| By Michael Lasky |
Windows Mobile version 7 is scheduled to ship in 2010, and the buzz about the major new version is overshadowing Microsoft’s less-notable 6.5 upgrade, which arrives on Oct. 6.
Despite some nice interface changes and new applications, Windows Mobile 6.5 will continue to trail the smart-phone competition, although some IT types will like the close ties Redmond’s smart-phone OS has to Exchange Server.
Microsoft tries to get on par with other phones
In a few days, Microsoft will release its latest entry in the smart-phone arena: Windows Mobile 6.5. The question is: Will anybody notice? Not only does the new version face an uphill battle regaining the ground lost to Apple’s iPhone and other sexy smart phones that debuted more recently, Windows Mobile is also competing with the really dramatic changes expected from the 2010 arrival of Windows Mobile 7.
To be fair, Windows Mobile 6.5’s new interface is indeed finger-friendly, copying the look and feel of Microsoft’s Zune media player and iPod wannabe. That in itself is a radical transformation from the strictly-business Windows Mobile 6.1. Alas, the interface changes merely cover up what is still essentially a buffed-up version of the existing Windows Mobile OS. (See Figures 1 and 2.)
Figure 1. The main Windows Mobile 6.1 screen is straight out of the 20th century.
Figure 2. The updated look of version 6.5 is a decided improvement, but it’s not likely to make people drop their iPhones.
Multitasking, touch-screen features limited
The learning curve to master the new Windows Mobile 6.5 interface will probably be similar to the confusion Windows XP users endured when upgrading to Vista. Here are some of the OS’s new features — and what Microsoft isn’t telling you about them.