Your Definitive Pre-Release Windows Mobile 6.5 Guide (Updated 02/14)

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We’ve seen numerous screenshot leaks from the new version of Windows Mobile, and with each leak, we find out a bit of new information of what we can expect in the final product. To make things easy, we’ve wrapped up everything into one page. Click on to see!

We should preface this article by reminding you that the screenshots we’ve seen thus far of Windows Mobile 6.5 have been from a beta release, meaning, the version that you’ll get on new devices later this year, or the version that we see at Mobile World Congress on February 16th, may be quite different. That said, most, if not all, of what we’ve seen in the leaks is totally feasible and makes a lot of sense for the next version of Windows Mobile.

Windows Mobile 6.5 makes changes to two aspects of the operating system: the user interface, and native applications.

User interface…

The honeycomb, as we’ve been calling it, will be used in both the Start menu and Settings menu. It’s a replacement for the ugly grid-based icon outlay that we’re used to. It looks like the icons can be moved around and locked, so that you can have the most used icons up top. You should also be able to flick your finger up or down to see more icons.

As we’ve found out from a thread at PPCGeeks, the honeycomb interface is somewhat hardware intensive, and thus shutting it off will revert back to the old style of icons, shown above, with thicker (more finger-friendly) scroll bars. Also note the more predominant keyboard launcher button at the bottom and program close button in the upper right. Lots of finger-friendly enhancements.

Then there is the redesign soft-key menus. The new menus “hover” above the screen and offer larger entries. There are also fewer entries on the screen at once, but you should be able to flick your finger up and down to get to a desired action.

System-wide, highlighting will have a 3D effect – a visual element that started in Windows Vista.

The sliding panel interface from non-touchscreen Windows Mobile 6.1 is coming to the touchscreen version, or at least a variation of it. This allow you to fit a ton of info onto the Today screen and get a lot done without drilling into a program.

Speaking of Today screen, when your device is locked, you’ll be presented with a little lock at the top, which must be moved in a certain gesture to allow you to use the phone.

It looks like we’ll see an update to the calling screen with dual sliders – one for answer, and one for ignore. This will be a big help to avoid accidentally answering a call while taking your phone out of a pocket.

Native applications…

Internet Explorer 6 mobile, the successor to Pocket Internet explorer, will allow for desktop-like rendering of webpages, and will include new, finger-friendly buttons along the bottom.

Microsoft plans to integrate several new cloud-based elements to Windows Mobile:

1. Skymarket, a Windows Mobile application store (finally!)

2. My Phone, a cloud-based syncing solution for contacts, calendar, photos, and other data on your phone (see the website)

3. Outook Live, which should allow you to manage multiple mail accounts from your device and over the web

Oh yes, and what about that bird we keep seeing? It’s a Grey Crowned Crane, in case you were wondering.

This video recently surfaced from XDA-Devs, which shows WinMo 6.5 in action. It looks like kinetic flip scrolling has been well implemented throughout. Other than that, everything seen in the video is inline with what we know already.

Conclusion…

There are still a lot of missing pieces to this story. What about the non-touchscreen version of Windows Mobile? Is it gone? Also, will WinMo 6.5 be able to run on current hardware, or will it require a more robust graphics controller, etc? When exactly will the first Windows Mobile 6.5 devices land? And what’s the story on WinMo 7? Hopefully, all or most of our questions will be answered at Mobile World Congress on February 16th. Follow us on Twitter for the latest.

Screenshot courtesy: wmpoweruser, PPCGeeks, WMExperts, 592PPC, PocketPC.ch

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About The Author
Brandon Miniman
Brandon is a graduate from the Villanova School of Business, located near Philadelphia, PA. He's been a technology writer since 2002, and, in 2005, became Editor-in-Chief of Pocketnow, a then Windows Mobile-focused website. He has since helped to transition Pocketnow into a top-tier smartphone and tablet publication. He's so obsessed with technology that he once entered a candle store and asked if they had a "new electronics" scent. They didn't.