Sooo! Today is the day that Microsoft presented it's new(ish) mobile OS: Windows mobile 6.5.
It's about time Microsoft is putting some effort into it's mobile OS: Windows Mobile is trashed like mad the past years and even Steve Ballmer seems to admit they dropped the ball big time.
And again: most people seems to think of today's release as whip cream on a turd (it's still a turd) - but that's too harsh ...
I happen to love Windows Mobile.
To put it simply - you can do whatever you want on it and the very mature development tools of Microsoft make it very easy to create your own software for it.
Don't like the how it looks? Install some software that makes it pretty!
If you don't find it finger friendly enough? Install some software that makes it finger friendly!
Even more important: it runs on whatever type of device you choose: want a keyboard? no keyboard but a touchscreen? both? flip-phone? slide-phone? candybar-phone? small to fit in any pocket or rather a huge screen for quality internet browsing? Take your pick
That's called freedom of choice, something other mobile operating systems severely lack ...
That also means that the successful windows mobile phones like the HTC Touch series are not successful because of Windows Mobile, but because companies like HTC are doing an incredible job of creating slick and highly functional hardware AND software user interfaces on top of it.
Have you seen the new TouchFlo 3D interface of the HTC Touch Pro 2 and the HTC HD2?
Naaaaaaaissss!! And the standard windows interface is nowhere to be seen if you choose it not to be.
The next person who claims you still need a stylus to operate a windows phone clearly doesn't know what he's talking about and has never tried this phone (but again, if you choose to use a stylus, you can :-) )
Windows mobile is also rebranded to "Windows phone" and a slew of new models were announced.
Is it just me or is the mobile phone business STILL the fastest growing sector in tech?
It's unbelievable how the specs of the newly announced models evolve: Fast processor, big touchscreens, multimegapixel camera's, some even with optical zoom, fast internet access...
I had some hands-on with the Toshiba TG01 (picture above) and man ... what an amazingly cool device!
The gap between smartphones and small netbooks is getting smaller as most smartphones now can do about anything a notebook can.
That's why in my opinion the "Windows Phone" rebrand doesn't make sense ... does this mean it will only run on phones?
One might argue that the gap between small PC's and mobile phones doesn't even exist anymore (e.g. the viliv s5 or an oqo running a full windows has about the same screen then the HTC HD2, which is running windows phone) so why not running a mobile OS on a non-phone mobile device? (or running windows XP on a phone?)
And now for the best news: You don't have to wait or buy a new phone to try out all these cool new features: you can have them right now, for free, on your current windows mobile device.
That magic is made possible by the extra-ordinary people at XDA-developers
Let's say it with me "X.D.A D.E.V.E.L.O.P.E.R.S I.S. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G" :
It's a forum of mobile tech enthusiasts who really push the limits of your device by porting the new features of the future phones to current models, and who integrate the latest beta builds of OS and interface software into 1 gorgeous package.
Windows mobile 6.5 roms are floating around there for several months now, and it seems that new HTC Touchflo interfaces are backported on a daily basis.
My favourite one is the "Energy rom" - I use the one from this thread. (It's running winmo 6.5 with Manilla 2.1)
It's a bit hard to tell what feature is WinMo6.5 and what is added the Touchflo interface, but the device is running much much faster and smoother then before and it looks absolutely gorgeous!
Is it legal to install a custom windows rom on your phone you download for free?
Probably not, but it's my guess that Microsoft is pretty damn happy with the existence of xda-developers: it's thanks to them that the "powerusers" find what they're looking for on a phone, so in a sense they do as much to keep the windows mobile OS relevant then handset manufacturers like HTC.
One word of warning though: if you decide to install a custom build on your phone, make sure you read and READ AGAIN all guides and warnings - especially if you flash a phone for the first time.
If you're not careful you risk trashing your phone beyond repair, but if you follow the steps you'll end up with the best (or at least most feature rich) mobile experience available today.
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