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Windows Mobile

Windows Mobile

M

icrosoft Windows Mobile Device Center replaces ActiveSync for Windows Vista, and Microsoft Windows 7. Windows Mobile Device Center offers device management and data synchronization between a Windows Mobile-based device and a computer. For Windows XP or earlier operating systems, you must use Microsoft ActiveSync.

History

Windows Mobile was based on the Windows CE kernel and first appeared as the Pocket PC 2000 operating system. It was supplied with a suite of basic applications developed with the Microsoft Windows API, and is designed to have features and appearance somewhat similar to desktop versions of Windows. Third parties can develop software for Windows Mobile with no restrictions imposed by Microsoft. Software applications were purchasable from Windows Marketplace for Mobile during the service's lifespan.

Most early Windows Mobile devices came with a stylus, which can be used to enter commands by tapping it on the screen. The primary touch input technology behind most devices were resistive touchscreens which often required a stylus for input. Later devices used capacitive sensing which does not require a stylus. Along with touchscreens a large variety of form factors existed for the platform. Some devices featured slideout keyboards, while others featured minimal face buttons.

Features

Most versions of Windows Mobile have a set of standard features such as multitasking and the ability to navigate a file system similar to that of Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT, with support for many of the same file types. Much like its desktop counterpart it comes bundled with a set of applications to perform basic tasks. Internet Explorer Mobile is the default internet browser and Windows Media Player is used for media playback, such as video and music. Microsoft Office Mobile, the mobile versions of Microsoft Office applications, including Outlook Mobile is the default office suite. The ability to install third party software has existed since the original Pocket PC implementations. A client for PPTP VPNs is standard. Internet Connection Sharing is supported on compatible devices, which in mobile phones allows the phone to make its Internet connection available to computers via USB and Bluetooth.

Most devices with mobile connectivity include a Radio Interface Layer. The RIL provides the system interface between the CellCore layer within the Windows Mobile OS and the radio protocol stack used by the wireless modem hardware. This allows OEMs to integrate a variety of modems into their equipment.

The user interface has changed much between versions but the basic functionality has remained similar. The Today Screen, later called the Home Screen, shows the current date, owner information, upcoming appointments, e-mail messages, and tasks. The taskbar shows the current time and the audio volume and of devices with a cellular radio the signal strength.

Windows CE

Microsoft's work on handheld portable devices began with research projects in 1990, two years later work on Windows CE officially began. Initially the OS and the user interface were developed separately. With Windows CE being based on Windows 95 code and a separate team handing the user interface which was codenamed WinPad(later Microsoft At Work for Handhelds). Windows 95 had strong pen support making porting easy; with some saying "At this time, Windows 95 offers outstanding pen support. It is treating pens right for the first time."

WinPad was delayed due to price and performance issues, before being scrapped in early 1995 due to touchscreen driver problems relating to WriteTouch technology, made by NCR Microelectronic Products. Although WinPad was never released as a consumer product, Alpha builds were released showcasing many interface elements. During development of WinPad a separate team worked on a project called Pulsar; designed to be a mobile communications version of WinPad, described as a "pager on Steroids". This project was also canceled around the same time as WinPad. The two disbanded groups would form the Pegasus project in 1995. Pegasus would work on the hardware side of the Windows CE OS, attempting to create a form factor similar to a PC-esque PDA like WinPad, with communications functionality like Pulsar. A hardware reference guide was created and devices began shipping in 1996, although most of these device bore little resemblance to the goal of a pen-based touchscreen handheld device.

Windows Mobile 2003

Windows Mobile 2003, originally codenamed "Ozone", was released on June 23, 2003, and was the first release under the Windows Mobile banner. It came in four editions: "Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Premium Edition", "Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Professional Edition", "Windows Mobile 2003 for Smartphone" and "Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Phone Edition". The last was designed especially for Pocket PCs which include phone functionalities. The Professional Edition was used in Pocket PC budget models. It lacked a number of features that were in the Premium Edition, such as a client for L2TP/IPsec VPNs. Windows Mobile 2003 was powered by Windows CE 4.20.

Communications interface were enhanced with Bluetooth device management. Which allowed for Bluetooth file beaming support, Bluetooth headset support and support for Bluetooth add-on keyboards. A pictures application with viewing, cropping, e-mail, and beaming support was added. Multimedia improvements included MIDI file support as ringtones in Phone Edition and Windows Media Player 9.0 with streaming optimization. A puzzle game titled Jawbreaker is among the preinstalled programs. Other features/built-in applications included the following: enhanced Pocket Outlook with vCard and vCal support, improved Pocket Internet Explorer and SMS reply options for Phone Edition.

Windows Mobile 2003 SE

Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition, also known as "Windows Mobile 2003 SE", was released on March 24, 2004 and first offered on the Dell Axim x30. This was the last version which allowed users to back up and restore an entire device through ActiveSync.

This upgrade allows users to switch between Portrait and Landscape modes and introduces a single-Column layout in Pocket Internet Explorer. To make wireless internet access more secure Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) support was added. An array of new screen resolutions also debuted;VGA (640×480), 176?220, 240x240, and 480x480, to increase visual clarity and the range of form factors Windows Mobile could run on.

Pocket PCs

Pocket PCs and personal digital assistants were originally the intended platform for Windows Mobile. These were grouped into two main categories: devices that lacked mobile phone capabilities, and those that included it. Beginning with version 6 devices with this functionality ran "Windows Mobile 6 Professional" and those that lacked it ran "Windows Mobile 6 Classic". Microsoft had described these devices as "a handheld device that enables you to store and retrieve e-mail, contacts, appointments, play multimedia files, games, exchange text messages with MSN Messenger, browse the Web, and more". From a technical standpoint Microsoft also specified various hardware and software requirements such as the inclusion of a touchscreen and a directional pad or touchpad.

Smartphones

Smartphones were the second hardware platform after Pocket PC to run Windows Mobile, and debuted with the release of Pocket PC 2002. Although in the broad sense of the term "Smartphone", both Pocket PC phones and Microsoft branded Smartphones each fit into this category, it should be noted that Microsoft's use of the term "Smartphone" includes only more specific hardware devices that differ from Pocket PC phones. Such Smartphones were originally designed without touchscreens, intended to be operated more efficiently with only one hand, and typically had lower display resolution than Pocket PCs. Microsoft's focus for the Smartphone platform was to create a device that functioned well as a phone and data device in a more integrated manner.