Why Can’t I Upgrade?

We released Windows Mobile 5 a few months ago and devices are starting to hit the market now.  A question I've seen asked in a number of places is, "Why can't I upgrade my existing WM 2003 SE devices to WM5?" 

The answer is sure to get me a bunch of angry comments from people who abbreviate our name "M$."  You can choose to see this as spin from a greedy marketing wonk, or you can see it for what it is--an honest attempt from a developer to explain how this stuff works. 

Possible vs. Practical
Since 2002, we've set our hardware requirements and designed our software to make it possible to upgrade any PocketPC or Smartphone at least once.  And there have been a number of devices that have upgraded from one version to the next.  Also, some of our partners have announced that some of their WM 2003 SE devices will be upgraded to WM5.  But, by and large, the number of devices that will upgrade is pretty small.

The trouble is, while it's possible to upgrade devices, it's often not practical to do so.  The reason it's not practical boils down this:
1) It costs a lot of money to upgrade a device
2) So few people upgrade that it's hard to amortize this cost

Second things First
I know that it's frustrating to want to upgrade and hear me say, "But no one upgrades."  Obviously you want to upgrade.  You wouldn't be reading this if you didn't.  And, I'll bet you know a bunch of people who want to upgrade as well.  Please understand, the companies involved do not say, "Hey, let's not bother to upgrade the device.  We won't piss off too many people."  Everyone wants to upgrade your devices.  There are a number of reasons for this, not the least of which is that we know that providing upgrades makes customers happy.  And, yes, we all like happy customers. 

It's not about figuring out how many people we can get away with annoying.  Upgrades don't happen due to a much simpler calculation. 

(Total cost of doing the upgrade) / (number of people who will use it) = (unreasonable price)

The value of "unreasonable price" varies from situation to situation.  But there have been times where it was higher than the price of a new phone.  Because there have been upgrades in the past, we know how many people do them.  And, even though you know a bunch of people who want to upgrade, it's still a tiny percentage of the owners of that device. 

Show me the Money
So what are all these costs?  The first is the cost of developing and testing all the drivers for a new version of the OS.  While Microsoft writes the bulk of the software on a WM device, a significant amount of it is written by the OEM or ODM who created the hardware.  And the part they do is the most complicated part of the device: the drivers, parts of the kernel, and the radio stack.  On major OS revisions, many of these parts need to be changed, sometimes dramatically.  And, any time they need to be changed, extensive testing needs to be done.

Another cost is associated with phone devices sold through Mobile Operators.  MOs rightfully want to be sure that any device on their network doesn't interfere with other devices on their network.  To do this, they put every device they plan to sell through a battery of tests that last weeks.  If a significant amount of code on the device changes, it needs to be retested.  And that takes away testing time from another device.  The Mobile Operator needs to make a conscious decision to test an upgrade that few people will use instead of testing a sexy new phone that potentially many more will buy.

Another cost comes from how difficult it is to upgrade these devices.  The steps are complicated, there are changes that users don't expect, and sometimes it doesn't work.  All of those situations result in calls to product support, which are really expensive.  Yes, you're capable of pulling off the upgrade.  But you're techy enough to be reading an MSDN site.  How do you think your grandmother would fare? 

Well, what are you doing about it?
In WM5 we spent a lot of time building an infrastructure for enabling updates that anyone can do.  We're heading toward a Windows Update sort of experience, where you're using your phone and it suddenly pops up a box that says something like, "An update is available, would you like to have it installed?"  Then you just need to select "Yes" and it'll happen for you.  How much OEMs and Mobile Operators make use of this infrastructure is up to them, but it's there now.  This should solve the "could your grandmother do it?" problem, especially for smaller updates like security fixes.

Of course, to do this, we had to change a ton of stuff, which makes the first two problems even bigger for this release.  No pain, no gain. 

We're doing a few things to make future updates easier for OEMs and Mobile Operators.  First, we're going to try to do some smaller releases that don't require changes in OEM code.  If the drivers don't need to change, then it's much easier for the OEM to take an update from us and make it work.  The Mobile Operators will still want to test the device, but, hopefully, if the drivers didn't change, they can have some assurance that the things they worry most about didn't change either.  That should make their testing easier.

Longer term, we're looking at ways to design our OS so that even major revisions don't require significant driver changes.  We don't know for sure that we'll be able to pull that off, but it's a goal we're striving toward. 

No it's not just "greed"
I've seen people complain that upgrades don't happen because the parties involved are just greedy.  I guess there's a fine line between "economics" and "greed" but that line does exist.  The economics of the situation are that it often just doesn't make sense to provide an upgrade.  We're working on both parts of that equation.  We're trying to reduce the total upgrade cost, and make upgrading easy enough that more people will make use of it.  Whether this work will result in more upgrades being provided in the future remains to be seen.  But we hope so.

Mike Calligaro

Comments (143)

  1. Krishna Kumar says:

    Thanks for the writeup. You have opened up my eyes. 🙂

  2. Barry Gervin says:

    Unfortunately what this means for developers is that unlike Windows, Windows Mobile is not a platform. Why is the Windows OS so popular? Because it’s a platform for developers, who can rely on the fact they can build software that relies on a continuum of hardware and software upgradability and compatibility.

    While I can appreciate these technical arguments, and I know it’s not because MS is trying to rip people off, the bottom line is that Windows Mobile 5.0 is just another one off OS that is less compelling to write software for. It’s easy to be happy with building an OS for devices that is just as good or better than the competition, but you as you already point out in your blog – you know what we really want.

  3. Bill says:

    Thanks for the explanation. It answers more fully one of those longstanding questions.

    Barry, aside from wanting to rant, I’m not sure what your point was. Apperantly the developers I buy software from, (illium, astraware,etc.) believe this is a platform. I certainly do. I have purchased upgrades for many of their products over several versions of the OS.

    I have an unrelated question, why is hardware button assignment more limited under windows mobile 10? As in what was the overall thinking behind this? It’s a little thing I know but it matters while driving in the car.

  4. windowsmobile says:

    Barry, I completely agree that a big WM value proposition is the developer story. But I don’t see how upgrades directly affect that story. You can write code for WM2003 and have it run there, on WM2003SE, and WM5. Whether the WM5 devices are upgraded WM2003SE devices or new store-bought ones shouldn’t really affect you as a developer.

    If you’re saying that you don’t want to target WM5 specific features until there are more WM5 devices out there (and that upgrades would speed this along), that’s a valid concern. But, in the mean time, you can still target previous versions and have your apps run great on WM5. In my book, that’s what makes for a developer-friendly environment.

    Am I missing something beyond market share that makes end user upgrades help the developer story?

    Mike Calligaro

  5. windowsmobile says:

    Bill, I don’t think the button assignment restrictions/abilities changed in WM5. Can you give me an example?

    Mike Calligaro

  6. Martin Gee says:

    The mobile phones should be sold just like computers.. you buy the hardware and the software seperate. And after you buy the phone, if you want to upgrade your software, just do it. And don’t have to worry that your hardware supplier buys a license to upgrade your phone.

  7. irblinx says:

    An intersting debate all round, although I’m not sure about the "you can still target previous versions and have your apps run great on WM5", that certainly doesn’t seem to be the case from looking at the numerous forums that are publishing WM5 compatible lists.

    The upgrade v’s replace arguement is particularly difficult in an enterprise environment, large companies are used to only having to replace desktops and laptops every 3 to 4 years and now in the case of the PPC Phone edition devices mobile operators are trying to force in a consumer mobile phone model whereby the device is almost treated as disposable after 12 months of use. The rub for corporates being that they usually can’t take advantage of special handset offers for renewing contracts and so are forced to pay the full "in contract upgrade" price.

    The direction that MS seem to be trying to move with WM5 certainly seems to suit cotporate’s better, however I wonder what incentive Mobile Operators have for making these easy updates available?

  8. Darius Wey says:

    Mike, nice article. It certainly shines a different light on the upgrade debacle.

  9. Andy says:

    Your comment about "how would your grandmother cope" regarding upgrading such devices is perhaps misleading. How many grandmothers own Smartphones, or a device like my O2 XDA IIi? Surely the market for these devices is the tech-savvy, early adopter consumers. These devices are, by their very nature, complicated and prone to instability, and far too daunting for Joe Public. I would guess that a high percentage of people who own a device with WM installed is more than able to perform an upgrade with no assistance. If people like me (20 years in IT) have to refer to a Help Desk for assistance, it’s more than likely because the upgrade process has a problem.

  10. Jürg Knöpfel says:

    If you are not geedy, then you are just unable to design a OS. As you already proofed on the PC side.

  11. RZ says:

    Sorry, Dear Microsoft but I don’t buy all your fantastic technical explanation. This means that again I have lost my money, because for the N-th time I bought a hardware box which will be useless in couple of months because the technology has changed. What is the philosophy behind it? Why are you (MS) talking about the investment protection? How can you demonstrate it? You are simply using us (all Windows Mobile users) as "live crash" testers. You give us a bit, then you (and the vendors) push us to buy another version of hardware with only upgraded software! Is that fair?

  12. Unhappy User says:

    You guys at Microsoft need to get your act together. You are burning your customers at the stake… Again…

  13. Andrew says:

    Some of these comments are unbelievable. Did you come here from Slashdot or something?

    Firstly: Microsoft doesn’t sell you the OS or the upgrade. That is down to the Device Manufacturer. You are complaining to the wrong party here.

    Secondly: Does your device lose functionality when a new version of the OS comes out? Is it really ‘useless’? If anything, Microsoft should be thanked for providing a very stable platform, which you can rely on. I’m guessing you were angry because your VHS player couldn’t play DVD’s 🙂

  14. Faalhaas says:

    Note to all:

    You do not have to upgrade. Mike gave us a good set of reasons why upgrading is difficult and could be dangerous for your device.

    On the other hand, WM 2003SE is not buggy, it actually is a sturdy environment. So why fix something that aint’t broken?

    I have the answer for you: Because we -out here- are all early adopting techies. Ask your grandma.

    Recently my Qtek 9090 broke. I replaced it with a HP 6515. Making it sort of impossible for me to try and upgrade (yup, at xdadevelopers.com they have the upgrade for the Qtek). On the other hand my desire to upgrade desolved int thin air with the HP, which is a much more reliable device then the Qtek. There are well tested oem drivers again.

    My advice: stick with your device, enjoy what it brings you and replace it in two years, when WM5 had become the standard.

  15. Ben Williams says:

    Thanks for the post, Mike. Came here from MobileGadgetNews.com because I too am curious why I can’t upgrade my Audiovox SMT5600.

    On some level, you’ve sold me. The "unofficial" ability to upgrade the SMT5600 to WM5 is trickier and riskier than I’m willing to do, and I honestly don’t have the time. In addition, people that have pulled it off get everything to work but the camera, or so I read.

    And so perhaps this camera thing is an Audiovox (or HTC) issue, rather than a Microsoft issue, or maybe it isn’t. I don’t know so I won’t point fingers. But I do agree with a person posting above who suggests that the owners of these phones aren’t grandmothers. I am the only one in a tech department that has a Windows-based phone, and we all work with servers and networking day in and day out. Despite great strides you all have made, the phone is still way more complex than a grandmother, my father, or even my boyfriend would want to deal with – but you sure have got me hooked on it. I couldn’t live without it at this point.

