So what was Windows Mobile 6 like?


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DrJohnSmitherson

I read about it on Wikipedia, but could someone tell me about their personal experience with it? How does it compare to current smartphones? Was it ever very popular? If not, why? What are it's advantages and disadvantages compared to current smartphones?

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andrew_f

It was popular in enterprise but was really starting to show its age. Microsoft tried for a long time to try to keep it relevant, much like they did with the old Windows 9x days - but eventually it just couldn't keep up.

I think that before iPhone came out - Windows Mobile was probably one of the better choices out there, but it doesn't hold up anymore. Windows Phone 7 on the other hand is a very viable choice and builds on the lessons they learnt with WM6.x.

It was more like Android and Sybmian in ways than iPhone, in that you could install applications your way and customise it quite heavily. Because of this history I fear that Android will eventually go the same way as Windows Mobile and Symbian did (ie: down the crapper)

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Simon-

it was horrible- hard to use and crashed a lot. It seemed like a port of Windows 95... on your phone. The only way to get anything useful out of it was to use install apps to fill the gaps, at least there was no restrictions what you could install as there was no 'marketplace', it was decentralised, just go to the developers homepage on your PC, download it, and then transfer the app to the phone, then install it on your phone.

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AnotherITguy

I still own a Windows Mobile 6.5.3 Device, a SAMSUNG OMNIA 2 and its a decent experience, OFFICE 2010 MOBILE is ok, FLASH support is definately a plus, the APP store is decent, the problem enlies in a poor touch screen experience, WINDOWS MEDIA PLAYER 10 (yes, its that old) is clunky as heck. If you don't configure storage right the phone will slow down to a crawl, too many third party apps. All in all a 3 out of 5 in my book. Definately won't be buying WINDOWS MOBILE anytime soon.

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M_Lyons10

It was popular in enterprise but was really starting to show its age. Microsoft tried for a long time to try to keep it relevant, much like they did with the old Windows 9x days - but eventually it just couldn't keep up.

I think that before iPhone came out - Windows Mobile was probably one of the better choices out there, but it doesn't hold up anymore. Windows Phone 7 on the other hand is a very viable choice and builds on the lessons they learnt with WM6.x.

It was more like Android and Sybmian in ways than iPhone, in that you could install applications your way and customise it quite heavily. Because of this history I fear that Android will eventually go the same way as Windows Mobile and Symbian did (ie: down the crapper)

I've been saying that about Android for quite some time. I just see it going in the same direction and making the same mistakes Microsoft did with WinMo...

As for the OP, WinMo was a good OS when it was released, but updates were not really noticeable and often the OS was put on hardware that couldn't handle it. Some phones REALLY suffered... Phones that had good specs often found themselves slowing down over time as well. But it did A LOT... Windows Phone is a great OS and was designed taking into consideration all of the mistakes Microsoft made with WinMo. And as they add functionality to it, I'm sure we'll see an OS as deep and feature rich as WinMo eventually.

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Lord Zog

Forner Omnia user here also on WM 6.1. At the time, it was decent. Wasn't crazy about having to use a stylus tho as I wasn't crazy about the stylus (Used one on a Palm and a Purple Handspring Visor Deluxe) Decent call quality and office support was great. WMP was useless (Slow and sluggish). had to do a factory reset more than a phone needed but WM 6.1 had a lot of issues with apps as mentioned above..

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XIII

WM6 is not really very touch friendly. Most WM6 phones back in the day only had resistive touch, not capacitive touch. It really had never appealed to me until HTC came up with Sense interface for theirTouch Diamond. I really loved that phone and the form factor is just right. Regrettably, it felt slow over the years and I had to upgrade. It serves me well for almost 3 years.

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M_Lyons10

WM6 is not really very touch friendly. Most WM6 phones back in the day only had resistive touch, not capacitive touch. It really had never appealed to me until HTC came up with Sense interface for theirTouch Diamond. I really loved that phone and the form factor is just right. Regrettably, it felt slow over the years and I had to upgrade. It serves me well for almost 3 years.

Yeah, touch was never great... And resistive touch screens were the norm. I actually still use my Omnia with 6.1 (And don't use the stylus, which was poorly designed as it didn't have a "house"... lol). It's slowed, but still works. I'm just waiting for Verizon to get Windows Phone 7 then I'm upgrading...

