26 April 2005

The Blackberry Death Rattle?

The last year has seen my interest in development for the wane considerably. Mostly this is because the abilities of the current platforms have pretty much plateaued. Don't get me wrong, I totally love my Smartphone and I've written my share of applications for both PocketPC and Palm. I guess you could say "Been there, done that". With the latest release of the compact framework there are certainly new abilities on the device, but not the order of magnitude increase that will really allow for new applications. Closer integration with Exchange server data might change that.

The upcoming releases of Windows Mobile (Magneto and Photon) might just change that. Firstly, getting on the same page with the fundamentals is imperative. Secondly, providing solid value-adds for media, .NET, hand-writing and connectivity go along way towards enabling software creators like myself to envision pragmatic new solutions.

If you'd read my writting for even a little while then you probably know that I don't always support it when consumers engage in another round of VHS-vs-Beta, lemming-like behavior. Sadly, this is another case where the ignorance of the few marketers, and the impatience of the many consumers had led the to prevelance of an inferior, non-standards-based, completely closed-source technology. For other examples see ReplayTV vs Tivo, IE vs Netscape, and AOL vs Everyone.

Along these same lines the Blackberry vs Smartphone debate is heating up. A recent announcement by Microsoft on Internet Week shows that velocity for the Smartphone is finally picking up. I think there is still a lot of life left in the Blackberry simple because of the market share they've already claimed. However, a few key wins could well change the tide and make life easier on the poor architects like myself. We like open-standards, stable code-bases, and feature-rich infrastructures upon which to construct our masterpieces of technology; these foundational pieces which have been seriously lacking from the mobility landscape to date. I guess we are just lazy that way.

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