It could be a long wait for Windows Mobile 'Photon'

It could be a long wait for Windows Mobile 'Photon'

Summary: It's looking like there will be an update to Windows Mobile 6.0 -- call it WM 6.1 or what you will -- that will hit in early 2008. This is not Photon and/or Windows Mobile 7.0. It's a smaller point upgrade that will provide a few new features and an updated interface, according to Web reports.


The Windows Mobile team is nearly as reticent as the Windows client team to talk futures. Thanks to a variety of leaks over the past year-plus, however, Microsoft watchers had come to expect the Windows Mobile "Photon" release -- the successor to Windows Mobile "Crosbow" (6.0) -- to hit in late 2007/early 2008.

But now it looks like there will be an update to Windows Mobile 6.0 -- call it WM 6.1 or what you will -- that will hit in early 2008. This is not Photon and/or Windows Mobile 7.0. (I am not 100 percent sure Photon ever was supposed to be Windows Mobile 7.0, but who knows....)

Engadget said Microsoft is briefing folks behind closed doors this week about the refresh which will go to handset vendors early next year. Due to non-disclosure restrictions, Engadget wasn't allowe to say much, in terms of features that will be part of the new release. Engadget said of the new version:

"Our first impressions: very slick, and has a lot of features that just about any WinMo user will agree is way overdue. In other words, we're expecting users will be stoked -- no doubt about it. Expect specific details on features and the like in the near future, we wouldn't be surprised to hear more about it CES."

PocketInfo.NL reported earlier this year that Windows Mobile 6.1 would be introduced at the 3GSM conference, with newe devices shipping with the update starting in May 2008. According to PocketInfo.NL:

"The new (Windows Mobile 6.1) interface will be based on the same principle as Windows Media Centre, with a vertically scrolling list and horizontal options.... There will apparently be further improvements in WIFI functionality (squirting?) and bluetooth pairing, and improvements in Exchange 2007 integration."

Anyone out there testing the soon-to-be-unveiled Windows Mobile 6.0 update?

Update: On a related note, Microsoft has made available version 6.1 of its Office Mobile suite for Windows Mobile devices.  The new version allows users to read Office Open XML (OOXML)  files, something Windows Mobile 6.0 users were unable to do until now.

Topics: Mobility, Hardware, Mobile OS, Operating Systems, Software, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Probably due to needing to copy the iPhone

    Everyone knows Windows sucks on the desktop and the metaphor is an abomination on the handheld.

    My guess would be that they are trying to revamp the UI to be more like the iPhone and less like Windows. You know, like putting Glade on a Turd.
    • Yes, But If You Make It A Pretty Turd

      People will buy it...

      Case in point: Vista.
      • Vista's a turd?

    • WinMo is at least better than the iPhone

      Sorry, but for now, WinMo beats it.

      I can install a ton of 3rd party stuff on my WinMo phones, without getting worried of updates the screw all that.

      I can get it across many phones, and many services. It's freedom.

      I find WinMo to be able to do a ton more functions than the iPhone, but doesn't cost a pretty penny.

      Oh, and Live Maps is a better mobile map, than Google Maps. Too bad iPhone won't display it as well.

      And there are touchscreen phones, you know.

      So you keep your iPhone. I'll be enjoying WM6 and WinMo Photon in the future.
      • Windows Mobile is great!

        100% agree with his. All this hype for iPhone is well hype. For the rest of us, we just enjoy the future now with cheaper and more functional Windows Mobiles. Honestly, if you look at them with unbiased eye, they are fairly good products. Granted Microsoft was famous for lousy software, but that doesn't mean everything they made is always bad. That's just childish!

        So, Apple fans, please accept other developers efforts as innovative and useful.

        Future Converged
        Future Predictor
        • I Agree

          I agree with you on this too. I have a WM6 phone (after upgrading from 5) and am very pleased wit the upgrade. (Cingular 8525)

          Anyways, I very much hope that 6.1 will include XAML support - whether that be in the form of Silverlight, or WPF apps.
          As a developer I am very excited. I very much hope it will be XAML support. People love the iPhone for its iCandy - but in terms of functionality, it's not special. If developers can start programming for WM using XAML, then that will really start to catch people's eye. Seriously, the UI of the iPhone (all of it) could easily be accomplished using XAML. :))
          I'm really excited. I hope that's when 6.1 will be!

          - Josh

          By the way, I've built some Android applications too - that too is awesome. :)
  • RE: It could be a long wait for Windows Mobile 'Photon'

    I'm hoping to get AT&T Tilt for Christmas (which includes Windows Mobile 6), but even if I'm a student at Tallahassee Community College, I don't have a credit, which I'll be spending an additional amount of money for a deposit... :(

    However, with my WM5 phone (Alltel PPC6700), I do pay $40 a month every month before due date (for data plan only).
    Grayson Peddie
  • Their main ace is voice recognition

    MS $40 VR add on is what should be incorporated into any new version, with some additional tweaking. It is probably the same platform showing up in some new cars and it really works amazingly well and with some more work, it would kick the iPhone's butt.
  • Its the screen size stupid!

    Note to WM device manufactures - if your going to compete against the iphone - you need to have a screen at least as big as it has to be able to see and do more with the phone. Until that happens Apple will maintain a key advantage over WM phones.
  • RE: It could be a long wait for Windows Mobile 'Photon'

    I like the I-phone, but I like my IPAQ better for its applications. Outlook synching with my desktop, Office apps, dictionary, pictures, podcasts - it can do it all. I want and need those features and I am waiting for a phone with the same capability (w/large screen) as soon as it hits the market. It would be a big hit! Do you think it is doo-able?