Window mobile, about time for a fix up

Windows mobile how I hate you so much. Its such a shame because the devices are so powerful and well designed in my opinion. The software is sometimes painful and in need of a clear kick up the ass. Its like windows, years and years of badly thought-out design decisions bundled into a messy operating system. Don't get me wrong its usable but only through habit.

Someone started writing a new user interface for Windows mobile a while back, called pointui. In that 0.2 alpha release was more design thought that any of the other Windows mobile releases to date.

So whats got me going? Well with Over the Air, I've been thinking a lot about mobile devices and interfaces. The iphone interface is good but also lacks any deepness. This might be fine for most people but not for an advanced user like myself. Windows mobile 6.1 is due or available now and it promises to learn from the iphone and fix its mistakes. The mistakes are best explain in this blog post from Gizmodo.

The number one biggest problem with Windows Mobile is its UI.
I have no problems with Windows itself, and I work on a Vista PC (along with a Leopard Mac) every single day. WM's problem is that it isn't Windows. Here are a few of the unnecessarily complicated attributes that Windows Mobile doesn't share with desktop Windows:

  • It's very hard to multitask
  • Closing a program doesn't really close it
  • Different builds work differently
  • If you're an advanced user, you'll eventually be able to learn how to bypass or augment certain parts of the phone with third-party applications

Actually Windows mobile's 3rd party support is its saving grace. If it had been a dead end like the iphone I would never have picked up the handsets ever. I've had about 6 generation of windows mobile / pocketpc devices and each one has been more powerful that the last.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.