Windows Mobile 6.5 on the Samsung Epix (with Video)

A few years back, I used the original Samsung Blackjack and loved it.  The Epix is the spiritual “Blackjack 3”, retaining the portrait alignment, non-rotating screen above an awesome non-sliding physical keyboard, while stepping up to a modern architecture running WM6.1 Pro.  I call the keyboard awesome because the tactile response and guaranteed button activation simply put the keyboard on my non-Samsung smartphones to shame. You really can type without looking or having to worry if it registered a button you had pressed or not.

The Epix is about the same size as the Blackjack with an extended battery installed.   Speaking of which, the Epix’s battery is the same model as the extended battery that shipped with the Blackjack… so I’ve already got a spare battery and charger, sweet!

Thanks to user trashcan at XDA forums, Windows Mobile 6.5 made its way to the Samsung Epix.  The ROM is based on the 23017 build of Windows Mobile 6.5.

The new OS really makes the Epix shine.  Finger scrolling is supported everywhere, largely eliminating the need for the stylus.  Every part of he new UI is fluid and responsive on the Epix hardware.  The new lock screen is quite nice and the device does not wake up when doing alerts that do not write to the screen, so the needs for S2U2 are largely eliminated.

There is quite a bit of new software included in the build.  Least of which, the upcoming Marketplace (think Apple App Store for WinMo) is currently represented by a stub application that opens the web browser to a ‘Coming Soon’ page.  The new My Phone software is available in the ROM and works perfectly with the Beta of the service to sync all of the data on the device with the My Phone website.  Microsoft Tag is included to read special high capacity color barcode images via the camera and direct the device to an appropriate website or service.  It works very quickly and well, I was quite impressed (see the demo in the video).  Most usefully, Internet Explorer is updated and now supports finger scrolling, easily zooming in and out, a good full screen display, etc.

Here is a video demonstrating the new user interface and other features of 6.5 on the Epix.

18 comments to Windows Mobile 6.5 on the Samsung Epix (with Video)

  • Christopher M LeBihan

    After watching your video and seeing how clearly Windows Mobile 6.5 works on your Epix, I have a few questions.

    1: What steps did you go through to get this to work? I’ve seen a list of instructions on how to do it, but I would like to hear it from someone who installed it themselves and not the person who developed it.
    2: Does the mouse still work? I’ve heard that people have had issues with their mouse cursors after installing WinMo6.5. The mouse being the main reason I bought the Epix, I would like it to function properly.

    Thank you

    Christopher M LeBihan

    • Tom

      1- The steps are pretty much like flashing any other ROM onto the Epix. Download the ROM image from XDA, find a version of GrandPrix that will work with your computer (I used GrandPrix 1256 for Vista on a Windows 7 laptop), install the USB Modem drivers for the Epix from Samsung, start GrandPrix as an Admin, select the ROM, tell GrandPrix to load it, plug the turned off phone into the computer and then turn the phone on. After loading the ROM image GrandPrix will fail when trying to write the fake CSC header… unplug the phone, pull the battery and restart it. Boom, 6.5. There are a lot better tutorials for flashing a ROM onto the Epix elsewhere on the net.

      2- Yes, the mouse does still technically work, but there is corruption of the display around it. It does not make the mouse unusable, just annoying. HOWEVER, WinMo 6.5 is much more finger friendly throughout, so I have just been leaving the optical sensor in d-pad mode. With WinMo 6.1, I was a heavy mouse user, but frankly I haven’t missed it on 6.5.

  • […] Watch Tom Beauchamp’s video of Windows Mobile 6.5 on the Samsung Epix […]

  • jazua

    it looks good on the epix. but i guess i need to learn more about flashing ROMs. maybe i will wait for a newer build that will help the mouse cursor issue. thanks for sharing this!

  • Joshua

    Hey, with the Windows Mobile 6.5 ROM can you still use internet tethering with the Epix?

  • Joshua

    I saw two different Windows Mobile 6.5 ROM builds, the 23017 and the 23028, is there a difference in which one I should flash on my Epix?

  • Frank

    Can you use Opera 9.7 and Skyfire v1.1 with the Wm6.5 rom update? I read that wifi doesn’t work with the update. I’m hoping it is only with IE on Wm6.5, and not with these third party browsers. IE also doesn’t work with my wifi on Wm6.1, but I didn’t really care since I never used it anyway. Thanks for your input.

  • Jeff

    Does the Marketplace now work since it is live? The emulator was giving the same response before it went live. Thanks. can you give a link to the best place to download this. Are there any alternatives to having to buy GrandPrix?

    • Tom

      Windows Marketplace works. My favorite new addition was the Netflix app to manage my queue on the go.

      Follow the link that I posted to the XDA forums and you will find download links for both the ROM and the software you need to install it.

  • Gerald

    Great Info. Very well put together. I have read a lot of bad reviews for this phone. I own a Black Jack II and Im in love with the design of these phones, very sleek. How does the epix hold up when browse the web? does the faster processor help at all? And what about the multimedia end?

  • Tara

    Hi Tom, I have been having a problem seeing the text on the screen. I have made the font larger, but i was wondering if there was a way to change the font from white to another color? I am stuck using a black background with the White text. Have any ideas? please help! Thanks.

  • STan

    can it be possible on samsung sgh-i780 since it is the asian version of the epix? tnx

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