Windows Mobile 6.5 takes personalization to the next level with themes and Titanium plugins

Windows Mobile 6.5 customizations
(Left) Original Windows Mobile 6.5 look and feel. (Center) Customized Windows Mobile 6.5 theme.
(Right) Custom Windows Mobile 6.5 Titanium plugin.

Windows Mobile 6.5 may still be a month away from release-to-manufacturing (RTM), but that hasn’t stopped the thriving Windows Mobile modding community from already working on and releasing some promising customizations to take advantage of the new themes and Titanium plugins engines. Here’s a couple examples where WM6.5 allows for more powerful customizations for its new look and feel without any third-party software.

Up to and including WM6.1, “themes” were nothing more than simple a color scheme and a background picture. In WM6.5, themes can be much more varied with greater control over the fine details of the UI, not just colors. For example, here’s three themes created by user “rpereira” which shows off what can now be done with themes. However bear in mind his themes are quite conservative and more can be done (for example the scrollbar can be styled too).

WM6.5 Ubuntu theme by rpereira

WM6.5 Pyro theme by rpereira

WM6.5 Heineken theme by rpereira

Besides look and feel, WM6.5 also allows for developers to tap into the new panel-based home screen functionality dubbed “Titanium” (based on the “CHome” functionality in WM6.1 Standard edition). These panels are interesting because they can display useful information in a single line at-a-glance, but can also be selected and scrolled horizontally to display more detail. Two self-explanatory examples of developers taking advantage of this is the “Favorite people” plugin and “TitaniumWeather” plugin.

Bear in mind that everything done so far has been without the help of any formal documentation or developer guides, much of the knowledge the result of trial and error. Needless to say when WM6.5 is finally released it’ll be very interesting to see what designers and developers can do with this platform.

24 insightful thoughts

  1. I use WM 6.5 with my Samsung Omnia , and work AMAZING, is very very COOL
    This release of WM is like WIndows XP with Longhorn style

  2. @Garion: I’m sure it is /possible/… You’d need detailed hardware docs, and a lot of time on your hands…

    Wow, they are finally getting up the visual appeal of 3 year old Sony Ericson not-so-smart-phones.

  3. @Fowl: Heh, I was thinking quite the same 😀 Sony Ericsson was – I think – the first mobile phone vendor that allowed themeing to a great extent. I remember making my own themes in times when I had the glorious T610. My currently, though aging but still working K750i can be themed even greater, not to speak about the current line up of phones from different vendors, although I like the UI of SE phones at most (I’m talking about normal phones, not smartphones – the iPhone has a nice looking UI too!).

    MS has way to go for a really usable User Interface on Windows Phones but Win Mobile 6.5 is a great step in this direction. Well still years too late!

  4. Awesome! Windows Mobile doesn’t look so bad with these new type theme. The icons and I guess a new color palette makes Windows Mobile look even more appealing.

    Hopefully, Windows Mobile Marketplace will have a section where people can sell or share themes.

  5. I’d love to see this go more than skin deep, and extend this interface to the point where it can supplant the old Win32 GDI interfaces. I’d love to write apps and games without poorly designed and slow performing API’s.

  6. One of the things that I like most about Windows Mobile is the ability to change the skins. It is just fun and keeps things interesting. It isnt always about the latest techno “thing” because many people are drawn to things that are visually appealing. So, I am glad to see these skins and hope there are tons more!

  7. And one other thing about Windows Mobile themes/skins. I think it would be a really good idea to have some available for free in the new Windows Mobile Marketplace. I am very hopeful that Microsoft and the various carriers have a plan that is in sync to get all of the Windows Mobile 6.1 users up and running on the new Marketplace. It will be a huge buzz kill if all the 6.1 users out here can’t use the store… Come’n guys… get this right!

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