Now that the NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) is lifted I can freely talk about this new OS. In the last couple of months I have been running it on a Pocket PC Phone Edition device, as part of a (very small) beta group organised with some Microsoft MVP Mobile Devices.
The user interface is slightly changed, and the addition of Soft Keys to the Pocket PC will give developers some challenges, but on the long run it will make it easier to develop for the whole platform - Pocket PC or Smartphone. A new security model is now implemented, similar to the one on the Smartphone, and it will require developers to sign applications to make them safe - and trusted. Not all devices will require this, but the infrastructure will be there. This is great for enterprise deployment.
The new Mobile version of the Office applications are much better than before. Still not 100% but it is a great improvement. And having full screen on Internet Explorer Mobile is nice - but still not tabbed browsing.
ActiveSync 4.0 is great - it shows the status of all the synchronised computers when you plug the device. In my case I had a partnership of this Phone Edition with another two computers and my Exchange 2003 Server. All worked well and I could see the status of all partnerships at of these computers.
The interesting thing is the decision to remove remote ActiveSync from this version. This is only for remote connection to a partner computer - the Exchange ActiveSync is still there. Most users known this feature as Wi-Fi Sync. Apparently the reason behind this decision is about security - basically when you or me connect to ActiveSync there is no authentication and no way to ensure security - at least the way it is now.
Of course this a different story when synchronising with an Exchange Server, where there is a certificate installed on the server and a more robust form of authentication, making things more secure. I hope Microsoft introduces a remote ActiveSync solution again, after all not everyone can run an Exchange Server at home.
This week has been a blast. I am in Queenstown for this year's Unisys User Forum, where we meet with Unisys clients from New Zealand and Australia, and where I spoke about mobility and our experience on enterprise mobile development and management. Queenstown is a small town in the New Zealand's South Island, famous for its ski resorts and all adventure attractions - the bungy jump was invented here! The whole week we have been meeting with Unisys clients, and Unisys people from Australia and United States.
As part of the activities this Wednesday everyone can select an outdoor "adventure". I am the Tour Leader for the group doing parasailing - you know, where you are strapped to a parachute connected to a boat and pulled around the lake - 300 meters above! Can not wait to do it...
We also organised a fun activity with Vodafone New Zealand: we divided everyone (100 people) in small teams, arranged some Windows Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition for some of the teams without a smart device, and using a map server we had a treasure hunt, with a i-mate JAM Pocket PC Phone Edition as the first prize.
Update: Bummer, just got a call, they have cancelled the parasailing because of the wind! Now the options are river raft, jet boat, bungy, wine trail, golf and gondola plus luge race.