"I think the intent of the Windows Mobile 6.5 release was to provide a more finger friendly user interface on touch screen devices, while non-touchscreen devices remain pretty much the same. I believe there were some backend updates and improvements, but there were not readily apparent. There are four main areas where end users will see changes and these are in the Start menu, lock screen, Today screen, and menus. Let's check out each area in more detail."
My friend the hyper-productive Matt Miller - seriously, how DOES he do it? - has his take on Windows Mobile 6.5. And it's about the same as most of the other reviews we've seen today...there's a general feeling of "Really? This is it?". Apple and Google have shown that significant updates can be made to an operating system on a regular basis, and they've raised the bar of expectation. With 6.5, Microsoft has done the limbo right under that bar...without needing to lean back.
I rely on the tech wonks (that is a compliment, by the way) to tell me about the nitty and the gritty of WinMo 6.5. I will just comment on the finished package as it exists in the HTC Pure from AT&T. The bottom line: there are a lot of subtle differences for the better in usability from my Touch HD and my earlier original Diamond and the Pure (aka Touch Diamond 2). I will attribute most of these improvemnts to HTC and the continuing refinements it has made to Touch Flo. Maybe some of the things I am seeing are also related to WinMo. I don't know. And I really don't care. It is the overall performance and user experience that drives customer satisfaction.
In that regard the Pure is a winner. Size wise, it fits between the original Diamond which always seemed a bit too small and the humongous Touch HD which you will never forget is in your shirt pocket. It looks good, but if you don't like shiny piano black electronics you won't like this either. The HTC interface has been improved. I don't want to read anybody telling me that Touch Flo is "sluggish" because it ain't. Is this Touch Flo or WinMo? Touch Flo is far more customizable than under the first Diamond or the HD and extends further down into a feature, particularly in the phone and contacts.
If you have seen the video demos of HTC's latest version of Touch Flo- now called HTC Sense- you can see the roots of some of its features on the Pure. There is lots of connectedness between contacts, mail, texts and the web (well Facebook). If you set up a contact as a Favorite, you can select a button to show all e-mail or all texts or your call history from this person. HTC has carried this idea much further with Sense.
I could go on, but let's just say that this example of a WinMo 6.5 phone is darn impressive. Oh yeah, call quality is good too. I don't like the dongle for audio, but then I have a Zune HD so I don't care.
Hmmm... I can't help but I have the distinct feeling that Mr. Miller seems dissapointed in WM6.5?
To paraphrase what WM6.5 is....
1) The panel interface from 6.1 standard (non-touch) finally available to WMo professional with some minor cosmetic cleanup.
2) A non-adjustable cosmetic change of the Start-menu (oh dear)
3) a few finger-improved menu's (but aparantly not everywhere).
Let's ditch our 1 year old device and jump to the store for the new devices with the new 6.5. Yeah rite,. I guess I'll stick to my old 6.1 device for the time being. In fact the latest devices are hardware keen on finger-only but the OS still lacks full fingerfriendliness. At least on some 6.1 devices you got some help with optical joy/mousepads etc. Which are missing from late 2009-devices (Yes Samsung I'm talking to you, morrons!!!)
Not to mention to manufacturor UI-customisation overload we currently have
I mean Touchflo, Touch Sense, TouchWiz, Cube-UI, S-class (for god's sake man what's it gonna be)
If this chaos continues than the winMo market will kill itself off even without the stupid moves M$ make.
Do you have to manually lock the phone each time, or is there an option to have it lock when you turn off the device?
6.5 does have an updated look to it, but MS isn't changing the game. The new start menu is a good idea, but the layout seams to make it more difficult to find the program you want. They need to think of the little things that make a difference and come out with the device that thought of everything!
I agree that these changes aren't going to make many who bought a phone in the last year or so drop some coin on a new phone right now. Windows Mobile 7 (or phone 7, or pocket pc 7 whatever they are calling it this year) needs to hit a home run.