Several months ago Palm released a free upgrade for the Palm Treo 750v to Windows Mobile 6. I know many people have been anxiously awaiting this upgrade to take advantage of the HSDPA data connection speed that wasn’t available in Palm’s Window Mobile 5 release. This being very attractive I have been considering making the upgrade, but have been hesitant to do so as it isn’t possible to later return back to WM5.Well I now have the opportunity to run a simultaneous test of 2 Palm Treo 750v smartphones, one with WM5 and the other with WM6. Here is a brief summary of what I have found that will hopefully be beneficial for others debating whether to upgrade from WM5 to WM6.

Windows Mobile 5Windows Mobile 6

The Good

To try and keep on a positive note, let’s start with the new features and benefits of WM6.

  • HSDPA
    The biggest advantage for WM6 on the Palm Treo, as mentioned, is the increased data transfer rate. Although already a UMTS phone, the HSDPA protocol was not include with Palms release for WM5. The increased speed is noticeable, however not as significant as expected.
  • Mobile Office Application Improvements
    The mobile office suite included in WM6 has made some significant improvements.  

    • Outlook: Nice new features for those with Exchange 2007 (I especially like that there is the out of office assistant), view HTML email, nice new calendar views
    • Word, Excel and PowerPoint: view and edit documents with original formatting, including tables, images, and text.
  • Windows Live Services
    For those of you using Windows Live services (oh come on, there has to be somebody out there) apparently a new rich set of services are available. Maybe this will be a good reason to finally check out Windows Live!?
  • Lots of New Shortcuts
    Press and hold the H key to view them
  • Prettier Graphical Interface
    Moving from WM5 to WM6 is like going from XP to Vista (obviously without Windows Aero)  

    • Here I almost wrote improved graphical interface, however I don’t see any value being added in the new interface, it is just prettier
    • Theme is similar to Vista with the reflective glass look on toolbars and Vista icons
    • Windows Media Player has a new black skin
  • Easily accessible in-call features
    Buttons have been added to the in-call message box to activate/deactivate speaker phone and to mute/unmute microphone. Previously available on WM5, but under the menu button option list
  • Contacts with Context
    Call history is now placed where it belongs, in each individual contact card.

The Bad

  • Battery Life
    Battery life was never great with WM5, but it gets much worse with WM6. I would like the option to give up the graphical effects for the improved battery performance.
  • Multimedia Support
    Same Windows Media Player version (10.3) – I was really hoping Microsoft would make some much needed improvements in the mobile media player. So far all I see is a change in the skin. Changes I was hoping to find:  

    • Resolve catalog issues – When using expanded memory of several gigabits full of content the catalog management system runs into multiple issues, potentially causing serious problems on your expanded memory (I have stopped using it entirely on manually open files or albums)
    • MP4 video support – Most video podcasts on the publish in mp4 format which isn’t not supported by the mobile Windows Media player, creating a strong limitation for Windows Mobile to enable a competitor for the ipod.
    • Ability to navigate the catalog using buttons rather than touch screen
  • Application Compatibility
    Many mobile applications for WM5 still are not available for WM6. This is a big drawback for me as I get a lot of my value in the Smartphone from 3rd party applications.
  • Closing Applications
    Maybe I am the only one that thinks this, but I hate that when you hit the X in the top right corner to close an application that is actually just “minimizes” the application. Fortunately there is the Magic Button application that resolves this issue, but I was really hoping Microsoft would fix this directly in the OS.

The Verdict

The new features of WM6 definitely don’t blow me away, which is disappointing. I will continue to try out the new OS for a couple weeks before I actually decide if I want to keep it. At this point my decision revolves around battery life and data transfer rate. Do I want shorter battery life, but with high transfer speeds (WM6) or longer battery life with decent data transfer (WM5).

Let me know your thoughts about upgrading to WM6 along with any valuable features that I failed to mention.
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2 Responses to “WM5 vs. WM6”

  1. Upgrading to Windows Mobile 6 | Thinkworx Says:

    […] previously wrote a post about deciding whether to upgrade from Windows Mobile 5 to Windows Mobile 6. It has now been a couple months that I have been exclusively running Windows Mobile 6 and here are […]

  2. priyamaalini Says:

    very good review. i too had the problem for closing the application. Thanks for the information of magic button application thanks

    [email protected]

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