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Microsoft Redesigns Windows Phone UI

Gordon Kelly

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Microsoft Redesigns Windows Phone UI

The first step towards fixing a problem is first admitting you have one...

This seems to have been Microsoft's biggest problem to date in its desperately lacking Windows Mobile software: a division which seems as utterly pig headed as the Windows 7 development team is open and honest. So this is encouraging:

The company has given an update on its progress with the previously codenamed 'Windows Mobile 6.5' and the most notable aspect is the removal of the 'Honeycomb' appearance. The daft, offset, space wasting icon layout remains but there are also improvements such as flick scrolling now being limited to one page at a time. This is a rather important one as with Windows Phone handsets restricted to resistive touchscreen only displays they don't tend to be the most responsive beasts in the world.

Other general improvements such as bug fixes and performance tweaks are mentioned too and in the presentation video (in link) it does seem smoother which is handy since the one-to-one demo I was shown last month moved at the speed of a tar coated sloth wading through a treacle swimming pool.

In fact what some have (understandably) seen as Windows Phone's biggest weakness - its lengthy Q4 release timeframe - could well turn out to be its biggest asset since that's a lot of coding time and this is one OS that's clearly nowhere near cooked...

In related news the ever shy Steve Ballmer has also declared the "tide has really turned" against Apple after pointing out it "gained about one point, but now I think the tide has really turned back the other direction." Then came the snipe: "The economy is helpful. Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment - same piece of hardware - paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be."

Of course the pertinent question Steve needs to ask himself here is not whether the tide has turned or not, it's why people were happy to pay $500 more in the first place...

Links:

Windows Phone via Ars technica

Ballmer Quote via TechFlash

HarryGlass

March 20, 2009, 10:10 pm

I quite liked the look of the honeycomb actually. Still it's good to see they're improving it before release based on feedback. Still behind the competition but at least still in the race. Anyway as a business OS, WM is probably still ahead, it's just the consummer space in which it's a lame duck.





As for Balmers' quips, I found them quite amusing. People pay for flashy, well packaged well advertised goods. The mass of consumers are hardly known for their intellect, how else would PC World, Jessops, et al have become some massive over the last dozen years otherwise? Finally they're struggling and reducing prices to match the competition. That's an aside but it's the same principles at work that have made people buy Apple. It's easy and does the job for most cases.

Mark 17

March 21, 2009, 1:01 pm

It's getting there but it's too little too late. It's going to take a year for phones to come out with this on?





I've used pretty much all the versions of the software from WinCE on and this isn't enough of an improvement. Why don't MS talk their partners HTC or to SPB Software both of whom have made very good attempts to turn the proverbial sows ear into something better.





With the advent of iPhone 3.0 (combined with the potential sharing of O2 and Vodafones' networks) and the Palm Pre. Why would I look at getting another WM device despite the investment I have in add on apps? I have the HTC Diamond and it's a nice phone (rubbish battery life), but it took me ages to get it looking and working in a way that was usable. I don't want to fight with my tech anymore, I just want to use it!

stranded

March 21, 2009, 7:50 pm

Microsoft will have more bright ideas soon, anything but common sense. Always tired of buying "posh" stuff from various companies.

Kanu

March 21, 2009, 8:15 pm

Microsoft STILL have those icons at the top - some of the most important tools - in a size and location that cannot be easily selected by finger. Clearly they havent learned anything in all these years. God knows how much they much have for a user-testing budget - and still this. Wow...

Alex.rar

March 22, 2009, 2:42 am

they soooooooo better release this on existing wm devices

Greg17b

March 22, 2009, 10:04 am

Alex.rar that would be great, as it would light up my Touch HD. However in true Windows Mobile style, I understand that this isn't the plan (it was reported here on TR).

Alex.rar

March 23, 2009, 12:34 am

@ Greg - I just recently bought an XPERIA X1 - and now it will be made redundant - how can they not put 6.5 onto existing phones - if they dont i promise i will never go wm again!

Oliver Levett

March 23, 2009, 2:20 am

The Touch HD has virtually identical hardware to the Diamond2, and I think they have identical radio hardware. This means that the official 6.5 ROMs can be very easily ported to existing hardware, so whether or not the HD gets an "official" rom update is not that important.

Rocksteady

March 23, 2009, 5:55 pm

They were willing to pay the extra 5004 becuase they are ignorant to the fact that it is the same hardware, but think "ooooo shiny...heres an extra 250$" and "oooo...my yuppie friends told me these are better...heres an extra 250$" lol.

ChaosDefinesOrder

March 23, 2009, 7:13 pm

The Touch HD does indeed have identical innards to the Diamond2, to the extent that you can already get cooked roms using the software from the Diamond2 for the Touch HD - I know 'cos I'm running it on my THD right now!





There are also 6.5 beta ROMS for the HD kicking around!





www.xda-developers.com should be a bookmark for anyone with a WiMo phone!

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