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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-06-2009, 04:45 AM
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Windows Mobile 6.5 Review...

This is from Engadget. Nothing really new for those of us who have already run a 6.5 ROM. But some good info for those who haven't...

http://www.engadget.com/2009/10/06/w...le-6-5-review/
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Old 10-06-2009, 06:21 AM
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Re: Windows Mobile 6.5 Review...

why in the crap are they releasing 6.5 without the finger friendly buttons?!?!?!
stuff like this is why winmo has a bad name.

stupid bottom buttons and top start menu button is in the official builds being released.

microsoft makes some really stupid decisions i swear.
never mind the sune like interface and new start menu, windows 2003-6.1 will always be reminded by that archaic bottom and top bar. sheesh/

/rant.
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Old 10-06-2009, 08:05 AM
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Re: Windows Mobile 6.5 Review...

Here's one from Gizmodo:

Quote:
I really didn't want to beat up on WinMo here, because at this point it just feels tired. But man, come on Microsoft, you're giving me no choice. Windows Mobile 6.5 isn't just a letdown—it barely seems done. We've been watching Windows Mobile 6.5—or Windows Phone, as Microsoft is sometimes calling it—for months, since Jesus first laid his thumbs on it back in February. We even taught you how to install developer builds! The final version I got for testing, though, was almost identical to the builds we saw so many months ago. This means two things: That we already know what it's going to look like and how it's going to work; and that no, it's nowhere near the upgrade that Windows Mobile needs to be even remotely interesting.

It's a superficial update, and not a very thorough one. It's an interim product, and a vain attempt to hold onto the thinning ranks people who still choose Windows Mobile despite not being somehow tethered to it until the tardy Windows Mobile 7 comes out, whenever that may be. And it won't work.

The Interface

The first thing you'll notice about Windows Mobile 6.5 is Titanium, the new, menu-style homescreen. It's large and typographical, and looks almost Zune-like. This is an auspicious start.



Each menu item provides a shortcut to an app, function or widget, and most have some kind of preview capability: you can flip through photo thumbnails, see missed calls, and thumb through emails, calendar appointments and Internet Explorer favorites without leaving the homescreen. Scrolling is smooth, and has an inertia that 6.1 so conspicuously lacked. Likewise, the new lock screen brings some information to the surface, but not much. (It'll let you know that you have a text, but not what the text says.) Too bad you probably won't see Titanium, ever, since handset manufacturers will almost certainly cover it up with their own custom homescreen.

The second most obvious change is the Start Menu, which Microsoft is so proud of that they've required all 6.5 phone to include a dedicated button for it on all "Windows Phones" a la the Windows Key on a PC. Again, it's striking, and again, it's smooth. This one, though, feels more like a design concept than a final product. For example! The only tool you're given to sort apps is a "Move to Top" command—no dragging, no alphabetical sorting, nothing except this bizarrely-chosen menu command that makes organizing apps feel like completing some kind of horrible puzzle game.



On top of that, there's no way to tell how many apps you have, to delete them, or to tell which "Page" of the start menu you're on. The offset icon spacing is awkward and occasionally ugly, and hey! That Windows button? It doesn't behave like you'd expect it to, opening the Start Menu but not closing it. This whole piece feels half-*****, to put it kindly.

Another well meaning, if not quite adequate change is to the contextual menus. Though they're ordered exactly as they were before, they're now huge and thumb-scrollable.

Things get worse when you move past the surface, revealing an OS that hasn't been fundamentally changed in years, and which bears a strong resemblance to Windows Mobile 6.1, and a startlingly not-weak resemblance to PocketPC 2002. The new homescreen Start Menu, lock screen and contextual menus are just veneers, and they're not very thick.



The remaining interface changes are subtle, and intended almost solely to make Windows Mobile 6.5 bearable to use without a stylus. (Though don't get me wrong—most WinMo 6.5 devices will, damningly, still come with styluses.) It doesn't really feel like a redesign—it feels like someone went through 6.1 and adjusted a few values. Add a few pixels of menu spacing here, some plasticky highlight graphics there, and BOOM. 6.5. Let's go to lunch.

