More Evidence of the Smartphone-Led Dumbing Down of Windows Mobile Devices
I've argued elsewhere that even as Windows Mobile devices appear to be proliferating, they are also experiencing a "dumbing down." The most obvious harbingers of this unfortunate trend are the hype surrounding the non-Windows Mobile iPhone and the increasing presence of touchscreen-less Windows Mobile smartphones at the expense of Windows Mobile devices that have touchscreens.
I've also concluded that another sad effect (or is it a cause?) of the Dumb Down is that the previously unceasing march towards greater and greater processing power on Windows Mobile devices has not only stalled but has in fact reversed.
The most obvious indication that the march towards greater processing power has stalled is the fact that no Windows Mobile device that I'm aware of has exceeded a processor with a speed of 624 MHz. My HP iPAQ hx2755 has such a processor and it is almost two years old. That's two years without a single implemented advance.
But not only has no processor exceeded 624 MHz, only a handful of devices available today even include a 624 MHz processor. Towards the back of every issue of Smartphone & Pocket PC Magazine you'll find an "at a glance" comparison chart that lets you easily perform a side-by-side comparison of the features of various Windows Mobile devices. A quick glance at this chart reveals that only 6 devices out of the 69 on the chart contain a 624 MHz processor. That's a mere 8.7%. But a closer examination paints an even more dismal picture: of these 6, one has recently been discontinued (the Dell Axim x51v) and 3 are "rugged" devices not fit for use by the average consumer, which for practical purposes leaves 2 out of 69 (2.9%) of devices with 624 MHz processors. To be fair, the chart does not contain every Windows Mobile device on the planet, but the picture that it reveals is nonetheless unmistakable.
A brief glance at the different sections of the chart reveals that most touchscreen-less smartphones contain atrophied 200 MHz or 312 MHz processors. The popular Motorola Q, for example, packs a weak 312 MHz punch, the also popular Samsung BlackJack an abysmal 220 MHz, effectively turning back the clock on mobile computing by three to five years.
It is an undeniable fact that the march towards greater processing power has stopped and that some blacksliding is occurring. It is also, arguably, certain that the touchscreen-less smartphone portion of the industry is leading the way. It's just a shame that they appear to have dragged the rest of the industry with them.