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Cruising the Interstate with Windows Mobile 6 Development

One benefit of choosing Microsoft technologies for your mobile apps is an integrated, streamlined development process. Find out how easy it is with this tutorial on the basics of developing Windows Mobile apps with the the .NET Compact Framework.

n recent years, the mobile application platform has gained a lot of interest among enterprise developers. With so many mobile platforms available, customers aren’t lacking choices. However, at the forefront of a developer's mind are the various criteria that must be evaluated before deciding which platform to support. These factors are:
  1. Size of device installed base
  2. Ease of development and support for widely known/used programming languages
  3. Ability to run one version of an application on a large number of devices
One of your mobile platform choices is the Microsoft Windows Mobile platform, now in its sixth generation. Today, the Windows Mobile platform is one of the most successful mobile device platforms in the market, with support from many different handset manufacturers (such as HP, Asus, HTC, and even Sony Ericsson and Palm).

This article will walk you through the basics of Windows Mobile, help you write your first application and demonstrate how to test and deploy that application to a real device. If you’ve always wondered how to get started in Windows Mobile development, this article is your highway to advanced Windows Mobile development!

Introduction to Windows Mobile Standard, Classic, and Professional
The Windows Mobile platform defines a device running the Windows CE operating system customized with a standard set of Microsoft-designed user interface shells and applications. Devices that use the Windows Mobile platform include:

  • Pocket PCs
  • Smartphones
  • Portable Media Centers
  • Automobile computing devices
In this article, discussion will be restricted to the first two categories of devices—Pocket PCs and Smartphones.

The latest version of the Windows Mobile platform is Windows Mobile 6. With this new release, there are some new naming conventions. Table 1 shows the list of names used by Microsoft over the years.

Table 1. Names for the various Windows Mobile platforms.

Pocket PCs


Pocket PC 2000/ Pocket PC 2000 Phone Edition


Pocket PC 2002/ Pocket PC 2002 Phone Edition

Smartphone 2002

Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC/

Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Phone Edition

Windows Mobile 2003 for Smartphone

Windows Mobile 2003 SE (Second Edition) for Pocket PC/

Windows Mobile 2003 SE (Second Edition) for Pocket PC Phone Edition

Windows Mobile 2003 SE for Smartphone

Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC/

Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC Phone Edition

Windows Mobile 5.0 for Smartphone

Windows Mobile 6 Classic/

Windows Mobile 6 Professional

Windows Mobile 6 Standard

Starting with Windows Mobile 6, Microsoft defines a device with a touch screen but without phone capability as a Windows Mobile 6 Classic device (previously known as Pocket PC or Windows Mobile). Figure 1 shows a Windows Mobile 6 Classic device (the iPaq 211).

Figure 1. Classic: The image shows the iPaq 211.
Figure 2. Professional: The image shows the HTC Touch Cruise.
Figure 3. Standard: The image shows the Moto Q9h.

Touch-screen devices with phone functionality are now known as Windows Mobile 6 Professional (previously known as Windows Mobile Phone Edition). Figure 2 shows a Windows Mobile 6 Professional device (the HTC Touch Cruise).

Devices that do not support touch-screens are now known as Windows Mobile 6 Standard (previously known as Smartphones). Figure 3 shows a Windows Mobile 6 Standard device (the Moto Q9h).

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