Software giant Microsoft has launched its next generation mobile operating system, Windows Mobile 6.5, during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, hoping to catch up with the likes of the iPhone and Google's Android.
Arguably the biggest visual change that differentiates Windows Mobile 6.5 from the current 6.1 is the presence of a honeycomb menu which astutely allows developers to have more icons displayed on the screen; it maintains sufficient space between them to allow even gloved fingers to accurately pinpoint services or applications.
Windows Mobile 6.5 will come with Microsoft's own Apps store, dubbed Marketplace, which will offer 20,000 Windows Mobile applications at launch, far more than Google's own Marketplace and similar to what Apple is offering.
Microsoft has also announced that Windows Mobile 6.5 will support MyPhone natively, giving users the ability to backup their personal information (contacts, photos, email) remotely to a password protected website
Users will be able to transfer back the data on any handsets that is MyPhone compatible and up to 200MB will be provided free, with more space available for a monthly fee.
Windows Mobile will also come with the latest version of Internet Explorer mobile which will support Flash from the onset (ed: what about Microsoft's own Silverlight?) and integrates semi transparent control button as well as a sliding zooming bar.
No release date has been announced for now but some manufacturers, like LG, are already promising to ship dozens of mobile phones in 2009. LG has already promised 50.
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Windows 6.5 is only a stepping stone to a much radical mobile operating system which is set to debut shortly after the launch of Windows 7. Windows Mobile 7 (as it is known) will almost certainly be a mini W7. Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, has already said that the company is fully committed to mobile platform. But will it enough to reduce the gap between itself and the rest of the competition?