The dust has quickly settled from Microsoft's launch of Windows Mobile 6.5 and the introduction of the Windows phone.  The launch drew mixed reactions ranging from the positive to the down right hostile.  Having seen cooked versions of Windows Mobile 6.5 as well as the numerous screen shots and reports the actually release of WM 6.5 wasn't earth shattering.

Did Microsoft accomplish what they set out to do with Windows Mobile 6.5?  One article described the Windows Mobile 6.5 launch week as "Microsoft Mobile's worst week ever".  Ease on past the break to see why I think most of these naysayers may be missing the boat.

First, I don't work for Microsoft, own stock in the company or have access to the company jet.  I'm an end user just like the rest of you guys and gals.  My first Windows Mobile was an old Windows CE unit and the only connectivity was through a dial-up modem.  In many aspects, as we've shared with you, Windows Mobile is an evolutionary process.

I didn't expect major renovations with WM 6.5 and was a little surprised at how large a target Microsoft became.  Reviews of the Windows Mobile version are fill with quotes such as:

"I am a fan of Windows Mobile, but find very little added value in this Windows Mobile 6.5 release and would never recommend anyone actually purchase a new device just to get this update on their smartphone." - ZDNet

or my favorite:

"Take a Buick Lasabre. No, no, not a cool one from the late 1950s. Take one from the early 90s, like the ones they use on cop shows. Now, strap a spoiler on it. The Lasabre is Windows Mobile. The Spoiler is all of the stuff 6.5 brings." - TechCrunch

But are the critics of Windows Mobile 6.5 missing the boat? Are they ignoring the big picture that Windows Mobile 6.5 is a part of?

I have no issue with those that felt WM 6.5 was lacking but it was never intended to be a silver bullet or the end all of updates.  It's a stepping stone for Microsoft on a path leading to Windows Mobile 7.

From what we have seen of Windows Mobile 6.5 Standard, it appears the two 6.5 versions might be pulling Standard and Professional a little closer with similar Today Screens, Widgets and bringing Standard's power management skills to the Professional phones.  Could it be that one day the only difference in a Professional and Standard Windows phone will be the screen type (touch or non-touch)?

I think the more important aspect of the Windows Mobile launch may very well be the phones that are coming into play. Not so much that they are running WM 6.5 but because they are more responsive, capable, efficient phones.  Considering just the HTC devices, the Pure is an improvement over the Touch Diamond as the Touch Pro 2 is an improvement over the Touch Pro.

We're seeing larger displays, more responsive engines and screens, and power management is improving. The improvements these phones offer compliments Windows Mobile 6.5; which is what helps define them as a Windows phone.

Slashgear commented that, "Faster, more stable and more capable it may be, but Windows Mobile 6.5 still leaves us hungry for Windows Mobile 7". Shouldn't the last chapter of a book be more impactful than the first?  Windows Mobile 6.5 is a start in the right direction but there is still work left to be done and I don't think anyone at Microsoft thinks otherwise. 

I leave you with this, what would you have liked to see included in Windows Mobile 6.5? If you're one who sees Windows Mobile 6.5 as a disappointment, what feature would have turned the tide for you?

For me, I'd like to see ActiveSync handle more than one Exchange Server relationship.  And if you're going to allow for customization on the Start Screen, why not go beyond simply moving selected icons to the top of the screen. 

How about you?