The terrible Windows Media Player app looks the same, the photo albums are helped only by smoother scrolling and support of basic swipe gestures, and the text, email, notes and settings pages are jarringly old-looking, and seriously hostile to pointing devices any larger than a pen. Especially fleshy ones.

Come to think of it, after using 6.5 developer builds for a few months and then switching briefly back to a 6.1, the only thing I really missed was the system-wide inertial scrolling, which replaces 6.1's chunky faux-physics scrolling engine with something that at least behaves predictably.

Windows Marketplace for Mobile


Windows Mobile finally, finally has an app store—quick, look around, is there anyone left who doesn't? The interface is bit awkward, falling somewhere between the large-typeface aesthetic of Titanium and the barebones HERE'S A LIST sensibility of the rest of the OS, resulting in odd text overflow in menus (sort of like on the Zune HD, except less pretty.) You can find apps though a sensible system of categories, or by searching, and downloading and installing is as easy as pressing a button, though you'll occasionally be met with prompts from the app installer.



I can't really pass judgment on the Marketplace's offerings just yet—it's only been open for a few hours, and apps seem to be flooding in at a fairly steady rate—but the initial offerings are pretty bare, counting among themselves just a few free apps, nearly all from Microsoft, with cameos by some recognizable Windows Mobile app developers who are still obliviously charging upwards of $20 for apps that wouldn't break $5 in the iPhone App Store.

Don't get me wrong, the Marketplace is a good thing, in that it'll drive prices down and make finding apps much easier, but it remains to be seen if developers will take to it like they did on the iPhone App Store, or just kinda ignore it like they did with the BlackBerry App World. In any case, this isn't even a 6.5-exclusive service, and just about any app written for 6.5 will work on 6.1 and 6.0, and vise-versa. A victory for Windows Mobile, sure, but not one that 6.5 can claim as its own. A few more notes on the Marketplace:

• Users are entitled to a 24hr refund
• You can browse apps either on the phone or on a website
• Charges go to either your phone bill or CC bill, though nobody's signed on for carrier billing yet.
• 6.0 and 6.1 gets the Marketplace in December
• Marketplace will only show you apps that run on your specific phone
• Apps can only be installed on internal storage, despite the fact that you can manually install apps on an SD card with no problem.
• App purchases are tied to your Windows Live ID, and which can be used on up to five phones. Seems a little lenient, but hey, thanks!

My Phone


Another touted feature of 6.5 that will also happen to be available for every other Windows Mobile phone, My Phone is a decently capable backup service. We've seen most of it before, but today there are a few new features in top of the super-simple backup service that Jason went so far as to call "fancy:"



• Phone wipe will let you remotely purge your phone
• Locate your phone lets you put it on a map, in case you were wondering where it went/where you neighborhood petty thief eats lunch
• You can search text messages
And I kind of love this one:
• You can switch your phone from silent/vibrate to full volume remotely, in case you lost your phone in the couch and just need it to ring
Alas, these cool extras will be part of a premium version of My Phone, price TBD. The free user experience will be a lot like the beta, which is to say basic, but useful for backing up contacts, photos, and other basics on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. The web interface is nice, too—more on that here.

The Browser

The confusingly-named Mobile Internet Explorer 6 is to Mobile IE 5 what IE 7 was to IE6 on the desktop. Get that? This is to say it's a massive upgrade, but like IE7, which added tabs and popup blocking about two years after everyone else had it, Mobile IE6 is at least a generation behind its competitors. For what it's worth, it adds smooth panning and scrolling, intelligent zooming and full(er) support for CSS and Javascript pages that MIE5 used to choke on spectacularly.



Rendering is good, but not WebKit good, and the browser has a tendency to reflow text in an odd way, formatting columns of text more narrowly than it should. And even though rendering is vastly improved—though inexplicably, not to the point of the Zune HD's browser—the experience is still glitchy. Page loading is slow even on a fast Wi-Fi connection, and there's often a pretty wide gap between when a page looks like it's done and when the browser actually becomes responsive enough to interact with. In short, you're going to want to install Opera or Skyfire. And hell, one of the two will probably come with your phone anyway, because whoever sells it to you probably wants you to like it.

Of course, you won't be able to completely abandon IE, since Microsoft is planning on using it for a new Windows Mobile widget platform. This sounds like a bigger deal that it is—these are just web apps, not desktop widgets or anything like that, but they'll rendered using IE6's engine, and be available in the Marketplace, mixed in with the other apps.

Performance


Microsoft isn't really advertising the SUPER SPEED of Windows Mobile 6.5, which makes sense: 6.5 is based on the same underlying Windows CE version (5.2) as 6.1, and even 6.0. In other words, its guts are oooold. In practice, this means that cold app launches are quick enough, but not noticeably faster than 6.1, even on slightly more powerful hardware. (A Touch Diamond2 for 6.5, and a Touch Pro for 6.1)

For Windows mobile, the perception of slowness has always been more of a problem than actual slowness, since flashy animations are sparse, and the manner in which apps load, close and minimize can look a bit clunky. The smooth scrolling and easier navigation at least give the impression the 6.5 is a little leaner and less laggy, but there's not much new going on under the hood to back that feeling up.

That said, I don't see why not, since ROM cookers the world over have been squeezing impressive speed out of Windows Mobile for years now, and have even done some admirable work on 6.5 pre-release.

The Crux of the Problem

Last month I reviewed the HTC Touch Pro2. It was too expensive to recommend, but its software was a pleasant surprise. Contextual menus had been skinned with larger, finger-friendly buttons; there was a panel-based app launcher; the supplied browser was pretty good; certain version had a replacement for the start menu; and hey, there was even inertial scrolling across all apps. The catch, though, was that this was a Windows Mobile 6.1 handset. HTC had replicated almost every feature of 6.5 with their own software tweaks, and provided a much better homescreen than Titanium with TouchFLO 3D. All before 6.5 even came out. Install My Phone and Marketplace for Mobile on there, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a single reason to upgrade to 6.5.



To put it another way, handset manufacturers have done more in the last two years to improve Windows Mobile than Microsoft has, which borders on pathetic. In the time since Windows Mobile 6.0 came out in February of 2007, Apple has released the iPhone—three times. Palm has created the Pre, with its totally new webOS. Android has come into being, and grown into something wonderful. RIM has created a touch phone and a revamped BlackBerry OS. For these companies, the world has changed.

And Microsoft? They eked out some performance enhancements and a new homescreen in 6.1, and executed a gaudy facelift for 6.5. This is what they've done to Windows Mobile. What's amazing is that in the time it took Windows Mobile 6.1 to lazily morph into 6.5, Microsoft—Microsoft!— designed one of the most spectacular handsets I've seen in years, loaded it with brilliant, inspired software, a decent web browser and a fledgling app store. One problem! It's wasn't a handset. It was a Zune. I understand the the two platforms aren't directly comparable, and as is, Zune OS wouldn't work very well for a smartphone, but it's a taste of something great. And why on earth does the HD have a better browser than Microsoft's smartphone OS? It's almost like the Zune team was trying to embarrass the mobile guys or something. And to their credit, if they're looking for it, they did.

Just Not Enough


Judging from the first wave of 6.5 handsets, the change OS will barely be noticeable to most folks. Alternative interfaces like TouchFLO and TouchWiz will remain, and won't outwardly change, nor will included apps—they're all compatible. Customers will buy Windows Mobile phones based on the quality of their 3rd party interfaces; carriers will continue to carry them because certain people, chained by their employers or a specific piece of software, will need them; and app makers will be slow to take to the Marketplace, since hey, how much longer do these Windows CE 5-based OSes even have left? It'll be a sad, long slog until April (or god forbid, December) when Windows Mobile 7, whatever it is, finally hits phones.

