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Although Windows Mobile 6.5 will be with us soon, it’s unfortunately not going to be the total user interface overhaul that many people were hoping for. Instead that is now set to happen with the launch of version 7, which is still some way off. This leaves many people still looking for a Windows Mobile shell that will make their device a bit more finger-friendly to use and this is the gap that Winterface hopes to fill.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and there’s certainly some of it going on here. Once the shell has loaded it becomes pretty obvious that Winterface has borrowed heavily from Apple’s iPhone, but let’s face it, that’s no bad thing.
Winterface takes over the entire screen of your device (although you can tweak it to show the Windows Mobile title bar) and presents you with a grid of large icons. There are two default skins included with the software. The first uses a pretty drab looking black and white design, but displays 16 icons per page, while the seconds uses larger, more colourful graphics but is limited to showing nine icons per page. We found the second of these much more pleasant to use.
The iPhone influence makes its presence felt in pretty much every aspect of the shell. For example, it uses a similar row of dots at the bottom of the screen to show you which page of icons you’re currently on. However, unlike the iPhone you can’t tap to the left or right of these dots to switch pages, but instead have to move through them by swiping your finger – not a big hassle admittedly. And when you go to wake your device from standby you’ll find that Winterface uses a similar ‘slide to unlock’ mechanism to that employed by Apple.
One of the best features of Winterface is that you can add an icon to the grid for pretty much any setting that you need to access on a regular basis. Added icons can be positioned anywhere you like. So you could add the Wi-Fi on/off switch next to the Web Browser or alternatively group it together with other communications icons on a dedicated page that you’ve created. Many other shells place settings controls like these in a sub menu, but Winterface’s approach is faster to use because it usually involves less finger taps. The system is also very flexible because it allows you to create duplicate icons. For example, you can place a Wi-Fi switch next to the browser button, but also add one to a page full of communications related settings.