Windows Mobile 6.5, Windows Marketplace for Mobile, and Microsoft My Phone have all officially launched today. It's an important release for Microsoft and its smartphone strategy, setting the stage for next year's launch of Windows Mobile 7.0.
Microsoft today announced the availability of the first Windows Mobile 6.5 devices. From now on, every new Windows Mobile phone will simply be referred to as a Windows phone, as the software giant tries to expand its Windows brand to the mobile device. Two accompanying services are also available for the devices: Microsoft My Phone, which allows customers to automatically backup and sync photos, music, contacts, and text messages from their phone to the Web, and Windows Marketplace for Mobile, a store for mobile applications that will be accessible from both the Windows phone and the Web. Finally, Microsoft released the Windows phone Custom Theme Creator so that people can create personalized themes for their Windows phone.
We had a chance to speak with Greg Sullivan, Senior Product Manager for Windows Mobile, and he summarized the company's goals by saying these Windows phones were "not just for work, but for life."
Microsoft is highlighting a few new features of Windows Mobile 6.5, including a new, enhanced Windows Live experience that offers more social networking functionality and integration with Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and Windows Live. There's also improved e-mail support, including the ability to manage multiple accounts right from a user's phone with Outlook Mobile and Exchange Server synchronization. Users can also sync files on the phone via Windows Live Media Manager, as well as open and edit Word and Excel documents using Microsoft Office Mobile. Internet Explorer is also getting a long-overdue rework and now has support for Adobe Flash Lite2.
In September 2009, Microsoft revealed the mobile operators and phone manufacturers that had agreed to support Windows Mobile 6.5. Microsoft expects its partners to deliver more than 30 new phones in more than 20 countries by the end of 2009, confirming reports from two weeks ago. North American users will get to choose from AT&T's HTC Pure (pictured above), the HTC Tilt 2 (also from AT&T), the HTC Imagio from Verizon, and the Samsung Intrepid from Sprint (available next week). HTC, Samsung, Toshiba, and LG will all be shipping Windows Mobile 6.5 handsets in Europe. Another handful, including the HTC Touch Diamond 2, Garmin-Asus nüvifone M20, and Acer beTouch E100 will available in Asia.
Source: ars technica