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Windows Mobile 6.5 Won't Upgrade, Becomes 'Phone Starter Edition'

Gordon Kelly


Windows Mobile 6.5 Won't Upgrade, Becomes 'Phone Starter Edition'

Because virtually every bit of news in the last month has involved Microsoft doing something with/to Windows Mobile I suppose I shouldn't have expected things to taper off just because we hit March...

So the latest in a long, long line of Windows Mobile related bits and pieces essentially involves the emotions 'meh' and 'damn'.

Meh first and Microsoft has confirmed it will attempt to kick the increasingly cold and useless corpse of Windows Mobile 6.5 back to life for a little longer following the pleasant revelation of Windows Phone Series 7. To do this Microsoft has announced it will be rebranded under the new - yet equally stupid - Windows Phone brand as "Windows Phone Classic Edition". This will target lower end handsets and should serve to nicely confuse most smartphone newbies.

This damp squib will then be further - and unnecessarily muddied - by the news Microsoft will make two editions of Windows Phone Classic: the first is as we all know it and the second without support for 3G so it can be aimed at developing countries.

Ok, a quick triple punch here:

1. Windows Mobile 6.5 and Windows Phone Series 7 are completely different animals built upon completely different architectures with completely different hardware prerequisites (ie: none and lots, respectively).

2. As far as I have ever been aware, there is no need to create 3G and non-3G software - the hardware dictates this and forcing it into the software just gives developing countries less flexibility over what hardware they can use.

3. 'Classic' is the phrase Apple uses for old hardware it is looking to phase out. Just sayin'...

On second thoughts, change that 'meh' to *slaps hand against head*

Next 'damn' and despite initial rumblings to the contrary APC is reporting no existing Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphones are likely to be allowed to upgrade to Windows Phone Series 7. Microsoft's Mobile Communications Business general manager Natasha Kwan said this is "Because we have very specific requirements for Windows Phone 7 Series {so} the current phones we have right now will not be upgradable."

How specific? Well, even the HTC HD2 (above) which meets almost all of the Series 7 performance requirements doesn't have just the three hardware buttons Microsoft now demands (Back, Home and Search). Instead it has five, so it ruled out - harsh we know. On the bright side, "there are some hardware components that the HD doesn’t have" she added in a more teasing addendum.

Still, this is frustrating and once more it really does suggest there is no point whatsoever in buying a Windows Phone 6.5 handset in the near future. Then again, I probably would have argued that in the past too...


39029453 49305147 00.htm?s_cid=98 'Windows Phone Classic' news via Crave



March 2, 2010, 3:19 pm

A question and a comment:

Q: Will my current programs run on 7 Series?

C: Didn't you guys say 6.5.3 was a big step in the right direction? It seemed to me to address all the issues I have with the interface.


March 2, 2010, 4:51 pm

'On the bright side, "there are some hardware components that the HD doesn&#8217t have" she added in a more teasing addendum.'

That's really interesting. According to all other blogs & forums the HD2 has all the hardware prerequisites to enable a potential upgrade to WM7 - and according to MS's minimum spec sheet, the HD2 fits the bill - with the exception of the silly button requirement (which can be reprogrammed for any function whatsoever, they're not hard wired! So 5 buttons or 3 - it's ready for WM7).

So I wonder what the extra hardware requirement is? Front facing camera?


March 2, 2010, 6:55 pm

Whether or not it's official, it's almost certain most recent phones will be upgradeable to v7. But I think until 7 rolls out we won't get the final answer on whether or not a certain phone will be officially upgraded.

Maybe the 3G issue is so they can have a cut down version, with cut down hardware requirements for developing nations. I think like with Windows there will be editions that nobody will ever see but bloggers will fume over and say MS are making things more complex than necessary - when actually they are making things more functional.

And from all the reports I've read the latest version of 6.5 (.3) makes "Classic" pretty functional, if they keep working on it (and I guess it's a different team to v7 so they will) then it may stay relevant. The fractioning of the OS and allowing two different App developement paths will however be a nightmare.


March 5, 2010, 4:09 am

"...and once more it really does suggest there is no point whatsoever in buying a Windows Phone ... in the near future" - this is true for all versions of the software and all values of 'near'.

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