Microsoft has shut out non-US Windows Mobile 6.5 Bing users recently in an effort to focus on Windows Phone.
Bing unveiled a new client for Windows Mobile 6.5 users earlier this year that included the introduction of turn-by-turn navigation. The update was released to U.S. users and Microsoft withdrew support for those running 4.6 or older. The update has effectively shut off European Bing users who are no longer able to launch the app. Microsoft has restricted Windows Mobile 6.5 Bing mobile to those in the U.S. only.
Microsoft confirmed the change to WinRumors and claimed that users can continue to access Bing through m.bing.com:
“In July 2010, mobile customers using version 4.6 or older of the Bing app for Windows Phone, received a notification that the Bing app is no longer available on their device. Bing is committed to delivering a mobile strategy that rapidly evolves to meet the needs of customers, and as a result has decided to optimize the Bing app for the newer Windows Phone devices to ensure the best mobile search experience.”
Windows Mobile 6.5 users in the U.S. can simply upgrade to the latest client but those outside of the U.S. are effectively locked out of Bing’s rich mobile features. Device manufacturers, including HTC, ship ROM updates for Windows Mobile 6.5 in Europe which include some older versions of Bing which do not function. Users outside of the U.S. are greeted with a message stating “Sorry, the Bing application is no longer supported in your country or region. Go to m.bing.com in your browser instead?” If users select no then the application quits. The removal is one more nail in Windows Mobile 6.5′s coffin but one that is frustrating users who purchased Windows Mobile 6.5 devices on a two year contract.
Thanks to Patrick of OSNN.net for the tip