Rist’s interesting take on iPhone and Windows Mobile

by Bharat Suneja

After having used (or should “played” be the word?) the iPhone over the weekend, I’m a little underwhelmed by it. Clearly the product doesn’t quite live up to the hype and the aura surrounding it in Apple’s commercials and on its web site.

Nevertheless, Apple has a good version 1.0 product on its hand, and many of its issues are easily fixable. Like the “Exchange” button that shows up as an option when configuring email, only to inform you that you need to have IMAP enabled on the Exchange server. The Exchange team blog clarifies the difference between iPhone’s connectivity to Exchange using IMAP, and the ability of Windows Mobile/Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) to use DirectPush, amongst other benefits (read “Mobile Device Connectivity to Exchange using IMAP vs Exchange ActiveSync“).

If you’ve ever used ActiveSync, you’re not likely to cherish the iPhone’s IMAP experience, for reasons mentioned by Paul Robichaux in “The iPhone and Exchange, Part 2“.

Given the rumors about Apple having licensed Exchange ActiveSync that surfaced days before the product’s launch, fueled further by the Exchange button on the iPhone, it’s likely Apple did in fact license it but couldn’t complete the code to meet its internal deadlines. Most speculate it will show up in a future software update – perhaps it’ll be part of Jobs’ “And one more thing…” announcements in one of his keynotes.

However, even with EAS ported to the iPhone, it’s unlikely to be a device as manageable as one running Windows Mobile, and certainly nowhere near a BlackBerry. It just may be cool enough for everyone to want one.

InfoWorld columnist Oliver Rist has an interesting take on iPhone v/s Windows Mobile platforms. Excerpt: “Sure, Apple messed up the iPhone. Nothing ticks off the geek set more than a company promising great things with vagaries, then delivering lots of not-so-great specifics. Locked-down APIs mean no mobile app coolness for the foreseeable future, no hardware price breaks, a nasty phone plan relationship, and difficulty integrating with the desktop stuff with which the biz people like to integrate.”

Rist is none too pleased with Windows Mobile either. His advice for Microsoft: Windows Mobile needs fixing, fast.

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