Comparison of Windows Mobile 6.1 and 6.5

Complaints about Windows Mobile 6.1
I've owned an HTC Fuze (aka Touch Pro or P4600) Windows Mobile phone since mid February of 2009. General impressions of the hardware are good, a solid construction paired with a beautiful VGA resolution screen. My first PC came with a 15 inch 640x480 monitor, this has a 2.8 inch 480x640, 3:4 aspect ration screen. 5X smaller, with 16 bit color. This is the most attractive thing about this device. Dead sexy.

So far I've been rather unimpressed by the lack of stability on the phone. There are many quirks to it. One especially annoying one is when you start to run low on batteries the phones' phony notification system turns on, along with the back light and radios to alert you that the battery is dying. If you didn't notice, it's kind enough to stay on until it goes completely dead. This is a major issue with the phone, it already has pretty lousy battery life (though not too far from what the iPhone gets).

Another major annoyance is that the keyboard stops working when you are typing sometimes. I assume there's a background process that eats all the CPU cycles. There's little consistency to the problem in that sometimes input will be queued and released all at one or not at all. Pain in the butt to type on when this happens, the keyboard on the Fuze is one of the best I've seen - seems like the software is to blame here.

The phone needs a lot of rebooting, especially using programs other than email. It is so bad that I read on a forum somewhere "Do this procedure every reboot or once a day" - Like rebooting once a day is totally normal - that's the Windows Me mentality that has held a dark shitty cloud over Microsoft for some time.

Windows Mobile 6.5
Windows Mobile 6.5 is set to be seen on the first consumer device by September 2009, most phone manufacturers received the software in May. I'm using a beta preview.

One of the problems with 6.1 is that I have to run a separate package on top of Windows called Touch Flo 3D. This makes the phone a bit more touch friendly but adds a giant layer of clunk. Below TF3D is 6.1 so you only get the nicer experience some of the time. With 6.5 one of the major changes is a redesign of the Today screen. It gives you quicker finger-friendly access to email, text, music, photos, videos, and bookmarks. Though TF3D also does this it's a memory hungry app that resides on top of the OS, this is better integrated and lighter.

The second major area of improvement is the Start Menu. The start menu uses hexagonal shapes for icon placement. The icons are a beautiful resolution and quite easy to navigate with the fingers, stylus, . Scrolling is pretty nice and you can re-arrange the icons by sending them to the top.

Windows Mobile was designed a LONG time ago and I don't think anyone thought that it would be ran on a mobile phone with a touch screen. It is really designed for a stylus - not a finger. I find myself when doing heavy computing on the device with the keyboard slid out, the stylus in my hand and my thumbs on the screen. Beleive it or not - this is actually a really awesome way to use the phone - I can be doing quite a bit at once. To conclude this statement - 6.5 adds some finger friendly features however it does not stop you from having to use the corner of a finger nail to press the dreaded OK button. I often open up the keyboard and press the OK button there instead of messing with it.

Overall - I'm pretty happy with the stability that 6.5 offers. There's a Marketplace feature (similar to iPhone's App Store) that is coming with the release. That should be interesting.


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