It's possible that advances in the Windows Mobile OS are somewhat dependent on the gaming community.
We certainly have a few innovations that warrant a robust, stable OS capable of high-level API coding to partake of the best of the Pocket PC gaming realm.
The desktop PC owes a debt of gratitude to gamers. Unless, of course, you think that the user base was doing nothing else but playing with their MS Office apps on a routine basis.
The large drive towards hardware and processing power innovation is driven by folks largely like myself.
Video card manufacturers like ATI and nVidia have been posting record sales of high-end 3D hardware acceleration cards for years, with desktop PC gamers more than willing to pony up over $600 CDN on the next massively multipipelined hardware behemoth.
The Windows Mobile world can hardly be called a parallel gaming universe.
A lot of frustration has been thrown Microsoft's way, largely because of recent developments. The hx4700 is a case in point.
Hewlett Packard's only VGA display handheld was hampered by a revelation: no Windows Mobile 5.0 upgrade could be issued for this device until the following spring.
You'll find more details on the Brighthand.com site regarding this upgrade insight.
Problem is, the mettle of the hardcore Pocket PC game community is lacking. A recent poll off of the IPaqHQ forum site revealed that only just over five percent have opted for a Pocket PC with Windows Mobile 5.
The greater majority is still on WM 2003 Second Edition. The Pocket PC game community has spoken, and by and large they are satisfied with the game power harnessed by devices utilizing this brand of operating system.
The Windows Mobile Team Blog entry was an epiphany of sorts. Mike Calligaro's Windows Mobile article blog spoke to issues concerning disparaging Micro$oft detractors who insist on transposing those dollar signs in the middle of the company name.
His formula is as follows:
(Total cost of doing the upgrade) / (number of people who will use it) = (unreasonable price)
In essence, he attributes our PDA gaming community upgrade woes to diseconomies of scale, not greed.
I agree with Mike's view because the dearth of hardware accelerated Pocket PC games speaks volumes.
The newer accelerated titles like GeoRally EX are less prevalent than new software rendered 3D titles like FFRace - Fast Future Race.
Even more revealing the former is targeted once again towards Axim x50v owners. If that in itself doesn't reek of a lack of PDA hardware compliancy, I don't know what does.
I've dubbed this the PlayStation 2 syndrome: just like the popular gaming console, Pocket PC game developers are catching on to making the most of the programming libraries at hand and producing top-notch games that can be used from Pocket PC 2002 onwards.
With such a broad compatibility demographic, I've already seen it; Pocket PC game production is issuing better games for common operating systems and is possible nearing its zenith for quality.
If things continue like this it will certainly put a crimp on our future Windows Mobile upgrades.
Damian Julien is a Pocket PC gaming authority and long time general gaming hobbyist and reviewer.
He is an IT specialist by trade and has posted numerous articles on Pocket PC emulators, gaming and trends in the industry.