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Accepting the inevitable

John Ottini | Hanheld PC Reviews
13 June 2005

Recently, we've had a number of Handheld PC developers who have decided (or are in the process of deciding) to either, reduce the price or simply release there once, commercial or shareware products as 'unsupported freeware'. Many in the H/PC community seem to applaud this outcome; at least the software won't be added to the on-going list of 'abandon-ware' and after all who doesn't want 'free software'. Still, it's a bit sad that in exchange for reduced prices or freeware; we are willing to celebrate the fact that one more developer has chosen to abandon our platform.

I have contacted many H/PC software developers and time and time again, I heard the same story. The Handheld PC platform is dead! No new devices and no new sales. There's no way to stimulate sales, even reducing the price of their software changes nothing. Developers are reducing the price, but not to stimulate sales, but because they are not going to support the platform anymore.

When I point out that the Handheld PC 'community' is not dead, but is still vibrant, many of the developers agree, but they tell me that people who wanted to buy their software did so years ago and people who have recently discovered H/PC's, (for whatever reason) just aren't purchasing software.

Some H/PC owners will counter these statements with the fact that they have not purchased the software because it has not been updated in a long time and does not contain all of the new features available in the Pocket PC version. It's easy to understand both sides of the issue, but the fact is (whether we like it or not), developers support decisions are based on sales, they have to spend support dollars and allocate manpower upfront and hope that (at the very least) they can recoup their costs and hopefully make a profit. From what I am hearing, sales within the H/PC community are not enough to continue support for the platform and therefore the development dollars have flowed to support the Pocket PC community.

Sadly, quite a few of the developers I have contacted are great supporters of the H/PC platform and actually prefer it to the Pocket PC platform, but the sales numbers have dwindled to a trickle and tough financial decisions had to be made.

So, we have gone from hoping for new H/PC software development to simply trying to preserve the existing H/PC software base, while learning to recognize and accept the inevitable.

Bittersweet, isn't it?

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