Microsoft announced Windows Mobile 6.5 today. The software is still not quite ready for release but will go to manufacturers soon and will start arriving on handsets towards the end of 2009. WM6.5 brings all sorts of new features to Windows Mobile Pro (touchscreen) and a handful to Windows Mobile Standard (non-touchscreen). WM Standard saw its big feature update with 6.1, and with Professional plays some catchup with 6.5. As of this writing, it doesn't appear that any current Windows Mobile smartphones will receive an update to WM6.5. Instead, many of the new devices announced at MWC09 will be upgradeable to 6.5.
Overall, you should know that 6.5 matches up pretty well with many of the leaks we've seen in the previous weeks. The emphasis here is "finger-friendly," and it means that you'll be able to leave your stylus in the silo. We have a brand-new Zune-esque Today Screen, a new Hexagon Start Menu, "embiggened" softkey menus, and an all-new version of Pocket Internet Explorer. There also are plenty of small touches throughout, like a new unlock screen that's better than anything else out there.
Still, at the end of the day, 6.5 is definitely not the radical improvement we've all been waiting for with Windows Mobile. There are plenty of improvements, but it's clearly not a game-changer. So as we run down the new features, we won't pull any punches, but don't let the occasional gripe get you down, 6.5 really does look to be a solid release, it's just that deep down it's still Windows Mobile 6. But do note that everything you see here is from an alpha build. So if something looks a little janky, it just might be.
Enough of the preamble, time to get on to the screenshots and features. Read on!