This post is going to sound very anti-Windows Mobile and well . . . it sort of is.
I'm not a fan of Windows Mobile . . . it's up to version 6 now and it still . . . well . . . sucks. My friend has a T-Mobile Dash and when he upgraded it to WM6 and configured automatic updates and turned it off and then turned it back on - it was bricked - went into a reboot loop. I have countless other friends who have pretty lousy experiences with their Windows Mobile devices that sadly - they've just come to accept and learned to live with. Many simply reset their phones periodically when things 'start to get wierd'. From the phone slowing down over time and needing to be hard reset, to lock-ups to over-compressed sounding low quality phone calls . . . I've come to really dislike the Windows Mobile experience. It's largely why I use a RAZR. It just works. It's sleek and wearable, durable, and the call quality is superb - it's literally the best sounding phone I've ever owned. When I call my wife's RAZR from mine it sounds better than our land lines (which I'd get rid of if I didn't need DSL to sustain life). Yes the phone is THAT good. The best part? I never reboot it. It never locks up (not ever), I never turn it off (well except for occasionally on planes). It just works and it does exactly what I want it to do very well - be a phone. The only non-phone thing I've ever really wanted to do with it is transfer pictures off of it and now that I have a bluetooth capable notebook + Vista - I can do that very easily as well. Again - it just works.
With that rant aside - you will probably watch this video and be on one of two sides of a fence depending on whether you are pre-disposed towards liking Windows Mobile, or if you are like me and you do not: http://blogs.zdnet.com/mobile-gadgeteer/?p=392
If you are like me - you will only shake your head in disgust as you watch a Windows Mobile device *try* to be an iPhone while at the same time exemplifying what it is that I really don't like about Windows Mobile (16-bit looking applications, inconsistent and confusing user interface, almost as if no one has ever done a single usability study).
Or if you already own a Pocket PC you may be excited that 'hey - it sort of kind of approximates an iPhone - cool!' and you'll be willing to live with the glitches and quirks.
I DO think the iPhone is going to do really well and I DO think it has set a bar which we must strive to meet . . . but no I probably won't buy one . . . for $600 I'd rather buy a notebook . . . or a 360 Elite. And that brings me (partly) to why I also don't own a Windows Mobile device . . . even though prices have come down to $200-$300 for a decent device . . . I also find myself not really interested in owning one. I don't *want* to check my e-mail every second of the day. I'm on-line enough as it is . . . owning a phone like that will encourage yet even more anti-social behavior. I enjoy my time off from the Internet . . . it seems that everywhere I go these days people spend more time looking at their phones than they do other people. My friends check their email all throughout lunch . . . hell - I played poker the other night and two of the players there were pretty much on their phones the whole night.
You know in defense of the mobile phone. I hate phones period. It unfortunately is a necessary evil. Also I have DSL without a land line. As long as your DSL is supplied by a DSL company and not the phone company you have to have a phone to get it hooked up, but after they hook it up you can cancel the phone service the DSL remains hooked up. I learned this about 1995 when I gave up land lines forever. Like you I see where you would rather have a laptop. However the pocket PC portion comes in very handy. I guess more so for me since I am a programmer. For the average user I can see the drawbacks. The greatest thing to me anyway that happened to mobile phones is the .net framework. Me personal website has a password protected area where family can go in and update the grocery list anywhere anytime. So when I go to the grocery I can just reference that list while there in the store on the web.
Google maps for mobile with updated traffic info is a must have I love that. Also with a Bluetooth GPS it is a navigation system. They really thought about the Google maps on the phone. When away or out of town I just pinpoint my current location and then do a find nearby business, Like say I want pizza, find the pizza place I want and then just right click on them on the map and click dial them as they have the phone number as well. I have used this feature a ton. Unfortunately this is not a MS feature built right in but hey still windows mobile only.
Another thing I did a long time ago. Even though I run my own web servers and stuff I got so tired of battling spam. When windows Live came out they also added the domains.live.com which you can point your email for your domain over to there. This is a beautiful thing. This one feature has made me use more and more "live" stuff. Unfortunately Mobile 6 review coming out are bad because of processors it seems it is very slow. So I will stick with mobile 5 for a while but I am really looking forward to the new live integration into the mobile 6 OS.
I have used my mobile in several situations where a laptop would have just been to clunky and bulky to carry around. While I agree though it seems some of the actual phones seem to be much better at the phone portion. To me in my life I view having a phone as a necessary evil. However I also do not need to take my music with me wherever I go either. So to my I do not understand the Iphone myself. When I go to the gym to workout I grab my zen micro strap it on my arm and leave the phone in the locker room with the ringer off so it doesn't disturb people. So many people leave their ringers on which just annoys me I think in the public it should be on vibrate only.
So to me having the pocket PC is much more beneficial. The biggest improvement they could make to the phone part as far as I am concerned is increase space for Apps and Data. I could care less about music on there. Then one thing I can not believe that have yet to do which basic phones have been doing forever. I leave my phone on vibrate at all times however when I plug it in to the charger is it too much to ask to turn the ringer on automatically as I can not feel it vibrate in when it is not attached.
I write software for 'enterprise' mobile devices. Windows Mobile is a real pain because the shell and other PDA components keep getting in the way. I much prefer the custom Windows CE platforms.
Having said that, the non-phone WM devices are way more reliable, in general, than the phone devices. I get the impression that the Radio Interface Layer driver that controls the phone hardware is infeasibly hard to write. Someone needs to simplify that interface, stat.