Windows Mobile 6.5 – Too Little, Too Late?

We’ve all been watching as Microsoft ‘s mobile OS struggles to catch up with Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android. Granted, creating a modern operating system for handheld’s can’t be easy, but Microsoft’s competitors have proven it can be done. The question is, why can’t Microsoft keep up? Windows Mobile 6.5 is definitely a step forward, but hardly a finished competitor. Besides, many of the Mobile 6.1 devices out there are not upgradeable, meaning that a substantial number of Windows phone users will have to buy new devices to take advantage of the upgrade. With Mobile 7 so close to being released (perhaps as early as April 2010, more likely the second half of 2010), why would we bother? Especially since there is a good chance that many 6.5 devices probably won’t be upgradeable, either. Has Microsoft sold us short again? Should we shell out a few hundred bucks for an incremental upgrade? Does this upgrade get us close to iPhone and Android functionality? What are reviewers saying about Mobile 6.5? Let’s take a look at 6.5, compare it to Mobile 7, and decide whether we should wait to upgrade.

iPhone Clone?

Take a look at the homepage on the Samsung phone in the picture above. Look familiar? If not, check out this phone:

Apple iPhone
Apple's iPhone

Looks pretty similar, doesn’t it? Well, just because it looks like a duck… While there are some things I don’t like about the iPhone, such as the lack of slide-out keyboard and that you are relegated to using AT&T cell service–Windows Mobile 6.5 is still lacking several iPhone key features. Here are a couple of the most notable:

  • Multi-Touch technology allows users to move and stretch images and application windows with simple multiple-finger input gestures, increasing ease of use and productivity.
  • Shake and Bump features allows users to manipulate and exchange data, images, videos, and play games with other users with simple shake or bump movements of the phone.

If you’ve ever seen an iPhone user say something into the phone, and then shake the device to execute the command, it’s pretty slick. We won’t see either of the above features until Mobile 7. Mobile 6.5 has only the single-touch function, a function that, until now, was only available to Windows Mobile users through overlays built into the device by the phone manufacturer. Multi-touch is still not available.

The Sad Truth

Where Mobile 6.5 is concerned, the real story is what’s missing. The upgrade really is a yawn, as recounted in this Gizmodo post:

Now compare this to early reviews of Mobile 7:

Granted, this post is old, but it is a pretty good recap of what we can expect from Mobile 7.

Me? Well, since my phone is not yet upgradeable to Mobile 6.5, I plan to wait until it is or until Mobile 7. I’m sure not buying a new phone just to run an incremental upgrade, at best.

[Watch for the release of my book Windows Mobile 7 for Dummies with the release of the Mobile 7 OS.]

William Harrel –

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