Windows Mobile 6.5 Is Official, but Not Coming Soon

Discussion in 'Headline News' started by Ed Hardy, Feb 16, 2009.

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  1. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy TabletPCReview Editor Staff Member

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    Microsoft has just formally announced Windows Mobile 6.5, the next version of its operating system for high-end phones. This includes significant changes to its appearance, and is the first step in a new focus for this platform.

    Windows Mobile has generally appealed most to business users. Microsoft is clearly hoping to bring more consumers on board by changing the look of and design of the user interface.

    [​IMG]At the same time, Microsoft is following a trend toward finger-friendly designs. Previous versions of Windows Mobile were built with the assumption users would control them with a stylus, and therefore items are often small and close together. With 6.5, that has changed.

    Both of these can be seen in the new Today Screen. This is a modified version of the old Today Screen that has been redesigned with larger elements. And while many of the items from the previous design will still be there -- the clock, the number of unread messages, and upcoming appointments -- new consumer-oriented items have been added. This includes ties to the music player, picture viewer, and web browser.

    Still a Ways Away
    Before anyone gets too excited about Windows Mobile 6.5's new design, it's important to note that this new version's release is still more than half a year away. This upgrade is still only an alpha, not yet even abeta, and Microsoft says the first models based on 6.5 won't hit the market until October at the earliest.

    Nevertheless, a number of companies are announcing smartphones this week at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow thatare expected toeventually run the new version of this operating system. But many of them won't have to wait until next fall; they are doing to be introduced earlier with Windows Mobile 6.1, and upgrades will be released later.

    The list of newly-announced models includes:

    Note: Check back for an updated list of newly announced models.

    More about Windows Mobile 6.5's Design Changes
    The redesign of the Today Screen is only the beginning of the changes in Windows Mobile 6.5. Another significant modification is the merging of the Start Menu and the Programs screen.

    [​IMG]Previously, the Start Menu was a drop-down list of the user's favorite applications, while the Programs screen listed had all the software installed on the device. In the new version of 6.5, tapping on the Start icon opens up a screen listing all the apps. Each title is displayed in a large hexagonal tile, making it easier to select with a finger. And the user will be able to re-order the items on this screen.

    Another major change is the re-design of the Unlock Screen, which has been made far more useful. In addition to a simple system for unlocking the device, this screen has been enhanced to give the user an update of what's happening with their smartphone without fully activating it.

    As always, usersare able to change the theme of the OS, which allows them to choose a background picture for many screens, and also alter the general coloring.

    There are other, less dramatic changes made throughout the operating system. For example, the Incoming Call Screenand Phone Dialerhave new looks.

    Although one of the major goals of Windows Mobile 6.5 is to make it more finger friendly, Microsoft isn't including a redesigned on-screen keyboard with this upgrade. Instead, it will depend on the licensees for this important feature.

    Non-Cosmetic Changes
    [​IMG]This OS upgrade willinclude Internet Explorer Mobile 6 -- a newer version of this web browser. This offers a greatly improved rendering engine and support for new types of embeddedstreaming video, including Adobe Flash and Microsoft Silverlight. It will also allow users to easily zoom in and out on web pages.

    There may well be other non-cosmetic changes in this new version, but Microsoft has not yet revealed details on these.

    AllImages:

    Video of the Announcement

    <iframe src="http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/silverlightApps/videoplayer2/standalone.aspx?contentId=MobileWorldCongres_pressconference&amp;src=/presspass/events/MobileWorldCongress/pageResources/playlist.xml&amp;WT.cg_n=MobileWorldCongress&amp;WT.z_convert=embed" height='334' scrolling="no" width='400' frameborder='0'></iframe>

    Source: Microsoft

     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 20, 2015
  2. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy TabletPCReview Editor Staff Member

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    I have seen several demonstrations of Windows Mobile 6.5 now, and so far I'm pleased with the direction Microsoft is going.

    The combination of the Start Menu and the Programs screen seems like a nice improvement, especially when you factor in that it's more fingertip friendly. Still, I've asked Microsoft to make it easier to re-order items on this screen. Currently, the controls for handling this are a bit primitive.

    For those of you who don't like the looks of the new Start Menu, the classic one will still be available. Which is good, because plug-ins don't work on the new version.

    The inclusion of IE Mobile 6.0 is nice, but way, way overdue.

    p.s. If you watch any of the video of WM6.5 in action, keep in mind that you're looking at an alpha that's going to perform much more slowly than the final version will.
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  3. CTSLICK

    CTSLICK Horsepower not Decals

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    Changes to the front end UI will be welcome but where's my upcoming meeting list? More important to me...will they do something to make the entire interface more finger friendly? Anyone who has tried to poke and prod a new calendar appointment into a Windows Mobile device using only a finger will back me on this. It's darn hard and it doesn't have to be. And if they don't re-design to this level then how is 6.5 different than any other shell program I can buy today aside from the fact that it doesn't eat up my RAM?
     
  4. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy TabletPCReview Editor Staff Member

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    With Windows Mobile 6.5 still an alpha, Microsoft is being careful what it demonstrates.

    Still, one of the trends I'm noticing in the new WM devices being announced is larger screens. Not just higher-resolution, but more screen real estate. For example, the Touch Pro has a 2.8-inch screen, while its replacement will have a 3.6 inch one. This will make these devices much more finger friendly.

    I use an HTC Touch HD without a stylus all the time because it has such a large screen (3.8 inch). The HTC Touch Diamond runs the same OS, but its screen is so much smaller a stylus is required far more frequently.
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  5. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy TabletPCReview Editor Staff Member

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    Microsoft has released a video of the WM6.5 announcment at MWC, and I've embedded it in the article. You'll need Silverlight to see it.
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  6. Toe

    Toe Mobile Evangelist

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  7. Ed Hardy

    Ed Hardy TabletPCReview Editor Staff Member

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    Let me save everyone a click and embed the video Toe mentioned here:

    <object width='425' height='344'><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/5AViGF2I-xY&hl=en&fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/5AViGF2I-xY&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width='425' height='344'></embed></object>
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2015
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