Home / News / Mobile Phone News / Windows Mobile 6.5.3 Brings Multi-touch & More

Windows Mobile 6.5.3 Brings Multi-touch & More

Gordon Kelly


Windows Mobile 6.5.3 Brings Multi-touch & More

Windows Mobile has received more criticism than any software I can remember (Lotus Notes, Internet Explorer and Outlook run it close). So it confuses me that Microsoft has been so quiet about the announcement of version 6.5.3 which was soft launched with the Sony Ericsson Aspen last week (pictured). Why confused? Because, despite its incremental version number, this actually looks a highly worthwhile update...

ZDNet has been sent the official feature list for WM 6.5.3 and there are some hugely welcome additions, most notably:

  • Capacitive touchscreen support

  • Platform to enable multitouch

  • Touch controls throughout system (no need for stylus)

  • Consistent Navigation

  • Horizontal scroll bar replaces tabs (think settings>system>about


  • Magnifier brings touch support to legacy applications

  • Simplified out-of-box experience with fewer steps

  • Drag and drop icons on Start Screen

  • (Mobile) Internet Explorer Page load time decreased

  • IE Memory management improved

  • IE Pan & flick gestures smoothed

  • IE Zoom & rotation speed increased

  • Updated runtime tools (.NET CF 3.5, SQL CE 3.1)

  • Arabic read/write document support

  • Watson (error reporting) improvements and bug fixes
Yes, finally capacitive screens and multi-touch (the latter of which only just arrived on Android), plus a fully finger friendly UI and proper gesture support. This is important stuff. Word on upgrades? Nothing as yet.

How do we take this? While I could be extremely sarcastic (I have been in the past) with messages of long overdue, I'd actually suggest it is extremely positive news and for two reasons. Firstly it is great news for existing Windows Mobile 6.5 users who can finally enjoy functionality that is long overdue. Secondly, with all the talk of Windows Mobile 7 getting its debut airing at Mobile World Congress, it provides a far more positive stepping stone and suggests there could still be hope for the platform after all.

Many have argued Microsoft should pull out of the mobile sector, but I'd hope it doesn't come to that. Windows Mobile platforms do bring an openness iPhone users can only dream of and Windows 7 has shown Microsoft does have the potential to turn dodgy OSes around. I, for one, am keeping my fingers crossed...


via ZDNet Blogs


February 4, 2010, 6:36 pm

Do iPhone users dream of openness? They really should have done some research before splashing the cash if they do...

It would be nice if MS could get things right with WM7, they seem to have done it with Windows 7 so it's looking hopeful for them. They've lost a lot of ground to Android though, surely those two are bigger competition to each other than either of them to the iPhone because of the open/closedness of each platform...

Sure, there are battles raging between the open-platform/closed-platform people, but the bigger battles are the civil wars going on within each camp, no?


February 4, 2010, 6:50 pm

The 6.5.3 release is welcome and I hope that ROM updates are made available by the OEM (HTC, Toshiba, etc) and/or network providers (T-Mobile, Vodafone, etc). This is the main issue with the Windows Mobile ecosystem in that updates for existing handsets are rare if not completely unavailable. I'm not a fan of the closed off Apple mobile devices but the firmware/OS upgrade process I do envy.

An example of this was my old T-Mobile MDA III (HTC TyTN II) which originally came with 6.0 and no amount of pushing from T-Mobile would get me a 6.1 upgrade ROM. I actually dropped (it was an accident honest guv) this phone which had to be replaced. Did the replacement come with 6.0? No, it had 6.1 pre-installed.

I now have a HTC HD2 (so already enjoy capacative touch screen) which in my opinion is the best Windows Mobile phone to date. With the Sense UI this 6.5.3 update isnt' really needed in the case of the HD2 but I am really hopeful of a ROM upgrade to 7 when that is released (if 7 doesn't include Zune services then that is a big mistake I think).


February 4, 2010, 6:56 pm

Google and Microsoft both outing multitouch at roughly the same time? Wow. It seems no-one is afraid of Apple any more...


February 4, 2010, 6:59 pm

"Firstly it is great news for existing Windows Mobile 6.5 users who can finally enjoy functionality that is long overdue..."

Well, it would be if the networks ever decide to actually issue these updates, which they won't!

I have the HTC HD2 and there are 2 ROM updates available from the HTC site since launch, both of which i'm not allowed to download since i'm on O2. I'd be surprised if the OS updates ever arrive without me invalidating my warranty and re-flashing my phone myself.

Unless i'm missing something?


February 4, 2010, 7:01 pm

It's so nice to read a non-sarcastic Windows-Mobile related news from you, I felt the urge to post a comment:)...

Can't wait to try this on my Touch Pro 2.


February 4, 2010, 7:11 pm

@Manni - thanks, I'm actually a Windows 7 user - but marooned with an iPhone largely thanks to the incompetence of Microsoft. Let's hope this is part of something much larger...

@lifethroughalens - ROMs can normally be attained online if your network proves reluctant, but most handsets were upgraded to 6.5 from 6.1 so I'd be hopeful.


