Posts with tag microsoft & mobile

This is where we stop

Microsoft & Mobile, Part 3: Enter The Zune

zunelogoHow long has it been since you last saw this logo? Have you ever seen it before? This is the logo to the Microsoft Zune, a set of hardware portable music players and software services that are mostly forgotten today. Some of the ideas and technologies behind the Zune still live on today (even though they’re not called “Zune” anywhere) and there are still a few people who cling to their Zunes despite far better technology being available today.

Now, if you strained your memory trying to remember what that pink and orange Z thing was, see if you can remember what this was: Microsoft KIN. Given up yet? I don’t blame you; I barely remember the thing myself. The KIN, like the Zune, is a device that hardly anyone remembers anymore. Unlike the Zune, there’s no one who still clings to their KIN nor are there any communities around it. Instead, all the KINs manufactured are probably buried in a forgotten desk drawer, buried in a landfill or were recycled into your iPhone (which would be highly amusing). There is a reason why this is so, and we’ll get to that later.

But enough introduction. The article continues, as ever, after the break. I will tell you ahead of time that this last part is a bit long-winded, so make sure you set aside a few minutes to read this one.

But this too has failed

Microsoft & Mobile, Part 2: “Tablet PC is Super Cool!”

Windows_XP_Tablet_PC_Edition_LogoIn 2002, Bill Gates took the stage to introduce us to “a dream that I and others have had for years and years.” That dream was Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, and it resulted in the header image with Bill standing up there holding a tablet PC which had “Tablet PC is Super Cool!” scrawled on it. Everything seemed to line up for the Tablet PC too — we had better screens, better processors and laptops with better battery life than the old 486es from ten years ago. But as we know now, that wasn’t the case and as like Windows for Pen Computing before it, the tablet PC idea faded out.

Two years prior, Microsoft introduced us to the successor of the ill-fated handheld PC. Running something called Windows Mobile, the Pocket PC was introduced featuring a line of devices from OEMs and a UI that actually made sense on a mobile device at the time. For once, Microsoft had made something that gave them a good fighting chance in the mobile market and was one of the go-to operating systems for years. It, with Palm OS, even helped kick off what we would now call the smartphone. Of course, all good things must come to an end.

Grab your Year 2000 Survival Kit, because that’s where we’re going next. Article continues after the break, as always.

A look into the history of mobile Microsoft

Microsoft & Mobile, Part 1: The Birth of Pen Windows

winpen6.2We’ve all heard the old saying before: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” And you’d think that a company who has been trying to break into the mobile space for over 20 years now would learn from their past mistakes. But it seems that despite all of their innovation, Microsoft just doesn’t quite get how the mobile world works.

I’ve mentioned that Microsoft has been trying for over 20 years to break into the mobile market – accurately, they’ve been trying for 22 years; they first started in 1991 with the release of Windows for Pen Computing. A few years later came the birth of Windows CE and Pocket PC. Next came Windows XP, Tablet PC Edition and Windows Mobile, and then we get into “modern” history with things such as the Zune, KIN, Windows Phone and now Windows 8. I’ll tell you up front and right now that all of these products have been a flop. Some of them have been bigger successes than others, some of them eventually got merged into other products but in the end, all of the products we’ll talk about (save for Windows Phone and Windows 8) have been discontinued for one reason or another.

Let’s hop into the time machine and set the clock back to 1991. Article continues after the break.