The big news today is Microsoft's announcement of the latest version of Windows Mobile: Windows Mobile 6. Although much of the news about WM6 was leaked late last week, today Microsoft held several events at the 3GSM conference in Barcelona. You can find coverage of the event at TreoCentral's new sister-site, WMExperts.com.
The new OS also brings with it new naming conventions, gone are "PocketPC Edition" and "Smartphone Edition." Instead we have the more simplified:
- Windows Mobile 6 Standard Edition - for non-touchscreen smartphones
- Windows Mobile 6 Professional Edition - for touchscreen smartphones like the Treo
- Windows Mobile 6 Classic Edition - for non-smartphone, touchscreen Pocket PC devices.
For Treo users, the WM6 announcement brings two great pieces of news. First, Windows Mobile 6 supports full 320x320 screen resolution, meaning we can likely expect future Windows Mobile Treos to stop using the much-lambasted 240x240 screen resolution.
Treo 750 to get upgrade to Windows Mobile 6
Secondly, in this Webcast hosted by Pieter Knook, Senior Vice President, Microsoft Mobile and Embedded Devices division, we hear a great little tidbit of information: Palm will announce an upgrade for the Treo 750 to Windows Mobile 6 (Skip to 28:15 to hear it). As Palm has not yet made the announcement officially, it's unclear which versions of the 750 will see the update. Also unknown as of this publication time is whether or not the upgrade will be made available for current owners.
Photos of the Treo 750 running Windows Mobile 6 are already available as well, as the photo at the right shows (click thumbnail for a larger image).
Windows Mobile 6 features all sorts of great improvement over WM5, though many reviewers have noted that it is more evolutionary than revolutionary. In fact, some have said that it might be better known as "Windows Mobile 5.5," as many of the changes appear to just be cosmetic. However, early reports indicate the WM6 runs significantly faster than WM5. Here is a list of key features from WMExpert's first "Mega-WM6-Roundup":
- Built-in Windows Update(!) - Will the carriers stand for this? I know that Palm spends months testing the most minor of bugfixes so the carriers won't have a bird.
- Built-in memory card encryption and the ability to do remote-wipes.
- HTML-formatted email (I don't want this, but others do).
- A neater feature is "SmartFilter," which automatically filters your emails as you type just like most contacts applications filter your contacts. SmartFilter also works on your music collection.
- Better Live Mail (nee Hotmail) integration, including contact integration.
- 320x320 Screen Resolution support - Palm, I expect a new WM Treo yesterday with this screen resolution.
- Windows Live goes out of Beta and will be built-in
- Direct Push now standard (has been for awhile on WM5, but I know some of you are still stuck without it)
- 3rd party software should still work fine - just in case you were wondering.
- Microsoft Office Mobile updated - now full edits documents on all editions of WM6!
- Pocket Internet Explorer to be faster, they're saying 30% faster - let's hope! Also new, "Mobile AJAX standards"
- Better Vista integration
- Enhanced Calendar, including a "ribbon."
- Improved Security
- Built-in VOIP(!) - no, not really, but they added support for it "under the hood", according to cnet.
- A ton of smaller tweaks, changes, fixes, improvements, etc.
WMExpert's second "Mega Roundup" features more details about WM6 as well as many photos of current and future devices running the OS. There is also a screenshot gallery, though most of those screenshots come from the "Standard Edition." Stay tuned to TreoCentral for more details as they arrive!
Update: Palm has now made the official announcement and plans to offer Treo smartphones with Windows Mobile 6 later this year.