Windows Mobile 6.5.3 spotted at CES 2010 but where's 7?

We've spotted a couple of Windows Mobile 6.5.3 devices at CES this year.

Microsoft has kept their point release under wraps but device manufacturers are slowing rolling the update out on new devices. Depending on who you talk to, some Microsoft officials were hesitant to confirm Windows Mobile 6.5.3 and others freely spoke about the new enhancements and features. ROMs have been leaking for months and Microsoft officially confirmed the existence in an MSDN posting last month. Windows Mobile 6.5.3 includes better touch support with improved menus, gesture based navigation and a new touch bar at the bottom of the screen for easy navigation.

The first device we spotted was the Toshiba TG01 which packs a 1GHz snapdragon processor and 4.1" WVGA screen. The Toshiba also includes 256RAM and 512MB ROM.

The second device is the Pharos Traveler 137 GPS. Complete with a 3.5" WVGA screen and a 528MHz processor it's not quite as snappy as the Toshiba but includes Pharos' hybrid navigation system complete with US maps. Both devices are running build Build 23091.5.3.0

What about Windows Mobile 7?

That is the question on everyone's lips right now. Microsoft officials refuse to comment on Windows Mobile 7 in most cases but Robbie Bach, Entertainment and Devices Division, held an analysts call at CES and confirmed that the company will share details of Windows Mobile 7 next month at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. "I've seen it and played with it," Bach said. He also believes that Windows Mobile 7 will "set the bar forward not in (just) an evolutionary way." From what we are hearing from insiders the company is ready to show off Windows Mobile 7 and will do so at Mobile World Congress. Microsoft's annual conference, Mix 2010 in March, will be the time for company officials to unveil developer features. We questioned Toshiba, Samsung and LG about their Windows Mobile 6.5.3 and 7 plans but all refused to answer the future of Windows Mobile, presumably due to non-disclosure agreements with Microsoft. LG did confirm that Windows Mobile 7 devices are due this year.

In September last year, Microsoft confirmed that the current team of 1,000 developers, working on Windows Mobile 7, are planning to feature social networks as a key element of Windows Mobile 7. Since September it has been quiet on the Windows Mobile 7 front. Microsoft officials confirmed they would talk about Windows Mobile 7 at the upcoming MIX 2010 conference in March next year. Microsoft also posted what appeared to be a concept UI for Windows Mobile 7 on the Office 2010 mobile site.

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Looks like some decent improvements to 6.5.3, but like just about everyone else, I'm waiting until 7 before I look at Windows Mobile again...

1000 developers? WTF? I know that Android has way less people working on at, and I'm guessing so do WebOS and iPhone OS, yet all three are progressing much faster than WM7. With so many people, what the hell is taking so long?

Android moves quick because it just started, with more things to add compared to v1.0 and so on that's why it's been getting released quicker. WebOS, how long was palm working on that till we got the Pre? 2 years? 3?

WM7 sounds like a complete rewrite of not only WM but of winCE that's at the core. That's 2 things, not just one mind you. And WinCE is used in other things, not just phones etc.

GP007 said,
Android moves quick because it just started, with more things to add compared to v1.0 and so on that's why it's been getting released quicker. WebOS, how long was palm working on that till we got the Pre? 2 years? 3?

WM7 sounds like a complete rewrite of not only WM but of winCE that's at the core. That's 2 things, not just one mind you. And WinCE is used in other things, not just phones etc.

They had dual reason to rewrite Windows CE, the Zune HD runs on the latest modified version of Windows CE so the platform required for an impressive WinMo 7 is there.

Osiris said,
They had dual reason to rewrite Windows CE, the Zune HD runs on the latest modified version of Windows CE so the platform required for an impressive WinMo 7 is there.

Actually, Zue HD runs on Win CE 5 still. Did you know that despite its gorgeous OLED screen, it can only display 65,000 colours? It's a shame and really noticeable

~Johnny said,
Actually, Zue HD runs on Win CE 5 still. Did you know that despite its gorgeous OLED screen, it can only display 65,000 colours? It's a shame and really noticeable :(

That still shows the ability of the current core CE OS to do much if you want it to.

Either way, the core for WM7 will probably be CE6. My point still stands, the delay is because MS has not just CE to redo but WM on top as well.

~Johnny said,
Actually, Zue HD runs on Win CE 5 still. Did you know that despite its gorgeous OLED screen, it can only display 65,000 colours? It's a shame and really noticeable :(

It's really noticeable? How? There's 65,000 colors... How noticeable can that be? This has been discussed, and comparisons have been shown, and the difference is VERY minimal if noticeable at all...

