Microsoft shows Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphones

Phone parade features new models from HTC and Toshiba running Windows Mobile OS.

Microsoft smartphone partners are expected to deliver about 30 new Windows Mobile 6.5 devices by the end of 2009, including HTC and Toshiba shown for the first time at a Microsoft Open House in New York City today.

The 30-or-so Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphones will be sold in approximately 20 different countries, said Robbie Bach, head of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division, speaking at a Microsoft open house. (See Our "Windows Mobile 6.5 Phone Gallery")

Windows Mobile devices getting first-time looks encompassed the HTC Tilt 2 from AT&T, the HTC Imagio from Verizon Wireless, and an as-yet-unnamed device built by Toshiba and anticipated for sale in the Japanese market.

In his keynote, Bach suggested this kind of hardware diversity is a key selling point for Microsoft in its struggles with Android, iPhone, Palm, and others for greater consumer mindshare.

Apple's iPhone, after all, has been available in very limited form factors, and the same has held true so far for Android phones promulgated by Google.

Bach noted that while some users like large touchscreens, some practically can't live without keyboards, and others prefer slider architectures that give them a choice of using a keyboard.

True to Bach's words, the Windows 6.5 smartphones displayed later in the day -- hung in and around artificial trees in a mock treehouse set up for the occasion -- sported a variety of different form factors.

Although pre-loaded this time around with Windows 6.5, the Tilt 2 looks and feels quite similar to the original Tilt, a device known for its slider architecture, powerful speakers, and solid video performance.

While it's about the same size as the Tilt, and its screen size is a comparable 3.6-inches, the Imagio seems slightly thinner, and lacks a slideout keyboard.

The as-yet-unnamed smartphone from Toshiba -- so far codenamed the TG0I -- boasts a much larger screen, estimated by one Microsoft rep at 4.2 inches. But it also lacks a slider.

In a briefing during the event, Elizabeth Sloan, senior marketing manager for Windows Mobile pointed to another type of differentiator for Microsoft. Sloan contended that Apple targets its phones mainly at consumers, while RIM aims for corporate customers, Microsoft is uniquely positioned to provide both business- and consumer-oriented capabilities in a single mobile OS.

"We've figured out that the business user is often the same person as the one who uses the phone for personal things," Sloan noted.

Sloan also honed in on some of the new features in Windows Mobile 6.5, including MyPhone; Windows Marketplace, Microsoft's answer to Apple's App Store; a mobile browser based on Internet Explorer (IE) 6.0; Theme Creator; and new, user-friendly screens such as the Today Screen, for accessing e-mail, calendar items, photos, favorites, and other frequently needed items from the same place.

In addition to helping users locate their lost cell phones, MyPhone lets users back up as much as 200 MB of contact info and other mobile data free of charge in the cloud, she said.

MyPhone's phone-finding capabilities will work even when the smartphone has been turned off, according to Sloan. Microsoft can use GPS to locate a missing phone, and then "wake it up" remotely.

Microsoft is offering the phone-finding service free of charge for the first month. After that, the user will be charged $4.99 per incident.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags smartphonesWindows MobileWindows Mobile 6.5

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jacqueline Emigh

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?