April 5, 2006 10:39 AM PDT

Microsoft mobile OS lands its biggest deal

Microsoft has won its biggest contract to date for the use of its Windows Mobile operating system, in a deal with the U.S. Census Bureau.

The agency has signed up for 500,000 smart phones made by handset manufacturer HTC. They will run Windows Mobile 5.0 and be used to take the 2010 census.

It is a high-tech move for the agency. The bureau had previously used paper and pen to take U.S. citizens' details, which were then digitized by data entry staff.

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Mobile operators, handset makers and network gear specialists are rolling out new products and big plans at CTIA Wireless 2006.

The Microsoft contract forms part of a wider $600 million, five-year deal with Harris, a Florida company running the data collection project, that involves the automation of field data collection. The move is aimed at cutting the time, labor costs and errors involved in manual data collection and input.

The deal is not only the largest Microsoft has ever received for mobile devices but also one of the biggest public deals for smart phones in the industry.

Between 2004 and 2005, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant saw shipments double, from 3 million to 6 million, for devices loaded with its mobile OS. But it remains one of the smallest vendors in the sector by market share. The Symbian operating system is the sector's current heavy-hitter, with more than 60 percent market share, according to figures from research firm Gartner.

Tony Cripps, an analyst at Ovum, said that Symbian likely was beaten to the deal by Microsoft because of a difference in availability. "In America, there are very few Symbian devices on the market capable of doing this job," he said.

"It reinforces the appeal of Windows Mobile in the enterprise," Cripps added. "What this might suggest is that people do want to use their mobile devices for more than e-mail, so enterprises may need to examine their options more closely in the future."

Smart phones are becoming more popular, according to a recent report from ABI Research. The functionality-laden devices will make up 15 percent of all phones sold this year, the report said.

Jo Best of Silicon.com reported from London.

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data collection, CTIA, handset, Microsoft Windows Mobile, data entry

42 comments

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Great!...
Eh-hum...Just dont let the batteries die...
Posted by SystemsJunky (409 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Thats more a hardware issue!!!
Batteries are more a hardware issue!!!

OS does play a role with resources. It is possible to customize windows mobile pc to not load most of the battery draining modules.
Posted by Tanjore (322 comments )
Link Flag
Check this blog out (link).
Check this blog how mobile pc take care of battery issue.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://blogs.msdn.com/windowsmobile/archive/2005/07/14/438991.aspx" target="_newWindow">http://blogs.msdn.com/windowsmobile/archive/2005/07/14/438991.aspx</a>
Posted by Tanjore (322 comments )
Link Flag
Great!...
Eh-hum...Just dont let the batteries die...
Posted by SystemsJunky (409 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Thats more a hardware issue!!!
Batteries are more a hardware issue!!!

OS does play a role with resources. It is possible to customize windows mobile pc to not load most of the battery draining modules.
Posted by Tanjore (322 comments )
Link Flag
Check this blog out (link).
Check this blog how mobile pc take care of battery issue.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://blogs.msdn.com/windowsmobile/archive/2005/07/14/438991.aspx" target="_newWindow">http://blogs.msdn.com/windowsmobile/archive/2005/07/14/438991.aspx</a>
Posted by Tanjore (322 comments )
Link Flag
Dumb move.
Why sign a contract now for census work in 2010? At the pace that
tech moves whatever they get out of this will be outdated before
it's even put to use.
Posted by hal Summers (80 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Outdated
These are going to be strictly for data entry...no phone/email/internet...

Thus...they will likely still be very usable for the function they are going to perform.
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Link Flag
No its now
"Why sign a contract now for census work in 2010? At the pace that tech moves whatever they get out of this will be outdated before it's even put to use."

You dont know much about the Census, do you?

For one, they start years before the full census gets underway. They need to 'pre-canvas' and go and double check addresses, maps, etc - all of which was done with paper in the past.

Two, it is a MASSIVE undertaking. MASSIVE. Its not like setting up an online poll for your blog or something. It involves hundreds of thousands of people, massive logistics, thousands of temporary offices, and lots and lots of training of people in different jobs. Its not something you prepare last minute for.

Also, the system they'll be using for data capture needs to be written and tested. Again, this isnt like uploading your daily thoughts to MySpace. The data capture apps are going to take a while to produce, so the developers need to know under what platform they'll be running. 2009 is NOT that far away, so a 3 year old OS is not that out of date.

And then, of course, it'll take time to make all those units in the first place.

