One of the best features of Microsoft's forthcoming Windows Mobile release is Internet Explorer Mobile 6, which is built largely on Internet Explorer 6 from the desktop, optimized for the smartphone platform. It should rival the browsing experience on the iPhone, and perhaps be even richer if the device also has Adobe Flash Lite on it. You may not have to wait until WinMo 6.5 ships this fall though to get the new browser.As Eric indicated yesterday
, the new Palm Treo Pro will have Windows Mobile 6.1 on it, but will also include IE Mobile 6. Microsoft wrote the new browser so it would work on Windows Mobile 6.1, but the device requirements are too high and the install size is too large to have an end user installation program available.
The device needs at least a 400MHz processor and 128MB of RAM. If those requirements are met, then the manufacturer can install what is known as Windows Mobile 6.1 AKU 1.4. AKU stands for Adaptation Kit Update, which is a fancy name for Service Pack as far as I am concerned.
If you have a Windows Mobile 6.1 device meeting the above hardware requirements and it is relatively recent, keep an eye out for an announcement from your carrier or device manufacturer. It is possible
they can provide a ROM upgrade that will include the new browser. I say possible because unfortunately, Windows Mobile device makers often look at their devices as appliances. It worked when it shipped and performs as advertised, so there is no reason to spend resources to increase its functionality after the sale. Users, of course, see their devices as small computers and every computer ever built increases in functionality after it ships through updates and upgrades. Apple has adopted the user view for their iPhone.
Of course, the other way to get IE Mobile 6 is to get a new WinMo 6.1 device like the Treo Pro. Since AKU 1.4 has been released to manufacturers for a while now, I would expect many newly released WinMo 6.1 devices to have the new browser. If the new browser is important to you, do your homework if you are in the market for a WinMo phone. Don't let the guy at the counter of your carrier tell you an upgrade is coming. It either should have it out of the box or you should be able to find a press release or other document from the carrier stating that an upgrade really is coming.