*Edit Whoops, Neowin's forums were acting squirly....

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Soulsiphon

Yeah, touch was never great... (x3!!!!)

I sense an edit in the near future :p

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burnblue

It was fine. When smartphones weren't popular yet, these phones allowed you to do anything you could want to do... they recognized your voice, recognized your handwriting, synced with your PC, backed up your text messages to the "cloud", did VPN and remote desktop, turn-by-turn nav... plenty stuff. There was no other real smartphone option as Palm had lost and didn't offer any compelling OS (I don't count Blackberry.. with no touchscreens they were really just efficient email devices).

Unfortunately, in the latter years right before iPhone came out, there was a trend in miniaturization for phones. Smaller phones to fit more nicely in your hand/pocket became popular, and we went from 3.5" screen norms to 2.8" on phones like theTilt (or Diamond). Even with a stylus you can't navigate those easily, because all the items on screen were just way too small. On my 3.5" screen phone from 2005, I was operating it only by touching with my thumbs... I'd lost my stylus. These new phones I couldn't work. Anyway, the iPhone comes out and it became all about touching the screen again. Sizes went up, smartphones took off. Interestingly though, Windows Mobile had evolved to start favoring tiny screens, which led to interface elements that just didn't work. At the same time, HTC and everybody else had started bloating the phones with custom skins (invented in the 2.8" screen era) and this tore the whole Windows Mobile landscape to hell. To make it worse, WM was a product that once delivered, was left to enterprises and enthusiasts... it didn't seem like they had more than two developers working on updating anything.

The answer to your question is that there once was a time that Pocket PC fulfilled all a power user could dream. When the market expanded, WIndows Mobile wasn't ready to look like the new stuff... but they were still good phones.

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M_Lyons10

I sense an edit in the near future :p

Yep. LOL Neowin was acting a bit buggy and kept freezing up... I fixed it. :p

It was fine. When smartphones weren't popular yet, these phones allowed you to do anything you could want to do... they recognized your voice, recognized your handwriting, synced with your PC, backed up your text messages to the "cloud", did VPN and remote desktop, turn-by-turn nav... plenty stuff. There was no other real smartphone option as Palm had lost and didn't offer any compelling OS (I don't count Blackberry.. with no touchscreens they were really just efficient email devices).

Unfortunately, in the latter years right before iPhone came out, there was a trend in miniaturization for phones. Smaller phones to fit more nicely in your hand/pocket became popular, and we went from 3.5" screen norms to 2.8" on phones like theTilt (or Diamond). Even with a stylus you can't navigate those easily, because all the items on screen were just way too small. On my 3.5" screen phone from 2005, I was operating it only by touching with my thumbs... I'd lost my stylus. These new phones I couldn't work. Anyway, the iPhone comes out and it became all about touching the screen again. Sizes went up, smartphones took off. Interestingly though, Windows Mobile had evolved to start favoring tiny screens, which led to interface elements that just didn't work. At the same time, HTC and everybody else had started bloating the phones with custom skins (invented in the 2.8" screen era) and this tore the whole Windows Mobile landscape to hell. To make it worse, WM was a product that once delivered, was left to enterprises and enthusiasts... it didn't seem like they had more than two developers working on updating anything.

The answer to your question is that there once was a time that Pocket PC fulfilled all a power user could dream. When the market expanded, WIndows Mobile wasn't ready to look like the new stuff... but they were still good phones.

Very good post. I agree. It certainly seemed like Microsoft had 2 people working on WinMo towards the end. Even looking at versions, there was little change between 5 and 6 and 6.1 (Which only made some things bigger for touch screens really)... It was a good OS, but it was a good OS in its time... Things changed and left it in the dust. I'm glad that Microsoft finally realized that and moved past the old architecture.

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M_Lyons10

I read about it on Wikipedia, but could someone tell me about their personal experience with it? How does it compare to current smartphones? Was it ever very popular? If not, why? What are it's advantages and disadvantages compared to current smartphones?

And can I say that I don't recall EVER seeing a question on here that made me feel so old? LOL Not only did you read about it on Wikipedia (Thank god it wasn't a bound encyclopedia!), but I'm still using Windows Mobile 6.1... LMAO

It just struck me as very funny after rereading your initial post. Thanks for the chuckle...

