Microsoft unveils Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system
Focuses on improved user experience for phones shipping in second half
Computerworld - Microsoft Corp. unveiled its Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system today on what are being called "Windows phones" that focus on touch-friendly features and quicker navigation, acknowledging the influence of the iPhone. The phones should ship as early as July.
"We're building on our expertise in the business-user segment to expand the platform ... for consumers," said Greg Sullivan, senior product manager at Microsoft in a recent interview. Microsoft executives announced the operating system at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Sullivan admitted that Windows Mobile has taken some criticism from Motorola Inc., bloggers and even the public for providing an operating system in the current Windows Mobile 6.1 and earlier versions that has been termed "kludgy" or even unsophisticated when compared with those in newer smartphones by competitors.
Nonetheless, LG Electronics today announced it is making Windows Mobile its primary smartphone platform, with 26 different mobile models using the operating system in 2012.
Sullivan demonstrated beta software of 6.5 on an HTC Touch Pro, but handheld makers were expected to show new devices that Microsoft has decided to brand as "Windows phones" and that will ship early in the second half of 2009 using the updated operating system.
Microsoft provides the operating system for several major device manufacturers and has been concerned that its role in the highly competitive smartphone market has been diluted, especially because of the success of Apple, which makes the iPhone's operating system as well as the device, and Research In Motion Ltd., which makes the operating system for its many BlackBerry models. One current Windows Mobile manufacturer, Motorola, recently said it will wait for Windows Mobile 7.0 to ship sometime in 2010 for its smartphones, skipping over the 6.5 release.
More than 20 million phones with Windows Mobile shipped last year from four major manufacturers.
Sullivan said Microsoft wants to "improve the user experience" and has designed 6.5 "on the notion that users want to get to their stuff and get it rather quickly."
For example, the 6.5 operating system allows "fat finger touching" on a resistive touch screen, rather than requiring a user to pull out a stylus to make more precise touches as in earlier versions of the operating system, Sullivan said. That innovation means a user can make touches on smaller smartphones with one hand, using the thumb for touching icons. The home screen has a honeycomb look, with the icons further apart than with other home screens for easier touches.
Another upgrade allows users at the home screen, known as the "Today" screen, to quickly get to applications with a simple drag of an icon. A user also can see a missed a phone call, e-mail or text message, and touch that message to quickly launch a return call, without the need to unlock the smartphone and load the voice calling, text or e-mail application with what could amount to several steps.
Mobile World Congress
- Verizon to roll out 4G in two U.S. cities this year
- Garmin-Asus unveils its first new GPS smartphones
- Smartphones becoming prime platform for app makers
- Image gallery: A first look at Windows Mobile 6.5
- Image gallery: Next-gen cell phone stars shine
- LiMo's Linux-based mobile OS stack makes gains
- New Windows Mobile UI now 'finger-friendly'
- Adobe preps full Flash player for smartphones
- Arm to show its first 32nm smartphone chip
- HTC takes aim at iPhone 3G with updated HTC Touch Diamond2
- What is this "File Sync" Thing and Why Should I Care About It? All of a sudden, getting a file from your work laptop to your iPad became as simple as clicking "Save." So it's no...
- Software Asset Management: Ensuring Today's Assets Today's trends like BYOD and SaaS are new and exciting in terms of how they will help make our jobs more productive but...
- Mobile First: Securing Information Sprawl Learn how the partnership between Box and MobileIron can help you execute a "mobile first" strategy that manages and secures both mobile apps...
- AIIM Trendscape: The New Mobile Reality This AIIM Trendscape report shares data, expert opinions, and a unique perspective on the impact of cloud and mobility in the enterprise, surfacing...
- Why do you need an enterprise mobile platform? Today companies must offer great apps that run on a range of devices, and connect to an exploding set of backend data. Appcelerator...
- Technology for Everyone A Kansas school district modernizes teaching and learning and paves the way to a one-to-one program with a comprehensive upgrade of its wireless... All Mobile/Wireless White Papers | Webcasts