Fantastic news for current Windows Mobile users: Windows Marketplace for Mobile, Microsoft's forthcoming app store, will work on 6.0 and 6.1 handsets as well. When? Still a cryptic "Fall," unfortunately.

Developers will be able to submit applications to get started on the vetting process as soon as July 27th, giving Microsoft a little lead time to ensure a healthy selection at launch.

If Microsoft didn't explicitly state that the Marketplace would be exclusively available on Windows Mobile 6.5, they certainly implied it, touting the service as one of the great new features of the OS—they're even launching together in Fall. Wider availability makes sense, since the core components of the OS are largely unchanged, and apps will generally be cross compatible. Basically, this is great for the scores of Windows Mobile users who can't—or don't want to—upgrade.

That said, it leaves Microsoft, and 6.5, in an awkward position. Without the draw of the Marketplace, there really isn't much left to be excited about in 6.5. Intertial scrolling? A new Start menu and home screen? As someone who's been using a late build of the OS for quite some time, I can say that it's a welcome upgrade, but improves things to a degree you'd expect from a third-party shell replacement like Touchflo 3D or Touchwiz, not a proper OS upgrade. [Microsoft via PCWorld]