Windows Phones, and Windows Mobile 6.5

This is an interesting day for Windows Mobile fans. Microsoft has this new branding, Windows Phones. We have a new O/S, Windows Mobile 6.5. Phone companies around the world have announced new Windows phones. Why all of the excitement? It’s just a minor release – from 6.1 to 6.5. Right?

It is just a minor release, but I wouldn’t call it a “minor” release.  The O/S has a variety of enhancements that show the direction we’re moving to.

Here’s my take:

  • Yes, we all know that there is serious competition in the mobile phone space, and we are not in the top position. This 6.5 release addresses some of the issues, as you’ll see in several following points. It’s a set of improvements, while we wait for the larger engineering effort that’s hopefully going on in Redmond for the next big Windows Mobile release.
  • Improved device UI/UX, especially on newer phones. Working towards that “no stylus” touch experience. Yes, still works for Windows Mobile Standard devices too. (see pictures below, as well as the image gallery link below)
  • Improved browser (touch-enabled, zoom, reacts appropriately to orientation, works on large sites or small sites)
  • Addition of widgets. Maybe not exciting to most folks, but I think there is a real opportunity for a new audience to develop for the phone. I’ll have more posts on this in the future. A widget can also participate in the next point (new app store) as well as will have a story in the next big Windows Mobile release.
  • A new app store - Windows Marketplace for Mobile, built into Windows Mobile 6.5 devices. Being extended for other operating systems.
  • My Phone, an innovative service that helps mobile users in several ways (backup, photo sharing, lost phone, etc.). Will be supported on other Windows Mobile 6.X releases.
  • Several of our exec’s said today that there will be 30 new devices launching between today and end of the year, giving consumers plenty of choice. See the image gallery for pictures of several of these.
  • We get it. We focused on the enterprise, and missed the consumer focus. Now, we’ll be working on both, so your phone will be great at work, at play, and at life.

Hopefully, this gets you a better view of what today’s announcements are about. We see big things ahead for Windows Phones, and this is another step in that journey. Here’s more information to assist in your learning quest.


Robbie Bach’s Surprise Party

Robbie Bach is President, Entertainment & Devices Division, at Microsoft. He’s got a entertaining video that shows several of the highlights for new devices. The video is here on YouTube. The outline below are the promoted capabilities:

  • Microsoft My Phone
    • Back up your phone for free
    • Manage your contacts, photos and more online
    • Find and protect a lost phone
      • Ring the phone remotely, even if in SILENT mode
      • Wipe remotely
  • New Internet Explorer Mobile Browser
    • Use the Web with full page view
    • Easy zoom in and out
    • Browse with your finger
    • Jump to your favorites from the Today Screen
  • Start Menu
    • All of your stuff in one place
    • Quickly dive into your task at hand
    • Dedicated Hardware Button (The Start Button, just like the desktop)
  • Windows Marketplace for Mobile
    • Easily download apps to personalize your phone
    • Returns apps for a full refund
    • Re-download purchased apps onto a new phone up to 5 times
  • Personalization

Other references: