Smartphone 2003: Nothing to Get Excited About

Microsoft is in a strange place with its Windows Mobile-based Smartphone devices; the company just recently shipped its Windows Mobile 2003-based Smartphone software to cell-phone makers, but all the devices that are hitting the market now are based on Smartphone 2002, which shipped last year. The manufacturers have reasons for the delay in getting Smartphone 2003 to customers, and we'll finally see some Smartphone 2003 devices in early 2004. But my big question concerns the difference between Smartphone 2003 and Smartphone 2002. Are consumers losing anything by getting a Smartphone 2002 device today? The difference appears to be insignificant, unless you're a corporate buyer who's interested in rolling Microsoft .NET-enabled applications across a range of phones. Smartphone 2003 adds the Windows .NET Compact Framework and an integrated Bluetooth stack, which might or might not ever be useful, according to my experience. In other words, the Smartphone 2003 and Smartphone 2002 feature sets are virtually identical from an end-user standpoint. You don't need to wait for Smartphone 2003.

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