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Stories of Windows Mobile’s demise … Greatly exaggerated? Or only a matter of time?

It seems that everyone is jumping on the “Windows Mobile is dead … or is it?” bandwagon these days. Two more examples:

Can Microsoft make its future mobile? (BBC)

And then there is Microsoft. For years the giant of desktop computing has tried to push into the mobile phone market - not without success, but ultimately remaining a niche player.

Two things held Microsoft back in the past: technology and usability.

For years mobile phone technology simply wasn't advanced enough to play to the strengths of devices that were actually mini computers.

Windows Mobile and other smartphones were held back because they had to "live with the hardware capabilities of the past; key pieces were missing," says Andy Lees, the boss of Microsoft's Mobile Communications group.

But the real Achilles heel of Microsoft's devices was their abysmal user interface - firmly wedded to the look and feel of old-fashioned computer desktops, a concept that doesn't work on small screens.

At long last this is changing, although it is not Microsoft doing the job. Instead, phone manufacturers are busy building user-friendly interfaces to sit on the Windows platform.

Andy Lees appears unruffled. For the next 18 months he promises a string of Windows mobiles with "very interesting form factors".

Microsoft, he says, is "in this for the long-term".

Google Android’s Rise, Windows Mobile’s Fall? (Laptop Magazine)

“As for [Google’s] open handset alliance, the growing list of players is certainly a positive step for Android’s future.  The combined volumes of those manufacturers and operators involved will certainly create a strong competitive threat to Windows Mobile on a global basis,” says Andy Castonguay of the Yankee Group. “Windows Mobile’s competitive positioning in the US market is relatively less threatened for the near term simply due to the weak market presence of most of the Open Handset Alliance partners, but certainly not for long.”

But will Android surpass Windows Mobile? Time will tell says Current Analysis’ Research Director of Mobile Devices Avi Greenhart. “Windows Mobile itself should see major updates in 2009 and 2010; Microsoft is also getting new licensees – Sony Ericsson, LG, and Velocity Mobile all recently launched products – and thus far there is only a single example of Android on the market, so long term consumer acceptance is still an open question. But this announcement does make it increasingly likely that Android will be a long term success.”

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