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Ballmer Confirms Windows Mobile 6.5

Gordon Kelly


Ballmer Confirms Windows Mobile 6.5

Clearly, Steve Ballmer is determined to dominate this morning's news. After smugly rejecting Jerry Lang's 180 Yahoo takeover plea, the outspoken CEO has today let slip a biggie for lovers of smartphones everywhere: Windows Mobile 6 is real and it's coming soon.

Speaking during an investor briefing for Aussie telco Telstra, Ballmer was as straight talking as usual casually explaining "With releases we'll make this year - releases we'll make with 6.5 next year, Windows Mobile 7, I think we have a pretty interesting roadmap." Well, pretty interesting now Steve, that's for sure...

Of course, the cat was virtually out the bag already when WM 6.5 was referenced by embattled Motorola handset CEO Sanjay Jha in his company's earnings call last week (attention deflection, anyone?). Jha said "Windows Mobile 6 has not delivered the experience that I think Apple has been able to deliver, but as you look at the plan that Windows Mobile 7 and even 6.5, I think there are significant new added features which will help the platform."

So what can we expect from WM 6.5? Plenty of tweaks for sure, but the 110 per cent nailed on cert will be a completely overhauled UI. Both Windows Mobile 6 and 6.1 have rightly been pilloried for their PC-centric, unintuitive and stylus-needing ways (I mean just look at it below) so no doubt larger finger-friendly icons, intuitive scrolling and a new version of pocket Internet Explorer will be making their debuts.

Perhaps the bigger question however is whether or not WM 6.5 will be an upgradeable option (free or otherwise) or if a new handset and new contract will be your only escape route (short of switching allegiances to a G1, BlackBerry Bold / Storm or iPhone 3G, naturally).

Let's all hope for the former because if the smartphone market is to continue pushing forward as impressively as it has done then it needs a Microsoft which is on top of its game and cranking up the pressure on everyone else...


Telstra Webcast

Martin Daler

November 10, 2008, 1:13 pm

"Windows Mobile 6 is real and it's coming soon. "

woah! does this mean they are going to fix the fake version we have now? About time!


November 10, 2008, 1:19 pm

The screenshots are for Windows Mobile Standard which doesn't actually use a stylus. Still, no arguments that a total UI change is needed.


November 10, 2008, 5:57 pm

Can you explain exactly which parts of the user interface look unintuitive to you? Is it difficult to understand what the Start menu does? The Contacts button probably opens the contacts list. The delete button probably deletes that selected email message. The menu button probably brings up a menu. I see an upcoming appointment at 4:30. I see the time.

Seriously, what parts don't you understand?


November 10, 2008, 6:12 pm

@adamz - really? You want me to go there...?

Putting a PC-centric design onto a mobile phone is an intuitive step forward? Wrong! I also think you assume everyone has great experience with Windows - wrong! That a start menu is needed on a phone - wrong! That you should need to look under 'menu' to find most email commands - wrong! That you should be forced to take out a stylus and squint to operate a tiny virtual keyboard - wrong!

Oh and the coup de grace, that the CLOSE button on every programme DOESN'T close a programme but instead leaves it stockpiling in the background.... Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Seriously, what parts don't you understand? (!)


November 10, 2008, 8:10 pm

IMO, WM OS is a POS!

I don't ever want to be reminded of the awful days with my (numerous) IPaq's running Windows Mobile. I would be delighted if MS ditched the whole development process and started from scratch, as in each incarnation it just seems to get more and more complicated and convoluted.

As the saying goes...'you can't polish poo...' (i may have paraphrased a bit :o))

Chris Magowan

November 11, 2008, 6:50 pm

I became a first time windows mobile user in April, when i got my htc kaiser.

Straight away i was dissapointed with teh interface, and the fact that, without my keyboard, it would be impossible to do any typing with it, while on the move!

That close button feature is so incredibly anti-intuitive, it begs the question about what sort of people microsoft have hanging around that make such awful decisions! Luckily O2 have an wee app that makes killing these a doddle (maybe all the operators do?)

Again, with common features, like text messages being hidden under menus, i only had my phone for a day, before i was on the net looking for an app to save me abit of time! Luckily i was able to find "phonealarm pro" by pocketmax, which i now believe is an absolute MUST for everyone with windows mobile!

Oliver Levett

November 11, 2008, 10:13 pm

"Luckily O2 have an wee app that makes killing these a doddle (maybe all the operators do?)"

That kind of thing are made by the OEM (Oh look, HTC had it about 3 years ago!) rather than the network.

"like text messages being hidden under menus"

Text messaging is not hidden under menus - "today screen" -> "SMS/MMS" and look, my texts are all there!

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