Where is Windows Mobile headed?

Windows Mobile 6.1Windows Mobile may have trounced PalmOS pretty completely over the last few years, but if the mobile operating system wants to maintain its market share, it's going to need to make some changes. For example, iPhone has raised the bar for mobile web browsing while the Windows Mobile version of Internet Explorer feels like a web browser from 1997 at best.

The folks at Microsoft are well aware that Apple, BlackBerry, Symbian, and others are continuing to push the envelope. While Microsoft is preparing to release Windows Mobile 6.1 with a few tweaks here and there, Microsoft reps have leaked some details about the much bigger changes coming in Windows Mobile 7 and 8 to a few high profile gadget blogs including Engadget and Gizmodo.

Here's what in store for Windows Mobile 7:

  • Upgraded applications, including new SMS and email programs and essentially a port of the desktop version of Internet Explorer 6 (does this mean we still won't have tabbed browsing?)
  • Zoomed web browsing features
  • Improved music and photo applications
And Windows Mobile 8:
  • Completely redesigned interface
  • Global search feature
  • More intelligent connections between the phone and OS features. For example, dial a contact and bring up all recent emails from that person, see their address, and other contact info all at once.

Of course, you can do some of these things today by using 3rd party software. But we're willing to bet most users don't think of their cellphones as software platforms, and as such don't spend a lot of time downloading and installing third party applications. They expect their device to just work when they take it out of the box.

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