Windows Mobile is one of the currently available operating systems for smartphones that might sound as a rather bad choice for many people out there, and the reasons for that vary a lot. Some of them include the fact that the OS is rather old and unfriendly, or that it is too heavy, not to mention that it does not have the looks to compete with other platforms either. To put it all very simple, the future of Windows Mobile seems to be a rather dark one.
The latest changes on the mobile phone market showed that users tend to choose touchscreen devices over not-touch-capable ones, while also going more for those that offer simple and easy usage features. Simplicity and user friendliness are the keywords, and the makers of Windows Mobile seem to have finally got the point, as some of the long needed and awaited such features should come along to the market with the next flavor of the OS, Windows Mobile 6.5
Microsoft already announced that the upcoming platform version would mark a change in the way it approaches the user experience of handset owners, and the goodies
included in Windows Mobile 6.5 might turn the tables in its favor. Better user interfaces, service implementations, ease of usage, along with fast access to information, weather updates, sports and others through widgets and other more are just some of the changes 6.5 comes with on the WM scene.
The next flavor of the OS is expected to become available on the market as soon as October 6, when the first handsets to run under it
right out-of-the-box are set to land on shelves. While some mobile phone manufacturers around the world have already announced plans to come out with such devices, called Windows phones
, others might only upgrade existing WM handsets to the new platform version, yet that should make some of the users happy as well.
“When we started work on Windows phones, we met with people all over the world who were likely to buy a smartphone and talked with them about what’s important to them in their phone,” is what Microsoft's Stephanie Ferguson states on the Windows Team Blog
. “On Oct. 6th, you’ll see new Windows phones
designed for a variety of tastes, needs and price points - with or without keyboards, with or without touch screens, as well as your choice of GPS, accelerometer and high resolution camera. There are a lot of great options and we can’t wait to show them to you.”
Indeed, there are a lot of novelties that users will be able to enjoy with the upcoming platform variant
. Starting with the introduction of a new Internet Explorer Mobile that comes with built-in Adobe Flash Lite support and should deliver a better browsing experience, seamless access to email via Office Outlook Mobile, Microsoft Office Mobile with support for Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents (both viewing and editing), as well as the aforementioned enhanced interface.
In addition, users will also enjoy the new software portal Microsoft developed for them, Windows Marketplace for Mobile. As proof of the company's commitment to leverage the services it provides to users comes the fact that the Marketplace will be available for those owning devices running under WM 6.0 and 6.1 too
, when launched on October 6 along with WM 6.5. MyPhone is yet another service the software giant announced for mobile users, also available starting that day.
It still remains to be seen whether 6.5 is more of an interface upgrade for the existing platform versions, as some suggested earlier this year, or whether it brings novelties in other fields as well, but one certain thing is that Microsoft has changed the way it looks at mobile phone users. With the variety of applications expected to come to the Marketplace, Windows phone
users might enjoy at one point the same experience that desktop users do, only that in a lighter variant.
In the press release
announcing the launch date of WM 6.5, Microsoft lists a wide range of makers and wireless carriers around the world that plan to adopt the new platform on devices included in their handset portfolios. This might help Microsoft a lot impress users right from the start and change the general opinion that Windows Mobile is only an out dates platform unable to compete with the newcomers on the market.
Even if it comes with great features over previous platforms and sees support from Microsoft's partners, Windows Mobile 6.5 won't be able to win the game for the Redmond-based company. The software giant is already known to be working on a more appealing flavor of the OS, Windows Mobile 7
, which might have been delayed until late 2010 (originally it was expected to come in April next year), and which could follow another Windows Mobile 6.x
, which has been only rumored until now.
Windows Mobile might still have a long road ahead before becoming as competitive as it should be on the growing smartphone market, and WM 6.5
is certainly a big step taken in this direction. Windows Mobile 7 is the real hope for the platform, and all eyes will turn towards it, although it will come only in about a year from now. Even so, WM 6.5's role in the OS' evolution cannot be denied, and we shouldn't hurry throwing it to the wolves
even before having been launched.