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INITIAL INPUT: Two steps back for Windows Mobile still?
Posted by Carlo Guerrero - on Thursday, 17.08.06 - 21:35:51 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 11632x
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Is Microsoft sitting on its laurels? This is a question I wish to bring up to all you Windows Mobile users out there. I have been a long time Windows Mobile with experiences dating back to the time it was called Windows CE Palm-size PCs.

Over the years and every OS version update, things have been added and things have been discarded. Sometimes you think about it and you figure out that your older device actually does more than what you are using now. Why give up things which set you apart from the rest of the mobile devices in the fast paced progression of the mobile device industry?

Eversince the launch of the Smartphone 2002 platform, I've been very vocal about the lack of features which make these devices less compelling than the average Nokia, Sony-Ericsson, or Motorola mobile phone. One of the features I said was lacking was the ability to send vCards via SMS. They say, you can send them via Bluetooth or IR with a Smartphone 2002 or a Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition device. Well, SMS is not equivalent to IR, Bluetooth, MMS, or Email. SMS is the most basic form of data communication made with GSM mobile phones and almost all of GSM phones may they be entry level phones or high-end phones support vCards sent and received via SMS. The only right thing that I saw to bridge the gap between users is the inclusion of the OBEX support for sending data. This closed the gap between the Pocket PC and the Palm and most mobile phones.

The most basic is what is needed in any Windows Mobile device. You can brag about the 520MHz processor in your latest 3G Pocket PC Phone Edition device and the ability to receive push email. But when you meet other people who require certain data from you? Your unit becomes nothing more than a useless brick (well... nearly).

Since the introduction of the Smartphone 2002 platform I voiced out the concern about Windows CE devices not being able to send out vCards via SMS. And at times, the same devices cannot receive vCards via SMS. You would be lucky if the message ever comes in using the vCard format (in full text). There are times the Windows CE device - Pocket PC Phone Edition or Smartphone won't even react to a message containing vCard information. They won't even make a sound and they won't even store the message.

Why has Microsoft continually rejected the idea of vCard sending via SMS? If Microsoft says that independent developers can create a utility to do this task that is why Microsoft isn't bothering to support this feature natively, then the reasoning is absolutely flawed.

Microsoft needs to see beyond Microsoft's domain. They have to see how others are using their mobile phones and devices. Microsoft needs to be able to blend in and be accepted. vCard sending and receiving was very popular among Nokia users before. Now it's something most mobile phones are capable of doing natively. For more than three years, I've waited for Microsoft to include this feature in their devices. Windows Mobile 2003 and Windows Mobile 2003 SE have come and gone, replaced by Windows Mobile 5.0, still I cannot receive vCards sent through SMS by Nokia phones from the late '90s up to the present. How I miss the functionality of my old Nokia 6150 or my old Ericsson T68 where vCards are supported over SMS.

I know there are probably a couple of utilities out there that allow such functionalities with Windows Mobile devices. But this is something people have to search for and install. It is something no Windows Mobile device can do out of the box except for the O2 Atom. I believe that this is one of the most basic features which every WIndows Mobile device should have from the very start.

Mabuhay! ~ Carlo


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