Windows Mobile 6.5 – What’s in for developers?

Hello, this is Jorge again ready to share new information about what I’ve been doing since we shipped 6.1 and the sliding panel home screen update.


Lots have been said already about the end user features of Windows Mobile  6.5 like My Phone, The new look, the enhanced touch support, etc. but now it is getting time to start talking about what is new for developers as well.


For the first time since windows mobile 6 shipped we are expanding our development story to make easier and more accessible writing applications that not only look great but also consume cloud services to bring a portable chunk of the web to our mobile devices.


Up until today developers have basically two options to create applications for Windows Phones:

a)      Native Code (primarily in C/C++)

b)      Managed code (using the .net compact framework)

And even though there have been lots of improvements on our tools and libraries, writing great looking mobile apps is still hard to do.  Starting on 6.5 though we are adding a new option for developers out there… “Windows Mobile Widgets”.


A good way to think of a Windows Mobile Widget is as a “Portable chunk of the web” or just basically a rich internet application.  Widgets are written using all the web technologies we know and love (HTML, CSS, AJAX, JavaScript) and, since they are powered under the covers by our new internet browser, they have full access to flash and other ActiveX controls available on the device (Like MediaPlayer).


The interesting thing about our Widget Platform is that it allows them to look and feel, to the end user, as a normal standalone application does; they have their own start menu icon, they show up as an individual apps in task manager and, most importantly, they have full control of the SK menu bar as any other application would (just easier J).


Sounds good so far? Well there is more, For this new platform we are implementing the latest draft of the emerging W3C standard for mobile widget applications ( as well as ensuring that basic things like native support for transparent PNGs as well as support for the Window.XMLHttpRequest object work as expected.


Expect to hear a lot more information about our Widget platform on the following months; specifically we will have sessions on TechDays in April and TechEd 2009. But for now here are some screenshots of the MSN widgets created by the Windows Live team as a showcase for our new platform.


Comments (34)
  1. Auri Rahimzadeh says:

    Is there a more technical explanation of the changes in 6.5 coming to the portal please?

  2. BChau says:

    Adobe has released the Flash Lite 3.1 distributable player for Windows Mobile phones. Is this the player that can be accessed by the web widget?

  3. JORGEBA says:

    Hi BChau

    Yes, you can have flash content inside a widget.

  4. GF says:

    Will the widget engine be exclusive to 6.5 or will 6.1 devices be able to purchase the apps too?

  5. James Churchman says:

    are these widgets more like lets say adobe air or palmwebOS apps, in that they have proper access to more than just the normal webstuff, meaning they can gain greater privileges like getting gps data, file system access, using the internal camera etc…

  6. JORGEBA says:

    There will be more details available soon about the exact capabilities of the widget framework but I can share right now that, out of the box, widgets have access to some information about the state of the device but they are definitively sandboxed, stay tuned 🙂

  7. Steven Yeung says:

    Will WPF be available for WM6.5?

  8. Aleksandr says:

    Well, I have hard question to WM 6.5 creators – will be there any API for new today screen plugins? Or it will be again closed  thing as it is now in the WM6.1 Standard with sliding panels? If there will be no such API, I’ll wonder why anybody will continue development for the 6.5 because existing programs with today plugins just can’t be adopted.

  9. Phani says:

    We are developing applications on Windows Mobile 6.1 and using the Windows Mbile 6 SDK.When can I find the SDK for developing applications for Windows Mobile 6.5. Please help.



  10. Tai says:

    Will the Windows Mobile Widgets provide access to Platform Services (e.g., Calendar, Contacts, Logs, Messaging [SMS and MMS], device location and landmarks, system information, and sensors) like being offered with the S60 5th Edition widgets?

    Hopefully, Microsoft will not sandbox (i.e., tightly-control resources) third party developers too much, especially with Android and Symbian going open source and Nokia opening up platform services via their widgets.

    Seriously, in terms of prioritizing deployment of resources, mobile software development companies need both ease and access.

  11. raghunandan kamath says:

    Does the Windows mobile 6.5 include maps or location based services in the Live search.  



  12. Paul says:

    Can you run WPF Browser Applications via the web widget?

  13. Rogelio Solis says:

    Is Windows 6.1/6.5 available for iPhone users?

  14. JORGEBA says:

    Hello everyone,

    Thanks for all your really good questions and interest.  We will be releasing more information about 6.5 in the coming months that will hopefully provide most of the information you need.

    Also, I’ve seen from blogs picking this story up some questions about widget support for standard edition.  The good news is that they totally work so I updated the blog entry with some pictures but there are some considerations developers will have to take to make sure they work perfectly on non touch devices.

  15. Jaganath says:

    Can you please tell us about the SDK availability, the release date etc.,

  16. Pietro Testa says:

    Well another framework to be studied and learn!

