Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional
Similar to what the manufacturers have offered as personalization, the new Home Screen will allow for finger-friendly access to different information. It displays a vertical list with the most important functions, each with a superscripted number showing there are new events. Once a specific item is selected, swiping from left to right and vice verse will allow you to view the different actions.
The rather strange Start menu has also been redesigned, now visualizing large icons arranged as a honeycomb. Scrolling or selecting one with a finger shouldn’t be a problem and the good news is that the sub menus also use this visualization. What seems funny however is that rearranging the icons is very basic, allowing you to only move one to the top and not to a specific position. This means that if you want to rearrange a few icons in a large list, it will require a lot of actions.
Once you get deeper into the menus, additional changes in the OS interface will be revealed. Again, in order to be finger friendly, a few of the system navigation areas have been enlarged. Forget the small X in the upper right corner – finally, it is bigger. The same goes for the menus inside the applications, now with a larger size and an option for scrolling. In addition, the fields in the phonebook and the messaging menu are enlarged.
In many of our reviews we’ve mentioned that Internet Explorer Mobile is not as good as its rivals. The 6.5 will try to fix this – the new IE Mobile will use the desktop IE 6 engine. This will allow it to render pages better and even display Flash content such as a video clip. Zooming in/out will be controlled via a slider and navigation should be easier thanks to a mini map. However, the intelligent zooming after a double click and a panning mode, both available in rival browsers, are still missing.
Last but not least, Windows Mobile 6.5 introduces a new unlocking screen. This seems to be the only innovative idea in the OS – not because it requires a flick of a finger to unlock, but because it is showing information on the missed events before unlocking. Even better, let’s say you have 3 new messages, select the messaging icon, swipe a finger and the messaging menu will be shown, instead of on the home screen.
Windows Mobile 6.5 Standard
Windows Mobile 6.5 Standard edition (for phones without touchscreen) is enhanced with the new IE Mobile, updated UI (with larger contacts and messaging) and the three services that are common for both.
At some point in time, there were rumors circling the Internet that Microsoft is getting ready to introduce its first mobile phone, which we guess were fueled by the name of the new service just announced – My Phone. The offer in its current shape and form is nothing ground-breaking, but simply a backup and restore service for your contact, notes, text messages, calendar and files stored on your Windows Mobile device. If there is Exchange partnership though, My Phone will not sync. The same goes for your e-mails – it is expected that they are either on Exchange or stored somewhere in the cloud. A nice addition is the ability to add, edit and delete contacts and calendar appointments right on the Microsoft’s website hosting the service and during the next synchronization the change will be transferred to your device.
The new service will run on all WM 6+ based devices. In case you have a few of those (no limitation on the number of devices connected to one account), they all could be synced with one My Phone account, with each device being a perfect copy of the others.
Be sure to read carefully what exactly will be synchronized, so you are not put into situation where you lose your device and hope to get all your information back, but it is not synched by the My Phone service. For example, documents stored on your device, but not in the My Document folder will not be synced. The same goes for your external memory card, unless the default settings are not tweaked. Live Contacts will not be synced as well to your My Phone.
Initially, the service will allow about 200 MB of space, and hopefully when it moves out of the Beta status, premium level services to be introduced.
Last but not least, Microsoft has announced that the new version of its operating system will feature the Windows Marketplace for Mobile, which is a rich and integrated marketplace for searching, browsing and purchasing mobile applications. Windows Mobile users will be able to download the applications directly from their handsets or from a PC, using a Windows Live ID. The new feature will be available on all phones, running Windows Mobile 6.5. In addition, the company has announced that various application developers have already built over 20,000 mobile applications for the Windows phones.