    I’ve always been a fan of companies like Tivo that advocate hacking around with their devices and are willing to provide (limited) help and support via software, message boards, et al towards that end. If we can’t get a full-blown full-supported upgrade path, it would be nice to have a "techies-to-techies" no-guarantee at-your-own-risk upgrade path. And maybe that’s something you’re saying the vendors (like Tivo) should do rather than the OS provider (Linux, in the Tivo example).

  16. Michael Policarpio says:

    then what are the promises of upgradeable devices? which, by the way is one of the selling points your marketing people like to push through…

    some would say that they werent promises to provide upgrades – but i would see this as how a cunning lawyer gets away from accountability…


    unfortunately, no matter how much explaining some people do, or no matter how much people rant (like me) – once you have decided on something (not providing upgrades); then nothing would change…

    as my dad used to say, "if you really want it bad, then there are many ways to do it… otherwise, there are many excuses…"

    so, what is the WM Team? really wanting to do it? or just get on with a half-baked job?

  17. Andrew says:

    Michael, could you possibly link to an example of such a promise? (Marketing, or otherwise)

    Where does Microsoft, explicitly or implicitly, even suggest that you will be able to do this?

    Just curious….

  18. jamespr says:

    irblinx wrote :

    "An intersting debate all round, although I’m not sure about the "you can still target previous versions and have your apps run great on WM5", that certainly doesn’t seem to be the case from looking at the numerous forums that are publishing WM5 compatible lists. "

    Can you point me to those forums? I saw one compatibility list published and while its existence implied there were big problems, the actual list showed most apps working.



  19. debug says:

    Simple solution..Switch to Palm O/S

  20. Rainer says:

    I really dont know why many people complain so much. i am coming from the symbian area and there upgrades are an absolute nogo! if you are unlucky enough then you wont get even an os upgrade (to the SAME os version) which fixes most of the imminet problems. if there are updates then at least for nokia you have to take the device to the shop and pay for it! i mean its not even possble to upgrade to the next minor version. and you know what? nokia still holds the majority of the smartphone market!
    obviously i understand that most of you guys are eager to upgrade but I would never rely on the fact tha my device is upgradeable! because most of the time it isnt.
    so if you can upgrade then be happy, if you cant then sticking with 2003SE cant be that bad. if you are a devel you need all of the phones anyway and decide whether you have enough customers that would appreciate the unique features only wm5 offers.

    just my 2 cents

  21. windowsmobile says:

    This was guaranteed to be a controversial subject, and I appreciate the civility people have been showing in their responses. I was expecting much worse this morning (not that I’m ASKING for worse, mind you :-).

    I’m going to address a few of the comments here. If I missed something that needs an answer, please reask.

    Backward Compatibility: I guess it’s never perfect, and it’s always possible to write code that breaks when something changes in a new OS. But, for the most part, the things that have broken have been a result of unforseen changes in hardware. For instance, if your app assumed that the PocketPC would always be 240×320, you can break when a 240×240 or 480×640 device is released. However, if you wrote you app to read the screen size and size itself accordingly, it would have kept working. I’m not the expert on Back Compat though. I’m sure there are places where apps broke because we removed something. I do know that they’re not the majority case, though. All the little apps I’ve written for these devices still work. In fact, I’ve got this Japanese study program I called "KanjiFlash" that I wrote for Handheld PC on CE 2.1 (the first one that had TrueType) that still works on PocketPC today. It’s ugly now, but it works.

    Grandmothers: Well, my grandmother isn’t using a smartphone, but my mother has an Audiovox 5600. And she’s my son’s grandmother. So it’s close, I guess. More importantly, she’s doing more than talking on the phone with it. She’s using it to listen to MP3 lectures she’s downloading from a website. I think today’s people are more tech savy than you folks are giving them credit for. That said, if an upgrade was offered, I wouldn’t expect her to try to do it.

    Backdoor upgrades of the AV 5600: Hymm, this really could use its own blog entry. Let me think about this a bit. I’ll either write a new entry for it, or come back here and explain it in a new comment.

    Mike Calligaro

  22. I’ve understood the OEM issue and the carrier issue for a while. My question is why the OEM really needs to be involved (much).

    Regular Windows PCs have drivers and kernels and radio stacks (other than Microsoft’s). And yet Windows upgrades handle those issues just fine. I assume making such an upgrade would cost Microsoft more and make it larger to download (and maybe too large to fit into memory), but what else am I missing?

    Just think, Microsoft might be able to charge for upgrades instead of having the OEMs do it. 🙂 (I assume Microsoft does charge the OEM.) OS *updates*, like for bug fixes, should still be free, of course.

    (For reference, I’m a professional Windows software developer and have also written a couple of programs for the Pocket PC. I’m not an OS and hardware geek, though.)

  23. windowsmobile says:

    Those are good questions, Steve. A few major differences between PCs and embedded devices get in the way.

    First: PCs have gobs and gobs of spare storage space. XP stores something like 40M of drivers on your hard drive just in case someone wants to install something. That’s bigger than our entire image. Some day, phones will have more storage than they can figure out what to do with, which would enable that sort of thing. But we’re not there yet.

    Second: The PC space is pretty mature, and changes happen slowly over time. The Embedded space is still changing rapidly and dramatically, which is making it hard to change our code while keeping the OEM code unaffected.

    5 years ago, if you’d asked anyone what they thought a desktop PC would look like, they’d probably have been able to tell you pretty accurately. They knew it would run x86 code, have ram, and boot from a harddrive, etc.

    5 years ago most embedded devices ran MIPS and SH3 code. Now they’re all ARM. 5 years ago, devices didn’t even have Flash ROM. "Upgrading" them required a soldering iron. Now they’re flash and possible to be changed. Storage had to be RAM. Now it’s persistent. Etc.

    Fundamentally, how our code runs is changing, and it’s hard to architect the system to be agnostic to such things. We’re getting better at it, and think we’re better positioned for the future. But we really don’t know how drastically the world is going to change in the next 5 years. So we might not have abstracted things well enough. And, if we didn’t, we’ll need OEM changes.

    Mike Calligaro

  24. Rotem says:

    well, thanks…

    makes sence…

  25. nbesson says:

    As written above, vendors should sell their PDA as PC. You buy the hardware and you choose which OS you want on it, or if you want to upgrade or not…. I don’t understand why everything must be re-written (drivers, etc). The problem is not the OS, but all the hardware changed from the manufacturers..

  26. Antony says:

    Excuse my ignorance but has the device driver model changed in WM5? If not it should be a relativley simple process of creating a new image.

    I have heard that the telcos are the ones trying to stifle these upgrades. Telcos are aparently putting pressure on the manufacturers not to release upgrades so people have to upgrade their phones.

    Anyway, if you want the new features like Wifi you have to upgrade both (I’m specifcially taking about Smartphones here).

  27. windowsmobile says:

    Antony, the driver model itself didn’t change, but there are required changes in some of the drivers. More importantly, there are fundamental changes in the way images are built and data is stored that require changes in OEM code. The change to persistent storage on PocketPC, for instance, requires OEM changes. And the image layout changes (which we did to facilitate future updates) requires updates in the kernel and the bootloader.

    I don’t think it’s true that Mobile Operators want to stifle upgrades. It’s more the economics that I described in the blog entry. It costs a MO the same amount to validate a new phone as to validate an upgrade. But many people will use the new phone and almost no one will use the upgrade. So they naturally gravitate toward doing the work that will support more of their customers. Macroscopically, it’s the right choice, even if individuals like you and I would like upgrades to our devices.

    Mike Calligaro

  28. hydroxine says:

    Is it that hard to just say… here’s the deal, upgrade it, dear valued Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition user, but at your own risk. I’m sure some will try, part of them will fail but some may actually get a WM2003SE-device, to run WM5.0. Wanna bet?

  29. windowsmobile says:

    Hydroxine, I’m sorry, but I’m not following you. There is definitely a cost with people trying and failing to upgrade their devices. But the biggest part of the cost is in the work to create and validate the upgrade in the first place. Please see the first two paragraphs under the heading "Show me the Money" in the original blog entry.

    Mike Calligaro

  30. Alexandru says:


    You mentioned in your post that the udpate feature is ALREADY AVAILABLE FOR MOBILE DEVICES. My question is:

    – Could you let us know the URL for Windows Update which does this?

    Thanks a lot,


  31. Derald Grimwood says:

    I understand the economics of the situation, and little discussed are the great varieties in processors and other hardware.

    But when Dell sells a new laptop for 499.00 it makes one start to wonder if by the time we add our stowaway keyboards and other accessories, wouldn’t we be better off with a small notebook (or tablet) when the prices fall.

    It is disheartening to purchase an expensive PDA and find it only has a life cycle of one OS version.

    If Microsoft really wants to to keep mobile systems going I suggest that the OEM provide a sub-operating system to Microsofts CE specifications that make the actual hardware independent of MSCE.

    If the OEM does its job right then users could upgrade their OS "off the shelf" as long as they had the basic required ram and processor requirements.

    In summary, OS upgrades should come from Microsoft and install generically to any PDA (given that some options may not work because the PDA doesn’t have the supporting hardware e.g. bluetooth). The burden of the hardware layer should rest on the OEM.

  32. Jamie says:

    This is a story that will have to change it seems, if for no other reason than security. A day will come when we can no longer afford to ignore the security story with these devices. At that point the concerns of the MOs to validate each upgrade will have to go out the window. It makes sense for them to develop a model now to isolate the things that matter on their network (like the radio) from things that don’t really matter (like the version of IE). Now is the time, before there is a need to release the monthly updates 🙂 The right worm would be a lot more harmful to their network than buggy code.

  33. windowsmobile says:

    Alexandru, the situation is complex. We’re working toward a Windows Update sort of model, but we’re NOT planning to put updates on Windows Update. In the end, the Mobile Operator that subsidized the phone gets to decide what goes on it. We’re not going to go around our partners and update their devices without their consent.

    Jamie, yes we are working on that very model. We’re definitely not waiting for the first worm to think about security. And MO’s understand that they may have to act quickly if a Security flaw is found and an update needs to be rolled out. I can’t promise that the first one will go smoothly, but we’re trying to make sure that it will.

    Remember, this is a new world for the Mobile Operators. In a relatively short time they’ve gone from selling devices that couldn’t do anything but ring to full computing devices with programming models. Changes will happen, but they take time.

    Mike Calligaro

  34. Re says:

    Oh, somebody close my eyes, i cant see these lies, WM05 is not modificated THAT much to not to run on many old devices devices

  35. haroldb says:

    A few comments from someone who has (a) been using CE devices since 1.0, (b) used to work for Microsoft, and (c) has been in the computer industry for 31 years.

    Microsoft’s OEM-oriented business model has always added complexity over what should seem easy. I’ll give you a personal example. My wife had a Dell notebook that exceeded all of Microsoft’s requirements for Windows XP. Dell refused to support the upgrade by failing to port their device-specific drivers and other software for it. So, the Windows/PC world is not so different from the PDA/Smartphone world. The latter is just more complex because you also have the MO’s in the mix. And they, frankly, still have leftover behaviors from the regulated monopoly world.

