Light the candles and sing the songs - BostonPocketPC.com turns 5 years old today! Our official launch was January 1, 2002. Where does the time go?
It really does not seem like it is 5 years already. In that time, we've seen so much happen in the world of mobility that I really cannot believe the timespans are so short. This really hit home for me earlier this year during a business trip. I went on a trip to Chicago for the first time in over 6 years. All of the "routines" regarding the trip (travel, hotel, office) were the same, but the use of mobile technology 0 totally different. Some examples -
- We used notebook computers, but connecting to the Internet was via dialup from a hotel or business. WiFi was still an "emerging technology".
- Hotspots? What are those?
- I had a cell phone, but it was used for - calling people. No e-mail, no Internet browsing.
- I had a PDA (a Palm V, to be more precise), but "content" was entirely via sync (unless you had high-end modems designed for the platform).
I found myself feeling strange doing "routine" things in an entirely different way. The trip did give me some perspective as to how far we've come, as well as where we continue to go.
When we started BostonPocketPC.com, there was so much of a world still in front of us. More manufacturers, more hardware types, more underlying technologies. We watched as Windows Mobile played "catch up" with Palm, then watched as Palm changed (time and Time again), and then watched as Palm and Microsoft became partners. We watched the introduction of the Smartphone platform, it's slow initial adoption, and it's rise to prominence and a mainstream staple in our lives.
"Mainstream" - maybe that is the greatest change we have watched unfold over these 5 years. I still remember the constant need to explain a Pocket PC device, and how it was *not* a Palm PDA. Now, it seems as though people tend to look at the hardware branding and are not as surprised when it is Windows Mobile "under the hood". With all this said, where do we go from here?
I see 2007 as another year of evolution for the Windows Mobile platform. For all of the complaining I hear from people at times about how the Windows Mobile platform "never changes or revolutionizes", I respond with "evolution eventually results in revolution". You have to take things into perspective and realize that change does not have to be massive and instantaneous to be effective. I think we will continue to see device manufacturers try to "think outside the box" in terms of industrial design. Some will be successful, while others will not. That is what happens when you experiment, right? I think we will continue to see improvements in performance (thanks to a new generation of Xscale processors and increases in onboard storage). In the end, all of this will lead to more consumer choice.
Consumers will also play a role in 2007, as I expect to see a continual increase in platform adoption. This will happen in two areas. As wireless carriers provide more and more choices for Windows Mobile devices, standard consumer purchases will continue to grow. Do not expect huge percentage increases, however, as price and complexity still keeps Smartphone adoption confined to a more "tech-savvy" demographic. The second area of adoption which may be more significant is in the enterprise. More and more Exchange Server-based organizations are discovering that the total cost of ownership for mobile messaging can be reduced by deploying Windows Mobile devices. Interestingly enough, the enterprise adoption curve may in the long term fuel overall adoption. Anyone remember why they started using Microsoft Office at home? For many, it was because it was their workplace standard.
In the more generalized world of mobility, 2007 will be yet another year of new products, platforms and technologies. The public launch of Microsoft Windows Vista is only days away, and Vista provides functionality oriented towards the mobile user. We will continue to see new products oriented towards mobility and travel - the Sling Media Slingbox's success in 2006 was (I believe) just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The use of the Internet as a content-distribution medium exploded this year, with major US and worldwide media organizations bringing programming to the Internet. Expect more of this in 2007, although the continual thorns-in-the-side that are DRM and IP debates will likely still affect the general public.
What about us at BostonPocketPC.com in 2007? Well, there will definitely be plenty to keep us busy in the coming year :) One of the things that has changed for us over time is that we have evolved much in the same way that the technology we cover has. Expect us to still be "up to our neck" in coverage of Windows Mobile-related topics. Also continue to expect us to cover the issues and technology around mobility that affect us all. I also hope that this year I can provide more coverage and exposure to those companies in the New England area that are using and/or producing solutions in the mobile arena. We have always tried to be close to our home community here at BostonPocketPC.com, and I am putting the call out to our local community - contact me if you have a story to tell the world.
I am still amazed at the diversity of readers to our site. We still receive visits from all around the globe, and I have received e-mails from citizens of countless countries over the years. I hope that 2007 keeps that history in place. Of course, none of this would be possible without the people that make up the BostonPocketPC.com team. It goes without saying that the dynamo that is Steve "fyiguy" Hughes has been the lifeblood here over the years. His knowledge, passion and willingness to share make him an invaluable asset to any community. There have also been so many others over the years who have helped make this a wonderful site. Here's to their continued involvement in 2007, as well as (hopefully) the addition of some new faces in the coming year.
I am looking forward to the coming year. I find myself with a renewed excitement and commitment to the Windows Mobile and mobility communities. I hope that you feel the same way, and that we will see much more of each other in the months to come.