Microsoft dished out some details about Windows Mobile 6.5 at the Mobile World Congress on February 16, 2009. Here’s a bulleted list of quick information:
- Expected to be released to Q4 2009 (late 2009)
- Mostly a minor update – A more jazzed up UI, some new services, and maybe a handful of new features. 6.1 to 6.5 isn’t a big leap after all…
- “Windows Phone” – Microsoft is working with handset makers to make some more ‘signature’ type phones that will be labeled as ‘Windows Phones’. These phones will have a dedicated Windows logo button on it (not sure what it does yet).
- Windows Mobile 6.5 ONLY available for Windows Phones – Seems Microsoft doesn’t want 6.1 users to upgrade. I don’t think that will stop XDA though…
So yeah, there is some new stuff, but not anything overexciting. Now about Windows Mobile 6.5 (as of now):
1. Updated home screen and application launcher – Actually, I think the new home screen really is the application launcher. Not entirely sure though. The icons are now arranged in hexagons, probably to help with touch screen support. (note: images might be pixelated)
2. New Lock Screen – Now displays information such as missed calls, voicemail, text, and whatnot.
3. New Phone Dialer:
4. Internet Explorer Mobile updated – Now renders in IE6 Desktop mode (IE6 on 6, get it?), actual zoom bar, choice of either rendering the plain “mobile” version or desktop version, and includes support for Adobe Flash.
There’s also two new services announced: My Phone (formerly Skybox) and Windows Marketplace for Mobile (formerly SkyMart):
1. My Phone – Skybox service allows you to back-up your phone’s data on the web. You can back-up Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, Text Messages, Photos, Videos, Music, and Document via your Windows Live ID account. I still think it should be called SkyDrive Mobile, but at least it beats Apple’s pathetic $99 MobileMe. It should work with 6.1 from what I’ve heard.
2. Windows Marketplace for Mobile – “a rich and integrated marketplace for searching, browsing and purchasing mobile applications from Windows® phones or from a PC by simply using a Windows Live ID”. It ONLY works on Windows Mobile 6.5 devices. Hopefully there will tons of great applications, and I hope it won’t get too much of a bureaucracy like the App Store for Apple is. Users can add applications, with a “simple security and compatibility check” to make sure it works. Now I really, really hope the applications are really great quality, and it’s not just a bunch of similar rubbish with nothing cool or unique about them. No screenshots.
Microsoft has also something new called Recite. With Recite, you can take voice notes, and if you’re looking for a particular voice note, you can just simply say the exact words you remembered saying, and Recite will be able to find the most likely matches. It can be quite useful, compared to having to hunt around through each voice note to remember which one it was.
You can download it right now.
So that’s really pretty much all that’s new with Windows Mobile. Most people seem to have responded with disappointment, and I would too if I was a Windows Mobile user. There’s really not much beyond a few UI changes, a service, a store and an updated IE. Most people were hoping some more bigger changes within the OS, but not with 6.5.
Hopefully by the time Windows Mobile 7 gets out, it really will be something worth looking forwards too, and won’t be too far behind in compelling users to like it.
Here’s a video of Microsoft’s WMC Keynote:
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Below are some worthwhile links: