Upgrading to Windows Mobile 6.5: Experts Say Wait and See

windows_6.5_lg

Consider this: It probably won’t matter whether you upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.5 or you don’t, so save some money and do the latter – or at least that’s what some top mobile experts are saying. Other tech experts are urging consumers to remember that if you’re looking for a low cost smartphone with an updated operating system (OS), then maybe you should try a new Windows Mobile 6.5 phone instead. But is it just a case of mixed messages? Only time will tell for sure, but for now, across the board, inside opinions are torn as to the actual value of Microsoft’s latest platform for mobile handsets.

Windows Mobile 6.5 Interface
Windows Mobile 6.5 Interface

Even before its October 6th release, reviewers have been duking it out online over Microsoft’s new mobile OS. Critics say it’s just a “placeholder” until Windows Mobile 7 is launched and isn’t worth a glance, while supporters of the new mobile OS argue that it has valuable features and shouldn’t be discredited. Making matters more confusing still, most industry experts claim that it’s hard to judge Windows Mobile handsets because the experience varies from phone to phone. Generally, experts agree that the large range of supported devices from partners like HTC, Samsung, and LG provide an advantage over Apple’s solitary iPhone. But even pundits supporting Windows Mobile 6.5 agree that the new mobile OS is no revolution.

So who should care about Windows Mobile 6.5? Lead mobile analyst for PC Magazine, Sascha Segan, thinks that two core markets should consider a WinMo phone and a possible upgrade to its 6.5 version: People whose business runs on Microsoft’s Windows OS and people who are looking for a low-cost smartphone. “Windows Mobile can bring you a very reasonable smartphone that could just be used for talking and texting, but if you want to do more feature-wise, you definitely can,” says Segan. “I don’t think consumers should bother [worrying about the specific operating system version number] that much, because Windows phones are so different from each other anyway.”

According to Segan, that 0.4 boost takes the operating system’s v6.1 base, slaps on new user-friendly screens, and does a quick revamp of overall usability, making it more consumer-focused. Still, giving future consumers fair warning of this new OS, Segan also claims that Microsoft does not deal with “the big picture” and states that 6.5 could be seen as merely “a cosmetic overhaul.” Moreover, he says that even though Windows Mobile 6.5 doesn’t fix the mobile OS’ deeper issues, he does feel that Microsoft is on the right track and has high hopes for Windows Mobile 7.

“It keeps Microsoft in the game and sends a message to their partners that they’re a company who should be in this market,” Segan says. “Microsoft is well behind Apple and Google, but 6.5 will keep the company alive for a while.”

balmer_windows_6.5
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

In a less hopeful note, Frost & Sullivan industry analyst Todd Day says he sees Microsoft’s mobile market declining. “The biggest problem I see is Microsoft’s licensing fee for the operating system,” Day says. “Windows Mobile 6.5 hasn’t provided any real value that is worth [cellular handset manufacturers] providing that licensing fee for.” Day believes that paying $10 per phone or per device adds up to too much for the few changes made on the 6.5 upgrade.

Similarly, he thinks Microsoft lacks where Apple and Google shine, specifically in application development, with Windows apps having basic problems in speed and functionality. “The iPhone is still top of the line in terms of customer approval ratings and Google apps will work on any phone—6.5 is not doing much for Microsoft,” Day admits. Then again, as with Segan, he does see a silver lining in the distance for the computing giant, and thinks Microsoft will always dominate the PC market, which will inevitably help with the firm’s mobile sales.

“When you start looking at the trends increasing in smartphones—mobile content, media, embedded Wi-Fi—these devices are starting to act more like computers, and I think Microsoft will be able to keep pace on the path of improvement with Windows Mobile 7,” Day says.

The one common consensus among mobile authorities being as follows: PC users should appreciate Windows Mobile 6.5, even though it has acquired a tag as a “placeholder” until its 7th version, because it shows that Microsoft is still in fighting shape. Whether or not the operating system is ultimately strong enough to help Redmond’s finest wrestle back a significant share of the market from Apple, well… that’s yet to be determined.

Emerging Tech

Here’s how Facebook taught its Portal A.I. to think like a Hollywood filmmaker

When Facebook introduced its Portal screen-enhanced smart speakers, it wanted to find a way to make video chat as intimate as sitting down for a conversation with a friend. Here's how it did it.
Mobile

Exclusive: Take a look at what a next-generation 5G phone will look like

With 5G phones debuting at MWC in mere days, there is discussion about whether they will be clunky bricks that die after a few hours? A reference design from Qualcomm offerrs a glimpse of the future: This is what 5G phones will look like.
Business

Apple loses battle to use Intel modems in Germany in latest clash with Qualcomm

Apple is following the Federal Trade Commission's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Computing

Having enough RAM is important, but stick to these guidelines to save some money

Although not quite as exciting as processors and graphics cards, RAM is one of the most important parts of your PC. Not having enough can hurt performance. So, how much RAM do you need?
Mobile

Need speed? Qualcomm unveils the Snapdragon X55, the world’s fastest 5G modem

Qualcomm is preparing for an even faster future: The silicon giant just unveiled a second generation 5G modem for smartphones, promising blistering download speeds as high as 7Gbps.
Mobile

Barbie’s Corvette ain’t got nothing on Sphero’s fully programmable robot car

Sphero is known for devices like the Sphero Bolt and BB-8 Star Wars toy, but now the company is back with another addition to its lineup -- the Sphero RVR. The RVR is a fully programmable robot car that can be expanding with different…
Product Review

Fascinating Finney phone is crypto in a nutshell: Exciting, but also terrifying

The Sirin Labs Finney phone is to cryptocurrency what the iPhone is to Apple Pay. It facilitates the payment, processing, and exchanging of cryptocurrencies on a smartphone, and surprisingly does it in a user-friendly way.
Home Theater

Accidentally aired Samsung ad shows Galaxy S10, Galaxy Buds a day before launch

One day before the launch event that is widely expected to contain both the new Galaxy S10 smartphone and the Galaxy Buds fully wireless earbuds, an accidentally aired Samsung TV ad from Norway confirms both products.
Mobile

The name of Samsung's folding phone may have been revealed a day early

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy Fold, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.
Mobile

The Razer Phone 2 is getting Android 9.0 Pie starting this month

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Deals

Apple brings back the iPhone SE with a $100 clearance discount included

Apple is offering the iPhone SE on their online clearance store once again. With discounts of $100, you can get a brand new unlocked iPhone SE for as little as $249. This offer is only available while supplies last.
Mobile

Apple stomps on one FaceTime bug, only to have another one appear

Having fixed a FaceTime bug that let users eavesdrop on calls, another issue with Apple's video chat app appears to have surfaced. It concerns adding people to group calls, though there is a workaround.
Mobile

Vivo V15 Pro’s trick camera rises to the challenge of making us smile

Vivo knows it's onto a winner with the cool motorized camera seen on the Vivo Nex S, and has now incorporated a newer version of the technology into the V15 Pro. We've tried it out.
Mobile

To avoid the notch, Vivo’s new smartphone has a secret selfie camera

Vivo has already experimented with a motorized selfie camera and now it's bringing the cool technology to a more affordable device -- the Vivo V15 Pro. Here's everything you need to know about the phone.