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From 'Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Professional Edition' to 'Windows'

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Now that Microsoft is dropping the Windows Phone brand and simplifying it to just Windows, it’s time to look back at the company’s mixed history of mobile naming. Once upon a time there was Windows CE which served as the underpinnings for what became Pocket PC and then eventually Windows Mobile. Microsoft created Windows Mobile Professional for smartphones with touchscreens, Windows Mobile Standard for phones without touchscreens, and Windows Mobile Classic for personal digital assistants of Pocket PCs back in the day.

The result has been a confusing mix of names over more than 15 years. Microsoft’s more modern Windows Phone 7 operating system originally debuted as "Windows Phone 7 Series," before the company quickly realized its mistake. Windows Phone has held strong for nearly four years without any Professional, Classic, or Standard versions. Now Microsoft is planning to simplifying things even further to just Windows in its marketing. That still doesn’t mean the Windows desktop you’re used to is running on your phone, but in a world where modern apps can run across PC, phone, and Xbox, it sort of makes a lot more sense than some of these:

  • Windows CE
  • Pocket PC
  • Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Premium Edition
  • Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Professional Edition
  • Windows Mobile 2003 for Smartphone
  • Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Phone Edition
  • Windows Mobile 2003 SE
  • Windows Mobile 5.0 for Pocket PC
  • Windows Mobile 5.0 for Smartphones
  • Windows Mobile 6 Standard
  • Windows Mobile 6 Professional
  • Windows Mobile 6 Classic
  • Windows Embedded Handheld
  • Windows Phone 7 Series
  • Windows Phone 8.1 Update