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AllLinuxDevices: Editor's Note: Which Way For Handhelds? Microsoft's Newly Doubled Market Share

Nov 29, 2000, 22:03 (6 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Hall)

"The Register, however, was the first to break the news that according to IDC, Microsoft's share of the handheld market in the form of WinCE and PocketPC has climbed from a paltry ten percent to a more robust 18 percent since April. That's not a big piece of the market, but the rate of adoption reflected by WinCE devices shipments growing 200 percent, and projections calling for Palm being left with as little as 51 percent of the market by 2004 indicates Redmond may have finally hit its stride where its previously seemingly doomed efforts are concerned."

"...There are a number of reasons for wishing Microsoft ill in this area, ranging from simple Linux boosterism to a more idealistic desire to see what will be someday remembered as the precursor to the ubiquitous computing era shape up to be something better than a ham-fisted attempt to cram a desktop-like interface onto handhelds. Indeed, I've sat in on sessions where people have openly snickered at Microsoft's blundering, UI-challenged approach to handheld computing, and the most promising of the current crop of handheld Linux implementations, PocketLinux, has taken its cue much more from PalmOS if a comparison has to be made."

"I can hear a collective sigh go up over this news. Readers often point out that handhelds and embedded consumer computing in general are best left out of the picture where OS wars are concerned, but once again I have to respectfully disagree. While it's true that the average consumer doesn't care what's under the hood (to the point that VTech, Royal and Compaq are all, to greater or lesser degrees, opting to try Linux out on their own devices despite its miserable share of the desktop market), the issue is the future."

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