    Oh yes, Windows XP would have upgraded on my wife’s notebook without Dell’s support. But certain features, such as power management, wouldn’t have worked. So I could turn it into a test box for myself, but I had to buy her a new notebook.

    My frustration with the PDA/Smartphone world is the business model around MO’s. The upgrade thing just one of my issues. Just look at all the great devices that have come out and never been available in the U.S. because no MO picked it up. There have been recent times when the largest U.S. MO, Cingular, literally was offering ZERO Windows Mobile devices. But I could look online and see all manor of devices available elsewhere (particularly in Europe). So perhaps we need regulatory action to break the lock between MOs and devices (similar to when landline companies were forced to support any phone that met FCC requirements). Until then the MOs largely control device availability, and upgrade availability. Having both Microsoft and an OEM in the mix is complex enough. Having three players often means gridlock.

  36. windowsmobile says:

    Re "lies" is a strong condemnation. I’m certainly not trying to lie here. Please help me do a better job and show me where I implied that devices are incapable of being upgraded. I’m pretty sure that I’ve been consistent in saying exactly the opposite of that. If you read the "Possible vs Practical" section of the blog again, that’s the message I’m trying to convey. If you’d prefer to follow up offline, I’d be happy to talk with you. You can get in touch with me by using http://blogs.msdn.com/windowsmobile/contact.aspx to send your email address.

  37. Robert says:

    From my point of view the most significant point was made several posts ago. When I go to the well EVERY YEAR to purchase a new $700+ pocketpc phone the accountants where I work shake their fingers at me and inform me that We purchase Computers every 3 years and this should meet that same schedule. I can’t honestly tell them that the hardware won’t run the new OS required (after all, I have a I-Mate Pocket PC Phone (XDA II, HTC Himalaya) running Windows Mobile 5) when I have proof in front of me that not only can the older hardware run the new OS, but that Microsoft/HTC have already done all the work to implement it on the old hardware.

    The reality from a corporate point of view is that the Windows Mobile platform is just a ‘feather in the cap’ for microsoft and is not really worth them putting any effort into it (An example of this… My MS reps are still not using WM5 devices, in fact they gain more usefull information on the WM offerings from MS by reading the various boards than MS supplies to them). If they were serious about it they would make a better effort to keep their marketing and support people informed and would pay attention to the fact that new OS releases every year that require device replacement don’t look good to the accountants.

  38. Oded Dror says:

    Look how many words and energy was spent

    Here just to say no.

    I’m wondering what if there is a way to upgrade.

    Thank you Micro$oft

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    For a limited time, M$MC will provide, free of

    charge (after rebate, requires activation),

    a cinder block system to allow

    you to archive your version 3 vehicle next to your

    version 2 vehicle next to your version 00 vehicle

    that have all been obsoleted by M$MC’s continued

    dedication to improving your driving experience.

    A weatherproof file cabinet is included to store

    all your now-useless version 00,02 and 03 roadway

    licenses. If your trailer park prohibits outdoor

    storage on cinder blocks, M$MC provides a disposal

    service for a nominal fee. (not available in all areas)

    We at M$MC thank you for your continued loyalty.

    P1MC’s announcement that they will be abandoning the P1

    roadway system in favor of the M$MC roadway system

    is clear confirmation that monopoly power is awesome

    and you have no viable options.

    Bend over and click here…

  40. K says:

    Having worked installing GSM infrastructure, and now designing custom hardware for a living, there’s quite a few points i’d like to make about this.

    I agree GSM providers pass every device they carry through a rigorous testing procedure. BUT what you fail to realise is that many devices on use in their network are not devices they sell. Alot of phones are bought ‘offline’, even more true for ‘smart’ devices. If you were to call them for support on these models they would quite politely take you through a page of steps they have on a ‘FAQ’ in front of them and promptly tell you your device isn’t suported. This doesn’t mean your not permited to use the device on their network.

    The bottom line is provider economics and competition mean they can’t stop you from using an unsuported device on their network.

    Their testing procedure is largely aimed at compatibility with new standards (ON THE RADIO SIDE!!!) which havn’t been thoroughly established, like GPRS a few years ago. The device ‘crashing’ isn’t down to the operator and you and i both know you would be directed to the OEM for this. If my nokia crashes i don’t complain to T-Mobile do i?!

    Most devices use a generic GSM module anyway, and there isn’t much that can go wrong with an OS upgrade that would cause a problem on their network which the previous OS didnt.

    Your argument of cost in this respect is only really valid where the upgrade comes from the GSM provider. Honestly they have no incentive at all to allow upgrades. If they were to, the support costs alone would outweigh any money they would make back from your custom – its just bad economics.

    Network providers don’t have the infrastructure to support handset software issues, simply because they don’t make them.

    Even still i think its safe to say that any upgrade would most likely be outside the contract period (12 months in europe). At that time most operators wash their hands of device support.

    In the end upgrade availability from the networks has alot less to do with upgrade cost and alot more to do with getting you to sign a new contract with them. Which is alot easier to pull off by holding a carrot in your face – a new model phone.

    Its just a matter of time before app locked phones go the same route as simlocked phones. End of the contract period, and they’ll be forced to unlock your phone.

    All this means is ultimately the upgrade will come from the OEM eg ‘qtek’ or ‘i-mate’ rather than the GSM operator.

    The OEM has even less incentive to upgrade you when they can get you to buy their next model. Agreed tho that here market competition drives them to keep you ‘happy’.

    From the OEM and manufactuer point of view, the market for smartphones these days isn’t anything like the PC market. The end user doesnt have control on which components he/she can install in their phone. The upshot of this is that driver development for the OEM is easy. All they need to do is modify the drivers they already have. Also alot of these components are re-used in devices that are offered the upgrade anyway! Also you conveniently forget that the manufacturer of the components will develop the driver in a hope to have it used in newer devices on newer OS’s. So the driver doesn’t even need to come from the OEM who designed the device!!

    The only economics that come into play here are what exactly they have to gain by bothering to develop/get new drivers (or in most cases ALLOW them to work) for new OS’s.

    Upgrades going bad shouldn’t be an issue on well designed devices. Take the old ipaq’s for example. If the bootloader was corupted its game over. Better designed devices have a much smaller and simpler bootrom which can never be corupted – much like a BIOS in a pc. A well worded disclaimer and this kind of architecture could cut your support costs dramatically. Worst case they loose their data and reflash the phone. From my experience you always loose your data anyway – you have to backup before hand.

    Your explanation seems to be overcomplicating the situation. Economics is the driving factor as always, but its nowhere near as complicated as you make out. Who cares if the networks let you upgrade or not, the OEM has no real excuse not to.

    At the end of the day, because we’re not at the stage of PC’s where hardware is sold seperatly to the motherboard, we are at the mercy of the OEM to release the driver. Its not a conincidence that they’re taking advantage of this fact.

    And finally to all you people who are complaining why its not like a PC, think about how standard a PC is. Worst case the graphics card, and vital components will run in legacy mode. It will give you a chance to find the right driver (from the hardware distributer) and install it. Mobile devices are so small, size is a greater concearn than backward compatibility for of hardware.

    Also its alot better for performance if you create a proprietry interface that is optamised to the information your hardware component needs to pass, than to undertake the overhead of a standard interface and protocol. Untill technology moves ahead user directed drivers won’t happen.

    The day users can buy internal hardware themselves the manufactuers will be forced to use standard interfaces – a mobile PCI bus for example.

    That day anyone will be able to install any OS on any device that meets the minimum requirements and get the drivers from the manufacturer of the components. Alas i think thats a while off.

  41. Jeff D says:

    I own a Dell Axim X30h which I bought from Dell just a few months (like 2-3) before WM5.0 was released. Dell promptly discontinued the X30 and refused to upgrade even though the specs outweighed the requirements. The X30 was/is a very popular device and a big seller for Dell. I can only imagine the Dell saw a nice % of people moving (laterally) over the X50 and decided not to offer the upgrade.

    I truly believe that if Microsoft leaves these decisions up to hardware manufacturers that they will ALWAYS opt to make more money selling more hardware. For the sake of the niche of the device, Microsoft should give users some control over the upgrade of the device.

    My girlfriend and I *love* our PocketPCs, but these will likely be the last two that we ever buy. They cost too much to have an outdated OS after 2-3 months of ownership. I hope that SmartPhones of any OS will allow us to carry our schedule and contact and synch with the computer and then I’ll just do without the other features of the PPC/WM devices.

    I disagree with you because I truly believe that there is much greed involved. I do not believe that it is Microsoft’s greed, but rather a Microsoft enabled-manufacturer’s greed.

  42. Ryan B says:

    I am amazed by the amount of people upset over this. When I purchased my first PocketPC (iPaq1945 w/ WM2003), I bought it as a toy first and a tool second.

    About five months later, Microsoft announced the release of Windows Media Player 10 for PocketPC. The update would only be available to WM2003SE users. Hell yeah I was bummed but I didn’t run to Microsoft’s blog and piss up a storm about it. When people buy a PDA, they buy it because they see a value in it. What was the reason you bought your [insert PDA here]? Was it because you wanted the "omg fastest bestest thing ever!" or was it to get the job done?

    Is there something about the Windows Mobile 5 release that makes your 2003SE device worthless? That iPod Mini you have there, did it stop working when the Nano came out? What about your Xbox or PS2? Are they going to self destruct on the 360’s or PS3’s release?

    I understand that a few people came here to rant, but the "OMG M$ IS HERE TO RAPE MY WALLET (and small children)" attitude is retarded. As for the guy who buys a $700 PocketPC every year: Why? What’s wrong with this year’s model? Did your software have a meltdown on the anniversary of you buying the old one?

    What a bunch of whiny babies… Yeesh.

  43. Troy B says:

    I sat here and read all of these comments on why the upgrade won’t be available for 2003 users. As I read the comments I saw most of you accept the fact that the companies involved in this are protecting there wallet and not ours and most are accepting this. As a consumer I purchase a device to help make my life easier. If an update gives me more abilities to do so then I should have the option to upgrade. These devices are not TOYS at $700 or more a pop. If you have $700 to spend on a new device every year you shouldn’t even post because you have too much money to even care. I cannot believe that so many of you do not have the foresight to care about YOUR MONEY. No last years model doesn’t become un-useable but it becomes less effective if the integration becomes outdated. As time goes on 2003 based devices will work less and less with new software that is available on the market. Saying that it exposes that your $700 investment in a tool becomes less effective on your wallet! Im trying to reach the position of having the $700 to spend on something other then a tool.

  44. Jack Crow says:

    Well I just bought a new Clie. I seriously considered buying an hpc/ppc/ce/wm/whatever you call them this week device, but, well… that’s the problem isn’t it. New incompatible hardware and OS/Software revisions every time I turn around. I’ve owned a PalmOS based device since the first wireless model came out. and all that software I bought over the years still runs on my 0S5 Clie except one cheezy breakout game. In fact up until the rash of color only apps that hit with OS5 most of the new software ran on the old devices, not all mind you but a fair amount of the apps I stumbled on, say 1 in 3. Most of the time without even updating the OS. I also can still buy parts for all my palms. This is not quite the same case for my old Casiopeia. Was the Casio a better piece of hardware in its day? Most definately. I still wish I had PCMCIA on my Palms. Did I get the same value for my money? No. The Casio sits on a shelf and collects dust. Its software has mostly vanished to the void, and even IF I wanted it again, I’d never find it on the net. The Palm’s and Clie’s get used everyday. When my house was robbed recently and my laptop and ALL my backup cds stolen, I was able to surf the net and in less than a week restore all but three of the apps I had purchased/downloaded for the palm over the years.

