Microsoft's Windows Mobile 6.5: The good bits
Features worth checking out in the latest mobile OS
By Shane O'Neill | CIO US | Published: 11:40, 07 October 2009
The release of Windows Mobile 6.5 is not the complete overhaul that users have been demanding. For that the smartphone using public will have to wait for Windows Mobile 7, scheduled to release in the last quarter of 2010.
In the interim, Windows Mobile users are getting a fine tuning of version 6.1. Windows Mobile 6.5, available now on phones from manufacturers such as HTC, Samsung, Nokia and LG, is already facing criticism, and some of it harsh, for being just a slight renovation.
Even Steve Ballmer has admitted that the road to Windows Mobile has been rough. Additionally, a recent study forecasts Windows Mobile as a long shot to succeed in the competitive smartphone space that includes the iPhone, BlackBerry and Palm Pre.
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Nevertheless, Windows Mobile 6.5 does have noteworthy enhancements such as a whole new user interface, a mobile app store and a Web-based data backup service.
Here's what's new in Windows Mobile 6.5.
Improved User Interface
Windows Mobile 6.5 serves up Microsoft's most finger friendly mobile UI, with scrolling and panning through screens made easier. It has replaced all the stylus friendly menus with finger friendly menus. Also part of the redesigned UI is a new Start screen, which has eschewed the "honeycomb" look for a staggered list of more dimensional, modern looking icons.
A new Lock Screen is another UI area of improvement. In addition to simply locking and unlocking the device, the Lock Screen gives a user many points of entry directly back into notifications, such as a new text message or voice mail. So you can go from locked mode to reading a new text massage in one movement through a separate unlock slider.
The final big piece of the revamped UI is a new Today Screen that practically replicates the Zune home screen with a big fonted text list of commonly used functions such as calendar, e-mail, text, pictures and music that can be scrolled through with a highlighted bar.
Unfortunately, very few users will see the Today Screen because most of the devices shipping with Windows Mobile 6.5 have customised screens that will turn on by default and replace the Today Screen. Maybe this will change with Windows Mobile 7.