Inside Barcelona: Microsoft Steals the Show

The hoopla surrounding Microsoft’s announced new version of Windows Mobile at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona has quickly been replaced with frustration at why the new platform won’t be in our hands until the end of 2009.

That’s the ultimate barometer of excitement.

Of course, like always, time will fly and the new Windows Mobile 6.5 will be here before you know it. And we’ll take in the bump up from 6.1 to 6.5 that comes with a new home screen with an integrated view of your today screen, missed messages, and calendar appointments.

Spectators in Barcelona report that the “Start” and “Programs” menus are gone. The main menu is now one giant list of applications, features, and folders.

I think the real story here (once you get past the excitement expected with this launch) is that Microsoft has also confirmed its own mobile application store, a similar strategy to the AppStore for the Apple iPhone. The Marketplace will be included with Windows Mobile 6.5 devices.

Incredibly, Microsoft said developers have already built more than 20,000 Windows Mobile applications. “Bigger is better” is the theme, it seems.

In fact, Microsoft also has made virtually everything bigger (images, graphics, icons, and menu items). Microsoft said the goal was to enable users to interact with the phone solely with their fingers. Use of the stylus is no longer required.

And although it’s going to be more finger-friendly than ever, we won’t get our fingers on it until late 2009.

I just had to rub it in again for the impatient folks.