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WM V6.5 - App Market Place & Synching

Following Apple's lead, Microsoft is introducing an on-phone application store that will be called Windows Market Place for Mobiles. There was uproar among developers because Microsoft was planning to charge them $99 every time they released an update for an application, but this has now been dropped so developers will only have to pay a single listing fee. The store already seems to have attracted a decent line-up of companies willing to use it to sell their wares including EA Mobile, Netflix, Pandora, Namco Networks, Sling Media and Spb Software.

My Phone will allow you to sync photos, videos and contacts over the air to a user-friendly web service

There'll also be a new over-the-air sync service called My Phone which will allow you to sync text messages, photos, video and contacts with an online web service. This means you'll be able to quickly share photos and videos with friends and update your contacts via the web interface. Also, if you lose your phone, you'll simply be able to resync it to My Phone to get all your contacts and messages back when your replacement arrives. The free service will offer 200MB of space but after that you'll have to pay an as yet undisclosed subscription fee.

The problem for Microsoft is that while Windows Mobile 6.5 will be a significant improvement on what has gone before, it doesn't really look like it's got what it takes to stand up against the iPhone or forthcoming Palm Pre, and to a lesser extent even Android, in terms of user-friendliness or multimedia features. It will certainly make Windows Mobile a bit more finger-friendly, but all the signs are that underneath the surface the interface is still not going to feel like it was built from the ground up for finger input and as a result, it's going to feel rather dated compared to these rivals. The other niggling doubt we have is about performance, as the OS appeared rather sluggish in early demos. Let's hope that this just means that there was still a lot of code optimisation left to do.

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