We’re for the most part fans of Microsoft around here, but every once in a while they do some things to really irritate us.
The continuous rebranding of their PDA operating system is an ongoing problem. First it was Windows CE (the “CE” didn’t stand for anything, or so they said), then it was Pocket PC OS, then Windows Mobile. So now your Pocket PC is a “Microsoft Windows Mobile-Based Pocket PC” or some such nonsense.
One of the major points of confusion right now is the new smartphones like the Motorola Q and the Treo 700w. While these are similar looking devices, one (the Q) is a Windows Mobile Smartphone and the other (Treo) is a Windows Mobile Pocket PC. This is despite the fact that both claim to run Windows Mobile 5. The truth is that the Treo does and the Q does not. You can thank Microsoft and Verizon for that bizarre lapse of marketing oversight.
The easiest way to tell at this point is to check whether or not the phone has a touch-sensitive screen. At least to date, if it has a touch screen it’s a Pocket PC. If it doesn’t, it’s a Smartphone.
Microsoft claims that the two brands are merging. In the future you’ll buy Windows Mobile devices and won’t worry about whether it’s a Pocket PC or a Smartphone. This is fine — we’re all for simplification. The problem is that the marketing horse seems to have gotten ahead of the development cart. Until the two separate operating systems are actually one — so that software can be targetted at one operating system for any kind of Windows Mobile device — they need to do a better job keeping the two brands separate.