[Whitepaper] Windows Mobile 6.5: User Experience
By on October 8th, 2009

Windows Phone

  • The Lock Screen
  • The Home Screen
  • The Start Screen
  • Themes
  • Music and Video
  • Photos
  • Contacts

The Lock Screen

Windows Mobile 6.5 introduces a new Lock screen experience. The new Lock screen gives you easy access to key applications when the phone is locked with a simple PIN or when there is no password set up. The Lock screen acts as a dashboard to give you the information that you need. Notification icons on the Lock screen alert you to missed action items.

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You can select whether you want to check your new e-mail messages, text messages, missed calls, voice mail notifications, and more. The Lock screen, which can display up to 8 notification types, also shows the date, time, and next calendar appointment. When the phone is locked, the number of notifications is displayed next to the lock. The lock expands, and notification icons are displayed on the screen. The number of items per notification type is displayed next to the notification icon. You can pan or flick up or down the list of notifications. If a next appointment is displayed on the lock screen, it is hidden when the notifications appear on the screen. To access the application that is associated with a notification icon, slide the notification icon to the left or right.

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You can even receive and answer calls while the phone is locked. To answer an incoming call from the Lock screen, slide Answer to the right to answer the call. The call screen offers options to manage the call. Tap the option that you want.

The Home Screen

The new Home screen in Windows Mobile 6.5 is a launch pad that provides access to key experiences that you have to take action on. This new Home screen (the default Today screen) applies to Windows Mobile 6.5 Professional. (Windows Mobile 6.5 Standard keeps the same Home screen style as Windows Mobile 6.1.) It keeps you up-to-date on important information such new e-mail messages, text messages, missed calls, and calendar appointments. It also provides direct access Internet Explorer Mobile favorites and media.

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The Home screen is designed to be fun and interactive. It offers an improved touch-screen interface that focuses on touch and gestures (such as tap, flick, and pan) that make it easy to have all your information at your fingertips.

The Home screen features a standard set of plug-ins that include the clock, calendar, getting started, and more. Each plug-in is associated with an application. OEMs and mobile operators can develop custom plug-ins for proprietary content. Additionally, you can customize your experience by choosing the plug-ins that you want to show on the Home screen. For example, users can add the Windows Live plug-in to the Home screen.

You can also switch between the new Home screen and the legacy Windows Mobile 6 Today screen. You can also change the background image. When you change the background image for the Home screen, the same background image also applies to the Lock screen and the Start screen.

The Start Screen

The Start screen is the application center where you can access all that the phone has to offer. The redesigned Start screen in Windows Mobile 6.5 is characterized by a new touch-friendly interface that provides more information at-a-glance and better response to touch and gestures. You can quickly and easily view and select the application, folder, game, or setting that you want.

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You can customize the Start screen and move the applications that you use most frequently to the top. Except for the Today, Phone, and Internet Explorer items, you can change the order or add or remove items on the Start screen. The Start screen can be customized by changing the background image, adding widgets, or using custom 24-bit blended icons.


Windows Mobile 6.5 includes designer themes that you can use to express your sense of style. You can also use the new Web-based application, Theme Generator, to create custom themes for your mobile phone.

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Music and Video

Windows Media Player Mobile provides a rich portable media experience for playing music and video content. Use it to play media files that are stored on the mobile phone and songs and videos that you stream from the Internet. Windows Media Player Mobile includes all the same playback functions as a portable media device. These functions include Play, Pause, Skip, and Rewind. Use Windows Media Player or Windows Mobile Device Center on the computer to transfer multimedia content and playlists that you create to the mobile phone.

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Changes to Windows Media Player include the following:

  • Flick on album cover art to go to the next or previous song.
  • Configure the time period for which Windows Media Player buffers encoded data so that the CPU idle time is increased and power consumption is reduced.
  • Video scaling support for full-screen mode by using the new IAMVideoTransformComponent interface.
  • Audio playback improvements in which playback pauses if you receive a call and then automatically resumes when the call is finished. When Windows Media Player goes to background mode, the audio file plays in the background.
  • Video playback improvements in which the video file pauses if you receive a call and remains in pause mode even after the call is finished. When Windows Media Player goes to background mode, the video file plays in the background.
  • When streaming a video file, the video file is stopped if the user receives a call and remains in that state even after the call is finished. When Windows Media Player goes to background mode, the streaming video file is stopped.

Additionally, new to the music experience in Windows Mobile 6.5 is the ability to access music directly from the Home screen.



The Windows Mobile platform enables experiences that include the following:

  • Ability to view and edit photos on the phone
  • Ability to seamlessly transfer photos between the phone and the computer
  • Connectivity technologies that enable sharing of photos on the Web
  • Application platform that enables third-parties to build applications that extend photo capabilities

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In addition to new Windows phones that have powerful new camera capabilities, Windows Mobile 6.5 offers a range of new capabilities that extend the photo experience. These new capabilities include the following:

  • Ability to view photos directly on the Home screen
  • New ways of sharing photos with social networking services such as Facebook
  • Automatic backup of photos to the Microsoft My Phone service, from which you can edit and share the photos directly from the computer
  • Use photos for phone contact cards and for the Home screen background

A specific camera application is not required on Windows phones. By working closely together with OEMs and by combining capabilities, Microsoft delivers a unique, differentiated, and compelling experience for users. To make sure of a consistent user experience with photos when the camera application differs across phones, OEMs who ship Windows phones must meet specific criteria for camera performance.



In Windows Mobile 6.5, improvements to Contacts include a more touch-friendly user interface. The fast filter technology lets you quickly find contacts.

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Author: Abhishek Baxi
Abhishek Baxi is an independent technology columnist for several international publications and a digital consultant. He speaks incessantly on Twitter (@baxiabhishek) and dons the role of Editor-in-Chief here at Techie Buzz.

Abhishek Baxi has written and can be contacted at abhishek@techie-buzz.com.

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