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New Windows CE

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A couple of people asked me about the new "rewrite" of Windows CE that's just around the corner. I pretty-much figured all along that it was just gonna be a redesign of the UI and not really a ground-up rewrite of the OS itself.

Bits and pieces of stuff I'd heard seemed to be bearing that out. Finally, today I saw a WiredGuy.com review that pretty-much sums it all up.

My impressions:
  • While some things became less 95-ish and more palm-friendly, some things got more 95-ish, specifically the addition of Pocket Word, Pocket Excel, and the file manager.

  • There's no mention at all of handhelds or laptop machines with keyboards. I wonder if they are going away?

  • I wonder what machines are gonna have upgrades available. I'd be surprised if anyone other than Casio offered upgrades. The screenshots the author provided were likely made with an E-100 with a ROM upgrade.

Furthermore, I think I've got the specs for my ideal handheld machine. I want all of this stuff in the form-factor of a Casio E-100.

  • t would play MP3's, along with AM/FM radio.

  • It would include an integrated cell-phone, accessible from the earphone and microphone jacks. The current crop of integrated phone-PDA machines are a dumbass design, as you have to hold the screen to your face to talk, and you can't take notes or look up other numbers while you talk.

  • It'll hold lots of personal information, so it can be used as a credit card. Security won't be a problem, as secure functions will be unavailable unless I'm the one holding it. It'll know I'm holding it by fingerprint or face-recognition (or maybe an embedded chip in my wrist if it doesn't freak out the New World Order nuts too much).

  • It will have a digital camera lens on top. The camera lens will swivel to face the person holding it for video conferencing, or away from the user so it can be used as a digital camera (using the screen as the viewfinder). Once big cheap flash memory becomes available, it could also be used as a video camera.

  • It could access the internet via the aforementioned cell-phone link. Instant messaging with voice and video will be the killer app.

Interestingly, this isn't a dream. Every one of these technologies are available today. Expect to start seeing these features in up-coming PDA's. Also expect to see the line between pagers, cell phones and PDA's to blur, then disappear entirely.
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