The issue isn't whether or not WinMo 6.5 is unfinished. Microsoft had to set some design goals for 6.5 and whatever they chose to ultimately implement, I am sure those features are fully implemented. They did put 6.5 on the fast track though to advance the platform while we wait until 2010 for WinMo 7 to come out.
The truth is, WinMo 6.5 has so much over 6.1 that it really deserves more than a .4 incremental update. I think this is the single largest change to the platform since going from WinMo 2003 Second Edition to WinMo 5. Just a few of the new features include:
- Finger gesture driven UI for menus, emails, phone, etc.
- Direct links to voice mail, email, etc. from the lock screen
- New desktop-like browser
- Support for Microsoft's Windows Marketplace for Mobile - their answer to the Apple App Store
- Widget support
- Office 2007 file format support
- Integrated My Phone service to back up your data to an online account
Some of these features are available today. For example, Office 2007 support can be downloaded from Microsoft's site for WinMo 6.x devices, or some carriers may have included it in recent phones. Third party utilities may have implemented some features like the enhanced Today screen. However, it is always best to have this implemented on the device right from the factory. It provides a consistent experience as UI changes are device wide, not just in some apps. It also makes it easier for IT departments as they don't have to install applications to get a consistent featureset across the enterprise.
If you are in the market for a phone today and don't want to wait for 6.5 to ship to consumers, something that should happen in Q3 or perhaps early Q4, look for the HTC Touch Pro 2 or HTC Diamond 2. Both were designed for 6.5 but will initially ship with 6.1. HTC has committed to providing upgrades. A T-Mobile Touch Pro 2 has already been seen, and that happens to be my carrier. Personally, I am looking forward to that device, and the new OS.