Windows Mobile 6.5… Just Buy a New Phone

Hey! Guess what? Your wonderful and expensive Windows Mobile phone probably isn’t available for an upgrade. Refer to Microsoft’s chart:

winmo65-update-10-06-09Yep.

Anyway, if you somehow manage to upgrade, here is a list of new features you’ll be getting:

  • New Today screen: Though the “classic” Today screen is still available, 6.5 introduces an all-new version that somewhat closely approximates the Zune’s home screen experience (whether that’s a harbinger of things to come remains to be seen). Perhaps more than any other single feature, the new Today screen gives 6.5 a freshened look — but ironically, many users will never see it because it’s often replaced by a manufacturer customization (in HTC’s case, TouchFLO).
  • “Honeycomb” Start screen: The main menu of old — a white screen with a grid of boring, old icons — looked like a relic of Windows 3.1. Happily, it’s gone here, replaced with a themed alternating list of thoroughly modern images for default apps. The Start menu is gone, too — pressing the Windows icon in the upper left of the screen now leads straight to the new Start screen.
  • Finger-friendly UI elements: Windows Mobile’s notorious for being unable to shake the stylus, but 6.5 makes some additional baby steps to help fingertips do all of the work — inertial scrolling in many screens and a redesigned context menu style both help here.
  • New lock screen: Though not revolutionary, Microsoft put a commendable amount of thought into this one — instead of merely settling to give the user one way to get back into their device, 6.5’s lock screen gives you multiple points of entry depending on the current status; if you’ve got a new text message, for example, you get a separate unlock slider that can take you straight to it.
  • Revamped Internet Explorer: Bringing a “desktop” browsing experience to the pocket has been a big focus for mobile platforms over the past couple years, and Microsoft’s been lagging desperately in bringing a version of Internet Explorer Mobile that’s both easy to use with a few swipes of a finger and also capable of digesting thoroughly modern pages using up-to-date standards and technologies. The company’s made it a big focus for 6.5, adding a new, prettier UI, a zoom slider, better support for full HTML, and a new JavaScript engine.
  • Windows Marketplace: The biggest news in 6.5 might not be a 6.5 specific feature at all, ironically. Windows Marketplace finally takes WinMo into the all-important world of consolidated, managed mobile app stores, but it’s only exclusive to 6.5 for a few weeks before being made available to 6 and 6.1 later this year.
  • Exclusive content: It’s hardly a platform “feature,” really, but Microsoft is making a pretty big deal of the fact that it’s signed on a number of internationally-recognized designers like Isaac Mizrahi and Vera Wang to craft themes for 6.5 that ship with the platform free of charge (we’re not sure if you’ll find them on every 6.5 phone to be produced, but they came loaded — albeit turned off by default — on our Pure
  • (thanks to Engadget)

Everything else is basically the same.

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