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Rudie32

I read about it on Wikipedia, but could someone tell me about their personal experience with it? How does it compare to current smartphones? Was it ever very popular? If not, why? What are it's advantages and disadvantages compared to current smartphones?

I had windows mobile on my original ipaq, the dash, touch pro 2, dash 3g and now hd2. On the older hardware, it was slow and clunky. No app store originally so you had to rely on windows mobile sites/tech sites like neowin or howardforums to find apps. The sense interface made it a lot better. It made the touch pro2 worth using. Though it was slow sometimes. You had to reboot a lot to get back to full speed.

The hd2 was the first phone that i though windows mobile could keep up. It never slowed down much compared to my touch pro2 and dash 3g. Finally had an app store, sorta flash with opera mobile, etc. It was too late for windows mobile though. If it wasn't for the devs working on android, the hd2 would be long gone and forgotten by now.

Sad, but many people buy the hd2, not for windows mobile, but to flash it to android. The best selling windows mobile android phone on the market.

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xn--bya

It was a good OS and you could do anything with it. Just look at how many modifications and apps there are for it at xda-developers.

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mr.r9

For it's time, it was good. You had core player for playing videos, opera for web browsing, Resco for everything else, SPB shell as a home screen. And 3-4 major navigation softwares.

Basically to get a good experience with Winmo you had to use many softwares because the basic applications were ****.

Enterprises & advanced users loved it because you could do anything with it.

Thank God mobile OSs advanced though.

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~Johnny

Id still say it's better than what Symbian is now... Granted it wasn't very touch friendly in some cases but I never saw why people hated it SO much.

My first experience was with the HTC Touch Diamond, and at the time, it was probably one of the best looking UI's I'd ever seen on a phone. Typing was a little hard without a stylus, and felt a bit stupid with a stylus - but as long as you used the stylus everything worked a charm :p I used it a few days ago and it still feels quite reasonable with HTC's Touch Flow ontop.

Then I moved onto the HD2 - and that pretty much made everything touchable with your finger - the only probably there was HTC screwing it up so Text messages wouldn't send, or it'd lock up after a phone call, or it'd freeze randomly, etc. But none of that happened when you removed the HTC Sense / Touch Flo stuff. With just base Windows Mobile 6.5 with Swype keyboard, the HTC HD2 was a very enjoyable phone that I'd easily take over any Symbian phone, and I wouldn't be that much bothered about using even now. It can do everything, doesn't tend to crash, and has a nice responsive Touch UI. Looks a tad ugly iin some places, but it works!

You can make it feel very modern and competitive feeling though with nice, smooth and very touchable eye candy by putting on things like Resco Explorer, Opera Mobile, SPB Mobile Shell, HTC's default album, etc. Tweak a few things in the registry, chuck on some of that - and people would have a hard time even today knowing it's such a old device running an outdated OS. It's essential Windows - so although some of hte default shipping programs are ugly and unwieldy - you could continue to program and just put newer and better looking ones on for years to come :p

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The2

I had WM6.5 device, it was an awful experience! Actually, so awfull (most of the bad experience was no good free aps, capacitive touch, no media capabilities, and a TOTALLY unusable browser) that I switched back to a regular sony ericsson phone...

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Futurix

It was pretty good for 2004-2006, but:

  • the UI was entirely built around stylus and even late changes to WM 6.5 could not fix that as third-party apps could not abandon support for older versions and continued supporting old stylus UI
  • relaxed hardware specs allowed devices to be really sloooooooooooooow and lacking things like GPS
  • there were few limitations for apps, which allowed things like an always-running background "speed-launcher" for Opera browser which hogged the memory and CPU and remained in memory even if you would install newer version (that wouldn't use that launcher)
  • lack of various multimedia libraries for third-party developers led to rather boring apps

I liked WM 6.x back in time, but WP7 couldn't come soon enough.

P.S. And HTC Sense was crap. Slow and useless (but at least you could turn it off completely, unlike on Android devices).

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PassionForGod

I'm using Samsung Omnia i900 running Windows Mobile 6.1 professional and I have to tell you from my experience it's a fantastic OS but has a terrible touchscreen responses and it's buggy.

post-387050-0-32924700-1303548060.jpg

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Jebadiah

I read about it on Wikipedia, but could someone tell me about their personal experience with it? How does it compare to current smartphones? Was it ever very popular? If not, why? What are it's advantages and disadvantages compared to current smartphones?

