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Microsoft Redesigns Windows Phone UI

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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

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