Windows Mobile 6.5.x explained?

Just yesterday we were mentioning the latest leaked build of WM6.5, build 28004, which is branched off as WM6.5.3.

This is the latest in a series of builds by Microsoft that continues to make things more finger-friendly, that much is obvious. What is not obvious is where exactly this fits in with Microsoft's plan in regards to WM6.5 and WM7, and whether this ever see the light of day in an official capacity. (Even the much-heralded HTC HD2 is running older builds.)

Looks like the folks at MoPocket have, off the record, spoken to a Microsoft representative at a trade show, and they asked directly about what all of these builds were about.

In short, it is about the coming wave of capacitive devices. According to the rep, capacitive screens are much more responsive but far less accurate than resistive. (But you already knew that.) In turn, things need to be bigger to touch (and this is also why the iPhone does not have handwriting recognition). 

As a result ...

"Windows Mobile ... is a UI designed to be able to tap with nearly pixel accuracy. As it stands, the top bar and bottom bar of WM6.5 aren’t tall enough to be able to have clickable buttons without a resistive display."

And what about the HD2, you may ask? After all, it has a capacitive display.  Indeed and HTC had to do a lot of in-house work to make that happen, because it's not actually enabled by Microsoft in the OS. That's something we've asked about before on the podcast, and Microsoft is working to make it easier for the OEMs by building it into the OS.

So there you have it. WM6.5.x is real, but looks to be designed for next-generation capacitive displays and might well not be an upgrade for current WM6.5 devices. (Though it could well point to the availability of  more capacitive-display phones before the launch of Windows Mobile 7.) It also probably won't be called WM6.5.1 either, just another special variant for specific devices.

Read more mopocket 

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Well, those new builds sure are great on my TP2. Very surprised by my ability to type on the portrait keyboard with my thumb.
  • So wait a minute. Does this mean that the 6.5 that is coming from the carriers is it? Thats all we're getting until 7? I think some of this stuff should be ported to the devices that are out now. (sans cooked ROMs) There should be some sort of 6.5.x come from the carriers before 7 shows up.
  • Well, at this point, WM6.5.x doesn't add any new features--it merely moves some things around, makes the icons and menus larger, etc. I personally really like it as my thumb moves less: OTOH, I can't really say it's a world of difference either. *Having said that* (hat tip "Curb Your Enthusiasm"), I just downloaded and compiled WM6.5 21882 built on Nov 20th by MS. Once again, no new features, though some nice speed increases and improvements.
  • i'm just hoping they actually add OTA updates for their builts. getting awfully jealous of the pre. How amazing would it be if w/ all these cooked ROMs chefs could setup user sponsored servers that would auto send out data when a new ROM was out
  • What the hell?.. Mighty Mike is making some awesome updates. As far as getting something above the 6.5 IMO is just wishful thinking. OK, maybe 6.5+ is working on the TP2, but that doesn't mean that it is designed to do so. I have to say that I am honestly happy with the TP2 with a Mighty ROM update. That is until the new phones come out with the Windows 7 updates that are so anticipated.... Keep up the awesome work Mike, no matter what others say, your shit is the bomb!...
  • Flashed my Omnia with it this weekend. MUCH more finger friendly than 6.5.0
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