Adventures in Alpha Phone Operating Systems 2

So I’ve been living with the cooked ROM of Windows Mobile 6.5 for several days now and so far I’m quite pleased!  Most of the limitations are from the 2+ year old device (only a 200 MHz proc and ~50 MB of program ram). 

The OS itself is really good.  I owe you all some screenshots (maybe later today, probably in the next few days), but the “honeycomb” start menu is really good… easy to use without paying too much attention.  The whole thing combined with the Bing application passed the “Walking down the sidewalk, wondering what the weather will be tomorrow” test with flying colors.

I have had several crashes, so I don’t recommend this experiment for anyone who lives and dies by their phone.  For me, though, it’s been completely functional.

Battery life is better than what I remember when I was using the T-Mobile Wing originally.  Since I don’t have high speed 3G InterTubes on my phone (You Suck, Cincinnati Bell, just turn the damn stuff on!), that isn’t a constant drain on the battery but I do use the Edge quite a bit and I think I could squeeze at least 3 days out on a full charge, maybe 4.

Performance also feels faster than I remember with WinMo 6.1, but it’s possible that this is simply because I don’t have to look as far for the information I want.  Next few appointments, email titles and several other “Need to Know” types of information are right on the Today screen.

The thing that is really disappointing is nothing to do with the OS.  With the way the Cell Phone market works, you know these improvements will never get to all the consumers who currently have Windows Mobile phones.  They’ll have the choice between buying a new phone with Windows Mobile 6.5 on it, knowing they’ll need to buy ANOTHER one when Windows Mobile 7.0 comes out, or they could just buy an iPhone and know that Unca Jobs will ensure that at least the software updates make it down to them for at least 2 years or so. 

Apple gets away with it because they control the whole ecosystem… the hardware, the OS and an exclusive deal with a carrier.  Part of me wishes Microsoft would team up with HTC and make the WinPhone or something and cut a deal with Verizon and keep the same arrangement.  It would certainly make it a lot more competitive.  Of course, they’d have to commit to more regular software updates, too.  A once a year major OS upgrade for a cell phone is a nice thing for all those iPhone users to get.

I’ll post more when I have more impressions.  I just updated the ROM version, but I believe it’s the same OS build underneath.  This one just has more free RAM so I can use the camera.  Animal Shelter open house today… there might be kittens to take pictures of!