Mere days after it was unveiled to the public for the first time, a phone loaded with an upcoming version of Microsoft's operating system for "Windows Phones" was stolen right out of the pocket of a Telstra executive. The prototype HTC smartphone was loaded with Windows Mobile 6.5, which features an improved user interface and a much friendlier user experience. DailyTech covered it earlier this week, and it has since met with a generally positive welcome.
The theft took place at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2009, which was held at Barcelona this week. The MWC is an annual convention where the latest mobile and wireless products and trends are being showcased by device makers and Telcos. Other handsets shown with Windows Mobile 6.5 at the MWC include devices from phone maker LG. It is not known whether the pinched device is an HTC Touch Diamond 2 or the Touch Pro 2.
The stolen phone belonged to Telstra chief executive Sol Trujillo, who was testing the device before its release at the end of the year. It is understood, however, that the device was in the possession of another unnamed Telstra executive at the time of the theft, which has since been confirmed by a spokesperson for the Australian telecommunications company.
New smartphones are typically given out to high-level Telco executives for testing prior to their actual launch.
Microsoft has played down the implications of the theft in the meantime. A spokesman said, "Although we regret that the prototype given to Telstra was misplaced, we don't envisage the loss of one Windows Mobile 6.5 phone in Barcelona as impacting Microsoft in any way."
The MWC this year was apparently marred by various pick pocketing, theft and street crime that took place during the congress. According to The Inquirer, the problem was so bad that GSMA told the mayor of Barcelona that the venue would be moved if the level of theft did not improve.
There were reports of other participants that had their mobile phone stolen while at least one participant was admitted at a Barcelona hospital after being stabbed.
Indeed, a journalist who lost a rucksack containing all her possessions recapped her experience at the local police station. She said, "There were about 10 of us at the police station, and the victims ... were from different countries and race groups, representing a wide spectrum of ICT companies, all attending the Mobile World Congress."
Assuming they don’t appear on eBay earlier, smartphones running Windows Mobile 6.5 should be released soon.