Windows Mobile 6.5 is nearly here. "For the record, Windows Mobile 6.5 is DONE . . . complete . . . looks really good," noted the Windows Mobile Developers Team on its Twitter account. The post was later deleted, but most believe it’s a sure sign that the update is nearing release.
The post puts the spot on the potential of the new release and its problems. First the potential; Windows Mobile 6.5 will offer key improvements from the previous version 6.1, including touch capability. It will be available on a rumored 31 smart phones, including models from HTC, Toshiba, Samsung, and Motorola.
Next the problem(s); Windows Mobile 6.5 will be eclipsed in under a year by the Windows Mobile take on Windows 7, aptly named Windows Mobile 7. WinMo 7 should bring many more improvements to the table -- and there's no telling what phones will be compatible with the new mobile OS.
In short, Windows Mobile 6.5 has an identity crisis -- it might tempt users to update, but it seems unlikely to snare a large volume of new business, as it will be quickly replaced by its own kin. For those updating, the new release tweaks the UI, replacing the small icons with larger ones allowing users to ditch the stylus and use finger navigation. Likewise, Internet Explorer Mobile has received an overhaul and is now touch friendly. The Today Screen has also been tweaked to allow items such as a music player to be added.
For those willing to wait, Windows 7 Mobile should bring much more, including a modern multi-touch interface, complete with scaling and zoom. It will also bring new versions of the company's mobile programs -- IE, email, SMS, photo/music management -- packaged together in a suite.
Others, though, will likely be lured away by the promise of Palm's new webOS featured on its upcoming Pre phone, or the OS X-sporting iPhone 3G. And Google's Android OS, aboard the G1 phone, remains yet another popular smart phone operating system.
Microsoft owns a large portion of the smart phone OS market share. However, its previous version of the OS was lagging behind competitors in certain key features, such as touch functionality. Windows Mobile 7 should even the playing field, but in the meantime customers will be offered Windows Mobile 6.5 -- a halfway OS that will likely find a tough time establishing its identity, though offering some new perks.