In terms of reliability we're filing this latest rumor right next to our trusty salt cellar, but given the general unpredictability of the smartphone market right now it's possible all the same. DigiTimes are quoting their usual mysterious "Taiwan handset makers" who are claiming that Microsoft plan a dual-platform strategy with Windows Mobile. Rather than kill off Windows Mobile 6.5 when version 7 arrives (tentatively scheduled for Q4 2010), they'll apparently keep it on complete with a new "touch interface".
That "touch interface", it's suggested, will drop in February 2010, four to five months after Windows Mobile 6.5 is expected to launch. Similar to how HTC, Samsung and others have developed their own UI to brighten up existing Windows Mobile smartphones and make them more usable, the interface will be Microsoft's own effort to do the same. This would seem to concur with earlier admissions from the WM Team themselves that they "lacked the time" to polish WM6.5's UI in time for its initial launch.
When Windows Mobile 7 arrives, Microsoft will discount WM6.5 and thus continue with a two-platform strategy, taking on the open-source Android OS at one end and the iPhone at the high end. All of this apparently comes from various Microsoft roadmaps, though we'll believe it when we see it.