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Microsoft outs Win Mobile 6.5, Marketplace

updated 09:55 am EST, Mon February 16, 2009

Windows Mobile 6.5

Microsoft today launched Windows Mobile 6.5, its next major update to its smartphone OS. The design completely revises the main interface with a new lock screen that shows quick notifications as well as a much more touch-ready main interface that includes a "honeycomb" home screen, Zune-like menus, and many other buttons and context-sensitive menus that are all sized and shaped to be used with fingers. A new requirement for a Windows button on all phones ensures every device can jump back easily regardless of where they are in the OS.

The software also includes the long-delayed Internet Explorer Mobile update with much more accurate HTML rendering, embedded Flash and Silverlight plug-ins, and a touchscreen-aware interface that supports single-touch swipe gestures.

Microsoft has confirmed that its My Phone service is a staple of Windows Mobile 6.5 and lets users automatically sync calendars, contacts, and multiple kinds of media with a cloud service that can be accessed through the web.

Also new is Windows Marketplace for Mobile, the finished version of the rumored Skymarket. A close parallel to Apple's App Store or RIM's BlackBerry Application Center, the portal will serve as a central gateway for Windows Mobile apps and will let users sign in with a Windows Live ID to download apps as an alternative to third-party stores like those from Handango.

Unlike the iPhone or BlackBerry stores, however, Microsoft also plans to make the Marketplace accessible from the web on a desktop computer; the company has also thrown indirect criticism at Apple by noting that Marketplace apps will only require compatibility and security checks before they appear on the store.

As has regularly been the case with Windows Mobile releases, 6.5 won't be available on shipping devices until the second half of 2009. My Phone is already active but is currently limited to an invitation-only beta.

Windows Mobile 6.5's lock screen; notifications at top



The home screen



Updated Internet Explorer Mobile



My Phone (via web)



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. pairof9s

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Jan 2008

    +5

    It would be great...

    ...if someday Microsoft actually created an original product of its own that made a difference. Until then, we're stuck year after year watching Redmond copy someone else's concepts and spinning to their own "innovation".

    How this world ended up having this company as its controlling leader, I will never know!

  1. gitcypher

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2007

    0

    hmmm

    Nice

  1. Constable Odo

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007

    -1

    Any decent company

    will copy what a competitor's successful company is doing. No point in re-inventing the wheel. It's the Microsoft Skymarket today and their own Microsoft retail stores tomorrow. What really matters is whether they'll be successful or not with both ventures. Skymarket would seem to be an easy win, but the MS retail stores probably won't be successful at all.

    Microsoft had little competition during it's growth years. Putting Windows on every PC with no alternatives makes it a shoe-in. When I first started using PCs at work, I didn't give a c*** about the OS. I spent all my time in the word processor or spreadsheet and the applications were all that mattered. I hardly ever dropped back into the OS except for a few maintenance chores.

  1. loudpedal

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Oct 1999

    +2

    Originality

    Where do those insane innovators at Microsoft ever come up with such good ideas?

  1. MeandmyMac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2008

    0

    Microsoft can do...

    whatever they wish. For me I'll stick with Apple, (apologies to Coke), because it's 'The Real Thing'!

  1. aristotles

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: Jul 2004

    +1

    Why a start button?

    What is up with MSFT's obsession with the start button? It no more belongs in the phone context than an Apple menu or drop down menus in general.

    It seems as though MSFT's designer have a difficulty understanding the concept of appropriate controls for a given context. Don't just mash together desktop controls and slap on a grid of icons.

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