Earlier today, I received this rather curious cardboard box with the old style Windows symbol there. And with it being April 1st, this could only really mean one thing—I was being pranked by Microsoft. Except that there were real products that worked inside this box leading you to an actual, live thing that you can use on your Windows Phone. So I’m going to unbox the MS-DOS for Mobile.
For those of you who have been around technology as long as I have will know MS-DOS well. It was sort of the backbone of the Windows PC software. It’s where you typed in all your commands to launch programs. So when I was sent this, I really wanted to see how it worked.
Inside the box, we have three things. We have a 3.5-inch floppy disk and a USB compatible drive for that floppy disk, and a notepad made of floppy disks. It’s somewhat a recurring theme. So I obviously was skeptical to the fact that this was going to work at all. So I took it out and plugged it into my Mac and it worked. And perhaps one of the best things about this is that it gave me a proper nostalgia trip. When you power it on and put the 3.5-inch floppy disk into the drive, you get this sound. That took me right back to the early 90s when my whole technological life revolved around PCs and floppy disks. This was before we started using CD-ROMs at home. Let’s listen to that sound again.
So once I put the disk into the drive, I opened the Read Me text file and it gives you a link. So I put that into my Windows Phone, which in this case was the Lumia 735 and it launches an app in the Windows App Store. When you download this and open it up, you get MS-DOS on your Windows Phone. It actually works and you can type in commands to launch specific apps and functions on your device. So I tried a few. As you do, I got a lot wrong and it kept telling me I had a bad command or bad filename as MS-DOS used to do back in the 90s when I had no idea really what I was doing as a child.
But there were a few that I got to work. One of those was camera. When you put in camera, it gives you this sort of odd, unusual picture and you can use the front or the back camera on the phone, take it and save it onto your device. You can also email people by typing in email and then the email address, where it loads up this other screen where you can type your message and send it using the Outlook app on the phone. And it’s similar when you want to send a text message. You put SMS and then the number you want to send it to and then you can type your message and send it. And you can phone people.
But my favorite one was the Internet Explorer because as if the 3.5-inch floppy drive noise wasn’t enough to take me back to my childhood, when you go and try to launch Internet Explorer from MS-DOS for Mobile, you get the old dial tone which sounds a lot like this. It was rather awesome.
So this whole experience has been a bit of a joke and it’s one that’s worked really well because I enjoyed it a lot and if you’ve got a Windows Phone and you remember how things were back in the late 80s and early 90 or even actually early 80s if you’re old enough, then go ahead and download this onto your Windows Phone and let me know if you find any other commands that work.
Download MS DOS preview on to your Windows Phone: http://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/store/app/ms-dos-mobile/8573c4a8-b9df-4409-90a6-dad2dc0b6b26