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I'm not sure we can get a straight answer from ESRI on this question at his point because there is so much uncertainty with Microsoft in this area right now but "What is the future of ArcGIS Mobile for Windows?".

The concern is the diminishing future of Windows Mobile 6.x, which is probably the main platform ArcGIS mobile is designed for. When Microsoft recently announced they are changing the name of Windows Mobile to Windows Embedded Handheld, they have said a new version of this will be released in second half of 2011 and will utilize the latest development tools such as Visual Studio 2010 and Silverlight/XNA. They did say there is a clear migration path for 6.x apps but that sounds pretty vague to me.

That said, along with the fact you currently need Visual Studio 2008 and WinForms for ArcGIS Mobile development, I don't see it sticking around too much longer. I see ESRI efforts going more toward the iPhone, Android, Blackberry, and WP7 API's. Maybe the WP7 API will be the future for the new Windows Embedded Handheld OS? Any thoughts, predictions?

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This is more of a dicussion question with no real answer possible (unless an ESRI employee happens to come by and doesn't mind putting their job on the line to share proprietary information). –  Michael Todd Aug 31 '10 at 20:27
    
I agree with @Michael ; Stack Exchange sites and discussion forums have some overlap, but this format does not work well for discussion, and the value to future visitors is limited. –  JasonBirch Aug 31 '10 at 23:19
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I agree that this is very discussion oriented; however, I'm reluctant to vote to close this given that there are so few questions about mobile - even though interest in mobile app development is growing immensely. –  Kirk Kuykendall Sep 1 '10 at 17:44
    
Yeah, sorry about that, I did realize it was a borderline question and possibly more of a discussion but still wanted to ask it. I do think it's a very important one for Microsoft to give more clarity on their direction so ESRI can follow suit. –  wilbev Sep 1 '10 at 18:15

4 Answers 4

Good question (although as already mentioned - def a discussion with no clear answer)

I understand your predictions around iPhone/Android/etc, but Mobile still has its place. - I cant imagine surveyors switching over to smart phones for recording field information, but then I guess I can imagine some councils using smart phones to perhaps collect data such as basic asset information.

There has always been some "whats the difference between mobile and ArcPad", especially with ArcPad getting more access to AGS. I always suspected that perhaps they would merge the two separate functionalities of those products together.

There was a fair few videos around mobile at the last dev conference, and I know they have been pushing a fair bit on Mobile for v10. I think they realise that the mobile platform is an important one, and I personally am looking forward to finally doing some training in it soon.

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I agree, surveyors won't use smart phones but continue to use ruggedized handhelds like what Trimble sells. My main point with this question is what will be the next OS for these devices. It's kind of looking like the next OS, to be released in about a year, may not be compatible with the software used on these devices today. It's looking like the software will need to be built in Silverlight vs. WinForms. –  wilbev Sep 1 '10 at 18:18

WP7 supports two different platforms: XNA and Silverlight. While ESRI already has a Silverlight SDK, I haven't seen anything about XNA.

This WP7 Bing Maps game based on XNA looks interesting.

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Because of the differences between consumer devices and professional devices (ruggedised design, high initial outlay, low turnover) I suspect that at least for the short - medium term the software will continue to be compatible with Windows Mobile. It makes business sense ;)

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Yes, it makes business sense but I really think Esri is at the mercy of Microsoft here. Microsoft is suppose to release the successor to Windows Mobile on professional devices called Windows Embedded Handheld 7 in the second half of 2011. The key question is whether today's Window Mobile application's will run on this new OS? Or will it be more a clean break like with WP7? –  wilbev Oct 19 '10 at 16:31

If you look at the current situation, Mircosoft rolled out Windows embedded Compact 7 (formerly CE). Rather than hardware vendors ditching all of their firmware, engineering knowledge, retraining of employees etc. and needing to create everything from scratch, the path of least resistance is to continue on with this path.

A couple of reasons is that:

  1. It's Microsoft! Which Organisation/Company doesn't have it?
  2. Silverlight is supported on the WEC7 so you will nice groovy layouts. Have a look at how Windows 8 will be more like the Phone7 tiled experience. Evidence is already there in the XBOX UI, Zune and even the older Windows Media Player.
  3. A lot of these companies are publicly owned and they have to make their share holders money.

Of course I might be way off track but the path of least resistance always seems to be a big consideration, so I don't see too much changing in the next few years.

Cheers,

Gareth

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