Microsoft announces Windows Marketplace partners, tweaked policies, designer WinMo 6.5 themes

Details are starting to come into focus on some of the finer points of Windows Mobile 6.5's launch later this year after February's announcement at MWC, and if you had to boil the news down to just two words, they'd be "pretty" and "support." As "pretty" goes, it's been announced that Microsoft has partnered up with Design Museum London and the Council of Fashion Designers of America to offer designer themes for 6.5-based devices -- colors, wallpaper, and the like -- with the first designs coming from fashion dude Isaac Mizrahi. If that's not good enough for ya, the company will be releasing a Theme Generator later this year that'll let you customize colors of UI elements on your device, pair it up with wallpaper culled from your own photo collection, and send the batch straight to your phone.

Over to the "support" front, over 25 companies will be announcing their full support for the Windows Marketplace at CTIA this week, including EA Mobile, Facebook (pictured), Gameloft, MySpace, Namco, Pandora, and Sling Media. To help improve the Marketplace's public image, Microsoft is tweaking some policies, too: developers will now be able to issue unlimited updates to their apps free of charge, and users will have up to 24 hours to "return" apps they don't like (very cool). Notably, Facebook's new app will be available in April, offering direct video uploads straight to your wall if you're into that sort of thing (you know who you are).

Finally, Microsoft's issued a clarification regarding upgrades from 6.1 to 6.5: devices that are already out in the marketplace with a minimum of 128MB of RAM and a 400MHz processor or better are theoretically capable of being upgraded -- it's all up to licensees to decide whether they want to go to the trouble of offering the upgrades to their customers. Let's hope, shall we?