Microsoft this week confirmed that it has completed development of Windows Mobile 6.5 and has released the code to manufacturing. The new software will begin appearing in smart phone devices in Q3 2009, if the normal Windows Mobile schedule continues.

Windows Mobile 6.5 is an interim version of Microsoft's OS for smart phones and other mobile devices, one that is designed to stem the tide of users adopting Apple's iPhone. Like the Apple device, Windows Mobile 6.5 supports touch controls and sports a desktop-like web browser.

But Windows Mobile 6.5 is really just a stop-gap measure until Microsoft can deliver its next major update, Windows Mobile 7, as early as 2010. The company has admitted as much in recent weeks and notes that it was only able to restyle and improve the most upper-level UI screens in this release.

Microsoft originally expected to launch Windows Mobile 6.5 at last week's TechEd conference, and announced its plans in a post to the Windows Mobile team blog. But TechEd came and went without a Windows Mobile launch, and the blog post in question was edited to remove the word "launch"; Microsoft would instead "kick off" Windows Mobile 6.5 at the event.

Late last week, the Windows Mobile team revealed via Twitter that Windows Mobile 6.5 was "done, complete." The company confirmed this information on Monday.