One the things many handheld users find frustrating is that operating system upgrades are often slow to arrive, or even non-existent for some models.
As it is now, releasing an OS upgrade for a handheld doesn’t work the same way as it does with desktops and laptops. Upgrades don’t come straight from Microsoft or PalmSource. Instead, the new operating system version is first given to the companies who actually make the devices (OEMs) who customize it for their individual models and release it.
It is up to the licensee whether any upgrades are available. Many might not choose to do so for cost reasons. Modifying and releasing an operating system for an already existing handheld is an expensive proposition.
However, it appears that this is going to change in the near future, at least for Windows Mobile users.
According to Marcus Perryman, a Microsoft Developer Evangelist, the team working on the next version of Windows Mobile is working “to separate the upgrade mechanism for bits that Microsoft owns from the bits that the OEM owns. This should mean that Microsoft can offer things like Media Player 10 updates directly from the Microsoft site.”
It is not clear if this would mean that an entire operating system could be upgraded — say from Windows Mobile 2005 to Windows Mobile 2006 — or if only smaller changes could be made.
The next version of Windows Mobile, code-named Magneto, is expected to be released in the next few months.
Thanks to Pocket PC Thoughts for the tip.