Windows Mobile 6.5 Will Become Windows Phone Classic

Windows Mobile 6.5 Interface
Windows Mobile 6.5 Interface

Microsoft stole a little spotlight in the mobile world this week, announcing Windows Phone 7 Series, due later this year, which represents a serious revamp for its struggling Windows Mobile operating system. Now, Microsoft is adding a little confusion—and perhaps a bit of a wet blanket—to its mobile story. Apparently Windows Mobile 6.5 won’t be going away; instead, it will co-exist alongside Microsoft’s flagship Windows Phone 7 Series, re-christened as Windows Phone Classic.

According to the blog istartedsomething, Microsoft intends to pitch Windows Phone 7 Series at consumers and everyday phone users, while keeping Windows Phone Classic around for enterprise and government customers, both to support legacy systems but also as an alternative for customers who may not want their users having all the whiz-bang time-wasting media and social networking features due in Windows Phone 7 Series. Windows Phone Classic will apparently also be targeted at emerging markets.

The news may also be welcome for some OEMs, since Microsoft is setting far stricter hardware requirements for Windows Phone 7 Series devices (including specific screen size, button arrangement, and processor capabilities): Windows Phone Classic devices could presumably run a wider range, and perhaps not sport a tasteful “Bing” button.

Microsoft hasn’t detailed long-term plans for Windows Phone Classic: there’s no indication whether this is an end-of-life rebranding for an OS the company plans to mothball, or whether Microsoft anticipates continuing development of new features and releases for its now “classic” mobile operating system.

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