Windows Mobile 6.5 announced, Marketplace included

Microsoft just took the wraps off of the latest WinMo release. Just like the dozens of leaked screenshots indicated, the OS has a totally revamped feel with a Zune-inspired user interface. The Marketplace and MyPhone are included too although details are a bit light at the moment. There isn’t any word about about paid apps or who will host the contents, although we expect those details shortly. Screenshots after the break to tide you over until we get to poke and prod the update.

BARCELONA, Spain – Feb. 16, 2009 – Today at Mobile World Congress 2009, Microsoft Corp. CEO Steve Ballmer along with key mobile partners unveiled new Windows® phones featuring new user-friendly software and services. The next generation of Windows® phones will be based on Windows Mobile 6.5 and feature a new user interface and a richer browsing experience. In addition, Windows® phones will feature two new services: My Phone, to sync text messages, photos, video and contacts to the Web; and Windows® Marketplace for Mobile, a new marketplace that will provide direct-to-phone mobile applications that can be controlled from both the phone and the Web.
“Windows® phones bring together the best of the Web, the PC and the phone so you can connect instantly to the experiences you care about, no matter where you are,” Ballmer said. “We’re working with partners across the industry to deliver a new generation of Windows® phones that break down the barriers between people, information, and applications and provide great end-to-end experiences that span your entire life, at work and at home.”

Windows Mobile 6.5 Delivers New User Experience
Windows Mobile 6.5 includes a new home screen with customizable widgets that display glanceable updates from users’ favorite Web services and let users tap into them quickly, along with faster, more efficient access to personal e-mail, work e-mail, phone messages and instant messaging. It also includes an improved touch-screen interface, making it easy to take action with a finger, and an updated version of the latest Internet Explorer Mobile browser, which in a third party research study by sponsored by Microsoft, supported execution of up to 48 percent more assigned tasks than the other browsers and phones studied.
My Phone Service Connects the Phone to the Web
The free My Phone service will enable people to access, manage and back up their personal information on their device to a password-protected Web-based service, making it easier to upgrade phones without the worry of losing important information. With automatic syncing and backup, users can count on their contacts, appointments, text messages and other information being kept up to date and easily restored should they lose or upgrade their phone. Consumers also will be able to wirelessly update photos and video from their Windows® phone directly to the My Phone service, making it simple to share content that, in the past, would have lived and died on the phone. The My Phone service is currently available in a limited invitation-only beta.
Rich and Integrated Marketplace Service Will Offer Easy Access to Mobile Applications
The new operating system features Windows® Marketplace for Mobile, a rich and integrated marketplace for searching, browsing and purchasing mobile applications from Windows® phones or from a PC by simply using a Windows Live ID. The new marketplace will ship inside all Windows phones based on Windows Mobile 6.5, which will allow consumers to easily find, install and experience those applications that fit their needs and make the phone truly personal. Developers, who have already built more than 20,000 applications for Windows® phones, will be able to offer applications to customers through the marketplace via a simple security and compatibility check from Microsoft.
The new Windows® phones are expected to be available at the beginning of the second half of 2009. Additional information about Microsoft at Mobile World Congress 2009 is available on the Microsoft MWC Web page at