We’ve known (unofficially) for some time now that Microsoft has been working on various follow-ups to Windows Mobile 6.5. ROMs based off of 6.5.x builds of Windows Mobile have been floating around XDA and other similar sites for months, but we hadn’t seen anything official from Microsoft (or even semi-official) ... until now.

MSDN (the Microsoft Developer Network) Web site is where developers go for documentation on various APIs and methods for creating applications for Microsoft products. The documentation for the Widget Engine in Windows Mobile 6.5 makes reference to the changes that we’ve seen with the softkeys and menus in 6.5.x ROMs. The quote states: “Beginning with the Windows Mobile 6.5.3 release, touchable tiles replace soft keys. For developers, the change from soft keys to touchable tiles is automatic starting with Windows Mobile 6.5.3. All of the following applies to touchable tiles and to soft keys.”

This may not seem like much of a mention, but the timing of this discovery may be significant. With Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer scheduled for the opening Keynote at CES next week, might we get some details on where Windows Mobile is headed? We’ll be there to keep you posted.