I'd like to think that 6.5's stunning failure to innovate is a symptom of a neglected project—maybe Microsoft just needed something, anything to hold people over until the mythical Windows Mobile 7 comes out, whatever it is. But as Steve Ballmer himself has plainly admitted, it's worse: Microsoft has simply lumbered in the wrong direction for two years, letting everyone, save maybe Nokia, fly right past them. [Microsoft]

The new start menu, homescreen and lock screen at least look like they're from 2009
The default browser is acceptable, whereas it used to be horrible
MyPhone and Marketplace are welcome additions and both show plenty of potential, but both will be available on pre-6.5 phones
The core of the OS is almost exactly the same as 6.1, and 6.0 for that matter
It never takes more than a few finger taps to get from the pretty, new 6.5 interface, to the blocky, old, finger-hostile one
Seriously, it reminds me of Windows for Workgroups
After carriers and handsets manufacturers have their way with it, it will be literally indistinguishable from 6.1.
Both reviews are dead on. I typically can't stand Gizmodo reviews because if it's not the iPhone, they hate it. But I've been saying all the same stuff since the first 6.5 beta was released. WM6.5 was nothing more than a pathetic attempt at a face lift for 6.1.
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  #4 (permalink)  
Old 10-06-2009, 08:28 AM
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Re: Windows Mobile 6.5 Review...

6.5.1 > 6.5
sorry but that's my opinion...I didn't see a huge upgrade (speed of loading processes, some better scrolling physics) between 6.1 and 6.5. With 6.5.1 and 6.5 (as well as 6.1) I see the big difference
bigger buttons
support for capacitive touch screens
windows media update
graphical ui tweaked/optimized for our devices

yes we still have bare bones but what really intrigues me is that zune software can possibly run on our phone
at least according to balmer
finally WHY DO WE HAVE ANOTHER TOPIC on this? Use the same topic
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Old 10-06-2009, 08:31 AM
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Re: Windows Mobile 6.5 Review...

Well 6.5.1 hasn't been released yet, has it?

And while I will agree 6.5.1 is an improvement, it's still 6.1 with some eye candy. Everything else is exactly the same. Using the core of the operating system (settings, calendar, contacts, tasks, etc) is painful.

Where is there another topic on 6.5 Reviews? This is the only one I saw
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Old 10-06-2009, 08:33 AM
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Re: Windows Mobile 6.5 Review...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nemoid View Post
Well 6.5.1 hasn't been released yet, has it?

And while I will agree 6.5.1 is an improvement, it's still 6.1 with some eye candy. Everything else is exactly the same. Using the core of the operating system (settings, calendar, contacts, tasks, etc) is painful.

Where is there another topic on 6.5 Reviews? This is the only one I saw
old calendar, new contacts, new gui for settings
and if you look in Diamond/touch pro/2 forums, they're pretty much everywhere announcing the same article...

and no 6.5.1 has not been released. But in my mind 6.5.1 is 6.5 to me...at least in the true sense of the wm experience
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Old 10-06-2009, 08:41 AM
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Re: Windows Mobile 6.5 Review...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noir View Post
old calendar, new contacts, new gui for settings
and if you look in Diamond/touch pro/2 forums, they're pretty much everywhere announcing the same article...

and no 6.5.1 has not been released. But in my mind 6.5.1 is 6.5 to me...at least in the true sense of the wm experience
No, the settings are still the same... adding the "scrollbar" with some a tad nicer checkboxes in lieu of the tabs doesn't make it a new gui It's all the same stuff.

The only thing about the contacts that's an improvement is the initial page. Once you go to put more information in, it's exactly the same.

Like I said, everything is essentially the same. The CORE of the OS is unchanged. There's some eye candy here and there, but it's useless. It's putting lipstick on a pig.

Well in your mind it may be 6.5, but it's not released, so hate to break it to you, but it's still not 6.5. At the rate MS is going with the mobile OS, they're going to fail big time. You and a few other die hard WM fans will stick here with 6.5.1, but the majority of us will leave.