GP007 said,
That still shows the ability of the current core CE OS to do much if you want it to.

Either way, the core for WM7 will probably be CE6. My point still stands, the delay is because MS has not just CE to redo but WM on top as well.

Yeah, and who knows how long these other companies were working on their OS's... Do we know how long Android was in development? Do we know how long Apple was working on the iPhone OS? And updates to that really don't add all that much, so that's not even worth comparing to what Microsoft is doing here...

Android is just a UI and drivers on top of Linux. Google didn't write a whole OS. Same with iPhone OS - it's built on the same BSD variant as OSX. They didn't write a new OS.

JonathanMarston said,
Android is just a UI and drivers on top of Linux. Google didn't write a whole OS. Same with iPhone OS - it's built on the same BSD variant as OSX. They didn't write a new OS.

That's very true. I think many people are forgetting that fact.

M_Lyons10 said,
It's really noticeable? How? There's 65,000 colors... How noticeable can that be? This has been discussed, and comparisons have been shown, and the difference is VERY minimal if noticeable at all...

Its very noticeable in images with coloured gradients and videos (like movies of music videos), where you start to notice a lot of colour banding. It's actually one of the first things I noticed when I played my first HD video on the device and I was wondering why it looked so bad =/

Windows Mobile 6.5.3 includes better touch support with improved menus, gesture based navigation and a new touch bar at the bottom of the screen for easy navigation.

And some fugly buttons

n_K said,
"WVGA screen and a 528MHz processor it's not quiet as snappy"
*Quite

"Report a problem", top right link on article.

I don't understand why Windows Mobile 7 must break compatibility with older software? Windows 7 can still run Windows 95 programs. It is a newer version of the CE kernel, meaning it has MORE features. It might very well still run the old programs. They may look out of place (as do Windows 9x programs in Windows XP/Vista/7) but they could still run.

Well, we don't know for sure, they could have ripped out and rewriten loads of code for the new version of CE for all we know. That and maybe they want to get devs to code using something new like .NET, or better yet, silverlight. We'll just have to wait and see. MiX will be all about the developer side of WM7.

MWC will be a nice heads up and a teaser.

GP007 said,
Well, we don't know for sure, they could have ripped out and rewriten loads of code for the new version of CE for all we know. That and maybe they want to get devs to code using something new like .NET, or better yet, silverlight. We'll just have to wait and see. MiX will be all about the developer side of WM7.

MWC will be a nice heads up and a teaser.

Yeah, absolutely. And frankly a refresh of development tools for Windows Mobile would be overdue as well... They need new controls and everything to keep up with other platforms...

This only adds to my thinking that MS will infact release this update to WM 6.5 at MWC, or MiX. This is probably why they held off and didn't say anything at CES about WM. It'd be a good way to start off, show the quick changes to the UI for 6.5 and RTM it, then jump right into WM7.

It won't, but no reason to leave older phone and current 6.5 users out in the cold. Specially if WM7 breaks compatibility with 6.x and so on. Free updates to 6.5 users are welcome.

GP007 said,
It won't, but no reason to leave older phone and current 6.5 users out in the cold. Specially if WM7 breaks compatibility with 6.x and so on. Free updates to 6.5 users are welcome.

Microsoft and their OEMS have never had much concern with ensuring you could upgrade OS. Most of the time its left to xda-developers rom cookers to enable you to upgrade from a milestone like this. At best I would say Touch HD2 users (or any current snapdragon phones) should be eligible for an upgrade. Anything less and I wouldnt be holding your breathe.

Osiris said,
Microsoft and their OEMS have never had much concern with ensuring you could upgrade OS. Most of the time its left to xda-developers rom cookers to enable you to upgrade from a milestone like this. At best I would say Touch HD2 users (or any current snapdragon phones) should be eligible for an upgrade. Anything less and I wouldnt be holding your breathe.


I was talking moe about brining updates to 6.5 owners still. Yesterday older 6.1 phones got official updates to 6.5. So whatever this 6.5.3 updates turn into they should, and probably will, find their way to any 6.5 phones out now I would think. And while the UI changes aren't grand, they're still a good update to have for your phone imo.

I personally think this will turn into something like wm6.7 and keep WM in the news until WM7 is out on devices so people can play with.

GP007 said,
I was talking moe about brining updates to 6.5 owners still. Yesterday older 6.1 phones got official updates to 6.5. So whatever this 6.5.3 updates turn into they should, and probably will, find their way to any 6.5 phones out now I would think. And while the UI changes aren't grand, they're still a good update to have for your phone imo.

I personally think this will turn into something like wm6.7 and keep WM in the news until WM7 is out on devices so people can play with.

