Feeling nostalgic? DOS on Windows Phone


Updated: May 11, 2015

First, remember DOS? Yes, good stuff, good stuff. I've talked about DOS in the past, in how to set the operating system running in a virtual machine, and then how to play games using the excellent emulator called DOSBox. And then some. All in all, we've reviewed them fine 80s and 90s. Brings back the memories.

Second, I am going to do something I've never quite imagined. Review a mobile phone application with something almost approaching gusto. The thing is, apart from some extremely useful navigation software by Nokia, I've never seen any great need in special phone apps. This one stands out in the crowd, and so I'm going to trample my own morals into the dust, and give you five minutes of nostalgic spiel.

Connecting to the Internet!

MS-DOS Mobile, w00t

Some mistook this for an April's Fool joke, and if it is, who cares, it still gives the world a nifty little app to play with. Besides, best jokes are the least obvious ones, like social networks.

Anyhow, if you have a Windows Phone, you can run DOS on your smartphone. It will do all kinds of things, and nicely integrate into your overall touch environment. Essentially, it's a game, if you will, but it works, it works nicely, and you can actually use your phone in a weird sort of pseudo-CLI-touch hybrid mode, which ought to delight your non-existent friends and cause massive e-penis envy with Android and iPhone users.

What can you do with MS-DOS Mobile?

Install the app, launch it. You will see the command prompt. Now, you can actually type commands. For instance, 'internet' will open your browser. It won't be a relic, you will be using your standard, modern browsers but still. You will also get some funky modem dialing tones in 8-bit mono, just to add the ancient feel to your experience, although that kind of multimedia fun predates DOS.

Command prompt Internet

Connecting to the Internet!

Connecting to the Internetz! The inter-tubes are open now.

You can also run a sort-of full Windows 3.1, except it comes with a different subset of applications, and it is touch-enabled. Now, do your stuff with GUI. Wowsers. Then, there's the camera, and Microsoft has invested some geeky cycles into making it render images in turbo-retro-256-color VGA/VGA splendor, with resolutions approaching 144p in the best case. Probably far far less. End result, more e-penis envy from Android and iPhone users.

Windows 3.1 Windows 3.1 running

Launch camera Camera 1

Camera 2 Camera 3

More reading

Some more DOS-like fun:

Multiplayer - serial and IPX through DOSBox

DOSBox games collection reviews one and two and three

Leisure Suite Larry at your service

Conclusion

Sure, this is a nerdy joke. But still. Go crazy with the command prompt, see if you remember some of those old, obscure commands. It's a proper DOS shell, with some extra protections, which you did not have back then. So you won't really be able to format any drives, but you can sure do a bit of hands-on geekstery, for the sake of it.

Maybe Microsoft will expand this one day, and it might not be a bad idea, especially if they intend to integrate ancient DOS titles into their ecosystem. Either way, it's a rare moment when a superior being like me finds any sort of interest in the idiocracy domain that would be the smartphone, so it's a glorious moment indeed. If you can, download it, try it, go crazy, laugh for a moment, or whatever. Running autoexec.bat now. Bye.

Cheers.

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