So now that the hype machine has been filled with petrol and all fired up, running on all cylinders, what on earth is going to happen to Windows Mobile 6.5? The Next Best Thing has been announced and demoed extensively, the developer tools and emulator are out there, but devices aren’t expected to ship until after the summer, probably around the holiday season. This means that Microsoft must still get phone makers to buy Windows Mobile 6.5.
Despite all the deserved flak Windows Mobile gets for its rather outdated and horrid interface, it’s still a very versatile and flexible mobile operating system. There’s an application for just about anything, and I always found it remarkable how well the battery behaved even under heavy multitasking stress. There should be some way to still sell this thing, right?
Microsoft seems to think so, and it has committed to supporting and shipping Windows Mobile for the foreseeable future. “We will continue to support, ship and sell 6.5,” said Michael Chang, the senior product manager for Windows Phone 7, “Windows Phone 7 is a departure and a break at a code level. Doing so wasn’t an easy decision. It’s a tough decision to move away from a platform like Windows Mobile, but one we were willing to make.”
While the enterprise market is definitely one where Windows Mobile 6.5 still has its place, I’m also wondering if phone makers and Microsoft will continue to make WM 6.5 phones for the general public. Despite the hype generated by Windows Phone 7 Series, we’re looking at an operating system with (for the time being) no multitasking, no cut/copy/paste, and no native code. This means that many of the fancy tricks WM 6.5 (and earlier) was capable of won’t be possible.
Many WM fans – and trust me, there are WM fans – will want to stick to it for that reason, and I’m wondering if Microsoft will make that possible, or if WM 6.5 will become more of a built-to-order kind of thing, reserved for company roll-outs or whatever.
What do you all think? I’m sure we have some tried and true Windows Mobile fans in here, so speak up!