    Why don’t make available WPF on Windows Mobile?

  17. Terrill says:

    Have you solved the issue with Bluetooth Com Ports remaining assigned when a Bluetooth device is removed from the Device list?

  18. robin.berjon says:

    Hi Jorge,

    this sounds like a great step forward and I look forward to playing with it. There’s just one thing you didn’t bring up: all the other mobile widget platforms out there support SVG (usually at the very least a mobile profile, but often more than that) so in order to compete and allow people to run their widgets the same everywhere you’d need to do the same, yet you don’t mention SVG support. Is that an oversight or do you not have it? If not, I’m afraid a bunch of us will have to stick to Opera’s widget platform for the time being 🙁

    Also, the widgets specification is still moving, do you have details on which version you targeted? Will you update your implementation to track its final changes?

    Anyway, thanks for taking a step in the right direction, it’s looking cool!

  19. Alex says:

    Hello, I’m an enterprise Java developer and have never dabbled with .NET or any Microsoft technology before.  (.NET seems nice enough, but since it’s only for Windows I haven’t had much reason to play with it)  Anyway, I’ve been a long time windows mobile fan and figured that developing some windows mobile applications in .NET would be a fun way to learn the technology stack.

    So….  after watching some webcasts on getting started with WinMo development and perusing the msdn site, I discover that the WinMo SDK is only supported in Visual Studio 2008 Professional edition, which is around $800.  Is this a joke?  

    I have to say that I’m completely floored by this.  With as poorly as Windows Mobile is doing right now, you would think Microsoft would want to do anything possible to attract and retain developers.  (especially since they’re leaving in droves for the iPhone)  

    Developing for Android is completely free using Eclipse or NetBeans – both of which are free and better than VS anyway.  

    Am I missing something here?  Does Microsoft really expect me to drop $800 just to play around with developing some Windows Mobile apps?  Are there other alternatives (from a tool standpoint) to get me started? Thanks for any feedback.  

  20. Can you clarify (as Robin has asked) whether you will be including SVG in your widget support?  This will be critical if you want to really compete.



  21. Could you please tell me if there will be available API for the new today screen scheme? It is a must IMO for the almost any 3rd-party developers.

  22. david dailey says:

    Yes: HTML, CSS, AJAX, JavaScript!

    I’ve had a number of students express interest in developing mobile apps and widgets. Both vector graphics and cross-platform deployment are interests; bulk is an obstacle. Silverlight, Flash and VML are proprietary solutions, and  but I suppose ya’ll would agree that SVG is the cross-platform way to do this?  

  23. Mike Ward says:

    i was wondering if windows mobile 6.5 will be available as an update to phones like the diamond and the htc fuze and pro?..

  24. JORGEBA says:

    Hello Everyone,

    Widgets on 6.5 run on top of internet explorer which currently does not support SVG; we do support flash out of the box though which is widely used and is being added to more widget platforms every day.

    About the standards question, We targeted the latest draft available to us by the end of December and we are tracking changes as they develop



  25. Logan says:

    When will i use the option "Edit & Continue" for Windows Mobile’s application?

  26. Aleksandr Soshnikov says:

    Well, seems I have to ask a few hard questions to the MS WM team:

    – did I get it right: WM 6.1 SDK is all what I need for the 6.5 development ?

    – will be there ANY available for developers API(besides widgets) for the new today screen scheme?

  27. Larry says:

    Can Access be used to develop apps for Windows Mobile?

  28. drahn says:

    Regarding the note about managed code, will 6.5 support XNA?

  29. nuwan says:

    hmmmm sry if this quis is dumb, bt m a noob, i just wanna knw whether can i run WM6.5 on my htc tuch GSM

  30. diego says:

    podes pasarme la informacion de windows mobile en castellano

  31. Chandan says:

    Hi, i was interested to know if System Tray icons are still supported in WM 6.5 HomeScreen. I dont see any of them in the WM 6.5 sample snapshots.



  32. Nigel Peters says:

    The developer support for WM is poor, compared to the likes of apple. the reason they have a Billion Downloads from their app store is because, the developers give the people what they want because Apple Dev gives the Developers what they want.

    Simple questions cannot be answered such as:

    – WM 6.1 SDK is all what I need for the 6.5 development ?

    – will be there ANY available for developers API(besides widgets) for the new today sliding panel screen scheme?

    Seriously Pull you fingers out, you only have to go to to see what potential you have to really make 6.5 a great platform

  33. DrewG says:

    btw, you can develop for free for windows mobile using SharpDevelop

  34. MobileSpoon says:

    FuzeMobility has just created 50 cool widgets connecting to different websites – all focusing on windows mobile.

    I think it’s a really cool package which can be found in here:

    and here:

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