Windows Mobile 6.5 phones coming October 6

Windows Mobile 6.5 phones coming October 6

Summary: Microsoft officials had been saying for the past couple of months that the first Windows Mobile 6.5phones would be available in October 2009. Today, they got more specific and said October 6 will bethe general availability date.

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Microsoft officials had been saying for the past couple of months that the first Windows Mobile 6.5 phones would be available in October 2009. Today, they got more specific and said October 6 will be the general availability date.

(October 6 also happens to be the day of Microsoft's first-annual consumer-products open house event for invited press and analysts in New York City. Entertainment and Devices Division President Robbie Bach is slated to show off Windows Phones, the uber-brand for Windows Mobile phones; the Zune HD; Xbox 360; Windows 7; and Microsoft hardware that will be available for the holidays.)

As expected, Microsoft is planning to launch its My Phone ("Skybox") service for storing and accessing mobile-phone information and the new Windows Marketplace for Mobile online app store on October 6, as well. A redesigned version of IE 6, built-in support for Adobe FlashLite (but not Microsoft's own Silverlight) and Microsoft Office Mobile (but not the 2010-based version) are also slated to be available as part of the Win Mobile 6.5 release.

In addition to sharing the retail-availability date, Microsoft also made public on September 1 a list of phone makers and mobile operators who will be offering Windows Mobile 6.5 phones.

In North America, they include AT&T, Bell Mobility, Sprint, TELUS and Verizon Wireless, and phone manufacturers HP, HTC Corp., LG Electronics, Samsung and Toshiba Corporation. In Europe, Microsoft's 6.5 partners are Orange, T-Mobile International AG and Vodafone Group Plc, and phone manufacturers Acer, HTC, LG Electronics, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Toshiba Corporation In Latin America, partners include Telecom Italia Mobile (TIM) Brasil, and phone manufacturers HTC, LG Electronics and Samsung And in Asia/Pacific, Microsoft's Win Mobile 6.5 partners are NTT DoCoMo Inc., SoftBank Mobile Corp., SK Telecom, Telstra and WILLCOM Inc., and phone manufacturers Acer Inc., HTC, LG Electronics, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Toshiba Corporation.

Microsoft didn't offer any new details today about its Windows Mobile 7 roadmap or expected partners. Windows Mobile 7 is expected to be Microsoft's "major" phone OS release, with support for multi-touch and capacitive screens allegedly on the Win Mobile 7 feature list. Microsoft had been targeting Fall 2009 as the date via which it planned to get Win Mobile 7 code to phone makers. But according to a recent report -- which Microsoft refused to confirm or deny -- partners may not be getting the Win Mobile 7 bits until the first part of 2010, resulting in a Win Mobile 7 release date of late 2010, instead of the until-recently-expected spring 2010.

Starting with Windows Mobile 6.5, Microsoft is launching a concerted effort go after the consumer audience more than just the business one and is recruiting more consumer-app developers to build gaming, music and other consumer-oriented apps for the platform. But that doesn't mean all Windows Phones running Win Mobile 6.5 are going that route, said Paul Bryan, Senior Director of Business Experience Product Management on the Windows Mobile team.

"We are trying to meet the needs of a broader set of customers and provide more balance between work and play," Bryan said. "The business side (of the Win Mobile business) will continue to be strong, with the availability of Exchange and Outlook, a new version of Office Communicator coming, and better security and manageability."

Anyone out there clamoring for a Win Mobile 6.5 phone? Why or why not? (I'm asking because I am due for a phone upgrade and am on the fence whether to finally give Windows Mobile a try....)

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

About

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).

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36 comments
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  • Will definately upgrade my Touch Pro 2...

    ... but the real wait is for Windows Mobile 7. I'm still a bit baffled about what will be in 6.5 though, since we seem to be getting almost daily leaks (http://search.twitter.com/search?q=windows+mobile+6.5+build) of new builds for it that adds new functionality - strange when we are so close to that date????
    ianaaa7
    • What's in 6.5?

      Hi. Win Mobile 6.5 is definitely a stop-gap release. The core WM 6.5 platform RTM'd in May, so the main feature set has been set since then. I'm assuming these more recent leaked builds are either precursors to Win Mobile 7 (or the rumored stutter-step 6.5 update that will work on capacitive screens). Or maybe they are versions of 6.5 that include phone-maker tweaks/customizations?

      On the short list of the core 6.5 feature set: An updated version of the IE 6 mobile browser; increased touch and gesture support (though not full multi-touch), a new UI (that is slightly different from the honeycomb design MS showed in February), ability to download apps from the MS mobile marketplace and support for the MyPhone service that lets you store and retrieve contacts and other phone info remotely.

      MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
      • Re:What's in 6.5?

        Hi MJ, what I am really curious to know is if TellMe is going to be included in the WinMo 6.5 phones this fall. I am also due for an upgrade soon, but on the fence as to whether or not to upgrade to a 6.5 or 7 phone.

        I guess if the phone holds out until the WinMo 7 release, which when now??? :)

        God, I hope the boys get it right...

