Windows Mobile 6.5 preview

Today i’d like to share my impressions about the upcoming release of windows mobile 6.5. The first devices with wm 6.5 preinstalled should be available by the end of this year. OSNN.NET posted an interesting hands-on preview for windows mobile 6.5, where you can check out the new features and first impressions based on a leaked beta rom.

Windows Mobile 6.5 start menu
Windows Mobile 6.5 start menu

While the author of the article electronic punk seems to be quite happy with the new features, i can’t say the same about me. If anything i’m underwhelmed by the stuff microsoft presented so far. Nearly all the praised new features look like steps backwards to me:

  • New start menu: i don’t see any benefit here. The old start menu was nothing particularly bad, and the new one is not anything special to rave about. Windows mobile has much more pressing issues to take care of. Please note that the honeycomb lines are gone on the newest iterations of wm6.5, but then again this doesn’t change much about the fact that this just isn’t a killer feature at all.
  • New today screen: just take a look what kind of polished user interfaces other big players like apple and palm are providing us with their new devices. And what is microsofts answer? They give us a today screen filled with text links. I think this is totally the wrong direction.
  • OS speed: This is the single most important issue for any wm user. We want a speedy device again, like the mdacompact back then with wm 2003 se. But it is way to early to know anything about that. We have to wait until the first wm 6.5 devices hit the market, fill them up with many apps, and then see if the os is still responsive. A completely new device without any 3rd party apps will always seem fast, but the real deal is to get a fully upgraded device with good speed.

The only really interesting feature is the planned widget support for the internet explorer. While anybody can tell already now that the general browsing experience with the IE won’t come anything near to opera mobile, the widgets have a lot of potential and im curious to see how microsoft will pull that one off.

Actually i believe that anybody getting a Touch Diamond 2, coming with the latest iteration of the TouchFLO3D today plugin, won’t be impressed by the wm 6.5 features at all. Because htc just builded the better user interface around the Windows Mobile framework, which is so much more attractive and functional than anything which we could see up to now about wm6.5.

Windows Mobile 6.5 todayscreen
Windows Mobile 6.5 todayscreen

My main problem is that microsoft really doesn’t have the time to delay Windows Mobile 7 much longer, because other companies are not sleeping. They are bringing out new devices THIS year, and the minimalistic updates of wm 6.5 just don’t seem good enough to satisfy the needs of the consumers. I was hoping for a much bigger splash, but in the end wm 6.5 seems to be a minor upgrade which packs only a few more features than the upgrade from wm 6.0 to wm 6.1 did. Therefore i believe wm will lose more ground, and my real hope is that Windows Mobile 7 will be finally a complete makeover, and Microsoft will take the chance and present a cutting edge mobile os again.

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