Smartphone bits

Windows Mobile 6.5

Last week, Microsoft showed off Windows Mobile 6.5 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.  The ‘new’ version sports a new front end to the otherwise old and somewhat tired underpinnings we lovingly call Windows Mobile. 

Microsoft has added more gestures to the operating systems UI.  They have added this odd honeycomb home screen that contains your program icons.  There’s also a Zune like menu system (but it is NOT Zune’s interface grafted onto the UI.  It is only similar in that the menu is lowercase, top to bottom.)

IE Mobile is now more like the desktop version of IE 6.  Wonderful…they took the already bad browser that was in WinMo and made it like the bad desktop version.  The positive thing about bringing IE 6 to the phone is that you will get a better browsing experience.  At least IE 6 renders pages more faithfully than that ancient browser that was included with WinMo.

From the videos I’ve seen, Windows Mobile 6.5 is better than the version in my Motorola Q, but, overall, I don’t think it is much of a leap and certainly not enough to get people to buy a phone using that OS versus, say, the iPhone or a Blackberry.  Personally, I’m wanting the Palm Pre.

Palm Pre

Speaking of Palm,  Engadget is running a story about a skin for Palm OS that makes it emulate the UI of the Pre.  Check it out here.  The front end is not free, it costs $14.95.

Palm confirmed, last week, that there will be games for the phones webOS operating system.  They also said that no native applications are going to be allowed on the phone.  I am guessing that means at normal people who want to create applications for the device.  They are going to release an SDK for webOS.  You’ll develop applications using web standards-JavaScript and HTML.  I guess that is fine.  One notable application we WILL see on the phone is Flash.  Take THAT, iPhone! 

Apple

Rumors, rumors, rumors…Yet another rumor about a $99 iPhone circulated last week.  Turns out, that there really is a $99 iPhone: an 8gb REFURB iPhone from AT&T.    Another rumor swirled around Apple locking up Samsung flash memory through April.  That COULD mean a new phone or phones are in the works.  Possibly for a June release.  Stay tuned.

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