So basically, grow up. I know it makes people feel better about themselves to immediate call other people dumb. Its a very non-flattering trait you see a lot of online. But its also very childish. I've worked the Census people in the past, and if there's one organization in the government other than the military that knows how to handle a massive operation, its them.
Posted by (402 comments )
Link Flag
Dumb move.
Why sign a contract now for census work in 2010? At the pace that
tech moves whatever they get out of this will be outdated before
it's even put to use.
Posted by hal Summers (80 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Outdated
These are going to be strictly for data entry...no phone/email/internet...

Thus...they will likely still be very usable for the function they are going to perform.
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Link Flag
No its now
"Why sign a contract now for census work in 2010? At the pace that tech moves whatever they get out of this will be outdated before it's even put to use."

You dont know much about the Census, do you?

For one, they start years before the full census gets underway. They need to 'pre-canvas' and go and double check addresses, maps, etc - all of which was done with paper in the past.

Two, it is a MASSIVE undertaking. MASSIVE. Its not like setting up an online poll for your blog or something. It involves hundreds of thousands of people, massive logistics, thousands of temporary offices, and lots and lots of training of people in different jobs. Its not something you prepare last minute for.

Also, the system they'll be using for data capture needs to be written and tested. Again, this isnt like uploading your daily thoughts to MySpace. The data capture apps are going to take a while to produce, so the developers need to know under what platform they'll be running. 2009 is NOT that far away, so a 3 year old OS is not that out of date.

And then, of course, it'll take time to make all those units in the first place.

So basically, grow up. I know it makes people feel better about themselves to immediate call other people dumb. Its a very non-flattering trait you see a lot of online. But its also very childish. I've worked the Census people in the past, and if there's one organization in the government other than the military that knows how to handle a massive operation, its them.
Posted by (402 comments )
Link Flag
Yeah Yeah Yeah
Again... Where's Vista?
Posted by ServedUp (413 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista?
They're not using Vista, they're using WinCE. Read the article.
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
Link Flag
huh?
How is that relevant? I'm sure when windows mobile v6 ships in 2-3 years, it will be Vista-like.
Posted by frankwick (413 comments )
Link Flag
You're not a Beatle, stop singing their songs
You're off-key and off-base. If MS only produced one product your pathetic little complaint posted to all these various stories would carry some weight but since MS produces hundreds of products you only look the fool for suggesting that they shouldn't work on anything except the one product you want to complain about. In fact you look even worse with your complaint to a story like this where the MS product being mentioned is an already available product and not something else being worked on or just released.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
Yeah Yeah Yeah
Again... Where's Vista?
Posted by ServedUp (413 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Vista?
They're not using Vista, they're using WinCE. Read the article.
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
Link Flag
huh?
How is that relevant? I'm sure when windows mobile v6 ships in 2-3 years, it will be Vista-like.
Posted by frankwick (413 comments )
Link Flag
You're not a Beatle, stop singing their songs
You're off-key and off-base. If MS only produced one product your pathetic little complaint posted to all these various stories would carry some weight but since MS produces hundreds of products you only look the fool for suggesting that they shouldn't work on anything except the one product you want to complain about. In fact you look even worse with your complaint to a story like this where the MS product being mentioned is an already available product and not something else being worked on or just released.
Posted by aabcdefghij987654321 (1721 comments )
Link Flag
Clarifications
This story makes it seem like these devices will be phone/email capable.

They will NOT be either.

Monty Wood from the Census Bureau already confirmed (yesterday) that these devices will not be able to be used for email/internet or phone. The Census bureau will continue to use Blackberry for that.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060404/ap_on_hi_te/census_mobile_devices" target="_newWindow">http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060404/ap_on_hi_te/census_mobile_devices</a>
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not true
just because they will use BB for phone and internet does not make the WinCE devices incapable of performing phone/internet functionality.

They *WILL* perform that functionality. That's how they will stay connected to the census network to upload data.
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
Link Flag
Clarifications
This story makes it seem like these devices will be phone/email capable.

They will NOT be either.

Monty Wood from the Census Bureau already confirmed (yesterday) that these devices will not be able to be used for email/internet or phone. The Census bureau will continue to use Blackberry for that.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060404/ap_on_hi_te/census_mobile_devices" target="_newWindow">http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060404/ap_on_hi_te/census_mobile_devices</a>
Posted by KsprayDad (375 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Not true
just because they will use BB for phone and internet does not make the WinCE devices incapable of performing phone/internet functionality.

They *WILL* perform that functionality. That's how they will stay connected to the census network to upload data.
Posted by KTLA_knew (385 comments )
Link Flag
 

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