Windows Phone, or formally known as “Windows Mobile” has came a long way. Here’s a brief history lesson about Windows Phone.
Recently, we did History of Android, and if you’d like, you can go ahead and read it.
History of Windows Phone – Windows Mobile
Of course, we can’t talk about Windows Phone without mentioning Windows Mobile. Here’s a fun fact – Windows Mobile came about 3 years earlier than Android (actually, the first version of Android came out in 2008. Android Inc. was founded in 2003.). Windows Mobile first came out on April 19th, 2000. Most versions of Windows Mobile had a standard set of features, like multitasking. Also, included in the bundle was Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and Microsoft Office. The look and feel of first versions of Windows Mobile looked a lot like Windows 95 and Windows 98. Windows Mobile mainly ran on Pocket PCs and smartphones.
There were three main versions of Windows Mobile:
Windows Mobile Professional – runs on smartphones with touchscreens
Windows Mobile Standard – runs on mobile phones without touchscreens
Windows Mobile Classic – runs on personal digital assistant or Pocket PCs.
History of Windows Phone – Pocket PC 2000
The codename for Pocket PC was originally “Rapier”. It was released on April 19th, 2000. It was based on Windows CE 3.0. Windows CE 3.0 later evolved to Windows Mobile. Anyways, Windows CE ran on multiple devices, since it didn’t had any special requirements. The only “problem” was that it only ran on resolution of 240 x 320 (QVGA). It ran on multiple devices, mainly Pocket PCs and Palm-Size PCs. It also supported Infrared file beaming. The look reminded on Windows 98 and Windows 2000, featuring a “today screen”. It is unsupported as of September 10, 2007.
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Pocket PC 2002
Pocket PC 2002, originally codenamed “Merlin”, was released in October 2001. It too was powerd by Windows CE 3.0. Even tho it was aimed for 240 x 320 Pocket PC devices, it also ran Pocket PC phones and smartphones. As far as the aesthetics go, it resembled the look of Windows XP. Some of the newer features were Windows Media Player 8, MSN Messenger and Microsoft reader. Office Mobile now included a spell checker and a word count. Internet Explorer also got some upgrades, like savable downloads.
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Windows Mobile 2003
The original codename was “Ozone”. Windows Mobile 2003 was released on June 23, 2003. It was the first release under the “Windows Mobile” name. It came in four editions: “Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Premium Edition”, “Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Professional Edition”, “Windows Mobile 2003 for Smartphone” and “Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Phone Edition”. The last was designed especially for Pocket PCs which include phone functionalities. The Professional Edition actually ran on budget, low-power models. Windows Mobile 2003 was powered by Windows CE 4.20. In general, Bluetooth was enhanced in this version of Windows Mobile. that included file transfer and different Bluetooth devices. Among other pre-installed apps, there was the popular puzzle game. Also, Office Mobile got a lot of enhancements.
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Windows Mobile 2003 SE
Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition wasn’t anything special. It was released on March 24, 2004. The first device to support it was Dell Axim x30. Windows Mobile 2003 SE was the last version which allowed users to back up and restore an entire device using ActiveSync. This version now allowed Portrait and Landscape modes. Wi-Fi connections were also now more secure, WPA was added. Also, new screen resolutions were added: VGA (640×480), 240×240, and 480×480.
Windows Mobile 5
Codenamed “Magneto”, Windows Mobile 5 was released at Microsoft’s Mobile and Embedded Developers Conference 2005 in Las Vegas, May 9–12, 2005. The first device to support it was the Dell Axim x51. Windows Mobile 5 now featured Persistent storage, which extended battery life a lot, since in previous versions 50% of battery was reserved to keep data in RAM memory. With Windows Mobile 5, Microsoft Office Mobile was included, which includes PowerPoint Mobile, Excel Mobile and Word Mobile with the ability to insert tables and graphics. Windows Media Player 10 was added. And there were other improvements, like Bluetooth, GPS, ActiveSync etc. Windows Mobile 5 needed 64 MB of ROM and RAM.
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Windows Mobile 6
Windows Mobile 6 was released under the comename “Crossbow”, and it was released on February 12, 2007. It comes in three different versions: “Windows Mobile 6 Standard” for Smartphones (phones without touchscreens), “Windows Mobile 6 Professional” for Pocket PCs with phone functionality, and “Windows Mobile 6 Classic” for Pocket PCs without cellular radios. It was powered by Windows CE 5.0 (version 5.2). It was strongly linked with the new Windows Live. The first device to run Windows Mobile standard was Orange SPV E650, and the Professional version was first offered on O2 Xda Terra. Windows Mobile 6 looked a lot like Vista. Luckily, it ran much better than Vista, and was more stable than Windows Phone 5. Office Mobile 6.1 came with it, and supported Office 2007 document formats. A large number of Windows Mobile users are enterprise users business environments were targeted. And, 320×320 and 800×480 resolutions were now supported. Remote Desktop access was improved, although it was available only on some devices.
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Windows Mobile 6.1
Windows Mobile 6.1 was released April 1, 2008. Unlike Windows Mobile 6, it wasn’t much of an upgrade. There were some minor performance improvements, and it’s the first time that tiles are mentioned, although it’s nothing like those on Windows Phone. Windows Mobile 6.1 also had improved bandwidth efficiency in its push-email protocol “Activesync” of “up to 40%”. This considerably improved battery life in many devices.
