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Windows Mobile 6 Officially Announced

Today, Microsoft made the official announcement that Windows Mobile 6 is done and on its way, and will be shipping with new devices in just two months. Here’s everything you need to know:

First off, the name is “Windows Mobile 6″, not Windows Mobile 6.0, not Windows Mobile Six, and not Windows CE 6. Lots of people make that mistake.

Windows Mobile 6 comes in three flavors:

  • If it is running on a Pocket PC that isn’t a phone, it is Windows Mobile 6 Classic
  • If it is running on a smartphone without a touchscreen, it is Windows Mobile 6 Standard
  • If it is running on a Pocket PC phone, it is Windows Mobile 6 Professional

New features:

  • New look - The new look is more unified, with the colors and interface flowing better, new icons, new sounds, higher screen resolutions (including 800×480 and 320×320). It’s being described as more Vista-like, but the screenshots don’t show any of that.
  • It’s faster, taking better advantage of your hardware to not be as sluggish as previous versions of Windows Mobile have been
  • Support for HTML emails - Users view e-mail the way it was intended with its original pictures, tables and formatting, whether from a corporate e-mail server such as Exchange Server 2007, Web-based accounts such as Windows Live Hotmail or Yahoo! Mail, or a wide range of other service providers.
  • The new Windows Live for Windows Mobile services, which we’ve already covered in detail, including push email from Windows Live Mail and tabbed IM
  • Windows Live Messenger now lets you transfer files, an enormously useful thing on a mobile device
  • New versions of the Office applications (Outlook, Word, Excel and Powerpoint), that include richer editing - The new Office Mobile suite, built for all Windows Mobile powered devices, gives users a truly familiar and powerful experience with rich viewing and editing capabilities, without having to worry about the deletion of critical formatting and images.
  • A new “remote wipe” functionality that protects (and destroys) your data if your device is stolen
  • Contact cards now contain a call history for that contact (hopefully this data will be exposed in the desktop version of Outlook through syncing)
  • Tight integration with Windows Vista
  • A “calendar ribbon”, to make it easier to view your schedule by day or week
  • New versions of the .NET Framework and SQL server built in
  • E-mail management and setup with fewer clicks - Nine new one-click options have been added, including Reply All, setting a flag, moving a message to a subfolder, and, of course, Delete. Users can set an automatic out-of-office reply while on the road when using a Windows Mobile 6 powered device and Exchange Server 2007.
  • Protected content - Organizations using Information Rights Management (IRM) technology to help control the viewing, storing and printing of confidential information on PCs can now extend those capabilities to Windows Mobile 6 powered devices, a feature not available on any other mobile phone platform.
  • Internet sharing - A new built-in application makes using a Windows Mobile 6 powered smartphone as a laptop’s high-speed modem “one-click easy” with either a Bluetooth wireless or cable connection.
  • Communication alternatives - Windows Mobile 6 makes it easier for operators and device-makers to integrate a voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) solution into devices they are building. British Telecom in Europe, as well as HP, will be among the first to provide smartphones with new VoIP offerings for their business customers.
  • Keyboard Shortcuts in Messaging - Press-and-hold a shortcut key while messaging, the action happens. Simple as that.
  • You can also set Out of Office messages on your exchange server using the phone. I actually use it every time I am away (yes yes, I have a bad memory and forget to set my OOF message on the desktop before I leave).
  • Exchange e-mail search - You can search your emails stored on the server from your device.
  • Quickly fetch e-mail messages from the server, instead of having to do a full sync (like in Windows Mobile 5). Emails now show this useful statusbar showing what’s happening. The status bar actually goes away when there’s no update to show to maximize real estate.
  • You can flag e-mail messages and sync that with the server, making e-mail management really easy. No more marking the email as unread to remember to action on it on the desktop later.
  • IMAP namespace issue is fixed.
  • Multiple accounts in Messaging sync just fine, schedule sync works, and the reply-all bug is also taken care of.

How do you get Windows Mobile 6?

By the second quarter of this year, the world will see the first Windows Mobile 6 powered devices available on the market. In Europe, Orange plans to deliver the SPV E650 smartphone from HTC, and in Japan, SoftBank Mobile Corp. will offer new devices from Toshiba and HTC. And in the United States, the popular T-Mobile Dash will be updated with Windows Mobile 6 and be available in the coming months. Current T-Mobile Dash owners will also be able to upgrade existing devices with Windows Mobile 5.0 to Windows Mobile 6.

Scores of additional mobile operators and device makers from around the globe, including Cingular Wireless, now the new AT&T, Chunghwa Telecom, Dopod International Corp., HP, LG Electronics, Motorola Inc., Palm Inc., Samsung, SingTel, Sprint, Telefónica, Toshiba, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone and Willcom, plan to ship Windows Mobile 6-based devices this year. Many of these partners are expanding large existing portfolios of Windows Mobile powered smartphones.

If you already own a device with Windows Mobile 5.0, it will be up to your device manufacturer to provide an upgrade. If your manufacturer does not provide an upgrade for a compatible and recent device, raise hell.

This is a good time for Microsoft and Windows Mobile. According to a report by Gartner just last week, sales of Windows Mobile-based devices were up 38.8% in 2006, raising Microsoft’s market share from 47.9% to 56.1%.

Engadget has a huge screenshot gallery of Windows Mobile 6 Professional and Windows Mobile 6 Standard.

February 12th, 2007 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | General, Windows Mobile | no comments
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