    So Thanks, but No thanks. I’ll stick with Palm till they go under, and my devices all fry.


  45. shawn says:

    there is a hidden cost to the manufacturer. i’m going to postpone my purchase until the next version is out. if you assure me that my investment is protected with an upgrade path, i’ll buy today. the vendor who can do that will make more $ in the long term.

  46. BDub says:

    I agree with you all it sucks when you pay $629.99 for a device that for all points and purposes should be upgradeable. Added to that companies like HP & Dell are beginning to see the value in providing upgrades for there PDA’s (you piss fewer people off). Becasue the mobile phone industry introduce new phones every 6 month’s it seems to me the PDAPhone is a headache. They don’t carry the accessories in brick & mortar locations and the support staff know nothing about the pda phones themselves. People we are only on the 3rd generation of Windows Mobile PDA Phones it is my understanding that the MO’s take a loss on the hardware because it is constantly evolving I suspect it will not be two long before the PDA phone recieves an upgrade path to better control MO hardware costs.

    I have owned pocket pc’s since the Cassiopia’s were available in multiple colors. One of the the things I did after purchasing my second pocket pc’s which was a compaq ipaq from CompUSA was invest in there TAP program. For $149 for a two years period I can swap out my pocket pc at no additional charge. Since I do like the high-end models every year or two I get another unit at no cost and pay another $149.00 for the insurance. They always have so annoying bug that I am tired of by that time anyway to say why I am swapping it out. I was buying new mobile phones for about the same price every year or two before the PDA phone was available for the same price. So until them this should help a lot of you manage your cash output if you are like me and have to have the latest and greatest.

  47. BDub says:

    I agree with you all it sucks when you pay $629.99 for a device that for all points and purposes should be upgradeable. Added to that companies like HP & Dell are beginning to see the value in providing upgrades for there PDA’s (you piss fewer people off). Becasue the mobile phone industry introduce new phones every 6 month’s it seems to me the PDAPhone is a headache. They don’t carry the accessories in brick & mortar locations and the support staff know nothing about the pda phones themselves. People we are only on the 3rd generation of Windows Mobile PDA Phones it is my understanding that the MO’s take a loss on the hardware because it is constantly evolving I suspect it will not be two long before the PDA phone recieves an upgrade path to better control MO hardware costs.

    I have owned pocket pc’s since the Cassiopia’s were available in multiple colors. One of the the things I did after purchasing my second pocket pc’s which was a compaq ipaq from CompUSA was invest in there TAP program. For $149 for a two years period I can swap out my pocket pc at no additional charge. Since I do like the high-end models every year or two I get another unit at no cost and pay another $149.00 for the insurance. They always have so annoying bug that I am tired of by that time anyway to say why I am swapping it out. I was buying new mobile phones for about the same price every year or two before the PDA phone was available for the same price. So until them this should help a lot of you manage your cash output if you are like me and have to have the latest and greatest.

  48. Bob Hunter (catdogbeloved@yahoo.com) says:

    Dear Microsoft,

    the core problem you have stated is not new. The problem consists in the lack of correctness proofs. You write code, then test it, find an error/bug, fix it, test again, and so forth. The result of much struggle is that the product works on well tested situations only, and the resulting costs are still higher than the client is willing to pay. The hard fact is, that testing can only show you the presence of errors, not their absence. Microsoft and other engineering firms keep bumping against the same problem, over and over again. Will you ever learn from your mistakes? I think you will now. As a client, what guarantee do I have that the Windows product meets the specifications? Why spending 700$ for a new pocket-pc that I cannot upgrade, when I could purchase an upgradable laptop for the same price? Think, Microsoft, think! I have a P-PC 2003 on my desk , it has a 500MHz processor inside, I spent a lot of money to purchase it, including the software, and I cannot upgrade its OS. I spent so much money on it, that the very thought of it is unbearable. You make billions fooling people. I gave you good money, you gave me garbage.

  49. Bob Hunter (catdogbeloved@yahoo.com) says:

    Dear Microsoft,

    the core problem you have stated is not new. The problem consists in the lack of correctness proofs. You write code, then test it, find an error/bug, fix it, test again, and so forth. The result of much struggle is that the product works on well tested situations only, and the resulting costs are still higher than the client is willing to pay. The hard fact is, that testing can only show you the presence of errors, not their absence. Microsoft and other engineering firms keep bumping against the same problem, over and over again. Will you ever learn from your mistakes? I think you will now. As a client, what guarantee do I have that the Windows product meets the specifications? Why spending 700$ for a new pocket-pc that I cannot upgrade, when I could purchase an upgradable laptop for the same price? Think, Microsoft, think! I have a P-PC 2003 on my desk , it has a 500MHz processor inside, I spent a lot of money to purchase it, including the software, and I cannot upgrade its OS. I spent so much money on it, that the very thought of it is unbearable. You make billions fooling people. I gave you good money, you gave me garbage.

  50. heffeque says:

    Well… it seems that WM5 works ok on the Motorola MPX200 and it’s one of the oldest smartphones with the original 2002 OS… it lacks a lot of hardware (it doesn’t have bluetooth, camera, etc) and it still works ok, so any "hardware" excuses are totally untrue or at least in smarphone devices.

  51. Todd K says:

    I’d expect to have to pay for an upgrade to any software, including the OS, if they’d let me. From what you said above about changing how the image (I’m assuming OS, not picture) is stored, MS is making strides to allow for patches, and other updates (like security and bug fixes).

    I do find it a bit annoying that just about every OS release (Desktop or otherwise), MS insists on changing the driver support of the OS. If this part of the OS interfaces where to remain unchanged, then older hardware (PPC or PC hardware) would still be usefull. If I was a conspiracy theorist, I’d say its done on intentionally, but I am not. The theory that it speeds things up sometimes seems false. If I load up software from ages gone by, it flies.

    But I digress, based on what you’ve said, this version of the OS may be worth getting, and since my directional buttons on my PPC have failed, maybe now would be a good time to replace it.

  52. florim says:

    Windows its not fare!!!!!!!

  53. father says:

    so let’s see. mmmm, i can’t run ActiveSynch 4.1 because it only runs on Windows Mobile 5.0. uhhh, but i can’t run Windows Mobile 5.0 because the iPAQ 6515 i just purchased (and yet to receive) runs Windows Mobile 2003 SE.

    so apparently i’ve already been "leap frogged" before i even receive my device.

    how comforting???

    so lemme see. F*** MS or F*** HP? or F*** Cingular?

    the whole corporate world (and beyond) has become nothing but a bunch of finger pointers. we should all be getting ready for the CRASH in a few years. it’s coming…

  54. Imran Anwar says:

    It’s not like I don’t already hate Microsoft and my HP Paviliion 8080 laptop enough, but I just bought a Verizon 6700 Windows Mobile 5 PDA phone and installed ActiveSycnh 4.1 on an otherwise fine running (though ugly noisy HP) machine. It asked me to restart when the install was complete, and since then I am in Bill Gates HELL. The machine is constantly rebooting, giving a blue screen of death with UNMOUNTABLE_BOOT_VOLUME error but only for 2 seconds, not even enough time to read the damn message. Then it asks me to boot normally, safe mode, etc. or last known good configuration. NONE of them is able to boot the machine. I hate MS and I hate Windows. Installing ActiveSynch 4.1 just gave me one more reason. But, I will appreciate any help in getting the damn machine booted again.


    PS Kindly also email me at anwarimran –at— hot—mail—dot-com in case I don’t make it back to this page. Thanks.

  55. NeilM says:

    I have an IPAQ HX2410 which has been very reliable and has excellent battery life.  I recently upgraded to Windows Mobile 2005 and found that the battery life dropped drastically (from about 14 hours to about 4 hours).  Further, Windows Mobile frees up RAM by storing files on the internal flash memory, which on the 2410 is fairly small, and worse, is extremely slow.  

    I wouldn’t recommend the upgrade on a 2410 – other IPAQs may have larger memory, which is also faster.  But the battery life problem is a major concern for me.  I have re-installed Windows Mobile 2003 SE and am happy again.

  56. MsEpiphany says:

    I recently purchased an IPAQ 6515 after a few years of using the TMobile Sidekick.  After about a year, TMobile in it’s neverending stream of updates, provided java scripting that increased my web viewing capabilities.  The only down fall after that point was no memory expansion.  I notice with the IPAQ, I have returned to having limited web viewing with this WM2003SE version (i.e. no response when clicking on to links).  Is there a patch for this available?

  57. Don Burnett says:

    After reading all of this, I can tell you I am a Windows Mobile user. I love this technology, but I am usually a year or two behind the latest version. Luckily the software doesn’t seem to depend on the new features.

    I have had a Windows CE device since the beginning when they were really slow and had only a grey scale screen. I have had a Pocket PC 2000, a Pocket PC 2003SE, and now a SmartPhone..

    All I have to say, is that a lot of functionality changes over the years have lead me just to run mostly 3rd party software for apps. I love softmaker’s applications and can’t figure out why the pocket PC I have doesn’t include pocket apps that are as good as Softmaker’s TextMaker or PlanMaker. Microsoft should buy these or update their functionality to something that matches. That’s what people really want.

    What I really want is that improved feature set in the apps. I was disappointed when things like pocket powerpoint disappeared, and the desktop on the pocket-size pc (which looked like Win95 with the start menu disappeared and couldn’t be made to look like the old version.

    Don’t nickel and dime me bringing back old features that you removed in the past. Just bring them back.

    I can’t update my HP Ipaq 2215, even though in the past I saw an updated one running the new 2003SE software at a show. Which brings me to the point of this post. Don’t show us updated versions that are unreleased and disappoint us when the vendor decides not to support a version of the OS.

    I know specs on hardware are UP to the vendors, but I think Microsoft should require all devices to support UPDATING at least through a couple of versions and hardware provisions for this possibility.

    The vendors don’t wanna revisit updates on their devices, but I think there should be something like a "Windows Update" or "Microsoft Update" for Windows Mobile devices… Take updates out of the hands of vendors who are to cheap to revisit hardware they have already sold..

  58. scoopy says:

    I love my PDA rx3715. It’s mic, speaker and longer battery life is unbeatalbe. It even includes a nice camera. Awesome!

    I hate my dell Axim X30 because of its mic, speaker and lousy battery life.

    I bought more than 6 or 7 PDAs in the last 3 or 4 years. Never perfect and always something is missing.

    Now I want to buy some devices like Imate Jamin but still lack a good processor and GPS function.

    I want to upgrade my rx3715 but the upgrade is not available even though it meets the requirements because HP is too GREEDY to push sales for its new devices which can not be compared with my lovely rx3715.