Windows Mobile 6.5
Windows Mobile 6.5 was the bridge between Windows Mobile and Windows Phone. According to Microsoft, it’s not what they really wanted to be. It was released on May 11, 2009. It featured a refurbished UI. SkyMarket was also added. There were three minor updates, which helped user to cross over to Windows Phone. Steve Ballmer himself said that Microsoft screwed up with this version of Windows Mobile.
History of Windows Phone – Windows Phone
Finally, we come to Windows Phone. Of course, one the biggest differences was the new UI, Metro UI. The first Windows Phone, Widows Phone 7, was released in October, 2010.
And now we come to Microsoft’s partnership with Nokia. On February 11, 2011, at a press event in London, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Nokia CEO Stephen Elop announced a partnership between their companies in which Windows Phone would become the primary smartphone operating-system for Nokia, replacing Symbian. This gave birth to the Lumia series. The first Nokia Lumia was the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710.
Windows Phone 7
This was the first Windows Phone, which was released on February 15, 2010. HTC, Dell, Samsung and LG made the first Windows Phone 7 devices. Windows Phone 7 is the only version of Windows Phone that features a kernel based on the Windows Embedded Compact 7 version of Windows Embedded CE, which was also used in Windows Mobile and Pocket PC systems.
Compared to Windows Mobile, Windows Phone was a major overhaul. First, we have the UI, featuring a Start screen, and Live Tiles, or commonly refereed as “Metro”. It featured a full-on Office, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. You could, and still can, select between a light theme, and a dark theme. The dark theme saves power on OLED display, since the black pixels don’t use energy – they are just “off”. Internet Explorer was included, and it is not bad. It may not have all the features, but it gets the job done quite well. However, one of the biggest problem with Windows Phone, which is still present, is app support. Or more likely, the lack of it. Unlike Android, where you have over a million apps to chose from, it’s not like that on Windows Phone. And, to make things worse, Google does not support Windows Phone. That means no apps for YouTube, GMail, Hangouts, Google Drive, Analytics etc. Lucky, more and more apps are available on the Windows Store as time goes on. Also, if you wan’t to upgrade to Windows 8… well, you couldn’t because of hardware limitations.
Windows Phone 8
Windows Phone 8 was released on October 29, 2012. It was codenamed “Apollo”. Aesthetic wise, it is similar to Windows Phone 7. However, “under the hood”, it’s a whole different story. Windows Phone 8 replaces its previously Windows CE-based architecture with one based on the Windows NT kernel, and shares many components with Windows 8. It was the first mobile OS from Microsoft to use a NT kernel. Windows Phone 8 also now supported larger screen sizes, multi-core CPUs (up to 64 cores… like you will need that… but it’s there if you need it), NFC, backwards compatibility with Windows Phone 7 apps, improved support for removable storage, and much, much more. Internet Explorer 10 came with Windows Phone 8, having the similarities with the desktop version. Multitasking was now a real thing, since WP7 was quite limited regarding that. Kids corner was also added, which functioned somewhat as “guest mode”. Other features included Data Sense, native code support (C++), OTA updates, multiple lenses (3rd party camera apps), screenshot was enabled…
Windows Phone 8.1
The current official version of Windows Phone, Window Phone 8.1, rolled out on April 2, 2014. Although the update is just by .1, it is a big update for Windows Phone. It was first rumored as “Windows Phone Blue”. Aesthetic wise, it’s quite similar to Windows Phone 8, but with a much more features. For example, Cortana was added in Windows Phone 8.1 Denim. There isn’t much new to say here. Cortana is your personal assistant. However, she is still in beta, although rumor has it, that will change with Windows Phone 10… or Windows 10 for Phones, or… With WP 8.1, you get Internet Explorer 11, which is quite good. IE11 carries over many of its desktop counterpart’s improvements, which include support for WebGL, normal mapping, InPrivate mode, Reading mode, and the ability to swipe left or right to navigate to a previous webpage and back. The updated browser also includes a new HTML5 video web player with support for inline playback and closed captions, Windows 8-style website live tiles, and the ability to save passwords. Furthermore, users can now open an unlimited number of tabs, instead of the previous maximum of 6. As far as apps and the Windows Phone Store go, it is growing. Although you still don’t have the number of apps like there is for Android or iOS, you do get what you need… in most cases, anyways. Multitasking was also improved. A somewhat big feature that was added was a third column for live tiles. On Windows Phone 8, it was only available for 1080p devices and some 720p devices. That is now available for all devices, regardless of the screen size. You can now also create folders on the Start screen. Other new features are Battery Saver, Storage Sense, Wi-Fi sense, Calendar app has be upgraded, the camera app has a more minimalist design, yet you get all the functionality…
Windows Phone 10… Windows 10 Mobile…. Windows 10 for phones…
Yes, the name still is not 100% secure, as there have been many variants. But it looks like Microsoft is phasing out the “Windows Phone” brand. Anyways, one of the biggest highlights of Windows Phone 10 is harmonizing it with Windows 10 on PC. It’s also claimed that you will be able to port apps from iOS and Android. We can’t say much about Windows Phone 10, as features are thrown in, thrown out, changed, disabled… But there are a few thing that will be 100% sure. Number one: You can now add a background photo, not a photo on the live tiles. Also, there will be no Microsoft Internet Explorer. Instead, you will get Microsoft Edge. The action center is also refurbished. With the latest build, animations that happen while opening apps are changed. According to rumors, Cortana will come out of beta. If you want the preview, go over to Microsoft’s site, and you will find all the details there. The current versions are getting more stable, although it’s not recommended to install this on your primary phone, as there is a slight chance of bricking you device.