I've been dying to write a blog post about Windows Mobile 6 for so long now that the anticipation has almost got the better of me!
I've been using Windows Mobile 6 (what was codenamed Crossbow) for well over a year now as it's always a difficult balance for me - I love the fact I get access to product really early but if my customers can't experience it then I don't want to be too distracted until it's finally available!
Windows Mobile 6 has really revolutionised the way I use my Windows Mobile device. There were occasions where I would carry a laptop because some of the capabilities weren't available on Windows Mobile. Nearly all those have been eroded now with Windows Mobile 6! The items I'm highlighting below are my favourites - there are over 1,000+ enhancements in Windows Mobile 6 so there will be some I miss 🙂
First off you can see from the screenshot above that Windows Mobile 6 has had a full visual refresh. It's also had a complete audio refresh so you should find new ringtones, alerts and sounds across the whole platform.
Mobile Messaging Enhancements
With Windows Mobile 5.0 we provided the Push Email capability from Exchange our messaging product. With Windows Mobile 6 we take that experience and make it an even more incredibly powerful solution.
Smartfilter - I tend to have about 2 weeks worth of email on my device. Finding a particular email is normally a case of scrolling up and down to try and locate it. With Smartfilter I can simply type the subject, word, name or text I want to search for. As an example below - if you type S L O A N then it will show all emails with Sloan in them! This means from my 2,500 emails I can get to the right email in 5 clicks! No scrolling, no spinning the wheel on the device!
Server Search - Now if I can't find the email I want I can Search my entire mailbox using the new Server Search feature (this does require Exchange 2007). Now I can get access to my entire Mailbox (I have a 10GB mailbox) without having to sync everything to my device! In the example below you can target the search to particular folders or date ranges too!
Hotkeys - Windows Mobile 6 adds a number of hotkeys so you can quickly deal with the email in your mailbox. I find that most people using a device will spend a lot of time 'triaging' email - that is deleting, moving, flag and performing short replies. You can now flag an email by simply pressing F for flag (on a keyboarded device) or 4 on a non-touch screen device!
I recently had my mailbox sync'd to 2 devices - One Windows Mobile 5.0, the other Windows Mobile 6. It took me 1/3rd the number of key presses to deal with the emails in my inbox on Windows Mobile 6!
Delete is also the default option on a soft key as we find most people Delete more email than they create 🙂
HTML Email - Over 80% of Corporate and 70% of Personal email is sent in HTML format. On all other device platforms this comes through as plain text with HTML code in the email. Windows Mobile 6 allows you to read HTML emails including all their graphics, formatting and even hyperlinks. (Now before you get nervous about the hyperlinks - we notify the user of the site they are about to go off to - even showing the URL!) HTML Email is supported on both Exchange, IMAP, POP3 and Live (more on that later)
Within Windows Mobile 6 we've extended the security capabilities we added into Windows Mobile 5 and our Direct Push Email solution.
Storage Card Encryption, Enforcement and Wipe - Windows Mobile 6 will now allow users to encrypt the storage card on their device. This can also be enforced by the Exchange administrator (with Exchange 2007) and we can even remotely and locally wipe the storage card!
Certificates - Windows Mobile 6 addresses a couple of key challenges customers have faced with Windows Mobile 5.0. Firstly you can now add root certificates without having to go through your operator to get them signed. Secondly we have added certificate enrollment tools.
Information Rights Management - IRM allows a user to control who can read, forward or copy and paste an email, word, excel or powerpoint document. You can now view and access all IRM'd information on your Windows Mobile 6 device!
I make extensive use of the Calendaring capabilities on my device. Windows Mobile 6 really enhances the calendaring to bring it very close to Outlook on the PC! First of all - check out the new ribbon view in Windows Mobile 6. I can quickly at a glance see that I'm free from 7 to 11pm. Normally I'd have to scroll through the appointments to try to work it out!
You can now also see the status of attendees in appointments to check if people have accepted/declined or set their attendance as tentative!
The final thing that I love is that I can set my Out of Office from my device!
With WIndows Mobile 5 - Office Mobile was only available on Pocket PC devices. With Windows Mobile 6 Office Mobile will be available across all devices. The suite has also been enhanced to support features such as document reflowing to take full advantage of the screen on some smaller devices.
Since none of the Mobile Operators had released Vista drivers (well till yesterday anyway when Vodafone did) I was using my Windows Mobile device as my high speed data modem. Setting it up before Windows Mobile 6 was pretty tricky but we now have the Internet Sharing application which means within a couple of clicks I'm back on the Internet Super Highway!
Internet Explorer Mobile
Internet Explorer Mobile now provides some key new features. Firstly we worked to make sure all the top sites would render perfectly within IE Mobile (that's the PC site not the Mobile one 🙂 ) Secondly we've added a search bar onto the home screen as well as easy access to favourites and history!
The search itself will deliver the results in a mobile friendly page!
Ok - this isn't Enterprise - but we are all consumers as well as business users.....
Windows Live has been fully integrated into Windows Mobile 6. Hopefully you can see from the screenshots below the level of integration! First - I can see my status on the home screen and any IM's coming in. The IM client has also been extensively enhanced so you can have multiparty-IM as well as see whether people have updated their spaces (see the little star next to the IM sign in)
Within the IM client you can now send emoticons, pictures, voice clips and even files!
The presence information is even shown in the person's contact card!!!
As well as IM - Windows Live also allows you to synchronise your email to your device!
Windows Media Player
Last but certainly not least... Windows Media Player has been improved to also add the smartfiltering capability for searching large collections. I've been using this in conjunction with my Bluetooth Stereo Headphones and it's amazing!