First Windows Mobile 6.5 devices expected in September

During Motorola's Q4 earnings conference call last week, the handset maker's CEO Sanjay Jha let slip what most onlookers already anticipated: Microsoft will not release its Windows Mobile 7.0 operating system until 2010. "As you know, Windows 6 series is available in 2009 and as compared to Android, we believe in 2009, Android is more competitive," Jha said. "More of our effort and focus in 2009 is going to Android, but in 2010, when Windows 7.0 will become available, we will then participate in a more focused way in Windows Mobile 7.0 in 2010."

Of course, Microsoft itself has yet to officially confirm the release of Windows Mobile 6.5, which the software giant will reportedly unveil during next week's Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona. Although Microsoft execs refuse to comment on anticipated ship-date schedules, ZDNet (citing sources familiar with Microsoft's plans) reports the following road map is in place:

  • April 2009--Windows Mobile 6.5 RTM
  • September 2009--First WinMo 6.5-powered devices hit retail
  • November 2009--Windows Mobile 7.0 released to testers
  • April 2010--First WinMo 7.0-powered devices hit retail

While conventional wisdom previously suggested that the first WinMo 7.0 devices would not see commercial release until the second half of 2010, ZDNet speculates that Microsoft's stated interest in limiting the overall number of Windows Mobile-enabled handsets--and the closer working relationships with manufacturers that would result from such practices--will lead to shorter beta tests and more accelerated release cycles.

For more on the Windows Mobile release schedule:
- read this ZDNet article