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The Windows Mobile 6 Naming Scheme: Device Differences & Similarities



It used to be so clear.  There were Pocket PCs, which were Windows Mobile PDAs with touchscreens.  Pocket PC Phones were nearly identical to Pocket PCs, but with added phone hardware and software.  And finally, there were Smartphones, non-touchscreen Windows Mobile phones with limited PIM functionality.  Pocket PCs, Pocket PC Phones and Smartphones lived together in near-perfect harmony - that is, until Microsoft decided to confuse everyone by altering their naming system.

With the release of the Windows Mobile 6 operating system in mid-2007, Microsoft changed the naming scheme of Windows powered handheld devices, exacerbating users' confusion with software compatibility, device features and more.  In this article, we'll attempt to sort out the naming maze.


With Windows Mobile 6, the three types of devices listed above still exist, but what we're supposed to call them has changed.  The term "Pocket PC" has been dropped entirely from the Microsoft vocabulary, with new focus on the terms "Windows Mobile" and "Windows Phone."

The Windows Mobile 6 OS comes in three different flavors, one for each of the three device types.  The device types now get their names from the type of OS it runs.



Windows Mobile 6 Classic (PDAs)

The OS for regular ol' Windows Mobile 6 powered touchscreen PDAs is called Windows Mobile 6 Classic.  Devices running Windows Mobile 6 Classic are now supposed to be called Windows Mobile PDAs (what we used to call a Pocket PC).  WM6 Classic devices are compatible with standard touchscreen Windows Mobile software

An example of a Windows Mobile 6 Classic PDA is the HP iPAQ 210 Enterprise Handheld.


Windows Mobile PDA (Running WM6 Classic)


Windows Mobile 6 Professional (Touchscreen Phones)

What we used to call Pocket PC Phones, touchscreen devices with added phone capabilities, are now called Windows Mobile Professional Smartphones since they run Windows Mobile 6 Professional.  Yes, we know "Smartphone" used to mean non-touchscreen device in Microsoft-speak, but "smartphone" can now mean either touchscreen and non-touchscreen Windows Mobile Phones. 

Windows Mobile 6 Professional is identical to WM6 Classic, except for the phone functionality, so WM6 Professional and WM6 Classic devices each use the same software, Windows Mobile touchscreen software.

An example of a Windows Mobile 6 Professional Smartphone is the HTC Touch Pro.


WM6 Professional Smartphone



Windows Mobile 6 Standard (non-Touchscreen Phones)

Windows Mobile for Smartphones is now Windows Mobile 6 Standard, and devices running WM6 Standard are called Windows Mobile 6 Standard Smartphones.  These are non-touchscreen devices with an OS similar to WM6 Professional and Classic, but with important differences. 

Devices running WM6 Standard WILL NOT run software designed for the WM6 Professional and Classic touchscreen devices.  Standard Smartphones require different software.

An example of a Windows Mobile 6 Standard Smartphone is the Samsung Jack.


WM6 Standard Smartphone



If you own a Windows Mobile 6 device without a built-in phone, you have a Classic Windows Mobile PDA.  All Windows Mobile 6 Classic PDAs have touchscreens.

If you own a Windows Mobile 6 Smartphone and you're unsure whether your smartphone is a runs Windows Mobile 6 Professional or Windows Mobile 6 Standard, the easiest way to tell is by its screen type.  Touchscreen WM6 Smartphones are Professional Smartphones, non-touchscreen smartphones are Standard Smartphones. 




Over the last few years, Pocket PC Central has gone to great lengths to draw the line between Pocket PCs and Smartphones boldly and clearly.  Pocket PCs and Pocket PC Phones were one type of device, Windows Mobile Smartphones were another.  Due to the new naming scheme introduced with Windows Mobile 6, this task is now much more difficult. Now all Windows Mobile phone devices are called Smartphones, even though WM6 Professional Smartphones are entirely different from WM6 Standard Smartphones.

While this new naming model makes even less sense to us than the previous model, we must take steps to reflect the new naming scheme to keep from further confusing Windows Mobile users.

In all future writings, we will use the new naming scheme.  We will do our utmost to draw a distinction between Windows Mobile devices with touchscreens and those without. Please be patient as we attempt to change older postings to reflect this new naming scheme when applicable.  


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