If a recent article by Electronista.com is accurate, there will be more changing with Windows Mobile than the product name.
With the next release of the Windows Mobile operating system, Microsoft is rumored to be changing the name from Windows Mobile to Windows Phone, all the while keeping the version numbering system from Windows Mobile. (Confused yet?) Windows Mobile 6.5.x will be replaced by Windows Phone 7 late this year.
The name change isn’t the only thing getting a refresh. Microsoft is also rumored to be making several engine changes that will either make you jump for joy or throw up your arms in disgust. After Palm OS 5, the Windows Mobile User Interface (UI) is the next mobile operating system in need of a make over – and Windows Phone 7 will provide it. In addition to making Windows Phone look and work more like a Zune or the iPhone, it is also rumored that Microsoft will be removing multitasking support from Windows Phone. It is also rumored that Microsoft may also lock down the default UI, preventing third-party developers like HTC from adding their own UI layer on top of Windows like they currently do with the Sense UI on handsets running Google’s Android operating system.
Other changes that could be coming to a Microsoft-powered phone near you could be XNA application programming language that would allow for easier migration of XBox services to the Windows Phone platform. While that does sound cool, Microsoft appears to be eyeing an Apple App Store-like distribution model with applications being installed from a single source. And backward application compatibility? If the rumor is true, they could be on the endangered species list.
Electronista does state that most of this information has not been confirmed and as with any rumor, needs to be taken with a gain of salt. Hopefully Microsoft will give us more details at this years, Mobile World Congress taking place in Barcelona, Spain, later this month.