Windows Phone 6.5 review: first look

Microsoft only took the wraps of the final version of the operating system today, but here's our first look review of what Windows Phone 6.5 (formerly Windows Mobile 6.5) has to offer.

Scrolling down the Today' or home screen is easy, with just a slide to the right required to see what sub-menu that header has to offer. And you can set the background to whatever you want it to be, whether a favourite photo or something else.

Pressing the Start' menu brings up the full gamut of available apps, including the other star of today's launch, Windows Marketplace. Microsoft was keen to stress just how finger friendly these icons now are and we have to agree. Pressing down on an icon enables you to promote it to the top of the icon tree. Similarly, you can demote icons too.

Windows Marketplace is most likely the app that will provide the biggest boon for business users, offering as it will a world of additional free and paid-for apps for both work and play.

The Marketplace itself looks vibrant and aesthetically pleasing, with 60 apps available from launch in the UK and 250 worldwide. Although this figure is likely to increase rapidly.

The Marketplace details showcased applications, most popular, what's new and different categories, as well as making it easy for users to search for both free and paid for applications.

And worry not about your children, colleagues, friends or even yourself accidentally downloading expensive apps that drain your bank account. Once you've clicked the big green install button, you'll be asked to confirm that you do indeed want to buy that app.

At present, apps are paid for by credit card (the info of which can be securely stored for future use), but Microsoft is working on enabling operator billing so that app use can be added to a user's bill. This sounds like great news for consumers, but may add a little bit more complexity to organisations' mobile phone contract accounting.

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