What phones was 6.5 released to yesterday? I wasn't aware that most 6.1 phones were being updated to 6.5... Samsung hasn't said anything about their phones aside from the Omnia 2...

Touch Pro2 is the other one I know off, and a few others. there was a list of some at wmexperts or maybe it was wmpoweruser, I forget.

whatever that phone is in those images above.. look really sweet!...My only hope is WinMo 7 comes out and knocks android out of the park (just sayin, doubt that will happen really)..

I think it can, andriod in the end is all about it's widgets and letting you drop then anywhere you want on it's 3 or 5 screens etc. I mean it's nothing that hard to match or outdo somehow.

GP007 said,
I think it can, andriod in the end is all about it's widgets and letting you drop then anywhere you want on it's 3 or 5 screens etc. I mean it's nothing that hard to match or outdo somehow.

True. But I do like the "Notification Bar" at the top of Android... That is rather handy I think...

"would talk about Windows Mobile 7 at the upcoming MIX 2010 conference in March next year."

MIX 2010 conference in March this year."

ilaugh said,
In what sense? Only real problem is the ui. Other than that, it's on par with the competition.

The browser is rubbish to, the lack of apps that combined with the shocking interface means falling market share.

So use one of the other browsers? Opera? Skyfire? Who says, like with windows, you have to use IE only? And WM has loads of apps, the majority are not on the marketplace true, but if you want apps in the first place that aren't on there you have the ability to find more from one of the many other shops. That's what the internet is for.

thealexweb said,
The browser is rubbish to, the lack of apps that combined with the shocking interface means falling market share.

Lack of apps? Obviously you have never used Windows Mobile. Stop talking crap out of your rear end.

Billus said,
Lack of apps? Obviously you have never used Windows Mobile. Stop talking crap out of your rear end.

Most users are to lazy to scour the whole internet looking for a decent app. And anyway there are much fewer quality apps for Windows Mobile compared to Android and iPhone OS. Also I've notice that still quite lot of apps for Windows Mobile are outdated because they need to be used with a stylus. And yes I have used Windows Mobile, last version I used on a phone was 6.1.

thealexweb said,
Most users are to lazy to scour the whole internet looking for a decent app. And anyway there are much fewer quality apps for Windows Mobile compared to Android and iPhone OS. Also I've notice that still quite lot of apps for Windows Mobile are outdated because they need to be used with a stylus. And yes I have used Windows Mobile, last version I used on a phone was 6.1.

Really? Because it honestly doesn't sound like you have. There are WAY more apps than for the iPhone, and I've had NO issue finding quality apps at all. Scouring the internet for apps? How about digging through 300 fart apps on the iTunes app store? There are quality issues everywhere, and iPhone is no exception. There is crap everywhere, but to say that there are more quality apps on the iPhone than Windows Mobile is just being ridiculous. Also, I have installed a lot of apps on my Windows Mobile phone, and have NEVER had to use the stylus, so your whole comment is full of fail...

thealexweb said,
Also I've notice that still quite lot of apps for Windows Mobile are outdated because they need to be used with a stylus

You know that's like saying PC programs are outdated because they have to use a mouse instead of your finger?

Is it so hard to imagine that stylus' may actually be useful for certain things?

The more and more phones that start to stay within 3.5-4.3 inch screens with QVGA or higher will provide the platform to launch a better windows and windows market place experience. For too long the windows based phones were all over the board with the screen size, capabiities, etc. Iphone got that part down right and that help create market place for development as developers knew they could develop a program and have it appear as intended and without modifications to get it to have this feature or that feature according to the phone itself.

I wouldn't go as far as standardization but keeping screens within a range is much easier than being all over the board. Windows mobile in a flip phone on a tiny screen? It worked but it wasn't stable and it didn't look all that nice.

I can't wait for Windows 7 mobile. I am sure they will knock it out of the ball park. MS knows that its their last chance to make a great impression or the Iphone and Android market will eat them alive with no chance for recovery. The Android market is moving at a very fast pace. Glad their is another big player in town. Competition is great!

I agree that there needs to be standardization with regards to screen size. It would make things much easier for a lot of people... I wish Microsoft had done that from the start.

Windows Mobile 7 has expectations set kinda high. Do people really think it will be drastically different? I am doubtful, but will be happy to be proved wrong.

If Microsoft wants to retain compatibility with previous devices, there cannot be that much deviation. Windows Mobile will feel like Windows Mobile for a while.

Intelman said,
Windows Mobile 7 has expectations set kinda high. Do people really think it will be drastically different? I am doubtful, but will be happy to be proved wrong.

