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Summary:

The big Windows Mobile 6.5 launch is today, and some folks have gotten the opportunity to play with it in advance. I have not played with WM6.5 myself, and have been anxiously awaiting the thoughts of those I respect who have tried it. Matt Miller, our […]

WM6.5The big Windows Mobile 6.5 launch is today, and some folks have gotten the opportunity to play with it in advance. I have not played with WM6.5 myself, and have been anxiously awaiting the thoughts of those I respect who have tried it. Matt Miller, our podcast co-host and ZDNet blogger, is a self-proclaimed Windows Mobile fanboy, and the first place I looked this morning for WM6.5 impressions. Wow, was I surprised at his take on the newest offering of Windows Mobile.

I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from this point release, but I was expecting more than what Microsoft delivered. I expected to be able to place icons where I wanted them on the Start displays, I expected to have finger friendly menus throughout the OS, and I expected some attention to the media player, device search, and more.

I am a fan of Windows Mobile, but find very little added value in this Windows Mobile 6.5 release and would never recommend anyone actually purchase a new device just to get this update on their smartphone. We are going to have to wait and see if Microsoft can pull anything out of the hat in Windows Mobile 7, but with the current schedule of late 2010, most likely slipping into 2011 like this release, I think the T-Mobile Touch Pro2 may be my last Windows Mobile device for quite some time.

Zing! That is about as telling as anything about this new WM release, and this from a big fan of the platform. Matt based his review on two different phones from different vendors, both running 6.5. Kevin has also been playing with a WM6.5 phone and I can’t wait to see what he thinks about it. I am shocked at Matt’s reaction, but at this point I don’t know why I should be.

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  1. GoodThings2Life Tuesday, October 6, 2009

    But this is all old news… We’ve known for some time that 6.5 was a minimalist improvement at best… so why the “shock and awe” style criticism as if this is somehow an unexpected turn of events?

    Besides, it’s not like HTC and Samsung aren’t going to skin over most of the WM interface anyway… and there’s always Spb Mobile Shell.

  2. There was a time, many years ago, when I was just amazed at having Windows on a phone. I had upgraded my Treo from Palm OS and it felt like my first upgrade from DOS to Windows.

    But there are so many options today (iPhone, Android and WebOS) available from every carrier, that I can’t imagine why anyone would select a Windows phone. Is there one thing that a Windows phone does better?

    1. Having categorized memos and tasks lists alone are what keep me on WM. I didn’t last a week on the Pre due to its weak PIM apps. I’d actually still be on Palm OS if the product line hadn’t been discontinued. Unfortunately, while most smartphone platforms excel in sexier areas like UI slickness or multimedia management, they drop the ball on PIM.

  3. GoodThings2Life Tuesday, October 6, 2009

    In my mind, it’s not that any of these devices are particularly better than the others. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and you pick the ones that suit your needs and environment. This is why I hate the Apple mentality so much. They popularize things to the point that if you don’t like them, you’re clearly an idiot, which just isn’t true.

    I’m a Windows guy through and true. I make a living off Windows-based systems and technologies, and there’s nothing I can’t do with a system running it. Everything else forces me to compromise more than I’m willing.

    Anyway, to answer your question… I look at the iPhone, the Palm Pre, and Android phones, and then I look at my Touch Pro 2… and I know that not only do I have a remarkably usable device, but it’s still stylish, and still functional… and I didn’t compromise to get that.

    1. I know the feeling. I’m the same way, only with Linux. I have a Touch Pro 1, though — great phone, but I can’t help but wish… ;)

      I seriously recommend taking a look at the various 6.5-post-rtm roms floating around out there. I still hope to move to a different platform soon, but Microsoft’s going in a good direction there. A real pity they didn’t finish it in time for the shipped 6.5.

  4. Brutus Beefcake Tuesday, October 6, 2009

    Window Mobile 6.5 = Epic FAIL.

    This windows phone thing don’t hunt. Time for a new dog.

    I thought MS spent billions on R&D on user interface stuff (ala voice,finger,3D recognition, etc), yet they can’t get a decent human interface on a single phone.
    It’s time for them to pickup their Doofus Award, it is ready for delivery.

    IMO, Microsoft is on a permanent decline (they will have a temp spike for Win7) and the long slide downward has begun. This can only be blamed on incompetent management (Ballmer needs to go the way of Humpty Dumpty)

    Anyone who disagrees will be forced to submit to a steel-cage death match. :-P

  5. I’ve been using it on my Fuze since Feb which means today was a big yawn for me. My take on it all along has been: if we can’t give them a real state-of-the-art mobile operating system, give ‘em a new theme to play with.

    The only “new” thing I’ve gotten out of the Maeketplace so far was Bing and I guess I’d been avoiding that to not have it already. It does though make it easier to get new versions of everything: one stop updating instead of the previous scavenger hunt across the internet.

    I was beginning to worry a bit: what is a Microsoft launch day with out system updates? They finally got My Phone up this morning and my Fuze began happily “Updating system components” so it could sync with it. I never thought I’d get uptight over not being forced into a system update. :-)

    The lack of back haul in the at&t network is really apparent now that the actual sync is kicking in. I apparently have 180 photos to upload into the cloud this morning and so far they’re flipping into the Microsoft mothership at the rate of 1 a minute! I hope that rate improves at some point or I’ll have to hook up via WiFi and try that.

    And of course low marks to Microsoft for spending over 10 years developing an eco system that means I’m one of very few people that will actually have Windows Mobile 6.5 today. What’s up with that Microsoft?

  6. It would make the HTC phones alot more useful if you can dual boot them.

    Hardware wise HTC continues to embarrass the like of Nokia or Sony on a daily basis. But the software get in the way of productivity way too much. It’s like running winME in your pocket.

  7. Don’t get me wrong, the Windows phones are fine devices for their primary purpose, communicating (phone calls, e-mail, calendar appointments, text messages) especially in a Windows-centric company with Exchange servers. I even used my old Treo for remote server management. I was happy with that for a long time because I don’t need 60,000 games on an iPhone.

    But my thinking about phones, and my expectations of this device in my pocket, have really changed in the past year. The primary factor is having a real Web browser, compared to the lame IE version that I had with Windows. I use my Palm Pre a lot now to access Web sites. My phone is now a useful Web device in a way that Windows Mobile never allowed.

  8. …..I’m already looking forward to the next podcast.

  9. all very true… i am a firm believer in everyone should not use the same phone! as an example: the iphone constantly has issues allowing software (slingmedia) and features (over 3G). using that as an example, and i could use others, my windows mobile phone still allows me to watch slingmedia with no issues at all. the touch 2 that i have on t-mobile also allows the following:

    removable battery
    flash on the browser
    a file manager
    the ability to unzip files
    have background apps
    text redraw on emails as well as webpages
    and to go with unlimeted voice on ATT would cost me another $900 a year! ( i am on the t-mobile loyalty plan for $50 unlimited)
    to name a few!

  10. and oh yes…. is it really that hard to put a flash on some of these phones?

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