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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 (opens in new tab) 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.

Phil is the father of two beautiful girls and is the Dad behind Modern Dad. Before that he spent seven years at the helm of Android Central. Before that he spent a decade in a newsroom of a two-time Pulitzer Prize-finalist newspaper. Before that — well, we don't talk much about those days. Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!

10 Comments
  • I'd like to know if Windows Mobile 6.5.3 will finally enable the 720p video that all Snapdragon processors have built in. Windows Mobile 6.5 cannot recognize 720p HD video, so the circuitry is switched off on WinMo Snapdragon phones, like the HD2. I want to know if 6.5.3 can finally take advantage of the hardware that it is in. The other problem that needs addressing is the old kernel inside Windows Mobile. Back in 2004, Windows Mobile 5 was based on the Windows CE 5.2 kernel. Windows 6.5 is still based on the same old kernel, which means it is not optimized for any of today's generation of ARM processors that it is running on. There's a lot of old stuff inside Windows Mobile that has passed its use-by date and is long-in-the-tooth. If Ballmer gives a press conference at CES next week, I'd like someone to ask him about these issues, and why he's letting the platform wither like this.
  • 6.5.3 is mostly a UI change for capacitive, not internal kernel changes AFAIK. Though technically the kernel is old, it has been updated numerous times, including WM6.5, which has better use of memory allocation and space.
  • agreed on pretty much everything you say. 720P recording would be a joy. using the FPU of the Snapdragon would be a joy too, as WinMo currently doesn't use it (not even the NEON module). WinMo is so badly bloated and full of out-of-date code that it is no wonder so many other mobile OS's are overtaking it. that coupled with the fact that OEM's have to "finish off" the OS by completely rewritting the desktop, and apps for the device all leaves WinMo as being just a bunch of drivers and API's with a kernel. WinMo is a mess and it's amazing it's still alive for how much it's rested on it's monopolistic laurels. the days of WinMo and Symbian being the only choice are gone, MS need to realise this.
  • You guys seem to keep bashing WinMo. I seem to remember that a different phone that is very popular right now just recently got things like cut and paste and MMS.
  • Sweet! Official release = no bugs and more stability. And bigger buttons for fingers. Everyone wins!
  • "no bugs" ? there hasn't been an official release yet that *hasn't* had any bugs.
    they've all had more than one serious bug on release. that's why so many sites like Modaco and XDA Devs existed at the start, to fix that crap.
  • Name the specific builds with the specific bugs, I'm curious. Because there's quite a few different builds of WM6.5 and different branches (there's a specific HTC branch for instance). But I've never seen anyone document these "major" bugs, so if you could provide... Going further, people at XDA, etc. don't "fix" anything in Windows Mobile, they just copy/paste from leaked builds and different devices. That's all a kitchen is, the ability to put in different source files to try something new, but the majority of these new ROMs have bugs unto themselves. Most of the custom ROM community is about using the latest internal *test* builds from MS, not their "official" builds which were leaked 6 months earlier. But in all my years, I have never seen anyone re-code Microsoft's work in a custom ROM. It's just fancy copy and pasting with some new icons and backgrounds e.g. sticking Sense 2.5 on to a Rhodium device.
  • There have been bugs on specific devices...but that's after the customization process and has nothing to do with the core OS.
  • Why can't we develop windows mobile applications with express editions of Visual Studio versions?
  • "no bugs" ? there hasn't been an official release yet that *hasn't* had any bugs.
    they've all had more than one serious bug on release. that's why so many sites like Modaco and XDA Devs existed at the start, to fix that crap.