updated 08:50 am EST, Thu February 5, 2009
Win Mo 7 Phones April 2010
The first Windows Mobile 7 devices may ship significantly ahead of Microsoft's typical release schedules, say sources for reporter Mary Jo Foley. Adding to recent observations from Motorola executives, Foley understands from sources that Microsoft plans a relatively quick turnaround from its Windows Mobile 6.5 upgrade. Although the modest refresh to 6.1 now isn't expected to arrive on shipping devices until September -- seven months after an expected introduction this month -- testers should already have 7.0 by November, with shipping hardware due in April.
Why the operating system release cycle has been accelerated isn't known. Foley raises the possibility of Microsoft either choosing or being forced to work with fewer carriers that support Windows Mobile, shortening the beta test stage and bringing phones to production more quickly.
However, Windows Mobile 7 has long been reported as being Microsoft's first mobile platform designed from scratch for gestures and multi-touch input, giving handset manufacturers tied to the software an opportunity to introduce iPhone-like controls. While 6.5 is said to introduce a more touch-friendly front end, the software is still believed to require single-touch input and doesn't support flicks or other shortcuts that have given iPhones and other recent devices advantages in the touchscreen category.
Version 7 is equally rumored to include SkyBox 2.0, an improved version of a mobile data access and sync service.