February 4, 2010, 7:33 pm

Windows Mobile is dead.

Long live Windows Mobile?

"Firstly it is great news for existing Windows Mobile 6.5 users who can finally enjoy functionality that is long overdue..."

Surely the multitouch functionality only applies to capacitive phones though, so @Manni may be out of luck?

@Cub: A lot of people buying Apple products DON'T do proper research before splashing their cash...


February 4, 2010, 8:31 pm

@Cub, @DrDark..

You are very strange people indeed, just because other people don't agree with the choices in life you make, you assume there decision is flawed. In a way I feel sorry for people like yourself's, I'm happy with my decision and it appears your backslash can only mean your not happy with yours.


February 4, 2010, 9:36 pm

Let the flame wars begin *rolleyes*


February 4, 2010, 9:47 pm

Personally whatever they do with the UI WinMo won't be worth looking at until MS get around to integrating all their services. They need to get Live Mail, Calendar, People, Messenger, Photos all working perfectly on WinMo. It should all sync flawlessly OTA. I don't particularly think much of Live Mail or Calendar (especially compared to their Google equivalents) but there must be millions of users looking for this.


February 4, 2010, 9:54 pm

@drdark @Manni - yep, so far multi-touch only works with capacitive screens. The HD2 (though it already has it hacked on by HTC) would be compatible though.


February 4, 2010, 10:06 pm

@DrDark - I have no doubt that that's the case, however, if somebody does no research before buying a product, then they're in all likelihood not a techie-type. It's the techie-types that are surely most likely to complain about a lack of openness in their electronics; non-techie-types just want their products to work with the minimum of fuss... Which Apple kit generally does.

@Keith - I'm not quite sure what you mean :-/ I think you may have miss-read the situation... I've never claimed anybody else's decisions to be flawed, whether it agrees with my decisions or otherwise.


February 4, 2010, 10:16 pm


First of all, Cub's a big Apple fan - and I'm pretty sure he didn't mind my comments.

Secondly, if you're happy with your decision(whatever it may be; I'm not entirely sure) then I wasn't talking about you.

And thirdly, please collect your typos: "their", "yourselves", "backlash" and "you're". Thank you.


February 4, 2010, 11:29 pm

@Cub: I think you may have miss-read the situation.

I think I must have -> they really should have done some research before splashing the cash.

Not really sure how else to read it though.

@drdark: And thirdly, please collect your typos:

hehe, you always know when the other person is struggling with a good counter argument when they go into spell check mode.. :)


February 4, 2010, 11:40 pm


Put the HTC ROM on, then if you ever need to do warranty stuff, put the O2 ROM back on. There's no way to tell.


February 5, 2010, 12:10 am

@Keith Well said, Captain Pedantic!


February 5, 2010, 12:32 am

@Ryan - okay, yes I suppose I could.

I'm not sure where to get the official O2 ROM or how to back my ROM up.

Also, even though I was pretty experienced in flashing my nokia's ROMs, after reading page after page of XDA-Devs guide's on flashing WM devices - i'm pretty intimidated by it all! There are just so many ROMs available and so many things that can go wrong with WM devices. It's taken me 3 months to get my HTC HD2 working just as I like it too and still each time I plug it in to my PC I'm petrified that the stupid snyc software will destroy all my contacts or copy then all twice or swap the first and last names...etc.

I don't think I have the strength of will to go through installing and configuring all my programs again - it just takes too long...and then there's the 300 registry tweaks and .cabs I installed. No, I think i'll leave this updating ROMs to the pros this time and wait for WM7 :)


February 5, 2010, 6:02 pm

@Keith: I don't have a mode for spell-checking, that's just me.

@Gav66: Thanks, I like the new nickname.


Hmm, what about that zippy Acer WM Phone? That used generic skin didn't it? Could be a good candidate to combine with this update. Did anyone, er, buy it?...


February 8, 2010, 3:36 pm

Now Microsoft needs to put in place a free automatic update scheme for existing Win Mobile users.

Although Apple isn't beyond criticism, I do respect that my original 2.5G iPhone still gets all the software updates, albeit with some reduced functionality, that current iPhones get.


February 8, 2010, 5:09 pm

This all looks very nice, but have they made WinMo work properly as a 'phone' yet?

I got so fed up with my Tytn II having terrible reception, missing calls, dropping lines, sounding awful, and draining the battery during two-minute calls, etc that I decided to ditch WinMo altogether. I now have a Symbian phone - it is clear that symbian is a phone first and foremost so it works wonderfully as a phone and the battery lasts for days, but I find the third-party software rubbish.


February 8, 2010, 9:34 pm

@scamevoli: That sounds like a challenge(the rubbish part)! Which Symbian phone do you have?


February 8, 2010, 11:08 pm

i8910, s60v5


February 9, 2010, 5:14 am

Oh yeah, that one is rubbish. Sorry, can't help you!

You should've mentioned Samsung had been at it :P.

comments powered by Disqus