Sneak peek at Windows Mobile 6.5 themes

For what it’s worth, Windows Mobile 6.5 is shaping up to be quite a modern-looking mobile operating system, even if its new looks are only skin deep.

In one of the latest builds to have leaked (among the many that has), build 21202 for those of you playing at home, are the much talked about bundled designer themes, including but not limited to the pink and white Gingham by Isaac Misrahi. It is now revealed some of the other designers are Ron Arad, Vera Wang, Rock and Republic and Diane von Fürstenberg. Simply said, they look great.

Without a further ado, the themes. Screenshots courtesy of Patrick from

From top left to bottom right: Default; Ron Arad (Orange); Vera Wang (Red); Rock and Republic (Black);
Classic (Blue); DVF (Green); Isaac Misrahi (Purple)

Whilst the wallpaper is essentially the most visible element of the theme, a good wallpaper can be all the difference between a great looking interface and a stunning interface, especially if the UI exposes it as much as it does here with all of its alpha-blending goodness. And I’m sure Microsoft is not going to go easy on the number or variety of themes available in the final release. My current favorite is the default one.

70 insightful thoughts

  1. I like all except for “Red”, “Blue” and “Purple”. “Purple” is nice but what I don’t like about is that is has too much pink and purple.

  2. This is definitely an improvement over the screenshots from earlier builds.

    I still feel like Microsoft was very conservative with this release. This was the time to go all the way…to really reinvent how Windows Mobile fits into a world filled with iPhones. 6.5 barely keeps up with what others have been doing to make 6.1 work (TouchFLO for example).

    I’m hopeful that 7 will really turn heads.

  3. @Clifton: In my opinion, I think this new “Today screen” is very intuitive compared to most other mobile’s “main screen” solutions. Coupled with the even better WM6.5 “lock screen” I think WM6.5 is more innovative than people give it credit for.

    Of course, the experience is not equal across the OS, and quickly deteriorates to WinCE-standards among some low-level apps and system settings.

  4. Correct me if i am wrong, but according to these screenshots, the only changes are the wallpapers. The Bars are mostly transparent, they are just displaying the wallpaper, but in a slight translucent view.
    On what basis are these called themes? Will the icons be different or what?

  5. Alsiladka: If you see the last image, the color used for the ‘glass’ effect is purple. That seems one of the basis on which these are called themes. From the Microsoft website:
    “The Theme Generator, available at later this year, will enable Windows® phone users to select pictures from their PC to set as background images, as well as choose colors to personalize their navigation bar, scroll bar and highlighted text.”

  6. @Clifton – Yes they should have done far more with 6.5… but thats what 7.0 is meant to be all about. Unfortunately, current alpha pics of WM7.0 look very disappointing.

    @Michael – the XDA link Long refers to is for the Touch HD (aka Blackstone, from memory) so although it’ll probably not be officially released, the wizards at XDA will continue to make it available – and it will run faster than the core Microsoft / HTC release!

    There are a lot of nice little touches to the UI but they should have used either CHome or Titanium “right across” the UI in my view.

  7. Nice, I like orange and blue. Purple is cool because it’s so different from the usual black, blue and white mobile UI’s.

  8. Hmmm.. having a skin deep change to the primary screen that is so-so modern looking is NOT innovative! For someone that have used WinMobile since the Windows CE days up until recently switching over to an iPhone – it’s about UI consistency and a “it just works” that really works. After years of unexplainable lockups, networking inconsistencies and just plain clunky UI – if Windows Mobile 7 isn’t a completely radical overhaul, then with the Palm Pre raring to go – MS should just forget about smartphones.

  9. I started using Windows-powered handhelds with Windows CE 3.0 PocketPC Edition (Casio Cassiopeia E-125), and I have continued using them through Windows Mobile 2003, 5.0, 6.0, and now 6.1.

    And I’m no longer impressed. Microsoft has really dropped the ball here. The web browser is based off of Internet Explorer 4.0. The operating system is still using Windows CE 5.2. Getting an AKU from your vendor is nearly impossible. Why can’t Microsoft provide these updates? They’re late to the game with an application store.

    Microsoft was never a big player in this industry. Palm reigned supreme in the early days. Once phone functionality was added, RIM’s Blackberry won the day. Now with Internet browsing being a huge factor, Apple’s iPhone is the new king. When will Microsoft learn from its mistakes and either step up their game or drop out of the race?

  10. @Fake Al Gore

    Same situation for me. I totally agree with your comment.
    My opinion is that Microsoft recently realized the importance of this segment and how neglecting they have been with a very (at the time) innovating platform. Windows Mobile, from the consumer standpoint, is laughable when compared with the competition (mostly Apple and Palm).
    Windows Mobile 6.5 seems to be driven by a small team with limited artistic resources and innovative skills. You just have to look at the horrible scroll bars, the IE zoom bar and the basic controls to understand that the much required UX refactoring won’t happen with 6.5.
    Meanwhile, there is probably some hope. I really think that the real work force is already at work on a complete Windows Mobile revamping that version 7 will be. And I expect Silverlight to be a key player in this refactoring at the UX level. Time will tell.

  11. And I forgot…
    If this is not the case, then they should clearly forget the mobile platform. They are already late and without a major splash very soon, it is “game over”. Apple and Palm won’t stop anytime soon.

    And since Mobile 6.5 is not going to splash very hard, that leaves only version 7.

  12. Im wondering, when this is going to be release? Like what phones are going to have this os ? sorry for the noob Q’s

  13. I have to admit I do not see what is so great about these themes. It’s just different wallpapers and minimal other changes (a differend colourded glass bar – big whoop?). Even the Symbian themes (!) are way more sophisticated. You might argue that the wallpapers look nice – they do, but, seeing as there are hundreds of -better- wallpapers used in other (non-microsoft) mobile ‘themes’ (real themes, actually, not just changed wallpapers), I do not share the exaggerated excitement expressed above (I like the alliteration).

  14. They’re pretty much based on the Zune interface…Which i find very good. It looks much more clear and easy-to-use than WM 6.0. Makes me wonder if Microsoft has learned something with the iPhone

  15. so, i recently flashed my htc kaiser over to 6.5, and i will say they’ve done a good job. there are a few things i’m not too keen on. like internet explorer, but then again you can always download opera mobile (which is pretty boss if i do say so myself). the UI is great. cud use some improvements, but i say it’s pretty good, and cnt wait for windows mobile 7. btw, apple is totally communist (they basically control everything you can and cant do on ur computer. that’s kind of a suck experience to have on any os… jus sayin)

Comments are closed.