Mobile
Commentary
4/21/2009
08:31 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Commentary
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Windows Mobile 6.5 May Launch Not Likely

Last week, there was a ton of news that Windows Mobile 6.5 would launch May 11. This came from an announcement on the Windows Mobile blog. It seems though that the word "launch" wasn't the right word, and there won't be a May 2009 lau

Last week, there was a ton of news that Windows Mobile 6.5 would launch May 11. This came from an announcement on the Windows Mobile blog. It seems though that the word "launch" wasn't the right word, and there won't be a May 2009 launch for the anxiously awaited mobile platform.The original quote is as follows:

Stephanie Ferguson, GM of Business Experiences at Microsoft's Mobile Communications Business is going to deliver the kick off launch presentation of Windows Mobile 6.5 on Monday, May 11th at 1:00PM - 2:15PM. This Tech Ed 2009 session focuses on one of the biggest launches in the history of Windows Mobile - Windows Mobile 6.5. It is targeted at both IT Professionals and Developers, with a cool demo and an outline of great stuff to come.

The Tech Herald did a more detailed analysis of what the post actually meant, keying on the words "demo" and "outline." It seems that The Tech Herald nailed it as the blog from Microsoft has been edited to remove the word launch.

I was very skeptical when I saw all of the posts about the May launch given the mobile OS just entered the beta phase in February. You just don't rush out an OS that quickly. If nothing else, Microsoft needs to give the carrier and hardware manufacturers more time to play with the beta to give feedback on what does and doesn't work with their hardware or networks.

The best guess on the release is still sometime late this year, hopefully in the third quarter. That would give the carriers the extra month or two necessary to get final builds on their devices and polish up their own drivers, network stacks and UI branding. If that happens, then we could see devices by November, the start of the Christmas season.

Microsoft cannot get this OS out too soon. Windows Mobile 6.1 is too similar to 6.0 and even 5.0 from the user's perspective, and 5.0 was released in 2005. In that time, we've seen Apple launch the iPhone and will be up to 3.0 by the time 6.5 launches. The Palm Pre with the new Palm WebOS will have also launched and been on the market for a few months by then. Additionally, every other OS will have its own company sponsored application store, a trend started by Apple in 2008 when the iPhone 2.0 was released. In a perplexing move, Microsoft will not allow users of WinMo 5.0, 6.0 and 6.1 to make use of the app store. Apple felt the app store was worth so much to the platform, they ensured that the first generation iPhones could make use of it with the 2.0 software upgrade. Microsoft would need to do far less to make use of their app store - just write the program to access the store, keep track of user's purchases and look for updates periodically. Instead, they will start with a market of no one until 6.5 devices start to sell.

So, for those of you excited by the May launch date, you'll just have to cool your heels a few months more.

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