During the opening day of Microsoft’s MIX09 conference yesterday, Loke Uei Tan – senior product manager for Windows Mobile gave a presentation titled “Windows Mobile 6.5 overview” where he showed off one of the latest builds of the OS running on a HTC Touch Pro.
This 3-minute long demo includes sights of the new chrome (lists, scrollbar, menu), lock screen, Today screen and Start menu, all of which seems to be more polished than earlier demos at the Mobile World Congress announcement. Performance seems to be much improved and the UI seems more responsive.
The honeycomb Start menu has also been visually tweaked – the honeycomb background removed but the layout remains. Update: I want to reinforce the fact that the honeycomb pattern is not gone, and its benefits over a square layout remains. The scrolling of the honeycomb has also been enhanced to stop at every page-break instead of continuing with kinetic motion.
Initially I was skeptical of how Windows Mobile 6.5 will play out, but all the improvements in user-experience WM6.5 seems to provide should be at least an adequate stop-gap measure until the real revolution arrives with Windows Mobile 7.
On a related note, the presentation confirmed that the new Windows Marketplace for Mobile will apply application updates directly on the device. However it also appears application updates will require developers to resubmit their application for approval which would then cost a submission token or fee and take time to process. This too makes me nervous about the Mobile Marketplace.