Nearly every cell-phone commercials out there makes claims about streaming media, connecting to the internet (kind of), or big networks. However, that doesn’t necessarily make any of the phones they describe “smartphones.” Actually, a smartphone is a name for a relatively specific type of mobile device that does everything a cell-phone does and much more. True smartphones have a much larger operating system than a regular cell phone’s little scrollable menu, and they almost always have some additional interface devices like a touchscreen or full keyboard. Ultimately, what’s really important to talk about when considering smartphones is how much their operating system lets you do, so that’s where we begin today.
Hey, that’s just like my Windows at home. Only smaller.
Right you are! Microsoft has a product called Windows Mobile that comes installed on lots of smartphones and pocket PCs (aka Ultramobile PCs or UMPCs). In fact, the latest version – Windows Mobile 6.0 – came out just a couple weeks ago. While there was some hope that it’d come automatically bundled with some smartphones (or at least as a free upgrade to 5.0 users), Microsoft is making licensees pay for it (which means you pay for it).
The OS opens with a “Today” screen that looks a lot like Vista and shows you the date, owner information, upcoming appointments, e-mail messages, etc. It also shows you things like Bluetooth (or similar device) connectivity, and of course, the background/themes are pretty customizable. What’s really snazzy is that Windows Mobile comes with wee-little versions of Office software like Word and Excel, so you can open up email attachments or your own reports while sprinting through the airport to catch your flight. Windows Mobile is also supposed to be much more stable than its predecessors, and faster to boot.
Plays well with others
Well, increasingly so. More specifically, Yahoo has just announced that its software will run with Windows Mobile 6. The move may seem like a no-brainer, but there was some uncertainty as to whether or not the two giants could occupy space on the same smartphone. Blogger Om Malik explains why that’s handy:
The deal means that consumers who get Windows Mobile now get full access to Yahoo’s widgets as well, but at a potentially cheaper price than other Yahoo-ready phones. The hope is that this meshing of software is indicative of future team-ups. The resulting product roll-outs would lead to lower prices and amazingly cool smartphones down the road.