Speculation continues concerning Windows Mobile 6.1 update and future Windows Mobile versions 7 and 8. An increasing number of rumors are circulating online about the future versions of Windows Mobile, including claims of vastly improved web browsing, new interfaces, and context-sensitive functionality.
A few of these rumors concern the Windows Mobile 6.1 update, expected early next year, whose features have in large part already been revealed.
Many more revolve around the next major revision of Windows Mobile, commonly referred to as "Photon." Photon has been widely expected to launch in the first half of 2008, and deliver a single platform version not divided between touchscreen and non-touchscreen devices. However, it's unclear how this launch schedule may be affected by the introduction of Windows Mobile 6.1.
Rumors not facts
Gadget site Gizmodo has published an article discussing a number of these reports as fact, and implying that Microsoft Product Manager Derek Snyder provided them the information they cite.
However, Brighthand can confirm that Snyder did not provide Gizmodo the information that the site implicitly attributed to him, and Microsoft has denied that any of the information presented by Gizmodo is officially sanctioned or confirmed. As such, this report must be considered unconfirmed rumor.
Future of Windows Mobile 7 and 8
What is rumored about Photon is that it's supposed to include a much improved web browser with features similar to the Safari browser on Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch devices. Microsoft previously initiated a beta test of a scaling web browser engine called Deepfish in March, making it likely that this technology will be integrated into the next major Internet Explorer revision.
Rumored but unconfirmed for Photon is an upgrade to the multimedia capabilities of Windows Mobile, focusing particularly on music and photos, and a possible cross-pollination with Microsoft's semi-flopped Zune media player.
Also, for the first time reports are circulating about the Windows Mobile version to follow Photon, likely in 2009. Gizmodo discusses a completely redesigned user interface, a global search, and context-sensitive links between applications, such as standardizing the ability to find contacts on a map, along with other similar capabilities.
Of course, at this time little to no official information is available from Microsoft about its plans for even the short term future of Windows Mobile, making any speculation prone to possible change without warning.