Windows Mobile 6.5 Slightly Less Unmemorable Than Predecessor

Published on October 6, 2009
by John Paczkowski

winmo65The majority of Windows Mobile users have no idea what operating system is running on their phones, a recent survey from the CFI Group found. Microsoft is hoping to change that with the release of Windows Mobile 6.5 and the opening of Windows Mobile Marketplace, its long-awaited answer to Apple’s (AAPL) iTunes App Store.

Both debuted this morning, along with a Web-based storage and media-sharing service called My Phone. And while they’re certainly better than Microsoft’s offerings to date, the market seems unimpressed. Said Gartner (IT) analyst Carolina Milanesi: “There is nothing in this version that makes drastic changes that will get people to choose Windows who didn’t before.”

And, indeed, that appears to be the case. WinMo 6.5 is very clearly a stopgap on the path to 7.0, which is to be released next year. “Windows Mobile 6.5 isn’t just a letdown–it barely seems done,” Gizmodo’s John Herman complains, adding that its underpinnings reveal “an OS that hasn’t been fundamentally changed in years, and which bears a strong resemblance to Windows Mobile 6.1, and a startlingly not-weak resemblance to PocketPC.”

A startlingly not-weak resemblance to PocketPC. Not the comparison Microsoft (MSFT) was hoping for, I’m sure, especially given the OS’s decidedly flashier competition. But likely about all we could expect when even the company’s own executives are saying privately and publicly that they wish the OS was further along.

So 6.5 is really just a placeholder to keep Microsoft in the game–and just barely. As Windows Mobile Senior Product Manager Greg Sullivan told TechFlash, “It’s not the destination for us, by any stretch of the imagination, it’s a step along the way.”

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