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Monday, June 25, 2012

Why I still have Windows Phone 6.5 even in the age of Windows Phone 7(.x): Part 3

It's been around a year since I last wrote on why I use Windows Phone 6.5 even though Windows Phone 7(.5) is out (and support for Windows Phone 6.5 has been cut). Since then, Mango has been released for Windows Phone and this has fixed some of the issues I previously brought up. Recently, we got news about the next version of Windows Phone, Apollo. With all the changes that have happened or are coming, you may be wondering if I still have and use my Windows Phone 6.5 device? The answer is yes, I still have it and yes, I still have a use for it. (part one of my previous article is here and part 2 of my previous article is here).

The first issue brought up was a file manager and support for removable storage. As of now, we know that Microsoft did not put a file manager in either the NoDo or Mango releases of Windows Phone. Windows Phone 6.5 has the ability to do both of these, but further, Windows Phone 6.5 devices also have the ability to act as a SD card reader when connected to a desktop or laptop. The isolated storage scheme that Windows Phone 7.x uses has worked well so far, but there are still some uses for a file manager in Windows Phone 7.x (like copying gamesaves). Some devs over at XDA-Developers have gotten around the Isolated Storage and made a file manager for Windows Phone, but it only works on certain Windows Phone devices and you have to do some setup to make the file manager work (like interop unlock). From current reports on Apollo, it seems that Microsoft is (so far) not going to include a file manager.

The second issue brought up was being able to "transfer" your media library by SD card. Right now, the only device that I know of that has a removable SD card slot is the (original) Samsung Focus. However, the removable storage slot in it is tied-in with the storage already onboard and data on the card is not accessible outside the device. The way things are now, Microsoft wants you to buy the music through Zune (soon to be Xbox Music) or get the Zune pass, so that you can buy and download directly on the phone. However, the problem here is that if you have music that isn't available on Zune or the music is available on Zune, but you also have the music ripped from a cd you bought. On Windows Phone 6.5, I can sync music I either ripped from cd or bought from an online store, but I have the choice of whether to store the music on the device's onboard storage or store it on the removable SD card.

The third issue brought up was lack of available console emulators. As of now, this has only been partially cured. There is a NES emulator and a gameboy (original, not color, without sound support) emulator available in the windows phone marketplace, but we could use some more console emulators. Because of this, I still use PocketGBA for gameboy advance games and other emulators available for Windows Phone 6.5 on my Windows Phone 6.5 device.

The fourth issue brought up was the ability to "sideload" programs. On Windows Phone 7.x, you can only install programs from the Windows Phone marketplace, unless your phone has been developer-unlocked. On Windows Phone 6.5, I can install programs via cab files on a SD card whenever I want, without any restrictions. The ability to install homebrew programs on Windows Phone 7.x has improved, but is still lacking.

The fifth issue brought up is Bluetooth profiles available on Windows Phone 7.x. What is still missing in Windows Phone 7.x is the ability to use a bluetooth hardware keyboard. Word has it that bluetooth support is coming in Windows Phone 8, the next release of Windows Phone, but we have yet to see this for sure. Still missing in Windows Phone 7.x is the ability to "swap" (or send) contacts with another windows phone user via bluetooth. This feature would be great to have in a business situation. With Windows Phone 6.5, I can do all this with bluetooth and more.

The sixth issue brought up is lack of OBEX file transfer support in Windows Phone 7.x. OBEX file transfer is used to transfer a file via bluetooth from one device to another. With a file manager in Windows Phone 7.x non-existant as well, I think this will not come until at least the file manager does.

I brought up some more issues with Windows Phone 7.x vs. Windows Phone 6.5 before, but I will save them for another article, so stay tuned to read more. If you are a developer and haven't downloaded the Windows Phone SDK yet, download it, and see what you can make. You might be surprised. If you are developing for Windows Phone on Windows 8, be sure to download Visual Studio 2011 as well.

So, what do you think about this? Do you agree that Windows Phone 6.5 is still useful, or do you think that Windows Phone 7.x has matured enough that Windows Phone 6.5 isn't needed anymore? Share your thoughts in the comment box below, or e-mail me at You can also comment (and follow me) on twitter (twitter username is @rctechgeek). Feel free to subscribe to my rss feed as well. If you like this post, please share it with your family and friends.

In the meantime, while you are thinking about Windows Phone, drink some tasty Mystic Monk Coffee (use this link or click on the picture below to access the store and purchase). Trust me, it's good coffee (in most instances, much better than Starbucks coffee) and you won't regret buying some (just keep it away from your computer keyboard or laptop/tablet). For the summer, they are also offering Iced Coffee as well. If you like tea more than coffee, the monks also offer tea for sale. Using the link (or picture below) to buy the coffee (or tea) helps the monks out and helps me with college expenses as well.

Feel free to try out my apps for Windows Phone: Mobile Media Manager, a media player app I made which has some features which (I feel) are missing from the system Zune player, and BSA Eagle Tracker, an app that boy scouts can use to track their progress to Eagle Scout (when the scout handbook isn't always handy). New versions of the media player with new features/bug fixes is coming within a week (most likely sooner than this, but definitely within 2 weeks) of passing Microsoft Apphub certification. The free, ad-supported version of Mobile Media Manager is now in Apphub certification, while the paid version will be in certification in a few days (but by the end of this week). BSA Eagle Tracker is also getting a bug fix for an obscure bug I noticed recently, so it is also due for an update.

BSA Eagle Tracker download:
Mobile Media Manager (paid, ad-free version) download:
Mobile Media Manager (free, ad-supported version) download:

1 comment:

  1. Non compatibility between systems is a betrayal of customer trust and why I went from a windows based HTC hd2 contract phone to android. Android has got it right. Apple phones are overpriced fashion statements. BlackBerry sacrifice screen space to accommodate hardware keyboards. Barry Nowlan.