And those threads are in the wrong place, they should be in the PPC News section.
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Old 10-06-2009, 08:47 AM
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Re: Windows Mobile 6.5 Review...

Quote:
Originally Posted by nemoid View Post
No, the settings are still the same... adding the "scrollbar" with some a tad nicer checkboxes in lieu of the tabs doesn't make it a new gui It's all the same stuff.

The only thing about the contacts that's an improvement is the initial page. Once you go to put more information in, it's exactly the same.

Like I said, everything is essentially the same. The CORE of the OS is unchanged. There's some eye candy here and there, but it's useless. It's putting lipstick on a pig.

Well in your mind it may be 6.5, but it's not released, so hate to break it to you, but it's still not 6.5. At the rate MS is going with the mobile OS, they're going to fail big time. You and a few other die hard WM fans will stick here with 6.5.1, but the majority of us will leave.

And those threads are in the wrong place, they should be in the PPC News section.
or all merged into one and sure I am a wm user...I won't lie I actually prefer wm than any others having used all others (RIM, Iphone, and Android)

the emphasis on capacitive touch, larger icons, tweaking GUI is enough of a balance for developers used to the old architecture and programs still work on there...so yes microsoft is legacy but has a lot of customizability as well as TRUE MULTI tasking and a slight bump of colors isn't a bad thing...support for wvga devices with higher processing speed isn't bad either considering wm 6.1 didn't support faster processors

so is the core the same? In many ways, is it tweaked for future devices? Absolutely and that is the big emphasizing point here.

WM is intelligent in that their OS underlay is crappy - just like chrome is a bit crappy and ugly. Putting design, finger friendly nature of OS to OEM developers (HTC and Samsung) have yielded a much larger profit for each company and allows for customizability that we users dream.

So again great points, problem is we regretfully disagree.
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:01 AM
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Re: Windows Mobile 6.5 Review...



It's tweaked for future devices? The OS is only going to be around for another year or so before WM7 is released (if it stays on target). Again, what you fail to recognize is that this is about WM6.5, not 6.5.1. If MS released officially 6.5.1 as 6.5, the reviews would be absolutely different (just marginally improved). But they didn't. They are going with 6.5 and it's going to fail. There's no point of them even working on WM 6.x at all because nobody uses it. The majority of people who buy a handset are using the manufacturer's custom OS (see HTC TouchFlo, etc) and they never see the light of 6.5.

So lets be honest here, they tweak the OS for faster devices with bigger, capacitive screens. They can add pretty check boxes and left/right scrollbars instead of tabs. They can add pretty graphics to the task bar instead of showing ugly text. But in the end, we're still getting an operating system that's essentially unchanged since Pocket PC 2000.
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:15 AM
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Re: Windows Mobile 6.5 Review...

Quote:
Verdict

The interface improvements are welcome - and long overdue - but the changes are mere window dressing. It's simply not good enough to overthrow Android or the iPhone

Windows Mobile has been in the doldrums so long it's hard to remember a time when it was deemed a modern smartphone operating system. Apple's iPhone OS and Google's Android OS are streaking off into the distance while Winmo bumbles along regardless. With the arrival of Windows Mobile 6.5 – now rebranded Windows Phone – is Microsoft finally beginning to fight back?

We've taken a detailed look at the new operating system – preinstalled on the new HTC Touch2 smartphone – and it would seem that Microsoft, at least in part, has been listening to the critics. At long last, the fiddly, stylus-driven Today screen has been ditched to be replaced by a much more finger-friendly interface.

Windows Mobile 6.5 home screen

Surprisingly, Microsoft hasn't opted to go down the custom desktop, or iPhone-alike scrolling-grid route here. Instead, you get a list of large options arranged in a vertically scrolling carousel – and in a break from the accepted norm these aren't icons but text.

Swipe your finger or thumb up and down and the list spins smoothly while the active item appears enlarged, as if it had a magnifying glass held directly over it, complete with further details. The email, for instance, shows new emails. Swiping a finger left or right on a selected item, meanwhile, reveals further options: on the Appointments item, for instance, you get the option to see your latest appointments, or to simply add a new one.

