What You Can Expect from Windows Mobile 6.5 Next Month

Andrew Lees, Microsoft's dude in charge of cellphone software told the NY Times in so many words what you can expect from Windows Mobile 6.5 at Mobile World Congress next month. Some's good, some's clueless.

What we're expecting to see next month is Windows Mobile 6.5, with a new UI, and the debut of Microsoft's cloud syncing services, codenamed SkyBox. Lees obliquely confirmed a lot of that, and says they get that people want to do more with their phones than extend their soul-killing jobs past the eroding boundaries between work and home: “We want also to do human things like photos, music, communications, IM, texting and social networking.”

He talks in the abstract, but this seems like an example of what SkyBox will do on a Windows Mobile phone: "When you take a picture it should automagically arrive on your PC and be in the cloud. I should be able to fix the red eye on the PC and have it automagically go back and fix the red eye everywhere else.” Most of the sync services are going to be free (take that, MobileMe) but some you'll have to pay for: “I don’t think anyone is going to make money on synchronizing data,” says Lees. “It is simply what people will come to expect.”

Microsoft clearly gets it, in those few respects—syncing data should be part of the package, and people want to do all kinds of entertainment stuff with their phone easily. So the fact that their strategy to make money is to keep making a profit by charging hardware makers a license fee for Windows seems slightly anachronistic, given the current mobile environment. His response to why companies (and people) will pick Windows Mobile over the very free Android just sounds remarkably out of touch:

“They are going to look around at what their options are and say ‘Is open source going to do all the things I need to do to compete with Windows Mobile?’” he said. “Is it going to create the social experience, the e-mail experience and all the other experiences people want?”

As a matter of fact, Android does all of those things remarkably well. But maybe Windows Mobile will blow our skirts up anyway next month. I hope. Zunephone! [Bits]