WinMo 7 (or 6.6) Coming to Barcelona?

When is Windows Mobile 7 coming out? Is it 2011 or . . . next month? The rumors are all over the place. Just last week we heard that Windows Mobile 6.5.3 would soon be available. And now Bloomberg is speculating that in fact the new OS may be shown next month at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona:

Microsoft Corp. plans to unveil its new mobile-phone operating system next month, a bid to reverse market share losses to Google Inc. and Apple Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter.

The company may use the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona to demonstrate the new software, called Windows Mobile 7, said the person, who didn’t want to be identified because the plans are confidential. The decision isn’t final, the person said.

Now there's a difference between showing and releasing the software, but showing it in February would probably mean releasing it no too many months later. Windows Mobile is in something of a race against time to generate more excitement among OEMs and consumers for the operating system. The OS's market share is clearly under tremendous pressure: 

Picture 193

Source: Canalys/Smaato

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Source: StatCounter, Jan 2010

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Source: AdMob, November 2009

There's also considerable speculation this morning that it's not 7 but "6.6" that will show up in Barcelona. Regardless, I'm hopeful that Windows Mobile X (next one) is enough of an improvement to get Microsoft back in the mobile OS game.