The first Windows Mobile 6.5 phones aren't expected to be available until this fall, but it looks like that isn't stopping Microsoft from "launching" the next version of its mobile operating system on May 11.
May 11 is the opening day of Microsoft's TechEd 2009 conference in Los Angeles. From an April 6 post to the Windows Mobile Team blog:
"Stephanie Ferguson, GM (General Manager) of Business Experiences at Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business is going to deliver the kick off launch presentation of Windows Mobile 6.5 on Monday, May 11th at 1:00PM – 2:15PM. This Tech Ed 2009 session focuses on one of the biggest launches in the history of Windows Mobile – Windows Mobile 6.5. It is targeted at both IT Professionals and Developers, with a cool demo and an outline of great stuff to come. Be sure to join us as we are giving away 5 Samsung Blackjack II’s!"
There are a handful of other Windows Mobile 6.5 sessions on the TechEd docket, including one on developing apps that use touch and gestures. From the description of a session entitled "Make Some Magic! Shake, Flip and Flick Your Application for Windows Mobile 6.5!":
"The world of mobility has evolved. While keypads, stylus, and keyboards are all good and fine for device input, newer input methods have been popularized in recent years, such as accelerometers, touch screen gestures, capacitive touch screens, light sensors, and such. More than just gadgets and gimmicks, these next-generation input methods allow you, the mobile developer, to offer the best interface possible to your users on the road, enhancing their device experience. This session explores various input methods available on some of the latest Windows Mobile 6.1 and 6.5 devices and how to programmatically leverage them using managed APIs from Microsoft .NET Compact Framework-based applications. Topics covered include working with the Windows Mobile Unified Sensor API to access hardware sensors, controlling device cameras using the Windows Mobile SDK, capturing stylus and finger gestures on touch screens, detecting ambient light, making your device vibrate and sound-off, and more."
Whether Microsoft considers May 11 the official launch, the "business launch," or the official release to manufacturing date, it seems Windows Mobile 6.5 is pretty much complete. Now onto Windows Mobile 7....
Update: I just went back and looked at the MSDN blog post. All references to the word "launch" have been removed from that post. It now says:
"Stephanie Ferguson, GM of Business Experiences at Microsoft’s Mobile Communications Business is going to deliver the kick off presentation of Windows Mobile 6.5 on Monday, May 11th at 1:00PM – 2:15PM. This Tech Ed 2009 session focuses on Windows Mobile 6.5 and is targeted at both IT Professionals and Developers, with a cool demo and an outline of great stuff to come. Be sure to join us as we are giving away 5 Samsung Blackjack II’s!"