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Monday, June 6, 2011

Why I still have Windows Phone 6.5 even in the age of Windows Phone 7

In case you are wondering what Windows Phone 6.5 is, it's just the renamed form of Windows Mobile 6.5. Anyway, with Windows Phone 7 out right now and Mango just around the corner (termed version 7.x), some might wonder why I still keep a device handy that runs the older version. Why is this? Well, there are some aspects of Windows Phone 6.5 that I still use and I can't find in the newer Windows Phone 7 (or even Mango).

The first one is WP6.5 has a file manager and access to the file system. What's more is the fact that a 6.5 device can act as a SD card reader in a desktop or laptop. I'm sure it's not above Microsoft to add this to Windows Phone 7 (I found a post on the internet with an early rendition of Windows Phone 7 with a file manager, so it's possible), but you must admit that sometimes, the isolated storage concept can get in the way. This is true especially when you have e-mail attachments which requires a certain program to open it.

The second one is that with Windows Phone 6.5, I can take my media library on my SD card and transfer it to any other device as long as it has the right size SD card slot. With Windows Phone 7, you have to sync your media library on each device, taking portability right out of the equation. I do realize that some phones, like the Samsung Focus, have an external SD card slot in them, but the majority of phones only use the SD card as a sort of "raid storage" (which is how the os works). The portability also goes with the file manager in that I can store documents on the SD card and (assuming I have the right reader in my desktop or laptop) I can open up that same document on my desktop that I just had open on my mobile device.

The third one is lack of console emulators with Windows Phone 7. I do realize that you can you write an emulator with managed code (such as C#), but all of the good emulators seem to be written in native code (using C++, something that Windows Phone 7 lacks). I can think of a few times where I've been on trips and I wanted to play a console game on my device (such as Pokemon Yellow), but I had to use my 6.5 device to do it. Some of the games written for Windows Mobile were really good (such as Orions: Legends of Wizards), but they can't easily be ported to Windows Phone 7 due to lack of native code support.

The fourth one is the capability to "sideload" programs under Windows Phone 6.5. With Windows Phone 7, you can only install programs using the marketplace (developers know a way around this though). 6.5 allows you to keep the installation file handy on your device (sd card is preferred) and if something happens where you need to reinstall, you have the installation file ready with no waiting for downloads. With Windows Phone 7, you only are allowed to get what is "approved" for the marketplace and you can't install programs (normally) that are useful, but but wouldn't pass marketplace approval for certain reasons. With Windows Phone 6.5, you can install programs from local storage in addition to the marketplace (few to no restrictions as to what you want to install, in other words).

These are just a few of the reasons why even though I have a Windows 7 phone, I still keep my Windows Phone 6.5 device handy. If I think of any more good reasons, I will start a new post with those ideas.

Do you think that Windows Phone 6.5 is outdated or do you think there is still some worth to it even with Windows Phone 7 (and Mango coming)? Feel free to let me know here (in the comment box) or on twitter (url for twitter is

Edit:  If you haven't read it yet, part 2 is here

1 comment:

  1. Hello Steven
    I too am a RomanCatholicTechGeek!
    I've just come across this (now) old post but I still couldn't agree more.
    I really like and am still using WM 6.5.3 Pro on a touchscreen device and it does NEARLY everything I want or need...
    Which brings me to the further comment!

    I don't find a really GOOD and properly functioning BREVIARY (daily office) app.

    I am using Universalis but it doesn't really behave properly on my device as it wasn't written for the newest old WinMo...for example it doesn't even have a software CLOSE or EXIT button!!!

    Anyway, I thought I might ask if you know of something that works well?

    Could you make some suggestions?