People hated it because it was too complicated and too difficult to use even though ironically it was much easier to understand than today’s Android and iOS user-interfaces that are so popular.
Um, what? As someone who owned a non-phone pocket PC, I feel the need to call bullshit on this one. It was not easy to use, especially not compared to my android phone (that I’m writing this on). App installation was a pain except where a dev put significant effort into making it easier, and Web browsing on it was even worse. The control panel was a mess and all the buttons everywhere were miniscule. I have small fingers so I could manage to press many of them without causing chaos, but it was clearly designed to have the stylus out at all times.
The email client was OK though, so I guess there is that. I much prefer Gmail.
It turns out actually we wanted lots of flexibility and functionality instead, so Android picked up that slack and became king of smartphones.
No. Just no. Android has the market share because it’s reasonably open (on the manufacturer end) and so there are loads and loads of cheap devices. Anyone can walk into a shop and come out with a free android phone with a minimal contract. Last I knew there were no windows phones in that position.
Windows phone was also late to market. The old Windows CE / Pocket PC bullocks didn’t and doesn’t stand a chance against the usability of modern phones. Not saying that we have it right or perfect, but way better than the tiny buttons and near-mandatory stylus of the old days.
There is more nonsense in there (like the handwriting recognition being pretty good. I always had issues with it picking the wrong interpretation or outright failing). This is probably the most rose-tinted glasses post I’ve read in ages.
My last WinMo phone was the HTC HD2, which of course became nigh-legendary for the OS ports that hackers got running on it. I was pretty happy with WinMo at the time, and near the end they actually pulled together their own app store. I had licenses for FlexMail and IM+, I remember.
Anyway one of the reasons WinMo had some neat tricks that weren’t reproduced for a while on locked-down Android and iOS devices is that while there were permissions in the sense of user/admin for some things, it was essentially a big lock switch that everyone turned off and there were no granular permissions per app. This allowed the WinMo equivalent of LOADLIN for early Android efforts – an app was able to clobber the memory of the running system, and this leveraged the WinMo drivers having done some hardware initialization too.
Android brought with it those granular permissions and more standardized / blessed APIs for hardware components. This is stretching my memory a bit but I think WinMo pretty much had a different library per OEM for camera control. It also didn’t have the intents system, which makes customization more user-accessible. (Compare to switching shells by setting an exec path in a registry key.) Apps on WinMo could dig right into each other, in memory and in storage, using internals directly rather than forcing the use of defined IPC.
Wow, it’s pretty slow, but there’s still some activity in the HD2 forums on XDA. ? I’d also be surprised if Lobsters has no one around who still supports a WinMo 6.5 device in the form of handheld inventory scanners, as plenty are still out there.