windows mobile 6.5 screenshot
Image Credit: Nicholaschan (via Flickr)

Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.5 Released!

windows mobile 6.5 screenshot
Image Credit: Nicholaschan (via Flickr)
We’ve been talking about Windows Mobile 6.5 for months and finally you can get your hands on it.  It launched on Oct 6, 2009. WM6.5 is being backed by most major players.

In Europe, mobile operators Orange, Vodafone and Deutsche Telekom AG (T-Mobile); and Samsung, Acer, Sony Ericsson, LG Electronics, HTC and Toshiba.

AT&T has announced two phones based on Windows Mobile 6.5: The HTC Tilt 2 and the Pure.  Microsoft expects to have a huge variety of phones running the OS by the end of the year, which includes touch screen phones with slide-out keyboards, compact flip phones as well as sleek full-keyboard smartphones.

With this version, Microsoft seems to get its mobile platform in order.  Here are some improvements in 6.5 compared to the previous version.

New Today screen – Although, the classic Today screen is still there, 6.5 comes in a new version that gives this mobile a fresh look.  Unfortunately, the users may not be able to experience this screen as some manufacturers replace it with their customization, such as HTC.

Honeycomb Start screen – The old screen with all those boring old icons is gone and in its place is a beautifully themed list of modern images for default apps.

The Start menu does not exist and users can go to the new Start screen by pressing the Windows icon in the upper left of the screen.

Credit: Techfever (via Flickr)
Credit: Techfever (via Flickr)
New lock screen – This one needs to be appreciated.  Instead of just having one way to get back into the mobile, the lock screen in 6.5 gives users various points of entry depending on the status.

For example, if there is a new text message, users can go directly to that through a separate unlock route.

MSN Widget – Allows users to get real-time information on stocks, sport scores, weather and others.

Gesture support – This new feature allows users to scroll through web pages, contacts and other screens using just simple drags, clicks and taps.

Windows Marketplace – The Windows Marketplace takes WM6.5 into the world of managed mobile app stores.

Users will be able to download the latest apps for the phone.  It will be made available to 6 and 6.1 versions also.  Answer to the iPhone?

Windows Media Player Mobile – Users can view the video on full-screen and the song or video can be paused to receive a call.

Designer themes – Microsoft entered into deals with many international well-known fashion designers and artists to provide exclusive themes that are shipped free of charge.

Users are given the option to create their own themes on a PC and transfer them to the phone.

Restyled Internet Explorer – Finally, we come to the most important feature of Windows Mobile 6.5, which is the Internet Explorer Mobile 6.  It enriches web viewing by bringing the desktop browsing experience to the mobile.  It is easy to use with just a swipe of the finger and uses the latest technologies to make viewing all sorts of pages extremely easy.

The company has also added a good looking UI, better HTML support, new JavaScript engine and a zoom slider.  Overall, this feature is something users are going to enjoy immensely.

Apart from the above mentioned changes, everything else remains almost the same.  Microsoft wants this 6.5 version to concentrate on touch, by replacing the old stylus with the finger-friendly menu.

Another major thing with this mobile is the on-list scrolling with which users can avoid touching the thin scrollbar.  This is great for users who spend their time messaging and emailing.

Find My Phone Service

Another good service to note is “Find My Phone” which is a service used to locate a missing phone, make it ring even if it is set to vibrate or even lock or wipe the device remotely.  This service costs $5 per use only, unlike Apple’s iPhone-finding service that requires a yearly subscription of $99/year.

We have to see if all these changes and improvements in Windows Mobile 6.5 will see Microsoft coming back into the smartphone market, what with the rising competition from free alternatives like the Android.

While 6.5 is said to be released as a placeholder to Windows Mobile, a larger overhaul is expected in Windows Mobile 7 (codename “Photon”), which will debut sometime next year.

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