So I’ve just got around to having a play with PointUI which surfaced earlier this week. The iPhone crowd have come out and laid into it on other blogs, ignoring the fact that the 3rd party apps which have to be bodged into the iPhone are the lifeblood of a windows mobile device and the reason why many choose Windows Mobile over the iPhone.
Anyway, rant over. I must say for a free and from nothing attempt, Pointui is pretty good, its slick for the most part, its let down at the moment on two (significant) counts (imo):
- a) when you want to do anything as it then opens that application in the standard windows mobile shell.
- b) Its not customizable and has no real settings which can be changed for user preference
I havn’t mentioned any of the bugs beacuse its in beta and this is to be expected and I’m sure the features and flexibility will be expanded in due time.
Of course these guys arent the only one creating nicer interfaces for Windows Mobile, HTC for one have for a while been supplying plugins and apps to extend Windows Mobiles functionality although it seems to be a bit of a lottery sometimes as to which ones are installed on your device (down to network whims most of the time it seems). They’re not as slick and iPhone like as Pointui for the most part but they provide added functionality with most of them being finger compatible. There’s a fairly comprehensive list of HTC apps on the XDA Developers site.
The one thing I keep wondering is when Microsoft will catch up, not to mention whether they are always going to be playing catch up with Apple, HTC and the mass of individual enterprising developers around the world.
Windows Mobile 6 was for the most part a let down and not much of a change over version 5, it still has the abomination that is Pocket IE (not a big deal thanks to Opera Mobile), still uses buttons which require a stylus and still looks like all they did was attempt to shrink down the desktop windows interface without any new thought put into it.
Small changes are promised in the upcoming 6.1 and therafter but I for one am not holding out much hope of them making any significant advances. Dont get me wrong, in many ways Windows Mobile is fantastic, as I said before, the plethora of 3rd party applications mean you have a tool for any job and if not then Visual Basic isn’t hard to pick up and develop it yourself .
But they could do better and with 79,000 employees at Microsoft (Source: Wikipedia) its hard in some ways to see why all the interesting things are always coming from small players.