Microsoft posted to the Microsoft Download Center a Windows Mobile 6.5 software development kit (SDK) on January 22. Shortly afterward, the company pulled the SDK.
There are reports that Microsoft may have pulled back because the downloadable SDK included the Windows Mobile 6.5.3 bits. WM 6.5.3 is an interim version of Windows Mobile that's been circulating privately for a couple of months. Microsoft officials haven't made any public pronouncements about WM 6.5.3. But according to bloggers bck in December, WM 6.5.3 adds support for “touchable tiles” instead of soft keys. (According to an entry on Wikipedia, the 6.5.3 update also might add more gesture support, a revamped address book and new start menu placement.)
There has been talk that Microsoft is planning to deliver a version of Windows Mobile prior to 7.0 that would add full support for capacitive screen phones, but, again, no company officials have confirmed this publicly. (Some have referred to this capacitive release as WM 6.6 or 6.7. But maybe it's 6.5.3...)
I've asked Microsoft officials why the WM 6.5 SDK was pulled and when it might be back. If and when I hear back, I'll update this post.
Update: A Microsoft spokesperson just provided the following update via e-mail. From the mail, it sounds like MIcrosoft jumped the gun and inadvertently posted a beta of a 6.5.3 SDK:
"On Friday, January 22nd Microsoft prematurely posted a version of an upcoming Windows Mobile 6.5 SDK to a public facing Web page. While the SDK was not announced or promoted, it was discovered and generated questions from the community. The beta SDK has since been removed and will be reposted once final testing has been conducted. We apologize for any inconvenience."
I understand Microsoft wants to maintain an element of surprise about its WM offerings and strategy. But at this point, it seems Redmond's confusing signals and unwillingness to provide guidance and information regarding its WM roadmap may be doing more harm than good...