Play With Microsoft’s Lousy Old Mobile OS From Inside Their Great New One

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The Dangerous “Research Works Act”

Windows Phone is great. Really, if you’re a phone geek and you haven’t played with it before, you owe it yourself to give it a shot. Windows Mobile on the other hand… wasn’t. It was arguably good enough for the time, but despite Microsoft’s efforts to breathe new life into it, Windows Mobile ultimately fell into disuse while more robust mobile operating systems took over.

Thanks to a new project from Windows Phone hacker Cotulla though, Windows Mobile is back and running smoother than ever from inside Microsoft’s modern smartphone OS.

The handset in question is an HTC Gold (perhaps better known as the HD7 around these parts), and its decidedly more modern hardware has made for some impressive performance for the aging OS. Windows Mobile has never looked better — navigating through menus, folders and applications seems quick and responsive, not to mention that the classic TCPMP media player handles a demo video without a hitch.

Best of all, the Windows Mobile emulator plays well with Windows Phone 7.5’s quick app switcher, so it’s a breeze to switch between doing actual work and wallowing in nostalgia. Sadly, there’s no word yet on how Cotulla and his team got the hack to work, nor on if/when it will be made available to interested tinkerers. True Microsoft mobile historians will be glad to know, however, that the team is also working on a version that brings the slightly-revamped Windows Mobile 6.5 build to Windows Phone 7.5.

We’ve seen this sort of anachronistic geekery in the past — Palm’s Classic emulator comes to mind — and it’s a great way for users to cultivate a sense of historical context. Without having to switch devices, users can get a glimpse of mobile computing’s past and present and realize how far things have come in just a few years.