updated 10:55 am EST, Fri November 27, 2009
Win Mobile 6.5 SE in development?
Microsoft's interim Windows Mobile update could have significant updates designed explicitly for touch, a pair of leaks show. A Microsoft representative seeking anonymity has claimed that previous shots of "6.5.1" are accurate but that it's not necessarily a straight patch. Instead, the larger, bottom-only buttons are meant to provide an alternative interface for capacitive touchscreens; the existing top-and-bottom split makes those items too small to hit with a finger, the employee told mopocket.
Supporting this is the discovery by XDA forum members of a completely revamped keyboard in a test build of Windows Mobile. Where the existing software has the original Windows Mobile keyboard originally designed for PDAs and styluses in the early part of the decade, the new version has much larger keys designed for finger input and different layouts for certain contextual situations, including a number pad and directional pad when the alphabet isn't required.
While it's unclear if or when the update will be released, the changes point to Microsoft being uncomfortable with the absence of finger-ready touch on Windows Mobile before its 7.0 update, which isn't due until the second half of 2010. Microsoft's lack of support has led multiple phone builders to develop their own interfaces, culminating in HTC writing custom capacitive support into the HD2 and erasing most of Microsoft's own interface in favor of its own.
It's this lack of advanced touch support that is believed to have led to companies like Acer, HTC and Motorola downplaying Windows Mobile in order to better compete with the iPhone and other handsets that support capacitive input.