I certainly wouldn’t pay for Windows Mobile.
Not in it’s current state.
Microsoft is charging between $8 and $15 per handset for its Windows Mobile license fee.
Obviously there’s speculation — most notably in this piece from CNET — that this is now a rather strange position from Microsoft, given that Google Android is ‘free’.
The history of Windows Mobile, for me, reads like this: Shit, shit, still shit, rubbish, not bad, getting better, improving.
6.1 is a good improvement. Your handsets are far less likely to screw up in the middle of a call. But the OS is still far from what I’d term ‘mission critical’.
You can use your standard Windows Mobile handset in a mission critical manner. Just reboot it first. And be sure to remove every sodding application.
And make sure nobody calls you.
Don’t connect to the internet either. Keep your handset disconnected, so the OS doesn’t get confused when you have to make that important call.
So if I was at a mobile phone store and I’d just bought a handset and was then choosing my desired operating system, there’s no way I’d pay a premium for Windows Mobile.
I have a very particular viewpoint, though.
I have, unfortunately met many people sporting Windows Mobile handsets who love them. They look at me as though I’m some hilarious arse. They don’t care that you can often see the operating system working. You can see it thinking and struggling. That’s normal. And perfectly fine, as far as they’re concerned.
Hugely annoying for me.
But who am I to argue?
Is there a commercial imperative for Microsoft to offer Windows Mobile for free, now that Google’s Android is freely available?
No. Not today. Not yet.
Flood the market with 100 different, brilliant Android mobile handsets, all with Exchange support as standard… and that might need to change.