While it hasn’t yet been formally announced, the next update to the Windows Mobile operating system is slated to arrive on a number of devices in the near future. While many details have been leaked about the "Standard" version of this update, information is only now coming out about the Professional edition.
The web site PhoneArena has published a hands-on preview of Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, the version of the operating system for phone-based devices that feature touchscreens.
It’s unclear whether this information is based on experiences with a production-level device, or one of the numerous pre-release ROMs being circulated online. As such, any information — particularly as concerns performance — must be considered unconfirmed.
Internet Explorer Mobile
The standard web browser for Windows Mobile has received a small overhaul, now sporting a "Zoom Out" function to display an entire page of information at a time, similar to the Safari browser on the iPhone and iPod touch.
PhoneArena describes this function as being very slow to respond, taking 10 seconds to render the page initially followed by 2-3 seconds to render another portion that was off screen.
Office Mobile 6.1 Loaded As Standard
While some Windows Mobile devices already come with Office Mobile 6.1, the updated suite will be included with all Windows Mobile 6.1 devices straight out of the box.
The latest version of this Office suite allows users to work with the new XML-based DOCX format introduced in Word 2007 for the desktop, as well as Open Office XML files.
As an added bonus, the updated office suite now also includes OneNote Mobile, an advanced note-taking program.
Small But Needed Tweaks
In addition to the core application updates, Windows Mobile 6.1 will features threaded SMS messaging, allowing users to see the history of a conversation as it continues (see image at left).
This is joined by a feature often requested by Windows Mobile enthusiast: a full task manager. Previous Windows Mobile version have often lacked a comprehensive system for managing running programs, instead requiring users to either rely on Windows’ own internal application management, or to add third-party software allowing them to easily close open applications.
The new task manager shows the user what programs are running, as well as the amount of memory used by them and their CPU load (see image at right).
Update, Not An Upgrade
While Microsoft has yet to officially debut the product, previews given under non-disclosure agreement with various technology news outlets emphasized that Windows Mobile 6.1 is meant to be an update to the platform, not a radical upgrade.
The more notable changes are expected in the next major revision of Windows Mobile, now rescheduled for release in 2009.
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