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Windows Mobile 5.0

I have been a T-Mobile customer for awhile (by my standards at least) and I geeked out and went into a retail store over the weekend to play with the new SDA. I had hoped they might have an MDA lying around, but no such luck. The SDA was very slick but it violates my thou-shalt-buy-phones-with-keyboards policy.

Seeing how smooth the EDGE-enabled browsing experience was got me to thinking about this announcement from Microsoft about the upcoming introduction of push email functionality for Windows mobile phones.

1. People buy devices first and technology second. Until there are a lot of really good devices running Windows Mobile in the wild, I am not sure how rapid adoption will be. Email addicts can simply stick with a Blackberry (courts willing) or GoodLink device. Unless the device is compelling, I wouldn’t expect this introduction to bring a whole lot of new customers to the category.

2. This is “free” to existing Exchange customers, but the total solution is not free. To take advantage of this, you would need to be an enterprise with Exchange and with Windows Mobile powered devices. If you don’t have WM5.0 powered devices for your users, you will have to buy them. So it’s not really “free” if you look at the total cost of owneship. Granted, the cost of buying a bunch of devices to run a free service might be more cost-effective than current options.

3. Carriers have been rather mum on special data pricing for these devices. As a Blackberry owner, I can say that one nice thing is that Blackberry service contracts on T-Mobile are very affordable. Competing all-you-can-eat mobile Internet access plans are significantly more expensive. This could really make a difference for situations where end-users foot the bill.

I am not sure what the overall impact will be. Probably too early to tell. I will hold off on switching for the time being, though.

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