Windows Mobile User Interfaces

George Ponder

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What User Interface are you using? What do you like about it or would love to see changed? If you could create your own, what features would be "must have"?

Give us your thoughts between now and 6:00 p.m. PST on Saturday, November 7, 2009 and you might win a copy of PointUI's Home 2 Pro.

We will randomly draw three lucky winners from the posts in this discussion and each will get a copy of PointUI's WM user interface.

So is Mobile Shell the ultimate UI or does the HTC crowd like Touchflo 3D better? Or is the native Touch Screen on Windows Mobile just right?

Good luck and get posting!
 

jonmodisett

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I am using the touch flo 3d 2 by NRG for Fuze. I love the icons, and the slid feature at the bottom, so you can quickly function around on the home screen. In addition the touch flo 3d is very finger friendly so I love that. One thing I do not like is the use of an on screen keyboard, I would like to be able to rotate the screen for landscape view. In addition more built in twitter features, because facebook is good but there are enough apps for it already. Otherwise the incorporation of 6.5 with touch flo is amazing.
 

trevorwhopkins

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I am using Sense (TouchFlo 2.5) on a custom ROM, Touch Pro 2. I really like the animations and polished look of the new TouchFlo. Especially weather on the home screen, which I liked about Spb Shell.

I feel the featureset and flashiness of the TouchFlo matches or beats that of WebOS and Android, and IPhone appears plain these days.

What I would like to see from windows mobile custom home screen software is the polish of TouchFlo with more customization. Mobile Shell looked nice about a year ago, but their GUI needs some enhancing to bring it in line with whats possible. PointUI2 looks the way I would like. Mobile Shells customization level is very good, and the content and Professional screens I really like.

What I REALLY want form a WM home screen / cover for WM6 software is an inegrated contacts list. Like Android 2.0 and WebOS. I tried the Pre, and it was too simple looking and not full featured enough for me, so I got the TP2. However, I miss only having to sign into Gmail and Facebook and having my contacts basically managed for me and pictures updated, etc etc, and only having to do it once when I add a new contact. Windows Mobile's complexity is it's downfall in many ways. I love integration and options... but that much information requires coding to manage it so the complexity is not shouldered by the user. The user just needs to see what they want to see at the time they want without having to find ten buttons type a bunch of input settings and constantly manage the software. WebOS and A2.0 upstage us in this.
 

simbadogg

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I'm still using touchflo3d manila 2.1 on my tilt 2, but is really hoping that the bounty for 2.5 will bring landscape to WVGA soon. Otherwise, this new pointUI looks pretty good. I tried spb mobile shell some time ago on my tytn ii/tilt and then on my touch pro/fuze and thought it was ok, but didn't like it that much. i should try spb on my tilt 2, maybe i'll give it a go soon.
 

kraski

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I've got a GSM Treo Pro & a Tilt 2.

Treo Pro: Manila 2D (version for 320x320 screen) rocks, Pointui 2 Pro doesn't look so great, Androkkid keeps getting better & works well.

Tilt 2:Touchflo 3D (built in) works very well, Pointui 2 Pro looks great, but some of the nicer looking add-ons seem to have issues with WM 6.5, Androkkid rocks -- for a 3 month old UI, it's improving in leaps & bounds; it's the next step from the author of iFonz 1 & 2.
 

Dave Blake

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In WM 6.5 all you need is Windows Mobile default (Titanium) fast easy to use no hick ups. I would like to see more plug ins become available like My Location weather google search, Contacts plug in... All of these are available but are lacking I would like to see them a little more professionally done.
 
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barbo

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I'm using tf3d on my new tilt2. I have only had the new phone for 2 days and am having some trouble adjusting. I start up programs when I just mean to flick down a list. I am considering both spb mobile shell and pointui.
 

xd1936

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I've used a lot of homescreen plugins in my day... Starting off with Ultimatelaunch on my Treo 700wx, then on my original Touch 6900. If you want to manage the today screen as it was meant to, but with multiple panels and plugins, it doesn't get any better. After the new Touch Cruise came out with the first version of Manila 2D, I was on the team that packaged up all of the files and got that out. It was great for me for a long time, until WM6.5's Titanium came along. It's just as good for what I need, only much smaller in size. So I've used 6.5 on my 6900 ever since!
(Another Verizon Pro(or 2?!) would be great!! :D)
 

kingmasada

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windows mobile user interfaces

i used pointui freeware for quite awhile. it was a bit too unstable for me. dont get me wrong its a great piece of software but it would turn off too often. i thought it was just my battery but when i uninstalled the program, no more turning off. if the product is stable its a must have on any phone. its slick and smooth and really takes advantage of the touch screen.