    I think I might have to wait until the technology is mature, for at least the next 2 or 3 years to buy another Windows Mobile device.

    I also think other PDA/Phones owners should wait too to give lessons to GREEDY MONOPOLY like MS,HP and DELL.

  59. 666 says:

    Well, what can I say. Feels like microsoft don’t care about their costumers. And why should they? Don’t pay for miscrosoft…

    Share it!!!!

  60. Arun says:

    Cell Phone Cases, PDA Cases, Cell phone Accessories, PDA Accessories, Smart Phone Cases, Camera cases, Keyboards, Gadgets, Digital camera cases, laptop cases, Multidapt, Casio watches etc..

  61. T1420 says:

    It appears that some parties believe this is not the entire truth. I quote:

    "Interestingly ROM images with Windows Mobile 5.0 exist for HTC Typhoon (Orange SPV C500, Audiovox SMT 5600, etc), for HTC Blue Angel and other models, but they will not be available for customers, because operators and distributors want you to buy new phones with Windows Mobile 5.0 instead of upgrading new ones…We have also got information from other sources that there will be no upgrades to Windows Mobile 5.0 for existing Windows Mobile phones."

  62. MikeCal says:

    T1420, please see the "Then Why Do You Get To Upgrade?" entry:



  63. Casey says:

    Well if ou guys at MS say that upgrading an OS on the PDA is costly, then why dont sell us an update on the softwares built in to the OS such as a standalone installer for Win Media Player 10 for Win Mobile 2003? Cuz Windows mobile 2003 only comes with Windows Media Player 9 and is unable to play MP3 ringtone for my PDA phone. If Win98 can do it sure this can be done too. I’m sure it will cost less than upgrading the whole system. And don’t gimme that crap that It i just not compatible when I can play MP3’s on it anyway. It’s just that it’s not compatible with the ringtone software but it is compatible with the player. You’re the wizards. Make a killing by selling. Don’t hack us down man!!!!

  64. Gary A says:

    Going back to the original post by MikeCal –  it would have been more honest for PDA makers to tell you up front the upgrade plans for the models.  Having purchased the top of the line Axim X30, it was pretty shocking to see the model discontinued and with no software upgrade track.  It’s especially mindboggling when the replacement model has the same functionality and CPU.  The ROI gripe from PDA OEMs just doesn’t hold water!

  65. Adelaja Adedeji says:

    I just acquired a lenovo et960 on a trip to china.

    Is there no way I can interact with the phone in english?

  66. MikeCal says:

    Gary, are you saying that Dell promised upgrades of the X30 and then didn’t deliver them?  I don’t remember them ever saying that they’d upgrade that device, but I didn’t follow that one very closely, so I could be wrong.


  67. shodan says:

    can i upgrade imate pc to windows mobile 5.0

    is that possible?????

  68. Pucko says:

    So the real answer is: Get a new phone for about 5000 skr (about 600 us$)

    I don’t thinks is worth, i will stay with the one i have until it dies.

    Sorry MacroHard

  69. Marc Mighty says:

    Even if they offer it on a cost-basis at the least, it might make more consumers happy, after all the HIGH COST of PURCHASE put the INFLATED tarrifs for what really amounts to an underwhelming experience means that us early adopters REALLY DO DESERVE A BREAK FROM our MOBILE CO’s and MICROSOFT.  We’re the ones who filled their accounts so that they could have a future product with a viable enough consumer base to warrant future development.  Given the fact that they are wanting to mainstream WM2005, and roll it out on more SmartPhones and PocketPCs you think they would want to keep their current customer base happy.  Why?  Because it is through word of mouth of current users whether or not something enjoys a HUGE SURGE in popularity.  A potential buyer of is heavily influenced by their workmates, colleagues, associates, family, and freinds et al.  Microsoft and 02 and other Telcos, should keep that in mind when shafting those who can make or break a surge in sales.   Unless they want another ‘Tablet PC’ lacklustre performer to market.

  70. AnthonyM says:

    To MsEpiphany:

    You wanted to know if there was a patch to allow you to click on links in WinMob2003SE. The answer is you don’t need one. There are other internet browsers that allow full page viewing and interaction (i.e."Mozilla’s Minimo").

    As to the upgrade points, I agree with the user who to this point has given the most practical solution which makes sense when he said something should be done about the monopoly of UPGRADEABLE winmob devices that Europe has.

    When I see the XDA IIs (wm2003SE)being upgraded to wm5 all the time and I can’t get my Ipaq6315(wm2003) to even get WM2003SE offered, that really annoys me.

    As to the user who asked if last year’s devices suddenly stops working when a new model comes out, while funny, it was a little mental.

    When networks switched to digital cable signals years ago, making your granny’s tv box useless, were tou at the forefront saying "So what if all the new stuff is going to broadcast on a digital signal. Doesn’t my old tv still power on when I pull the power knob (those of you under 16 might not remember the old TV power knobs you turned to turn off and on)."

    The fact is, the world changes. We as a people like to change with it. While it is true my Xbox will still "turn on" when the Xbox360 is released, will it play this year’s Madden or the new HALO? The answer is no.

    But hey, if you want to play the same games you have beaten 900 times on your old system, go ahead. If you want to continue using the same software you had on your old device because "It still works," be my guest.

    All I’m saying is, there is a reason WM5 was created and MS doesn’t support many older devices anymore.

    If that isn’t the case, I expect to come over to your home and see a 1999 computer running Win98 first edition, because HEY, It still works.

  71. Joe says:

    To:Mike Calligaro

    Thank you for making a well-thought-out argument, and reading through troll crap to answer people’s quesitons.

    I applaud your efforts.

    My two cents:

    I am NOT an expert, but it appears it is possible to upgrade many of these devices.

    Many of you are frustrated with spending $500-$700 each year, only to be constantly outdated. In my experience, if you want to have the top-of-the-line hardware and software, you pay for it.

    I support everyone who has pointed out that your old device still works fine, you don’t HAVE to upgrade.

    Finally, since most of the users here WILL continue to upgrade to the latest and greatest, why should anyone, from a reasonable business point of view, change how they operate at all?

    If people stop buying the new devices, they will stop and take notice.

    Hopefully, Mike and others like him will eventually kick out a stable, upgradable platform, where your software possibilities are limited only by the hardware specs. Then everyone will find something new to complain about.

  72. Max Jenius says:


    Are you being sarcastic?  You just say that these reasons are to show that this is not motivated by greed, but if Microsoft respects and appriciates its customers and business partners manufacturing these smartphones, then Microsoft WOULD support and update the software to support these devices.  Why can’t you simply look out for us (your customers) and not just leave us behind time after time?

    -Max Jenius

  73. George S. says:

    So what on Earth do I do with my IPAQ??? It is such a wonderful device, but with no upgrade to WM 5.0 (I believe this will happen in the future too. WM 5.0 devices will not upgrade to WM 6.0, etc) it is just a toy with no serious use. I switched to Symbian – a mature business platform.

  74. Az Mansell says:

    Ive seen linux running on a pocket pc and its amazing but apparenlty hard work to install. . . live the dream though, having an operating system on your pocket pc that was stable, easy to use and good looking but above all free! whats more the vast majority of software for linus is open source (free)




  75. Ed says:


    Our company has been using Blackberries for about 4 years and I’ve been able to upgrade the software on every handheld without problems.

    I recently purchased a Motorola i920 for another employee to use overseas and now have it back as they no longer need the phone.  It is the only phone with Windows "mobile" that we own.  I decided to play around with it and upgrading its software was the first task I set out to accomplish – only to find out that, well, you can’t.

    To find out that it shipped with outdated software was a bummer.

    I get all the points mentioned above, but then again I’ve been able to upgrade all my blackberries without issue (My company has 35 blackberries, from 4 different providers, and we have 5 different models in use).

    In many cases the vendors (Nextel, Cingular, AT&T, etc) have all provided the software I needed.  I’m guessing they wrote the hardware interface and adapted it to the new RIM software as they could.  To be fair I did have to wait on one company about two months longer that the others but they eventually provided the software.

    So – it can be done.

  76. Nabeel says:

    Please tell me how i can upgrade the ROM of my o2 mini. if u know a download link please mail to nabeel630@bml.com.mv

  77. lecturer says:

    I have a hp hx4700 and at a cost of $500.au ws offered an upgrade to wm5.Great…

    But also gave class sets of devices that students are using to learn programming devices on. This is where great buckets loads of money is being drained from Education system and will get worse as more elearning and general content delivery becomes available. It is hard enough getting managers to agree to pursue these new ways of dlivering content and setting up courses to teach compact framework programming and then say ‘oh sorry we need new devices’ Students do not want to pay good money to then go to college and be expected to use outdated devices.

    The education area is a MASSIVE market that is not being addressed in this manner and as far as upgrades are concerned needs to be address.

  78. developer says:

    look at the really big markets that these upgrades impact on. Imagine purchasing 1600 devices then find the next version of software that you requrie will not work!!!

  79. AnO4You says:

    I think that is very s**t!!! Is no possible to buy 1 PPC and after only 2 year i can’t to upgrade my OS cause the language…i don’t buy other hardware for this mark (hp 6340)!!!

  80. roadtr1p says:

    once again M$ screws over everyone thanks alot corporate A$$#OLE$ looks like once i upgrade to linux at home do to retarded issues with windows XP and the over priced over hyped Vista i will have to upgrade to Symbian on my phone because M$ has their head so far up their over paid A$$ that they dont give a flying monkey S#!T about thier customers

  81. John says:

    why is it that MS does not require some reasonable disclosure by their major partners?

    Rogers (in Canada) just sold me an iPaq 6515 in 2007, running a 2003 operating system that can’t be upgraded.  Now I’ve got a $5,000 contract until 2010 for a device that is nice and useful, but definetly will have higher TCO to support old o/s, when I would have purchased a unit that was up to date if I had known.  Buyer beware, screw the rest, seems to be the motto.

    The problem is definetly LACK OF DISCLOSURE as Rogers, HP,and Microsoft try to clear out old stock.  If my local grocery store were selling tuna that expired 2 years ago they would be in big trouble.  Perhaps I could have and should have researched more.

    Ironically, all the vendors loose in the end, as this was to be a learning experience as I take responsibility for mobile devices within my company.  I have learned a ton since I got involved with this about a month ago.  It may be small change to these players, but it is a hudred devices that I will choose not deploy with an MS solution.

    Fool me once, shame on you.

    Fool me twice, shame on me.

    John B.

  82. MikeCal says:

    John, I’m sorry for your experience.  We sell our operating system to our OEMs.  They put it onto their hardware with software of their own and sell it to mobile operators.  Mobile operators then sell it to consumers.  We’re really in no position to demand that the mobile operator market their devices in one way or another.  Sometimes they show the OS version on their devices, and sometimes they don’t.  

    In the desktop market we have a fair amount of marketing clout and have some ability to tell stores how to market their devices.  But, even there, if a major electronics retailer decided to sell an old Win2K PC without mentioning the OS version, I’m not sure we would have the right or power to tell them they have to make that explicit.  

