During an otherwise dry TechED conference panel about Windows Mobile 6.5 development, Senior Project Manager Loke Uei Tan made a surprising admission: 6.5's semi-vaunted new interface was severely rushed, and isn't even finished. UPDATED
From his mouth:
The reason why we couldn't complete the interface on Windows Mobile 6.5 is because of time. We only spend what, eight months, nine months, to build 6.5 from ground up and it's actually an amazing engineering feat. But, in order to do that, we had to do some prioritization and we had to cut certain features. Eventually, we will make sure that the UI capabilities are carried out throughout the whole platform.
It's a revealing, slightly embarrassing mea culpa, and an honest one. Wherever new interface features have been implemented in 6.5, they work fairly well, but massive parts of the OS still looks and operate like they did in 6.1, such that 6.5 feels more like an interface add-on than an actual OS upgrade.
But hey, points for honesty! And maybe, just maybe, Tan's "eventually" means "before 6.5 ships."
UPDATED: The WinMo dev team has responded in the comments. Basically, 6.5 is "finished" in the sense that interface changes won't reach much deeper than we've already seen. One thing: the above screenshots show an early build of the OS, and the Honeycomb looks a bit different now. The response:
You guys never seize to surprise us with your titles! :)
The WM6.5 UI that we planned to build is complete, not half-assed as reported. The original question was why we couldn't persist our new "chrome"/UI across all UI elements like settings etc. Because of time, we decided to prioritize the more important UI elements first and made sure they were revamped like the home screen, today screen and start menu. We also have more finger friendly controls that persists throughout all applications.
The screenshots you posted above are from an older beta build anyway, I'm sure there are screenshots of the RTM build floating on the net somewhere that you can look at. Just looking at screenshots also doesn't do it justice as it has fluid animations that elevates the experience.