Mobile World Congress is now happening in Barcelona. During Microsoft’s press conference, Steve Ballmer revealed Windows Mobile 6.5. An update to what’s what’s widely regarded as a pretty terrible mobile experience.
Surprisingly Windows Mobile 6.5 actually packs some new features.
– A new home screen and UI.
– Updated IE browser
– Windows Marketplace for Mobile
– My Phone sync to pc.
Gizmodo have a great hands on video of the new UI.
The interaction looks clean, and fast, one subtlety is that it doesn’t appear to use multi-touch. This is no doubt related to Apple’s multi-touch patent. Whilst they’ve done a reasonable job of getting around the problem in IE by providing a zoom slider. Despite this, the real benefit of multi-touch is shown in applications, there’s no getting around it, a single-touch device just simply can’t match the functionality of it’s multi-touch competitor. If this needs to be licensed, then get it done.
Also announced is new branding – “Windows Phones”. This will include a bunch of new phones running Windows Mobile 6.5 from HTC, LG and more.
The header icons definitely need some work, they’ve very Windows 3.1ish, but overall 6.5 looks like a good update. It may actually be a respectable competitor to other Mobile OS’s on the market. That is of course if the changes actually go further than the first 2 levels of UI. Previously manufacturers like HTC would write they’re own UI on top of Windows Mobile, only to get a couple levels down and be back to the ugly WinMo dialogs. This was playing cover-up, not fixing the solution.
Expect the fundamental changes to arrive next year when Windows Mobile 7 is released, the goal obviously being to have a seamless experience between Windows 7 to Windows Mobile 7, only time will tell if Microsoft can actually pull this off.
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