    In the phone space we have very little marketing power.  We have the right to protect our trademarks and copyrights (we wouldn’t allow someone to sell a phone with WM 2003 but call it WM5) but if they don’t use any names at all (if they don’t say what version is on the phone) we really can’t require that they do so.  Although your anger is completely understandable, I’m not sure you’d really WANT us to be able to dictate what mobile operators say about our phones.  I fear for what marketing would do with that power….

    I understand your desire to blame us for these problems.  The device you bought does have our software on it, so such blame is natural.  But, though it doesn’t really mean anything, I’ll say that we’re not trying to get rid of old inventory.  We don’t have inventory.  Our goal is for all of our partners to sell our latest and greatest version.  Things don’t always work the way we’d like.


  83. Lante says:

    I wonder if I can upgrade my phone with platform builder… We have the experiment environment in our college. But I’m afraid all the tools made by oem will be lost and I may end up not be able to make phone calls or send sms…

  84. MikeCal says:

    Lante, it’s not just tools.  All of the basic drivers and the hardware abstraction layer are provided by the OEM.  Forget making phone calls and sending SMSes.  Without OEM code, the system won’t even start the CPU, much less boot.


  85. Mohsin Rakhangi says:

    It seems like an upgrade from Windows Mobile 2003 SE to 5.0 or 6.0 would never be available for old users. Probably, the software and hardware companies need each others support to convince (or I would say compel) old customers to buy new products bundled with new software.

    Buying a device and expecting a long support or upgrade is a problem which will always exist. Probably we have always carried a mindset that we expect every investment be it car, house, furniture, clothes or even grocery to last long since it comes from our hard-earned money. Unfortunately, its not the same in case of techy-goods in this age. Even though we cannot always afford to have the latest gadgets especially mobiles or PDAs, factors like fashion and development force us with only 2 options, Buy it or upgrade it. Knowing this, mobile, PDA industry and developers have become closer friends and offered us a zipped (2 in 1) option of having both together.

    I think thats the way we have to console ourselves with what we have and forget looking for an upgrade.

    Reminds me something from Robots cartoon movie? "Why be you, when you can be New?"

  86. David says:

    I find your article to be very insightful Mike. And I understand and agree that the underlying reason as to why upgrades aren’t readily offered is a money thing (as most things are).

    But I was looking I recently noticed that Verizon was selling the Samsung SCH-i730 (which runs on Windows Mobile 2003 2nd edition) for $100 and thought it might be worth checking out. After clicking on a few links, the Windows Mobile home page states that there is an upgrade available to WM 5, but as much as I searched Windows Mobile, Samsung, and Verizon sites, I can find no information on how to upgrade this phone.

    In an effort to find more information, I did a Google search that brought me to this page. Now I am more confused than before. Is this phone upgradeable, and if so, where can I find information about upgrading, and support for the process if I decide to do it? If the upgrade fails, who is liable for the phone? Am I?

  87. b0ris says:

    I’m going to upgrade my HTC device to… LINUX… that way, the cost won’t be a problem, just the time involved could be. Anyway, if the linux community can make it from scratch (just with reverse engineering), I don’t understand why rich companies couldn’t do so (or they are afraid… poor companies…).

    The problem of the cost can be easily bypassed by opening the source code of the drivers. That way, users can update the OS (2003->5.0->6.0), then their home-made drivers (kept up to date by the community).

    The real problem is: if you do that, we won’t pay you anymore because we’ll have (at least) an non restricted device (nothing like code offuscation techniques, destroying the import table, closing the API (see the problematic of CellID…)).

    Windows or EOM doesn’t want us to upgrade our device. Fair, let’s install Linux, communicate about it in companies, port applications, make install parties, and kick their benefits.

    I prefer linux because the only limits are hardware (the device).

    With windows, we have to argue with miscellanous security policies, sim lock, CID lock, privilege… which are useless (for the most part), except for operators to force the user to use their service, or certification services to force the developpers to pay to produce a working-program, even if it’s open-source…

    OEM$+M$+Operator$=(All united for the great $$$)

    Linux+Community=(All united for to make it progress)

  88. MikeCal says:

    b0ris, if you read the original article, you’ll see that all of the costs associated with an upgrade are development and support.  If you’re going to do your own development and support, then you’re paying the upgrade cost yourself.  

    We software developers are in the enviable position that people pay us to do our hobbies.  If I spend three hours writing a program for myself, I don’t look at my typical hourly wage and say that the program cost 3x dollars to write.  That’s because I’m writing it for fun.  That my day job pays me to do what I’d otherwise do for fun is wonderful.

    If it’s cost effective for you to develop your own linux version of a mobile device, then you’re in the same position as I am.  You’re doing it for fun and not calculating how much services like yours would normally cost.  I wish you luck and seriously hope you have a good time doing it.

    Now, a few market realities:

    1) The amount of money Microsoft makes on each phone sold is miniscule.  We make it up in volume.  If you’re doing this to hurt us, you’re not going to be successful.

    2) Although OEMs do both hardware and software, the majority of their money comes from the hardware.  The only way an upgrade makes any money for them is if it results in more people buying hardware.  They don’t make anything on you upgrading your device.  They make money because the MO continues to sell the upgraded device to new users.  So, your doing your own upgrade won’t hurt them either.  So long as you keep buying their hardware, they’re happy.

    3) Many of the things you described as "useless" are very important to the mobile operator whose network you’re relying on to use your phone.  You could argue that you’re paying your bills so you should be able to do anything you want.  They could argue that they only need to provide service to you if you meet the following requirements, including sim locks and security policies.  

    In the end, if it’s a small number of people who do what you’re suggesting, you’ll probably fly under the radar and get away with it.  But if enough people for the MO to notice do it, the MO will start requiring the "useless" stuff and will block devices that don’t do it from their network.  

    My read of your last two lines is, "I’m going to use linux to stick it to the man."  That’s just not going to work.  If you think "the man" is Microsoft or the OEM, neither of us make enough (or anything) on the upgrade for you to stick it to us.  If you think "the man" is the mobile operator, you can’t stick it to him because he controls your oxygen supply (your network access).  

    Now, if some group would like to become an "Open Mobile Operator" that provides free bandwidth to all on free hardware running a free operating system, that group will be in a great position to stick it to those of us trying to make a living in this space.  


  89. Allan says:

    Well, my question is simple.

    I want an upgrade to mobile 6 from mobile 5, am I going to get it?

    I know the answer is a "Yes" for Treo 750 users. But how about other loyal Windows mobile customers?

    What are the obstacles for other manufacturer? Does Microsoft charge them a lot of money to provide them with an upgrade or they have to develop new drivers etc. which is too costly?

  90. jan says:

    xdadevelopers.com is the ideal place if you are looking for an upgrade. i downloaded the latest rom file and upgraded my xda IIs without facing any severe problems.

  91. Graeme says:

    I can almost sort of understand not providing an upgrade from WM2003 to WN5 an major upgrade of OS, but M$ and HP didn’t provide a WM 200SE upgrade from WM 2003, an incremental upgrade, for their not very old iPAQ 4150!!  I can’t forgive them for that no matter what excuse they give.

  92. Chandra says:

    I got the samsung i730 which comes w/ windows 2003, but has an update for windows 5.0  I keep getting an error at the begining of the upgrade saying

    "Connected device is not qualified to perform the upgrade"  I even had to uninstall activesync 4.5 and find a link for version 4.1. What can i do?? Anyone else having similar problems updating to windows 5.0 on the samsung?

  93. Brian says:

    It seems to me that nobody here is complaining due to a lack of functionality, only about the lack of *wanting* an upgrade.  I, on the other hand, would really like to know Microsoft’s answer to my problem.  I have an iPaq with WM2002, and I just purchased a new laptop running Windows Vista.  Apparently, Vista only supports 2003 and above, and ActiveSync won’t install on vista (but ActiveSync supports WM2002).  So, I ask you Microsoft, who’s bright idea was that? Now I have a PDA that I absolutely can not sync to my laptop, and I absolutely cannot upgrade to another version of Windows Mobile.  Any Suggestions?  (preferably other than "buy a new pda").   Thanks, Brian.

  94. sona says:

    i dont know anything about softwares. that’s why i need explanantions but this is not wholesome for me. i couldn’t understand anything from this. but anyhow thanks something i went through.

  95. joshua alley says:

    I just got around to trying ot upgrade my windows mobile.  I have the install software and I am running vista.  When trying to run the update the computer tells me there is an error have to do with a dll file.

  96. Kerry says:

    Oh… and all I want to do is move media to my Toshiba PC e355. File browsing works great every time I try to move media however I get that pesky "Your device is using an outdated driver that is no longer supported by Windows Media Player. For additional assistance, click Web Help." I do but yet there is no help. I would ask Mike Calligaro what I should do. My client purchased that new shinny Vista PC. You know the one Microsoft says is: The Most secure Windows ever, That will Quickly find what you need, that has a Elegant Windows Aero desktop, is the Best choice for laptops, that Collaborates and share documents, that can let him Experience photos and entertainment, Even enjoy Windows Media Center, it Protects against hardware failure, has Easier remote access for your business, Easier networking connectivity, etc.

    To see these claims made by MS please go to: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windowsvista/editions/choose.mspx?wt_svl=10033VHa2&mg_id=10033VHb2

    Ok, so I made my point.  Why would he think it wouldn’t work?

  97. Sanjay says:

    This is the reason why people want to get on to APPLE IPHONE or Blackberry or Palm…!!! You can’t upgrade and others can !! Whatever you have defended here is just crap !!

  98. Gary says:

    Mike Cal- If I follow your comments the Microsoft is not in charge of the actual product –  its the retailers, the oems – so not at fault.  However, it’s too big to hurt by the "little guy" going to Linux and upgrading themselves.  Obviously, you are a company man with the intention to maintain and explain the status quo.

    Fact is people who purchase PDAs are fairly intelligent and want to work smarter.  Like John, I don’t approve anymore windows portable devices.  No support means, no more sales period.  My intention is not to hurt the great big companies.  My intention is to help my company.  In the end, excuses and platitudes only net you lost customers and we disgruntled customers are a vocal lot.


  99. Renea says:

    I bought my windows mobile device as a toy, and I love it.  Every week I find something else that I can do with windows mobile 2003se.  The best part is I got this device %65 off retail price because it was wm 03 in the year 2007 and apparently behind the times.  My device isn’t hardwared for wifi and can’t connect to the internet.  I don’t care.  I see that as the perfect opportunity to get a discount price.  My device does more than I thought it would.  It is great.

  100. Renee says:

    I have an qtek s100 pocket pc, on it i have windows mobile 2003, i want to ask can upgrade it to windows mobile 2005?

  101. rich grad says:

    I own an imate jamin with wm5.my first pda was a compaq ‘brick’ with windows ce 1.0 I think!that I really enjoyed.Then I migrated to a palm pilot. once I got the hang of the scribing technique I fell in love.my last device b4 this one was also an imate running  wm3.right now I am lying in bed with my pda & tapping this note out with my stylus whilst connected to my wifi at home- luvin it!

