It seems like any weakness in the Windows Mobile platform is an area in which third party developers spend a lot of time trying to create software that will fill in the gaps. This makes sense for business reasons, who wants to buy an application that the platform already does a good job of handling?
One of the most maligned facets of Windows Mobile in the past years is the interface itself. Consequently, multiple developers have been applying their expertise to building a product that consumers will flock to in order to make their powerful devices more user friendly and customizable. HTC’s TouchFLO and SPB’s Mobile Shell are the two major players in this market, with other options available from the likes of Vito Technologies (Winterface), SHBT (MyHome), and PointUI.
The subject of this review, PointUI Home 2, began its development as a free application. As is fairly common a Pro version is now available for $19.95, offering an increased feature set for a premium price.
For the full review of PointUI Home 2 and all that it offers, hit the jump.
SPB Software has released the beta version of Mobile Shell 3.5.1. The updated version of Mobile Shell 3.5 is designed to fix known bugs and, according to SPB, not designed to add additional "stand alone" features.
Some of the key fixes and changes in the Beta release include:
SPB Pocket Plus close button makes Shell unresponsive
Set Ringtone doesn't work for Contacts
6.5: Theme shows incorrectly for Carousel and Tiles views
Agenda: One day is shown twice, 25 Oct date is the transition to "winter" time
3D SMS viewer: First word disappears after enter
Twitter issues fixes
3D SMS viewer: Picture is absent
3D viewer: Date isn't shown for SMS and Email
Birthday widget doesn't update itself when contact info is changed
Task widget makes task sychronization with Outlook longer
SPB did tweak the weather widget to where you can now choose between displaying the forecast or current conditions in the weather widget. You still have orientation issues with some layout designs where the widgets get jumbled up when going from vertical to horizontal. I have not experienced the power drain some have reported in the forums concerning version 3.5 with the 3.5.1 Beta.
Earlier today we reviewed the Windows Mobile user interface PointUI Home 2 Pro. Now we're giving it away. Actually, thanks to PointUI, we're giving it away three times over!
Just head over to the forums and post your thoughts on third party user interfaces. Tell us what you like and why; what you don't like and why; or what you would like to see in a Windows Mobile user interface. If you could change one thing about Touchflo 3D, what would it be? Is Mobile Shell too overwhelming? Give us your thoughts and you might win a copy of PointUI Home 2 Pro.
We'll randomly draw three lucky winners for a copy of Home 2 Pro from posts made between now and Saturday, November 7, 2009 at 6:00 pm PST. Remember you've got to be registered to post and good luck to everyone.
OK, so there's still no telling if Microsoft's rumored "Courier" project is real, or if it ever will see the light of day. But as a project, it's certainly gaining credibility with Gizmodo unearthing new details about how that slick interface works.
What's that have to do with Windows Mobile, you ask? Admittedly, not a whole lot. But it's another reason why we're expecting Windows Mobile 7 to not just be a new iteration of the operating system of yore. Also, tie it in with that mobile UI concept video we saw a while ago. (And if you want something more near-term, again, we'll point toward the Zune HD.) Even if the Courier never gets out of the concept stage, it shows that there are people thinking into the future. Now Microsoft has to let them loose.
We still haven't seen too many Windows phones from LG in the United States, though that may soon start to change. The GM730F has made its way through the FCC and has all the guts it needs for an AT&T launch (meaning the 850/1900MHz 3G bands), as well as mentions of AT&T services in the manual. There's also Bluetooth, GPS and WiFi (naturally), a 5MP camera, touchscreen, optical trackpad and a 1000mAh battery. Check out the manual (pdf) for the full rundown on what's inside.
Want a better idea of what's in store? Check out Malatesta's hands-on with the GM730's counterpart, the GM750.
If you're looking to break out of your contract with Verizon, better do it before next week, as the maximum penalty will be increased to $350. That goes down, of course, $10 for every month of the contract that you've already completed. Why the change in the early termination fee? A scam involving flipping BlackBerries for cash, prizes and small puppies, apparently. But, let's face it: If you're going to break a contract, chances are you're not going to care that much what it's gonna cost ya. [Boy Genius Report]
When HTC CEO Peter Chou said last month that that the HD2 (aka the Leo) would be coming to the U.S. in early 2010, we weren't entirely sure whether to believe it. This is, after all, the guy who outted that the Touch Diamond 2 and Touch Pro 2 would receive updates to Windows Mobile 6.5 before Microsoft had even announced Windows Mobile 6.5. (Not that there ever was much doubt, but still ...)
Anyhoo, HTC today has made things officially official, if not still vague for us in the U.S. The HD2 is available now in Europe and Asia, and it "will be available with a major carrier in the US in early 2010." As for that major carrier? We're still leaning toward T-Mobile, or maybe Sprint. Full presser after the break.
If you're on T-Mobile, chances are you know this by now, but the company is reporting it's in the middle of what's sounding like a pretty big outage. From its Twitter feed:
All – We’re aware of the current service disruption. Our rapid response teams have been mobilized to restore service as quickly as possible. We will provide further updates as more information is available.
Stay tuned, folks.
Update: T-Mo says at 9 p.m. EST, only 5 percent of its customers were still down.
After the break, we take a look at Flight Commander for Windows Mobile (available for $6.99 in the Marketplace), along with video of the gameplay.
Update: In the course of this review we'd contacted Firemint, maker of the iPhone Flight Control app (see more of that after the break) to see if they'd developed Flight Commander under a different name. Looks like we've poked the bear, as Firemint has replied and says it has nothing to do with this app and "will be investigating further and taking all appropriate actions."
Mchapman007 at PPCGeeks has confirmed that this is working on his Verizon Touch Pro 2 as well, noting it works "perfectly" and "...The Fish panel worked for me.. Also the main screen or home panel is awesome, all of the variations that go into that panel seem to be working."
Customers are able to view purchase history on the Windows Marketplace for Mobile website. You will also be able to request a refund for credit card purchases once a month as long as it is within 24 hours of the purchase. For further credit card billing assistance, use the e-form to submit an issue to Microsoft Customer Service and Support.
That puts a kibosh on buying using the refund mechanism as a way to simply try apps. There are a few in the Marketplace with "lite" versions, but not all of them. And we can't do promo codes yet (though there's a good chance that'll start with Phase II, in which apps will be allowed to have secondary registration codes added).
And do note above the use of the phrase "request a refund." There's a reason it doesn't say "demand." Also, things get a little tricky if you have the Marketplace charges tacked on to your cell phone bill.
What about you guys out there? How's your experience with returns/billing been so far?
Looking to get a some extra life out of your Touch Pro 2, Sprint Snap or Dash 3G? Seidio now has an extended battery that is the same size as the standard battery, bringing 1750mAh instead of the stock 1500mAh. No added bulk. No giant bulge sticking out the back of your phone. Just more talk time. More Internet time. And less worry about when you'll have to charge next.
Yes fellow Windows phone lovers, we have hit a milestone today: we have been blessed with our very first gaseous joke application, dubbed MyFart for a bargain price of $0.99 in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
No more shall we be envious of the iPhone crowd, though they still out number our flatulent vaporware (snicker), we have finally struck back with our own puerile program and we assure thee iPhoners, this is just the beginning, for we smell victory. Prepare for the fartocalypse!
(Too much on the last one?)
Update: See George's earlier review of a similar app called, wait for it, Jack the Ripper. Brilliant.