im currently using the easy today launcher. ive downloaded a ton of third party apps and through windows mobile and it works the best so i can have everything ready when i need it
 

user

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To me, TF3D2's sms, calendar, and weather tabs are by far the smoothest experience when compared to other ui's. I did try pointui lite, but the thought of customizing was too daunting. I would surely give it a shot if I get a copy though :p
 

suribe

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Thoughts on Interfaces

I've never tried any interfaces, but I've always wondered about slowing down the machine. I just worry they're very memory intensive. Any thoughts on that?:confused:
 

kraski

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I'm using tf3d on my new tilt2. I have only had the new phone for 2 days and am having some trouble adjusting. I start up programs when I just mean to flick down a list. I am considering both spb mobile shell and pointui.

As the saying goes, YMMV.

My experience with Mobile Shell 3.5 was that it was pretty much hardcoded as to how things worked & enough things I do or use took enough extra steps that it became frustrating. If there's something I do a lot, I want it right where I can get to it, no more than one extra step away. Anything else could take five extra steps & I probably wouldn't notice.

Pointui is a great piece of software. With basic themes & applets, it's lightweight & relatively stable. Add some stuff for functional or eyecandy glitz & stability falters on my Tilt 2.

My favorite, right now, is Androkkid, discussion & links found here: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=540428 . It's an Android-like UI for WM. It's pretty flexible & lightweight. Among the neat things is that it configures to screen size on installation. So, when I found it (several versions ago), it installed to fit the 320x320 screen on my Treo Pro, displaying small icons. Now, on my WVGA Tilt 2, it installed to properly take advantage of the better screen size & resolution. There's a certain amount of "do it yourself" to putting it together. Which means your phone won't look exactly like mine, but each of us gets a UI that works the way we do. Much functionality is widget based & more widgets are continually being added, with a separate xda-developers thread for those. I'll include a screenshot.
 

kanzlr

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I have a very strong opinion on this subject matter.
Until Titanium, I only used classic today screen with pocket plus.
why? Performance, and the ones available are not really interesting.
TouchFlo is a bad concept imho, because it is a chore swiping with the finger on that small bar and to stop exactly where you are supposed to.
and the new version on the Leo looks even a bit messy.

MobileShell? powerful, but butt ugly. These 90ies photoshop bevel effects everywhere, inconsistent look (the program launcher and fav people things...different sizes, no padding, different colors, different fonts everywhere, very unprofessional).

PointUI Home? have only tried the free version yet, and I hate to be dropped out of the shell for everything (contacts, SMS, mail, etc.). Maybe the pro version feels better.

so far, I really like Titanium, and at least I don't feel disrupted when I start a regular app, because they share the same UI. It is very spartan looking, but efficient.
 

array81

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Flat is better

I think PointUI Home 2 is one of the most beautiful interface for Windows Mobile.
I like the simple interface, clean and flat.
A flat interface is more elegant and easier to use than 3D.
 

drowe

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I use Spb Mobile Shell and like it pretty well. The one glaring deficiency of these shells is that once you need to put in an appointment or task, you are dumped right back to the ugly winmo 6.1 apps.
 

JasonMeudt

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Coming from a Treo 700wx to my new TP2, I actually find the standard TF3d UI 'slower' to respond to my needs... I miss my hard keyboard at my fingers. The TF3d UI is not made for 1 handed use (in comparison...)...

Having said that, I do enjoy the eye candy...

My biggest complaint is that I am forced to use Good Mobile Messaging (Goodlink) for my corporate email/calendar/etc. With the way that they 'lock' down the API, use within the TF3d environment is 'hacktastic'. I tried MTP to display the calendar and emails with the Good Today plugin, but that is almost more of a pain in the a$$ than simply setting up a link to the email client.