    All in all I have enjoyed my pda journey over time and continue to do so! I ended up here cos I too am looking for a way to upgrade from wm5 to wm6 & still have 12mths left on my mobile phone contract b4 I am eligible to receive a new device with the latest os. When I got my imate jamin 12mths ago,it was top of the range.now it’s all but discontinued due to new pda models like htc.(although I am pleased to see the imate ultimate range now out!)

    so I will keep trying to find a way to do this.any1 know how? what if I can get my hands on a rom upgrade of wm6,would it be possible to patch it to my device if the memory was wiped out?from these posts it seems unlikely due to hardware mods …? I guess it’s in my nature to keep trying to find the solution…and I guess human nature for many others if the best solution is always gonna b out there- and in this case it always will!so yes it would b great if there was some kind of upgrade popup window or something.it would also b great if you could buy hardware and then software to match just like a pc,but obviously this is tricky with such small flash memory based apps with limited hardware space or power…

    one cannot blame any1 for where the digital revolution is right now and for issues such as these.We should be thanking some higher power for gracing us with the opportunity of being able to live in a time such as this where our ancestors only have dreamt of such a reality/possibility!I mean just look at how far we have come in the last decade!imagine where we’ll b in another 10yrs from now! so all i’d like to say is thank you to all those developers &designers out there who have made the advancements that we experience on a daily basis possible!keep on rockin!

    rich grad x

  102. jasmine says:

    hi all,

    i am synchronizing sqlce and sqlserver.

    i am new to sqlce.

    i have written code for creating publication and

    pull function used in subscription.

    but i am having an error:

    "error writting system.design.dll, not enough space "

    can anyone please help me out.

  103. jasmine says:

    hi all,

    i am synchronizing sqlce and sqlserver.

    i am new to sqlce.

    i have written code for creating publication and

    pull function used in subscription.

    but i am having an error:

    "error writting system.design.dll, not enough space "

    can anyone please help me out.

  104. Jack says:


    I have a question. If I buy a device with Windows Mobile 5, will I be able to upgrade to a newer version.

    Or does the same principle of upgrading from Windows Mobile 2003 SE to Windows Mobile 5 count?


  105. PO says:

    I have a few points here;

    1. Interesting that M$ haven’t replied to Jack’s question of 13th August!  Just prove’s everyone’s point I reckon….

    2. Why can I not pay for a whole new WM5 application (maybe my lack of detailed) which should work out far cheaper than buying a new device surely anyway?

    3. Does the EU fine and ruling this week not hold any evidence that M$ is the correct name – not that £300million sterling will hurt a company that aren’t greedy!!!!

  106. sid says:

    Reason for providing upgrades.

    WM5 comes out with new windows api calls.

    Very large application is written around using some of the new api calls.

    Extremely large client interested in application.

    clients devices dont have wm5 and cant upgrade.

    lots of money lost to application developer company due to client not being able to upgrade.

  107. MikeCal says:

    PO, I don’t know that you should read too much into the fact that I didn’t respond to Jack’s question.  This blog entry was written almost two years ago and I just missed the comment.

    Jack, the situation is roughly the same as before. It is still a decision for the OEM and Mobile Operator as to whether or not to provide an upgrade.  The basic economics of what goes into that decision haven’t changed too much.  Some WM5 devices have been upgraded to WM6, some haven’t.  Some upgrades have been announced but haven’t been produced yet.  In all cases, the upgrade will come from the Mobile Operator you bought the phone from, so they are the place to ask.

    Back to PO, I believe the original blog entry answers your question #2.  As for #3, the EU finding had nothing to do with upgrading Windows Mobile devices.  The EU didn’t like that we gave desktop windows users a media player for free.  I’m not sure how that equates to greed on our part, but you’re welcome to your opinions.

    Sid, we have similar reasons to want upgrades.  We would like to be able to produce software that relies on the newer APIs.  But, as I outlined in the original blog entry, Microsoft didn’t write the software that needs to be changed, nor do we have access to it.  So, however much we’d like for there to be upgrades, we can’t provide them.  They need to come from the people who wrote the parts that need to be changed–the OEMs and Mobile Operators.


  108. Josh Davis says:

    I just installed TuxMoblie on my old smartphone 2003 samsung and boy is it nice. Microsoft being unable to make this happen for themselves is quite funny.

  109. philk says:

    hi – anyone else tried luxmobil – how easy is it to install and is ti compatible to synch with a PC running windows vista?

  110. svggarden says:

    There are ways that you can flash the ROM from Windows2003se to WM5 or WM6.  You will have to do your homework and find the sites for it.  I have i-mate sp3i, was running windows2003se, and now it is running WM6.  

    Who says I can’t upgrade to WM6?

  111. MobileWorm says:

    After reading this long article on why I can’t upgrade, how come I was able to upgrade my Dell Axim X50V from WM2003SE to WM6?

    If one person was able to cook up an UPGRADE for us to upgrade our WM devices, then why can’t MICROSOFT and DELL/OEMs do the same?

  112. Donna says:

    Well, I see a great contradiction in what Mike Calligaro said.  First, "sure everyone wants to upgrade their device" to basically, no one would purchase the upgrade to make it financially sensible.  Which is it?

    I’ve been teaching and programing Microsoft products since Windows 3.1.  Microsoft is a company.  Companies are in business to make money.  It is indeed about the all mighty dollar.  Nothing more.

    Also, I do know what it’s like to be a developer and have MS change OS’s on you.  Windows is hardly ever  backwards compatible to any great degree. Although Microsoft has always claimed they are backwards compatible… it just isn’t true.  They change small things here and there and you can’t go back.  And thus, it can cripple a program written for Windows but should be compatible with many versions of Windows.  It’s very frustrating.  And this is no exception from WM 2003 to 2005 I’m sure.

    I think it’s time to just jump on over to the linux platform and be done with it.  Stuff works and continues to work with linux.  I’m glad to see it offered as an option on systems and laptops these days.  It is about time we had a choice.

  113. MikeCal says:

    Donna, sorry I wasn’t clear.  The quote was, "Everyone wants to upgrade your device."  The "everyone" there is Microsoft, the MO, and, to some degree, the OEM.  Of the three, Microsoft gets the biggest benefit from people upgrading, because that gives us a bigger installed base for our newer APIs.  We’d definitely LIKE for people to be able to upgrade.  

    The main issue at hand is that, while the power users who read this blog may want to upgrade, those people are a tiny fraction of the tens of millions of people who buy our devices.  Not enough people upgrade to make it financially feasable to do.  That’s true outside of the phone market too.  For instance, even though we sell upgrades to desktop OSes, very few people buy them.  The vast majority of people get their OS by buying a new PC.  It’s even true when people’s lives are at stake.  Ask your favorite automaker what percentage of people brought their cars in for the last voluntary recall.  Even when the recall is for something life-threatening and free, the number of people who get it is tiny.

    You’re definitely right that we’re a company and we don’t do things to lose money.  I think I was pretty clear about that though.  

    I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on app back compat, though.  I’m sure there are examples on every side of that argument.  I’ve got a few apps that I wrote for handheld PC that still work in Windows Mobile 6, and I’ve some command line dos apps that still work in Vista.  You’ve obviously had a different experience.  I’m sorry for that.

    As for Linux, they’re one of the three main forces in the smartphone space (Symbian, Linux, and us).  So far it hasn’t been the case that an app written for one linux phone is guaranteed to work on all of them, but that could certainly change.  I don’t think it’s a simple case of going there and being "done with it," but if you do and it works for you, I wish you all the best.  


  114. RichardF says:

    Having read everything that has been posted on the issue, I have decided to get off of the merry-go-round. I have a perfectly sound piece of hardware which I would have loved to have kept up to date, but am prevented from so doing. I will continue to use it for as long as it remains effective and when it dies I will not be in the market for a replacement.

    It angers me that people can distance themselvelves from what can only be described as built-in obsolesence. A proper software upgrade path is vital, and also the only responsible position to hold in this day and age. I could go on, but I feel I would just be wasting my time.

    Last one to leave, turn the lights off

  115. Chris says:

    Well, right now, I am sitting on a Dell Axim X30 that I have had for a while. I liked the platform initially, but refused to get caught up in the upgrade cycle to a smart phone using MS’s latest and greatest. And just as well, as WM5 has now been supplanted by WM6, and once again, there is no upgrade path.

    As such, I think that you have just given me the best reason to look toward either an Apple iPhone or a Blackberry. At least those will give people an upgrade path to better and more features.

  116. John says:

    Screw economics… they just want more money

  117. Dan says:

    My comment is why should i pay for up grades like win mobile 2003 to win mobile 2003 sec when i bought my desk top years with win 98 i don’t remember paying for the upgrade to win 98sec edition wasn’t it just an up gradable download that Microsoft offered on there upgrade site?

  118. Michel says:

    I’ve noticed MS and others talking WM5 for smartphones. What about PDAs? Those are almost guaranteed to be owned by a techy.

    In my case, I have an iPAQ hx4700 with WindowsCE 4.21 on it.

    It’s a great device and has done me well. However, the browser (IE) on it won’t handle a lot of modern stuff including Java, yet unlike desktop Windows where you can get the latest IE7 for free, in WCE you can’t get anything.

    Ok, no problem I just get the competition: MiniMo, the mobile Mozilla. Ups, it needs WM5 to run.

    Of course I could grovel to my boss to replace the iPAQ with a new device. Except I can’t find any good ones that also have the 640×480 screen my cute little baby has, they all seem to have gone back to 320×240, even though I can’t see why. I had a look at a few of those at Harvey Norman and those screens suck!

    I’m sure my boss would prefer to shell out a couple of $100 for a new OS instead of several hundred more for an inferior new device.

    In any event, I don’t have a lot of options. I can’t get an upgrade for the browser, I can’t get a new OS for any money, and I can’t get a new device that’s as good as the old one. Oh, and a lot of new PDAs won’t take my collection of CF cards either, so I’d have to buy the latest Mini-xyz bits.

    But then what’s new, I just got Vista on my PC at home and sure enough my scanner and webcam won’t work cause neither MS nor the manufacturer are willing to release drivers for their discontinued gear (after 2 years!!!)

    Only one sensible option left: Long Live LINUX! It is available for the hx4700 and it is upgradable! I believe there are versions of linux that will also work on certain smartphones.

  119. Jack says:

    Linux… mobile, sounds good…

  120. Tom Morris says:

    I have owned HP iPAQ 4700hx for 3 years and have no intention of replacing it.  It is stable and hasn’t needed repair during that time.  I like the size and resolution of the display.  It has wi-fi and bluetooth capabilities, CF and SD slots.  I purchased 32GB CF card and 4GB SD card, which has increased its’ performance because I don’t have much installed in the main memory, even though the 64MB of RAM has been upgraded to 128MB.  Yes, there are limitations to what software can be installed on it but I am satisfied with what it does for me.  I don’t consider it a toy.  It is a great tool and I am not interested in an OS upgrade.  It is great for watching mpegs and Winddows Media Player sound is far superior to many dedicated mp3 player.  One thing I would like to find is a software application that can change the right-hand scroll bar to the left side as I am left-handed.  I don’t have any complaints against MS or HP.  I am satisfied with both products.  I own Macbook Pro as well as a desktop PC running MS XP.  I wish all of you that are not satisfied with MS or the OEM of whatever hardware you own, good luck.  I have learned that life is easier if I don’t blame others for what ails me.

