We've just seen the new Windows Mobile 6.5 operating system and it's pretty darn snazzy.
Four main and fairly revolutionary changes:
User experience. Microsoft are saying it's all about making access to information more instantaneous. For example, unlocking your phone will no longer be simply that - instead, as you generally want to unlock it to check email, SMS, and so on, icons will pop up on the home screen if you have a new message or email waiting. Simply touch the icon, which will unlock the phone and take straight to the application. Nifty.
The home screen can also be customisable with widgets for application such as weather or traffic; the neat touch is that the actual info - e.g., temperature - will be on the screen too, rather than a click away.
It all seems to play rather nicely too, in a finger-friendly smooth way that's reminiscent of Apple OS...
Internet Explorer Mobile 6. It'll be like desktop browsing due to powerful rendering capabilities, and Flash. A new Start Menu maximises screen use via hexagonally structured the touch-screen. Our friendly Microsoft man explained it with geometry - if you put a circle inside a square (i.e., a circle where a finger would touch inside the squares the screen is divided in) you lose space. Divide the screen into hexagons and it all fits together. It all looks pretty good anyway, and running through all the programs is simply a matter of trailing a finger down the screen.
Marketplace. WinMo 6.5 will be linked to an application marketplace. Microsoft have finally cottoned on to the value of an app store, and have created a place where their 20,000-plus applications can all be accessed. Developers will also be able to add content from now.
Microsoft MyPhone. We're most excited about this - cloud storage of contacts, text, and media files from your phone. Using your Windows Live ID (which also signs users into Hotmail and Messenger), you can create an account where anything that's on your phone will also be backed up online. Of course Microsoft's had all the back-end hardware to do this for years - servers all over the world, hard drives everywhere - so it makes perfect sense and is cheap too, says our new Microsoft insider.
We just wanted to know, can it be backdated for WinMo 6.1 phones? After all, we're probably not seeing any 6.5 phones till Q3. Keep your fingers crossed, and of course, eye on us, because we're at Mobile World Congress for the rest of the few days, reporting back with all the latest.
Who's running Windows Mobile 6.5?