The HTC Snap is one of the few Windows Mobile Standard devices that received an upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.5.
In this article I would like to have a look at the Windows Mobile 6.5 improvements for Windows Mobile Standard devices and compare these with the findings of the HTC Touch2 review, with Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional pre-loaded on the device.
The left screenshot above shows the todayscreen of the HTC Snap running on Windows Mobile 6.5, while the right screenshot is taken from the HTC Snap review a while ago, at that time powered by Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard. As you can see the changes are marginal, with the only difference is the blue/orange Windows Phones branding (background) vs the green Windows Mobile 6.1 branding.
In addition I could find another minor change in the basic Windows Mobile 6.5 Standard layout of homescreen. An Internet Explorer for Mobile favorites sliding panel has been added. With help of this sliding panel you can quickly access, the mobile favourites directly from your homesreen (without opening the browser first).
However adding this type of sliding panels was already possible under Windows Mobile 6.1, as you can read in the article of Mike Temporale, Windows Mobile MVP and Editor in Chief of MobileJaw: “Customize the New Sliding Panel Home Screen on Windows Mobile 6.1” There I would personally classify this change as a minor one.
But how does it relate to the new Windows Mobil 6.5 Professional homescreen I have outlined in the “HTC Touch2 review – Windows Mobile 6.5 and TouchFLO 3D combined !”
Matthew Miller, Editor on ZDNet Smartphoes and Cellphones blog, described the new Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional homescreen directly after the announcement as:
“The Today screen is the sliding panels we saw on the non-touchscreen Windows Mobile Standard 6.1 devices that finally appears on touch screen devices. IMHO, Microsoft should have rolled this out at the same time as the non-touchscreen version over a year ago. I think this is a pretty functional display, but if you are using a device like the HTC Pure you won’t even see it at first because HTC has their TouchFLO 3D selected by default instead.”
Personally I do think that Matthew Miller makes some excellent points here, but the bottomline is that both implementations of Windows Mobile 6.5 have the same “sliding panels” feeling.
2. Microsoft MyPhone
Microsoft MyPhone is a free backup- and restore service which is bundled with every Windows Mobile 6.5 device. I do have a Microsoft (Hosted) Exchange account with Sherweb, where I keep my calendar, contacts, e-mails, etc. In addition I use Microsoft MyPhone to backup my “Text Messages”, “Photo’s” and more all within the constraint of the maximum storage amount if 200 MB. I live by the rule to backup to multiple sources and via multiple methods in order to keep my data safe.
On October 6th, the Windows Phones launch day, premium features for Microsoft MyPhone were announced. A more extensive article about the premium service and new features is written by my colleague and good friend Paul Willen.
Another example that I have used Microsoft MyPhone for is the recent migration of my girlfriend’s phone contact data from a Nokia 6300 to a Windows Phone. Now everything the contact data is safely stored in an online environment and it’s easily managable. As I concluded already in the article “Windows Live Mail pushed to Windows Phone” Microsoft MyPhone significantly contributes to a free Exchange-like user experience on your Windows Phone.
3. Windows Marketplace for Mobile
The second services which is bundled with Windows Moile 6.5 is called Windows Marketplace for Mobile, and is currently only exclusively available on Windows Mobil 6.5 devices. In two articles this service, and its underlying concepts, is covered quite well: “Windows Marketplace for Mobile coming to Windows Mobile 6.1 and 6.0” and “Windows Marketplace for Mobile – Payments and Operators“.
Remarkable is the fact that the Windows Marketplace for Mobile on my HTC Snap is empty, and with help of the readers I’m trying to find out the possible cause. At first the development for third party Windows Mobile Standard is significantly lower that the development for Windows Mobile Professional. Second the Dutch market is relatively small, and therefore it might not interesting for a developer to be included in the Dutch catalogue. That is my personal reasoning why the Windows Marketplace for Mobile is empty.
Are there any othe HTC Snap owners who can confirm the situation, or have another experience. I’m interested to find out more abot this, so all help is highly appreciated. 🙂
In the “HTC Snap review – the ultimate messenger ??” I outlined tht Internet Explorer 6 for Mobile was already included in the Windows Mobile 6.1 retail-prodution-ROM at that time. With the upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.5 the behavior of Intenet Explorer for Mobile has changed a little, probably aimed at a more similar experience on touch- an non-touch devices.
While there are some slight changes in the Internet Explorer for Mobile GUI (compared to the previous version), the main change is the automatic switching to full screen mode, optimizing the use of the total screen and get rid of the toptaskbar and the soft keys on the bottom of the screen.
I do understand the reasoning behind this change, but it is a matter of personal preferences if you will like it or not. Currently I haven’t made a clear decision, and it might take some time to get used to the new behvior. As you ca see I’m running a head to head comparion with the “old” Opera Mobile browser.
5. Other “minor” changes (for messaging)
In addition to the improvements desribed in the sections above, I noticed some other changes as well which I would like to highlight shortly. At first the command on the left softkey in Pocket Outlook is changed into “Reply All” which makes more sense for the heavy messengers.
Second it seems that the reply- and forward icons in Pocket Outlook have slightly changed. In addition at the initial set-up of my Hosted Exchange account with Sherweb I noticed in the screen where you can “choose the content you want to synchronize” that in addition to the options “contact”, “calendar”, “e-mail” and “tasks” the option “text messages” is included as well.
Synchronizing “text messages” will be part of the Exchange Server 2010 improvements for Windows Mobile, so I hope that Sherweb will soon migrate to Microsoft Exchange 2010.
Concluding thoughts on Windows Mobile 6.5 Standard
Let me start the conclusions by comparing the HTC Snap with the HTC Touch2 within the basic Windows Mobile 6.5 perspective / changes. Without any doubt the impact of Windows Mobile 6.5 is more severe for Professional “touch” devices, look for example at the lockscreen, and the new integrated start and settings menu.
The Windows Mobile 6.5 upgrade for the HTC Snap however brings the services Microsoft MyPhone and more timely excusive Windows Marketplace for Mobile to the Windows Mobile Standard platform. I truly love Mirosoft MyPhone and hope to unravel the dynamics of my Windows Marketplace for Mobile findings.
As far as the new behavior of Internet Explorer for Mobile is concerned I haven’t made up my mind. Despite that it offers a more optimal use of the screen and a similar experience as Internet Explorer fo Mobile on the HTC Touch2, it is “different”.
Furthermore HTC has brought some minor improvements in the messaging area and upcoming Microsoft Exchange 2010 updates for Windows Mobile to the HTC Snap as well. Finally you can experience a noticable improvement in the battery life as well.
HTC a great many thanks for delivering the Windows Mobile 6.5 upgrade and as a result “Quietly Brilliant” finetuning of the HTC Snap, the ultimate messenger !!