With all that said, there is NO UI/client that would work for me to work within the Good framework... The closest is here...

http://community.pointui.com/topic/good-messaging-today-applet

But alas, the eye candy is missing... It is too bad that most UI's cannot simply utilize standard today plugins from within their environment... or at least make it 'easier' to utilize the various PIM clients. Utilizing the reg keys that Good 'does' provide within the various UI's is possible given various coding skills...

https://www.good.com/begood/message/3525;jsessionid=56675F7601794ADAFF91B89E285A76D0

Anyways, my current choice is still the TF3d UI via Mike's ROM. (WM6.5/TF3d 2.1)

:)

-Jason
 

bschiav

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I'm using NRG's Photon Rom (Stable WM6.5 Manila 2.1). I love the manila interface, it's smooth, great looking and functional.

I read a few of the comments above, and FYI, Manila 2.1 does integrate with your Facebook contacts and pulls down contact photos and Facebook status' into your Manila Contacts List. (Not quite as well integrated as Android/WebOS, but it is there). Also, the integration with "My Location" to pull in your weather & time is a nice touch. These are the clever things we need more of.

I think HTC has done a tremendous job with the on screen keyboard...it's really not terrible to type on (still nothing like a physical keyboard though).

My biggest issue going from a WM6.1 BlackJack II to a WM6.5 Touch Pro 2? The fact that almost everything was accessible more quickly on my WM standard device than with a touchscreen device. I miss taking my phone out of my pocket and simply just starting to type in a contact's name and have the contact pop up to make a call. Or how much more difficult it is to manage Total Commander or Windows Explorer without a dpad, "ok" and soft keys. Little navigational things, definitely more "cool" with touch and maybe better in some cases...but I do feel a little slowed down with the TP2 now. Sure is shiny though.

FYI, I used PointUI on the BJII when it was first introduced in Beta, and it worked pretty well even on a WM standard device! It's definitely grown up a bit, may have to give it a second look.
 

bellor

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Since getting my HTC Kaiser I have periodically tried to use Touchflo 3D since I do believe that it could be fantastic. Unfortunately, I always hit that point where the bad positioning of tabs and uncertain switching from tab to tab by dragging gets to me and I quit.
And every time I return to SPB MS3. Ever since the upgrade to version 3.5 this shell has become superb.
I could not ask more of the guys at SPB.
Nevertheless I also think that PointUI has a few great ideas in there, but my problem with it up until now has been that it does not have my city on its weather plugin.
 

benjaminries

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I used to use the old HTC Home plugin from the original Touch - installed to my Wizard from cabs provided on xda-devs (those were the days!). Then I switched to a non-touchscreen "smartphone edition" (the T-Mobile Shadow, actually) for the custom "Neo" interface, which had nice integration with the circular d-pad dial. I tried Manilla 2D on that phone

Now that I've got an Xperia X1, I think I've found the sweet spot: Sony-Ericsson's panels interface, which allows you to go one step "above" the homescreen to switch between multiple interfaces. I really like how SPB Home and PointUI have their own panels, so that they can be run alongside the built-in OS homescreen (for me, currently the WM6.5.1 Titanium which I think is a huge improvement). My ultimate plan would be to run PointUI as a panel set to the lookalike "HTC Sense UI" theme. I've heard good things about it, and based on screenshots the PointUI Sense theme looks more like Android than HTC's native build for Leo.

So two broad observations:
- OEM custom interfaces have the distinct advantage of being able to integrate software and hardware design, whether it is through custom buttons or even the selection of colours and lines that complement the outer "look" of the device itself
- the ability to easily switch between multiple homescreen interfaces (a-la Xperia panels) is a huge benefit over constantly messing with different ROMs and cabs. I'm a creature of habit so I'll spend 90% of my time on one of them, but it is important to be able to try new interfaces to see if they're a better fit.
 

altae

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Xperia Panels

I own a Sony Ericsson Xperia X1 and what I really like about it is that you have in fact numerous diffrent user interfaces. If configurated meeting your needs you can have a user interface for every situation. Your on the move perhaps in a train? Use the very fingerfriendly Mobile Shell panel. At work? There is a Sony Ericsson panel thats shows you all your pending appointments at one glance. Weekend? Use the beautyful growing panel (flowers blossom when you receive a sms). Want to have some fun? Play with the fish panel. You want to search the internet? There is a google panel. And of course there is the default today screen where I have added Pocket Plus for its task manager and the x button improvements. And with all the shortcuts you can place on the today screen with Pocket Plus you can acces almost every menu and all the programs of your phone right from the today screen. It even adds tabbed browsing to pocket ie and some other useful extensions for file explorer etc.
 

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