Windows Mobile 2003 Really Is Faster

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Windows Mobile Pocket PCs are faster than ever, and it’s not just due to faster processors. According to tests conducted by Pocket PC Thoughts, the underlying operating system, Windows Mobile 2003, is significantly faster in many regards than either of its predecessors, Pocket PC 2000 and Pocket PC 2002.

Pocket PC Thoughts conducted tests using an HP iPAQ 3650 Pocket PC running all three generations of Microsoft’s operating system for handhelds. (The version of Windows Mobile 2003 used in the testing is for Microsoft developers only and won’t be released to the general public.) The performance of the different versions was measured by Spb Benchmark, which is Spb Software House’s benchmarking tool for Pocket PCs.

This tool’s weighted index of overall performance found the iPAQ 3650 (which uses a StrongARM processor at 206 MHz) ran about 15% faster under Windows Mobile 2003 than it did under either of other two. And the latest version of the operating system increased the performance of the handheld’s processor by about 25%.

ActiveSync speed was one of those things that went down slightly with Pocket PC 2002, but it is hugely improved with Windows Mobile 2003. Spb Benchmark found that ActiveSync was more than twice as fast than on Pocket PC 2002. Uploading a 1 MB file via ActiveSync is 140% faster, while downloading a 1 MB file is about 40% faster.

According to Pocket PC Thoughts, other tasks that have seen notable improvement include opening a large Pocket Word document, compressing a large file, and displaying graphics.

However, the speed of everything didn’t improve. Pocket Internet Explorer (PIE) runs at about half the speed it did with previous versions of the operating system. Still, the latest version of PIE added several new features that may be the cause of the slowdown. Also, it takes Windows Mobile 2003 about four times as long to display a very long list of files than Pocket PC 2002. While this may sound dramatic, few users are likely to notice the difference. The new operating system takes 0.06 seconds to list 2000 files, while Pocket PC 2002 takes 0.015 seconds.

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