Is Windows Mobile 6.5 a worthy competitor for Apple’s iPhone and Google Android?

Posted on February 24, 2009. Filed under: Apple, iPhone, Mobile World, Tech News | Tags: , , , , , , , |

by Tanner Godarzi

Microsoft’s plans to launch an update to Windows Mobile may be too little too late in the face of intense competition from Google and Apple. Is version 6.5 as innovative as it seems?

windows mobile

Mimicking its desktop counterpart, Windows Mobile has aspired to be the de facto choice for Smartphones everywhere but stagnation during software development and intense competition from Apple, RIM, Symbian, Google and more recently Palm, has put Windows Mobile in the backseat. Microsoft might be making a play for hearts and minds with Windows Mobile 6.5, which was announced during last week’s Mobile World Congress, but this newest update feels like a patch. You might not get excited until Windows Mobile 7 arrives sometime next year.

Windows Myphone beta

Mobile Me and the iPhone go hand in hand allowing you to sync data from to your Mac and PC. Microsoft is taking a similar (Mac-less) approach but broadening the spectrum of what data can be synced. Music, videos, photos, contacts and calendars can be transferred in to the cloud back to your computer; efficient isn’t it?

Considering the massive push behind Windows Live, MyPhone feels like another service that could have appeared much sooner, but in the face of competition from data syncing services Microsoft has chosen to finally pick up the pace and push out its own alternative. Just like Windows Mobile version 6.5 and 7, it’s coming too little too late.

But if MyPhone can actually be pushed out soon, video and photo syncing would set it apart from the likes of Mobile Me. The unfortunate thing: time isn’t on Microsoft’s side and the lack of Mac support cuts out a few potential customers.

App marketplace

Windows Marketplace is Microsoft’s answer to the iPhone’s App Store. This of course is a great first step but its inclusion within Windows Mobile 6.5 is a hinderance as well. Even more unsettling is the dearth of compelling features.

Windows Marketplace packs all the typical features of a mobile app repository. Developers can submit their applications for review. Anyone can download an app through his or her Windows computer or the phone itself.

This time around, Microsoft (and Nokia) are playing catch up in making a central app repository available on its handsets. You’d thik this would have come sooner, considering that Windows Mobile has been one of the oldest platforms for smart phones to support third party applications.

The hassle of upgrading

The biggest deterrent to switching to Windows Mobile 6.5 besides the far off shipping date is the lack of easy upgradability. Apple still provides software upgrades for its first generation iPhone and Google pushes updates to Android running phones. To get all of the new features in version 6.5, you will likely have to buy a totally new smartphone running Microsoft’s latest mobile operating system.

This is because a new hardware specification is being tacked on to Windows Mobile 6.5 that is requiring a physical start button be present on any device it runs on. This is comparable to the iPhone’s home button, which takes you to your home screen filled with apps. In Windows Mobile, you will be taken to the new honeycomb interface.

The incentive for handset manufacturers like Sony, Samsung and HTC to provide an upgrade path for you to jump to version 6.1 to 6.5 just diminished a great deal. Then again, when has an easy software upgrade been something worth providing when merely charging for a new phone running the latest Windows Mobile OS is more profitable?

Source: obsessable

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