Some thoughts ahead of the Windows Mobile 7 announcement next week
Anyone that reads this and has a passing interest in Windows phones won’t have failed to notice all the rumour and hype in the online technical press lately about what is coming in Windows Mobile 7 which is expected to be announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in just over a week’s time. Most of the rumours talk about new UIs, hardware specs, project pink & Zune integration amongst other things however I have managed to convince myself that there will be one other important feature and I’ll explain it here.
In March 2008 Microsoft announced their Live Mesh incubation project which is currently available for use at http://www.mesh.com. One aspect of Mesh that got largely overlooked was that it was intended to be a platform for others to build upon rather than just being a product in its own right and one of the key scenarios that that was meant to enable was the syncing of information between your various devices. Since then news about Mesh has been thin on the ground other than the news about Mesh being merged with Windows Live and I believe we’re now about to see why; I believe that one of the key technologies in Windows Mobile 7 will be the inclusion the technology formerly known as Mesh, delivered under the banner of Windows Live.
I’ll give you a few reasons why I believe this to be the case:
- Windows Live wave 4 is just around the corner and we’re already pretty certain that one of the newest features is going to be “Devices”. Devices would of course include phones!
- In his opening keynote at PDC09 Microsoft’s CTO, Ray Ozzie, mentioned that “Windows Mobile and Windows Live news will be coming at Mix10”. Mix10 is now just around the corner as well and I don’t think its a coincidence that Ozzie mentioned them both in the same sentence.
- Microsoft need Windows Mobile 7 to be revolutionary if its going to fire the imagination of developers and of the phone buying public; there needs to be something in there new that no-one else is doing yet. Sync technology from Windows Live could (and should) be it.
- Windows Live needs to encompass more than just Windows on our desktop and laptop computers. Integrating Windows Mobile and Windows Live would be in line with Microsoft’s “3 screens and a cloud” strategy.
Of course, we should also consider the benefits that this would bring; chiefly I expect that we will be able to sync files from SkyDrive down to our phones. That’s one feature on its own and it is huge – don’t underestimate what it would mean to be able to sync media and office documents from the cloud to our mobile devices. Computers are only useful when they have data to work with and usually that data comes in the form of files; Microsoft have already cornered the market in giving you access to your files on your computer and now they’ll try to do the same in the cloud and on your phone. For more ideas of what could be possible go read my post Live Mesh, Windows Live and other Microsoft services from February 2009, I think the era of the “personal mainframe” as I call it in that post is upon us!
So there we have it, my big prediction for Windows Mobile 7 is that it will contain sync technology from Windows Live. This blog post is based on part evidence and part wishful thinking; nonetheless I’m convinced that a tie-in between Windows Live and Windows Mobile is on its way and I suspect we may know more in about 8 days time.