  121. poisongirl says:

    For all those talking about not being able to upgrade their Dell Axim device (x50/x50v) to WM5 from WM2003 SE, you are just crazy in complaining that Dell wasn’t offering this….

    They *DID*… I bought a refurbished x50 from them a few years back (it was still a current product item at that time) and it came with WM2003 SE.  When a year later, Dell released the x51/x51v model, I didn’t mind as it also came with this version at first, until WM5 was actually released (then they all shipped with that).  

    Dell was great with the upgrade, giving anyone that had purchased a x51/x51v device within the previous few months of the WM5 release a FREE UPGRADE on it. Just like a lot of stores/companies were doing for Vista before/after it’s release. All to make those that purchased a new device (just a bit too "early") a chance at getting the newer version of the OS.

    Also, Dell had OEM WM5 discs that you could purchase from them for $30 if you wanted to upgrade.  I thought about it at that point, but as it was still unstable (and very new) and not as many applications and I was happy with WM2003 SE at that time, I chose not to purchase it at that time from their website.  Now, it is impossible to actually find this other than on ebay (and that was a year or 2 ago that I had last looked), but Dell even had (and still does) the ROM updates for allowing you to take your Dell Axim x50/x50v device BACK to WM2003 SE from WM5 if you choose to do this.

    I am slightly upset that all the ROMs I have seen to upgrade from WM5 to WM6 are all ONLY for the x50v (the VGA model only) or the x51v (not sure about the x51 QVGA version).  I have tried to find the minimum requirement specs for WM6 and the best I have found is the same as the previous OS (WM5) stating 64MB/64MB Rom (memory) and nothing saying that the WM6 OS needs VGA graphics…  

    My device is the x50 basic (I have a SD wifi card to enable internet usage) which has the 64/64 memory/storage, QVGA graphics, and the 416MHz processor…  This is most likely on the lower end of what might be the requirements (if I could actually find them), but good enough I would guess to be able to actually run WM6 (especially if it is mostly the same as WM5 and actually runs better than 5 was stated to have run (sluggish).

    So if my device fits the requirements, and is possibly better with these than some smartphones that can run WM6, then why is it that only the VGA versions of the later Dell Axim devices can run WM6 while the QVGA owners are stuck with WM5 (and I have only found the first upgrade ROM for the x50, the A01. The A02 and A03 upgrade ROMS seem to also only be for the VGA models).

    Is this because they just don’t expect older model users to want to upgrade even if their hardware can support it? Do they do this to make one feel like that they have to stick with the one or possibly 2 OS versions they can actually install and run and if they want more, that they have to first upgrade their DEVICE just to get an upgraded OS???

    Dell used to be great with trying to keep existing users happy with their products, but now they do seem to be focusing more on getting new customers or getting their old customers to Upgrade *all* their older Dell devices/systems.

  122. Robert says:

    Thanks for the information. I will make sure my next PDA doesn’t Run windows.

  123. nasmy says:

    i have an Xda ll Mini pocket pc, on it i have windows mobile 2003se, i want to ask can upgrade it to windows mobile 2005?

  124. Kamal Gurung says:

    I own a MIO 8390 Smartphone and Why can’t I upgrade it to the latest version of Windows Mobile ?

    Help me.

  125. Dennis Stone says:

    I’m about to throw my IPAQ 6515 with Windows Mobile 2003 into a pond.   Every time I travel to another time zone, it changes every appointment time.  I sync it to my laptop to correct this.  Yesterday, I discovered one hour before a flight that it had not.  I drove 80 mph, returned a car unfueled, and almost had a coronary at the airport thanks to your software.


    I’m using Version 4.21.1008 Build 15159.2.6.4.  Thank you.

  126. Matt Falcon says:

    The real reason behind all this is still greed and money. The companies don’t want to provide an upgrade because they expect people to be just like me: fed up with the bugs in the current software and when a "SHINY NEW" version comes out only available on new devices, you’re forced to upgrade. To new hardware. Not downloadable, pirateable (sp?) software like Windows itself. So you’re forced to actually buy a new device in order to fix the bugs and problems in the old version.

    It’s a funny way the Windows Mobile world seems to work. All the software is compatible and the hardware is expandable in every way except the OS. But there are plenty of Windows 95-like show-stopping bugs, like constant crashing, data loss, unexplainable random power/standby problems, Bluetooth and internet connection weirdness, horrible performance, missed alarms, horrible battery life, darn near unusable UI, and a myriad of other problems that didn’t float off the top of my head… where was I? Oh… all those problems in the OS just to make you want to buy a new one, hoping it fixes your current mess of problems. For another 400 or 500 bucks. Might as well buy a UMPC instead.

    I have a Audiovox/Sprint PPC6700. An extremely popular model that everyone seems to have. It’s the "stereotypical" Pocket PC phone. I got it for 50 bucks because the last owner was so fed up with it. I used a series of third party tools to fix gaping holes and screwups in the OS and make it at least "usable". But every one of those previously mentioned problems is still current with my PPC. It’s a huge headache and I’m in no position to replace it. Upgrade? No. Despite the fact that there are probably tens of thousands of upset PPC6700 owners out there, Sprint would never in their right mind issue an OS update for that "old thing". They want you to come in and get a new one. Good thing I don’t actually have Sprint service – I only use it as a Pocket PC.

    While I would hate to make my next PPC be a Windows Mobile device, I doubt I have much of a choice. Palm OS is an 8-bit Nintendo operating system that can’t do anything useful. So I’m left with one choice: Windows Mobile.

    I’m just glad it’s not as bad as Windows Vista. Yet…

  127. Matt Falcon says:

    Wow. Well, that’s lame for you. I thought all this time that I had a WM2003 Pocket PC (that it was the same as WM5, maybe). That goes to show how corrupted and misunderstandable the Windows Mobile family of "operating systems" is. Turns out I have a WM5 PPC anyway.

    I guess that shows that the WM5 dev team’s work is to blame for my absolutely terrible and unusable Pocket PC. Congratulations, you WIN THE PRIZE!

    Now I’m off to go find a WM_6_ ROM for my PPC6700.

  128. yo wassup, there is a download for WM5,i dont know whether its already been mentioned though, BUT i was wondering if i download this and install it myself, if anything goes wrong can i reinstall windows mobile2002 on it which it has currently, it CAN hold WM2003 but if anythin goes wrong, im screwed, its an ipaq 3970 if thats any help oh and for the peeple the link for download is  http://download.vzwshop.com/vzw/samsungos/Samsung_i730_WM5_Upgrade.exe

  129. mhillis says:

    I own a PPC6700 running WM5. There is a ROM upgrade available on the net that will upgrade the phone to WM6. This upgrade does not come from the manufacturer but from an individual. I am aware of the risk and am willing to try it. My question concerns copyrights. Can I install the upgrade legally? This question bypasses all the arguments above. All the work has been done at no cost to anyone other than the one who produced the ROM upgrade.

  130. I am no expert on this subject, but what I believe is that companies like Apple would never do something like this to their market. I just can not see very many other companies releasing products with what Microsoft calls a version of Windows, just as Apple calls the iPhone OS a version of OS X, and saying that you can’t upgrade it. Strangly enough, I see lots of Linux fanboys upgrading their pda’s. Microsoft is leaving people on the edge of a cliff with their Windows Mobile platform. which really isn’t a platform. Windows XP is a platform. I can upgrade it to Vista. (well, that’s what I thought until I bought the Vista upgrade)This is an unupgradeable platform? That’s no technology. That’s a desperate attempt to put up a fight against Linux and Symbian. But, we’re all stuck with Windows, because it’s the standard.

  131. kasey kelley says:

    I have the moto Q it has windows mobile 5.0 i won’t to know if there is a way that i can update the Os to windows 6.0 and i need to know does this cell phone do updates from microsoft are do i have to put the update on there? Send me in e-mail at kasey_kelley@live.com

  132. Confused Ciaran says:

    I have read most of the article but I don’t fully understand. Is there any easy way to upgrade from windows mobile 2003se on hp hw6515 (vodafone network) or not?

  133. Jaime Beltran says:

    Ok…trying to go from A01 to A02 on my Axim X50 is impossible! I have WM5 and my Axim is hooked up thru my cradle. The upgrade starts fine but right in the middle of it… it stops working. What gives??? Going nuts here!

  134. Jaime Beltran says:

    Ok…trying to go from A01 to A02 on my Axim X50 is impossible! I have WM5 and my Axim is hooked up thru my cradle. The upgrade starts fine but right in the middle of it… it stops working. What gives??? Going nuts here!

  135. SNZ says:

    Clearly it is MS and Palm that need to be upgraded.  Even when patches are developed they work ~ 1% of the time and then each company blames the other without either one trying to fix the problem.  To think, that I was once proud of my work at MS; must have spent too much time at Mt. Rainier.

  136. On XDA  found a comment about that there should be a way of installing the OS on a storagecard so you CAN upgrade if you want. BUT lets say, that would require a storage card with atleast 512mb. And I assume everyone who can afford a PPC could afford that.

    So aint that a good way to solve this issue?

  137. sangzichuan says:

    At first,sorry for me poor english.I come from china.

    I read all you Comments.

    I buy hp rx3715 at shenzhen,china.I want to upgrade it at 2005.I read some chinese web page.I am so insufferable.I can’t upgrade.So I go there to see foreign country’s idea.haha.

    I want find a good way to upgrade my rx3715.I want find a Upgrade package at somewhere.

    If you have the wm5 Upgrade package for hp rx3715.Please email me.My E-mail is sangzichuan@163.com

    Thank you~~~!

  138. alcedes says:

    Kinda seems like a link to this other Windows Mobile related blog entry would be appropriate here

    Support Boundries for Windows Mobile


  139. Richard Hind says:

    Can I Upgrade CE3 to 2003 on iPAQ 3630?

  140. Simon says:

    There are virtually no vendors of Windows Mobile 2003 software now.  Development has concentrated on the latest (5 and 6, and no doubt, 7).

    The trouble is, the only reason why my Dell Axim X3i will go to landfill is because of it’s obsolescence as opposed to it’s function.

    I feel microsoft needs to do a lot more (with all of it’s operating systems) to ensure that people don’t throw away what is working perfectly well.   This means ensuring that compile functions in development software compile for all mobile operating systems.  For the sake of the environment and resources if anything.

  141. Grace Long says:

    I have an HTC Universal with a Windows Mobile 5 OS 5.1.195 (build 14827.2.0.0) and now that I am using Windows 7 RC does not seem to update anymore or pull any of my synchronised folders off my Small business server 2003 R2. The information is very valuable for me as a virtual assistant since I am more mobile than ever now.

    I obviously thought that using Windows 7 will greatly improve ways of mobile working and being able to work smarter.

    Is there a way for me to upgrade my OS to a more recent version of Windows Mobile that will enable me to sync my device to my server and/or my workstation? I will greatly appreciate any help/advice/recommendation you can give me. I am not in any way a software developer but if the information you provide needs IT expertise, please do not hesitate to give it to me, as I am married to a software engineer and Microsoft MVP for Small Business Server who will be able to understand technical requirements and jargon.

    Looking forward to your response.

    Best regards,

    Grace Long

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