Sounds like homework.

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Detection

Ive still got Windows Mobile 6.1 on my HTC Touch Diamond.

Works, but thats about its best feature

I unlocked it for other providers and ROMs - tried a load of 6.5.x ROMs but every one of them had something wrong with them, so I found the newest Stock HTC 6.1 ROM and it runs perfectly....... for 6.1

Here is a product demo advert for it, the features in the professional demo are real

and here is a hands on real usage showing of the OS

And a much more in depth demo of the OS and phone

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTC9leJQ2-0

Like I say, it works fine, but I wouldn't buy one, I got mine free

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+DonC

[Having used Pocket PC / Windows Mobile for over 10 years now, I will be somewhat biased towards it.]

I'd say that a few years ago it was the best all-rounder for mobile devices. I still very happy to use it on my HD2 and I'm not looking to switch to a newer phone any time soon.

A lot of people will tell you that it's rough around the edges, which is true. At points you are in a touch friendly modern looking UI and then it switches to the older winforms style when you go to certain areas. Third party shells, like HTC Sense and SPB Mobile Shell don't really help to keep things consistent either. Thing is, the way in which you navigate the device isn't as slick as iOS or Android but the actual software is just as useful.

Windows Phone 7 was a required step for Microsoft. Given the choices available now, new users would obviously avoid WM6 as it just isn't as user friendly to the uninitiated.

In terms of what you can actually do with the phone? Probably just as much as you can do with other smart phones and we've been able to do those for over a decade.

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DrJohnSmitherson

And can I say that I don't recall EVER seeing a question on here that made me feel so old? LOL Not only did you read about it on Wikipedia (Thank god it wasn't a bound encyclopedia!), but I'm still using Windows Mobile 6.1... LMAOIt just struck me as very funny after rereading your initial post. Thanks for the chuckle...

HAHA! Sorry! :p

Sounds like homework.

lol It's not hw. What class would you think it's for?

Thanks for all the information guys. It seems like Microsoft really had a leg up on the competition though. I guess there wasn't enough competition to make them improve it?

Also, FLASH?! omg, I hate Apple so much...

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M_Lyons10

lol It's not hw. What class would you think it's for?

Thanks for all the information guys. It seems like Microsoft really had a leg up on the competition though. I guess there wasn't enough competition to make them improve it?

Also, FLASH?! omg, I hate Apple so much...

I'd say they definitely had a leg up on the competition when WinMo was fresh and competitive, but they grew complacent and didn't change fast enough with the times. Getting a company the size of Microsoft to change quickly isn't the easiest thing, I'll admit, but when in technology you really need to figure it out. They were so late in getting true support for touch (You could really argue that good touch support didn't come until WP7, though 6.5 was definitely an improvement). And the OS could do anything. People made a huge deal about iOS adding copy and paste. WinMo had it forever... VPN Support (Which I can't wait to see in WP7) was in there, Office support (Though the compatibility between the desktop Office wasn't as good as the mobile Office in WP7), was welcome. And the support for corporate technologies was really great. The amount of things WinMo could do that we can look forward to them adding to Windows Phone is huge. It's really exciting seeing Microsoft back in the mobile game, because they do know how to make a good mobile OS, and have the potential to do very well.

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DrJohnSmitherson

I'd say they definitely had a leg up on the competition when WinMo was fresh and competitive, but they grew complacent and didn't change fast enough with the times. Getting a company the size of Microsoft to change quickly isn't the easiest thing, I'll admit, but when in technology you really need to figure it out. They were so late in getting true support for touch (You could really argue that good touch support didn't come until WP7, though 6.5 was definitely an improvement). And the OS could do anything. People made a huge deal about iOS adding copy and paste. WinMo had it forever... VPN Support (Which I can't wait to see in WP7) was in there, Office support (Though the compatibility between the desktop Office wasn't as good as the mobile Office in WP7), was welcome. And the support for corporate technologies was really great. The amount of things WinMo could do that we can look forward to them adding to Windows Phone is huge. It's really exciting seeing Microsoft back in the mobile game, because they do know how to make a good mobile OS, and have the potential to do very well.

Haha, modern smart phones need to catch up to WinMo 6!

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