        Cheers,
        ITdudeMTL
        ITdudeMTL
  • RE: Windows Mobile 6.5 phones coming October 6

    Well, I quite like Windows Mobile, but on my HTC TyTN II
    it's pretty slow (compare to an iPhone, it looks like a
    stone-age phone).

    If I were you, I would wait just a bit more to see how it
    runs on someone else's phone.
    pvlerick
  • RE: Windows Mobile 6.5 phones coming October 6

    I personally hope PIE 6.5 is better optimized for the graphics chips in newer phones because rendering in 6.1 especially on pages with flash is absolutely atrocious. At least it is on my T-Mobile Dash 3G. The 3G makes no difference at all, since the network speed differences seem to be pi$$ed away in page rendering logjams.
    podstolom
  • RE: Windows Mobile 6.5 phones coming October 6

    As a phone app developer, I'll be sticking to Android,
    RIM and iPhone until they eventually release 7.
    markrendle
  • "clamoring for a Win Mobile 6.5 phone"

    No one clamors for a specific OS in their phone. They clamor for specific features. The faster MS understands that, the better. And Nokia too for that matter, they are as stale as Motorola in the mid 1990's.
    croberts
    • OS, features... I don't think so.

      I think its far simpler than those factors. I think its usefulness that is
      what people clamor for. I remember the iPod days. Others kept trying to
      beat the iPod on price and "features" . Time and again they thought if
      they added more features lowered the price and made all kinds of noise
      bout what their product had that the iPod did not that they would grab
      the brass ring. Time and again they failed. I see the same tactic being
      used against the iPhone and said tactic seems to be failing all over again.

      Pagan jim
      James Quinn
      • Not quite.

        3 years ago I was standing in Best Buy as a rep for SanDisk - demoing and selling the Sansa line in direct competition with the iPods.

        I can tell you from the frontlines, with as much experience as you can get... that your average iPod buyer truly didn't know what they were buying beyond the hype.

        "I need an iPod" - most had no idea what an "mp3" player even was. It was usually an easier sale when I explained the features of the Sansa's compared to the iPods, usually people would be much happier leaving with the Sansa and a little education.

        Fact is, in mp3 players, educated consumers that understand what they are buying typically don't purchase iPods - and do go for players with a better feature set and a lower price. There is ZERO reason to purchase an iPod outside of pretty colors. iTunes can't compare to Zune Marketplace and Rhapsody, and the iPod players are still lacking in many important features.

        However, a large majority of buyers right now still don't truly understand the difference, hence iPod still sells pretty well.
        trance2tec
        • Uhh..64 GB 'bout does it for most folks. And the size (NT)

          NT
          No More Microsoft Software Ever!
        • iTunes

          [i]There is ZERO reason to purchase an iPod outside of pretty colors.[/i]

          You just lost all credibility. While some are gullible to go for a
          subscription service, most are not fooled by the smoke and mirrors.
          Bruizer
    • Re:Nokia too for that matter

      You should have a look at what nokia is accomplishing right now instead of bashing them :
      <a href="http://www.nokian900.com/">www.nokian900.com</a>
      JMGM
  • GA the SAME DAY as an "open house" for Press & Analysts?

    That sounds a lot like the old Hollywood tactic of not
    previewing "dog" films for critics before their theatrical
    release in the hopes of salvaging the "opening weekend."

    Clearly MS wants these devices in stores for the Holiday
    season, but one would suspect that with a "New
    Generation of Windows Phones" to show off they'd be
    eager get them in the hands of "thought leaders" well
    before that to "generate buzz." Interesting.

    matthew_maurice
  • Windows 6.5 = WinME = Vista

    A stopgap OS like WinME or Vista, WinMo7 will be out in couple of months, why bother with Win6.5?
    spinit
    • Because there will be several new models available in that time

      nt
      Patanjali
    • "WinMo7 will be out in couple of months" - REALLY?

      Whilst a beta of WinMo7 MIGHT be released at some point in the not to distant future, I think you're overly optimistic if you think it's going to be fully released anytime soon.
      de-void-21165590650301806002836337787023
      • In a couple 6 months or so... (nt)

        nt
        Bruizer
  • RE: Windows Mobile 6.5 phones coming October 6

    I don't think WM6.5 is going to be any different than the current version. Here's why cellular providers always pulled a lot of weight telling software giants what to put and what not to putin cellphones. Boils down to using the same junk and we as users are roped into 2 year contracts, for what high prices and no coverage which sprint is very good at not improving.
    supertodd206
    • Why would anyone get a 6.5 model when they can get a 7.0 model months away?

      Unless someone can post PROOF that tha 6.5 model can be upgraded to the 7.0 model why bother?
      No More Microsoft Software Ever!
  • I Like the UI, but what about Pricing?

    I like the UI. Seems very easy and intuitive to use, but what about pricing? More, less, locked into plans, etc. How big will the screen be? I don't want some tiny little cell phone screen. And will the phones be upgradeable to Win Mobile 7? I guess we will have to wait and see. I know this, I will never buy an iPhone.
    jpr75_z