The future of Windows Mobile

In February Microsoft presented the successor of Windows Mobile 6 to the public, the new Windows Phone 7 Series. Last week they told the developer story at the Mix10 conference, and now I can write something about my plans for Diving Log for Phones.

First of all I’m very impressed about the new Windows Phone 7, it’s a brand new platform and something they should have done already 2 years ago. First devices will not show up before end of this year (“to the holiday season”) and the developer tools are still very early builds (pre beta). But it goes definitely into the right direction. The UI is different than any other Smartphone platform currently available:

Even if the UI looks great, behind the scenes are still many limitations and two of them are a big deal for a logbook app: currently there is no database accessible, so it’s difficult – but not impossible – to store the logbook data. And the 2nd issue is that there is currently no way to sync the logbook data locally to the phone. Even local WiFi, which we use for the iPhone sync, is not possible for now. The only way to get data onto the phone is from the “cloud”, which is just a geek word for internet. I’m pretty sure that these limitations will be fixed in future updates, but for now we must get used to it.

Anyways, I have already some ideas to get around those problems and still integrate with Diving Log on the desktop. It’s too early to tell any details or even release dates, but I try to have something out at the launch. Apps can only be distributed via an App Store, just like on the iPhone. I think this is also an improvement for everyone, given the fact that it was sometimes a real pain to install something on a Windows Mobile phone. And old apps won’t run on Windows Phone 7, so everyone will have to recreate their apps. These are the facts so far.

So what about Windows Mobile 6 and older devices? No existing device will be upgradable to Phone 7, including the new HTC HD2. But do not fear, I’ve already started working on an update for the legacy platform (renamed soon by Microsoft to “Windows Phone Classic”). The next version “Diving Log 5.0 Phone” will be optimized for touch with a fresh interface similar to the iPhone Dive Log. Microsoft will continue to support Windows Mobile 6.x for quite some time and existing devices won’t stop working of course with the release of Phone 7 Series.

Generally said I will focus this year on the mobile experience, but also continue to improve the desktop version (the final version 5.0 should be available next week). So stay tuned!

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