updated 03:15 pm EST, Wed January 21, 2009
WM 6.5 coming by mid 2009
Microsoft is set to introduce Windows Mobile 6.5 at the Mobile World Congress expo in mid-February but won't actually ship the product until the middle of 2009, according to a report that cites unnamed sources at Taiwanese handset makers. Despite announcing early in the year, the first devices using the new software will allegedly be made available only in summer, or roughly half a year after the introduction.
These same sources warn that the majority isn't likely to be released until year's end to give additional refinement time for the shopping season. Microsoft will continue its practice of providing multiple different device manufacturers with its software, as opposed to locking onto a single device such as Apple does with its iPhone or RIM does with its BlackBerry lineup.
If the report proves true, it would maintain Microsoft's tendency to introduce mobile operating systems early in the year but ship significantly later, as it has done with Windows Mobile 6.0 in 2007 and 6.1 in 2008. Also, a 2009 release of 6.5 effectively shelves any expectations of an early release for Windows Mobile 7, which is seen as Microsoft's first major overhaul of Windows Mobile since 5.0 and its most direct answer to touchscreen operating systems like OS X iPhone or Symbian S60 5th Edition. Microsoft under this scenario would be unlikely to announce 7 until 2010 at the earliest.