If Microsoft wants to retain compatibility with previous devices, there cannot be that much deviation. Windows Mobile will feel like Windows Mobile for a while.

Judging by how high the minimum specs are (atleast Snapdragon or Tegra, and I think atleast WVGA), and how long it's taken (nearly 3 years now), you can pretty much expect it to be very much a revolutionary product compared to what's there. Plus, if they change WinCE kernels to WinCE 6 for WinMo 7, I don't think there's going to be much compatibility anyway (I may possibly be wrong here)

the success of a consumer base device is based on glossy ui with big buttons, and it's entertainment and gaming abilities. If they can provide seamless integration with windows and the xbox one way or another, it could be winner.

I'm sorry, but that's stupid logic. The majority of mainstream users who are using the App marketplace now will stick to those apps, not try to use CABs from the internet, and at any rate, people who use that kind of system won't go anywhere except an App store, which Windows Mobile 7 will obviously have.

jandler said,
the success of a consumer base device is based on glossy ui with big buttons, and it's entertainment and gaming abilities. If they can provide seamless integration with windows and the xbox one way or another, it could be winner.

+Zune MP and Zune Pass compatibility.

That there is Microsoft's key advantage. They need to lean into that a little more.

I think they are, and will be. The Zune bits will find their way into WM7 for media related stuff. Likewise the ZuneHD will get apps and more CE stuff in time. I personally want MS to put out and open up the ZuneHD to outside devs to make apps and games for, which would be the last thing aside form a global release that'd hold it back.

GP007 said,
The Zune bits will find their way into WM7 for media related stuff. Likewise the ZuneHD will get apps and more CE stuff in time.

From what Microsoft have said so far and from what they're done so far, I think you're only partially right. The Zune software will supersede it's hardware and move onto Windows Mobile 7, there's been lots of evidence towards this.

However there's also evidence that they'll be phasing out Zune hardware after this happens, so that technically, every Windows Mobile phone is a "Zune Phone", and frankly this will help WinMo 7 compete very well against a certain iPod Phone :P They've said there will, at the very least, be only one more hardware revision after Zune HD, so I think they're waiting to see whether it'll be worth continuing with the standalone devices - and unfortunately I think they'll conclude probably not.

~Johnny said,
From what Microsoft have said so far and from what they're done so far, I think you're only partially right. The Zune software will supersede it's hardware and move onto Windows Mobile 7, there's been lots of evidence towards this.

However there's also evidence that they'll be phasing out Zune hardware after this happens, so that technically, every Windows Mobile phone is a "Zune Phone", and frankly this will help WinMo 7 compete very well against a certain iPod Phone :P They've said there will, at the very least, be only one more hardware revision after Zune HD, so I think they're waiting to see whether it'll be worth continuing with the standalone devices - and unfortunately I think they'll conclude probably not.

Oh well yeah, that's the end goal for MS with the Zune, But I think we'll get a ZuneHD+ with the new tegra so it can bump up the HD to 1080p. Current one can only do 720p iirc.

They might keep it going if they take the ZuneHD global and sales are worth it, just like how Apple still keeps the touch going even though they have the iPhone. It does just all depend.

According to engadget robby bach dropped the word evolutionary when discussing his time spent with Winmo7. The praise the ZuneHD has received microsoft would be silly not to develop a graphics rich Winmo7 which takes advantage of the massive leap in power these devices has seen with hardware.

His discussion also confirmed we will see a demo of WinMo 7 at MWC Feb 17th.

Yeah, I agree that it wouldn't make sense for Microsoft to not leverage other technologies, such as the Zune HD OS and such for Windows Mobile 7. In fact I'm sure we'll see some similarities when it does see release. I'm really hoping Windows Mobile 7 is what Microsoft needs, because they really need something amazing UI wise... Maybe phone manufacturers will stop covering up so much of it too. Thats my concern... If Microsoft releases a nice Windows Mobile version and then the manufacturers mess it up I'm going to cry... lol

That 6.5 series UI looks very nice and polished. I say, let them play with the 6.5 series all they want and practice-practice, so that, they get 7 right.

jandler said,
That "superbar" at the bottom still look extremely out of place

Hang on, so there's now two start points? The Windows logo at the top left and the Windows logo at the bottom left!

To do what exactly? minimize running apps to? I thought about that a bit, but you dno't have the space to do such a thing, and it'd be limited.

DonC said,
Hang on, so there's now two start points? The Windows logo at the top left and the Windows logo at the bottom left!

No, it's down at the bottom, the windows flag you see in the shot. In the 2nd shot that shows "Start" at the top is just the title name, so you know you're in the "start" menu. When you open something else it changes.