Windows Vista to Lock Out Old PDAs

As Microsoft has turned out their second release-candidate of Windows Vista, what’s being left out is finally being confirmed. Read more for complete details.

Windows Vista has made no bones about stating that some features in XP would be watered-down, “simplified”, or otherwise re-designed to be made easier for users. Some things such as Disk Defragmenter now require complex command-line codes to accomplish the same tasks.

However, the Windows Mobile Device Center has been hailed as improving things for all users. It replaces ActiveSync with a more user-friendly experience for talking to their PDA… except those with Pocket PC 2002 devices. The “feature-complete” Release Candidate 2, and its accompanying Windows Mobile Device center talks great with Windows Mobile 2003 and 5.0 devices.

However, Pocket PC devices running Windows Mobile 2002 are left out in the cold. Pocket PC 2002 has exited “Mainstream Support”, which is a Microsoft term for the product’s life-cycle. After such time, Microsoft policy is to not devote additional resources to such platforms. Microsoft has even gone as far as to suggest Pocket PC 2002 device users will be left out of future ActiveSync for Windows 2000/XP updates. However, considering such code changes aren’t likely, it is only Windows Vista that appears to be impacted by this change.

Microsoft confirmed these details, in a statement to PCS Intel:

“Mainstream support for Pocket PC 2002 Software Standard Edition ended on October 10, 2005, however Microsoft will continue extended support for this product until October 14, 2008. For more information regarding the difference between mainstream and extended support, please visit our Support Lifecycle Policy FAQ on our website:”
(Extended Support is Microsoft’s after-market term for providing security and other crucial updates only).

Many in the industry are questioning how much code changes there actually are in the PIM/Sync functions of 2002 between 2003. If such changes are minor, then criticism that Microsoft is forcing people to buy new hardware via software lockouts appears to be valid.

Microsoft however maintains that this has been a long time coming. Pocket PC 2002 was phased out last year, and Microsoft stated that they would not be supporting it further with new software. Still, for those with Pocket PC 2002 devices as a backup (should their more-modern PDA fail in the middle of a business week), having to turn to third-party solutions (which don’t exist yet on Windows) is cold comfort from the world’s leading Operating System vendor.

Windows Mobile Device Center
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