Capacitive Touchscreens Help Windows Mobile Step Up

Last year before Windows Mobile 6.5 launched in October, I had a conversation with a couple of Microsoft employees about the platform, and they told me that Winmo would only offer resistive touchscreens. I’m so glad they changed their minds.

The HTC HD2 is the first Windows Phone with a capacitive touchscreen, and it’s miles ahead of any other touchscreen Windows Mobile device. Gestures are responsive and fast and by using HTC’s Sense UI it feels completely natural with your finger.

But interestingly, when the HD2 launched back in January, the Windows Mobile operating system didn’t actually support capacitive touchscreens as part of their spec. That update only happened at the start of February, with the launch of Windows Mobile 6.5.3. There are no plans to roll that update out to the HD2 just yet, although there are rumours that you'll be able to update the phone to the recently announced Windows Phone 7 Series.

The lack of native capacitive support is a shame. Because as much as the HTC Sense UI is a joy to use, if you drill down a little deeper into the OS, the benefits of capacitive touchscreens are lost. Most Windows Mobile apps are designed to be controlled by a stylus, and it’s only with this integration of capacitive touchscreen support that we’ll start to see apps developed that will take advantage of the HD2’s screen.

The introduction of capacitive touchscreen support into the Windows Mobile specification is a big step forward, and it's a taste of the future. Microsoft has made the move to capacitive as standard with the announcement of WinPho7, which is great news for the platform.

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