). I use WiFi and Bluetooth frequently with various other Windows Mobile devices (Pocket PC, Pocket PC Phone Edition, and Smartphone) and have not run into memory issues with devices released in the past couple of years. Let us know what you switch to and how it is working out for you. The Nokia Symbian-based devices look pretty good. And the Apple's as-yet unreleased iPhone sure has caught a lot of people's attention (including mine).
Rich Rivers
2007-02-28 16:53:08
Microsoft Activesync is a piece of junk. . I have never been able to do anything with this demonic thing before it decides not to connect with one or both of my Pocket PCs. Now its connecting, and disconnecting after a few seconds and reporting some generic mysterious connection error.

I tried to download a lap link utility which I thougth would do the job, and all of these accursed things depend on Activesync to load! Has it occurred to anyone to actually REPLACE this thing? It is junk!
Microsoft programmers must be from another planet. .cause they surely do not know what is happening on this one!