Microsoft Explains Windows Mobile Name Changes

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For several years now, there have been three major sub-versions of Windows Mobile. One of these was for traditional handhelds, a second for cellular-wireless handhelds, and a third for smartphones.

Windows MobileWith the introduction of Windows Mobile 6, though, Microsoft changed the names of the various sub-versions.

These original and new names are:

  • Windows Mobile for Smartphone has become Windows Mobile Standard
  • Windows Mobile for Pocket PC Phone Edition has become Windows Mobile Professional
  • Windows Mobile for Pocket PC has become Windows Mobile Classic

Microsoft’s Reasoning

One of this company’s developers has recently posted the reasons for the changes on the Windows Mobile Team Blog.

According to Mike Calligaro,

The problem was that we were distinguishing our two products with the names “Pocket PC" and "Smartphone,” but the rest of the world was using the term “Smartphone” for things that we were calling “Pocket PCs.” We kept having conversations that went like this,

Customer: “I tried to put this Smartphone software on my device and it didn’t work.”

Us: “You have a Pocket PC, not a Smartphone. You need to use the Pocket PC version of the software.”

Customer: “No I don’t. I have a Smartphone. It even says so on the box.”

So the group in charge of marketing Windows Mobile decided to drop the names "Pocket PC" and "Smartphone" entirely, freeing them from having to debate with people what a smartphone is.

When choosing the new names, the group took into account the direction Windows Mobile is going to develop in over the next few years. In the next major revision or so of this operating system, the sub-versions for cellular-wireless handhelds and smartphones are going to become more and more alike, until the only significant difference is that one is for devices that include touchscreens and the other is for devices that don’t.

With this in mind, the marketing people decided to assign these sub-versions their new names, with "Windows Mobile Professional" being for the touchscreen devices, and "Windows Mobile Standard" being for non-touchscreen models.

The sub-version for traditional handhelds with touchscreens but lacking cellular-wireless capabilities was dubbed "Windows Mobile Classic", apparently because the first Pocket PCs are part of this class of devices.

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