With Windows Mobile 6, Microsoft set a skilled handyman to work on the creakier joists of its mobile operating system, but stopped well short of a gut renovation.
The new OS is really more of an honorable Version 5.5 than a true 6—an accumulation of new, useful features that doesnt disturb the operating systems underpinnings or solve some of its deeper problems.
The biggest change with Windows Mobile 6, in fact, is probably the names. Say goodbye to Pocket PC and Smartphone. Say hello to Professional, which means former Pocket PC phones, with touch-screens; Standard, which are former Smartphones, without touch-screens; and Classic, for those few remaining touch-screen PDAs without phone capability.
Windows Mobile 5 users wont be wowed when they boot up a Windows Mobile 6 device. Devices still take 40 seconds or so to start up, and performance is roughly the same as measured by Spb Benchmark and TCPMP video tests.
On the other hand, the new version doesnt break most third-party software; all of the software we tried, including Opera Mobile, Spb Benchmark, Skype, TCPMP and StyleTap, still worked.
The most striking application improvement is the new Office Mobile for Standard. One of the big criticisms of Windows Mobile for Smartphone was its inability to let users edit Microsoft Office documents.
Now, Office Mobile lets you view PowerPoint presentations and view and edit Word and Excel documents—a little. In Word, editing is restricted to inserting and deleting text, and a few very basic formatting commands like bold and underline; theres no font or paragraph formatting, nothing rich.
In Excel Mobile, theres a neat zoomed-out “overview” mode, basic formula functions and support for multiple spreadsheets, but theres no “new” option in either program. Thats right, these programs are for editing e-mail attachments, not creating new documents.
The new OneNote Mobile, part of OneNote 2007, can create new documents, but it isnt included by default with Windows Mobile 6.