Another key improvement is the new Start menu. Previously, when you hit the familiar Windows icon in the top-left corner, the resulting list of programs that dropped down was small, horribly fiddly, and only usable with a stylus or manicured nails. Now, the entire screen is given over to a vertically scrolling hexagonal grid of icons – think Blockbusters (minus Bob Holness and the clueless students) – used not only to launch applications, but also access previously-buried settings screens.

Windows Mobile 6.5

It's nothing particularly special but it's a huge progression on what went before, and it turns the business of launching applications and accessing your phone's various settings into a far less frustrating task.

There's no jabbing of tiny menu options to unlock a phone any more, with a new mechanism and lock screen. To unlock the phone you now slide an onscreen switch to the left or right. Oddly, the switch resides at the top of the screen, but you soon realise why: it provides space for various status alerts – missed calls, new voicemail and the like – just as it does with an iPhone.

Browsing the web

Internet Explorer Mobile has received a major overhaul too. We've seen this running on other recent Windows Mobile phones in the past, but it hasn't always been implemented very well, with fiddly controls a particular problem.

Windows Mobile 6.5 Internet Explorer Mobile

The Windows Phone implementation of Internet Explorer is much easier to use. The key here is the five shortcut buttons that are arranged along the bottom of the screen providing quick access to Back, Favorites, the on-screen keyboard, Zoom and Settings. Again it's a massive improvement on what went before. It's capable of rendering web pages in full, but in terms of speed, and ease of use it's still not a patch on the webkit browsers of the iPhone and Android, nor Opera Mobile.

In particular we found ourselves jabbing away repeatedly at links, with a lack of feedback meaning we had no clear idea as to whether we'd hit them or not. So, although this is the most usable Microsoft mobile browser to date, capable of rendering web pages with full formatting, we still think Microsoft has a long way to go.

The Marketplace

Also new – and a key to the future success of Windows Mobile – is the application Marketplace. This is Microsoft's long-overdue rival to the iPhone App Store and Google Android Marketplace, and with tens of thousands of free and paid-for applications already in circulation on the internet, it has serious potential.

Windows Mobile 6.5

Accessible via the new Start menu it's split into categories in a similar way to its rivals and you log on using your Windows Live ID. But right now it's a damp squib, with only 40 applications on its books.

Same old, same old

There are other improvements too: the messaging screens are clearer and a little more easy to operate with a finger; the tabs running along the bottom of many options screens look prettier (more like tabs, in fact); and alert boxes now have rounded corners and look a little more 3D. But once you start to get past the window dressing, the disappointments start to mount.

There are still too many key applications and tools that look like they belong in the world of the late-nineties PDA rather than on any modern smartphone. Unbelievably, adding new contacts, appointments and changing the alarm settings all remain completely unchanged – bland to look at and a serious pain to use without a stylus.


Windows Mobile 6.5 email view

The pocket Office applications have also been neglected as has the Media Player (it's still terrible), and Microsoft has made little effort to improve the whole business of setting up data connections. We still find that, far too often, either email or web browsing fails to work without a certain amount of poking and prodding of settings.

Conclusion

Microsoft has so far been keen to underplay the significance of the new operating system, stressing in a recent press briefing that Windows Phone wasn't targeted directly at potential iPhone or Android customers, but rather business users.

We've heard this sort of thing from Microsoft before, but the excuse is beginning to wear thin. Business users, as much as consumers, deserve a phone that's quick and intuitive to operate as well as one that hooks in neatly to Exchange and Outlook and is easy to manage centrally.

If this is the best it can muster in the year-and-a-half's worth of development time since Windows Mobile 6.1 appeared, we'll be dramatically lowering our hopes for Windows Mobile 7 (due in 2010).
http://www.pcpro.co.uk/reviews/softw...ows-mobile-6-5

interesting..... right, noir?

Last edited by nemoid; 10-06-2009 at 09:18 AM.
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