Some recently leaked information suggests that we'll be seeing the next generation of Windows Mobile called version 6.5 along with three new mobile services by Microsoft at MWC 2009 in Barcelona next month.
There's no word on the OS improvements yet, however the SkyBox, SkyLine and SkyMarket services may return Microsoft back to the game.
Despite running on some of the most capable mobile hardware solutions, the WinMo 6.1 platform can easily be described as "old-school". Beside the clumsy user experience, Microsoft mobile OS also seriously lacks in terms of online presence.
Where Apple have MobileMe and their AppStore and Google have a whole suite of online application services, and even Blackberry are pushing an online Application center, Windows Mobile has nothing to show. That seems kinda outdated in modern times where everything is synced wirelessly to the cloud and you are always online.
Last October Microsoft announced Windows Azure platform - cloud services operating system, which will be a hosting and management environment for future online services. According to the leaked info the three brand new Azure services will be SkyBox, SkyLine and SkyMarket and they wil be launched in February at the MWC 2009.
SkyBox provides wireless sync capabilities to WinMo users. Contacts, messages, organizer events, files, backup and restore functions will be some of the upcoming features of this service.
SkyLine is aimed at the business clients. It offers the same features as SkyBox, but allows corporate clients to host their Exchange servers with Microsoft and use the wireless synchronization on all the corporate phones.
SkyMarket , as you can guess, is the answer to Apple AppStore. The Microsoft's mobile marketplace will gather the hundreds of Windows Mobile applications in one place for the first time, so users can buy and download them with one click.
As of now no one knows what improvements will be introduced with version 6.5 of Windows Mobile. Multi-touch support, UI reorganization and better thumb optimization are some of the things that come to mind as logical upgrades. One thing is for sure - we'll get our answers first-hand in February when we visit the MWC 2009.