SBSH Software announced last week the release of Facade 2.0, an updated version of its popular Windows Mobile Standard user interface. It has been more than a year since we looked at Facade 1.0 and were eager to see what changes SBSH had up its sleeve.
Facade is a customizable user interface for non-touchscreen Windows phones. It is an alternative interface to the standard WM Standard today screen. Where the Windows today screen consists of vertical sliding panels, Facade looks to a horizontal tab system. SBSH continues the tradition of putting a lot of information at your fingertips with Facade 2.0.
Follow the break for more on the updated version as well as some more screen shots
The previous version of Facade was a single page, placing program launchers, message indicators and upcoming appointments on one page. It gave Windows Mobile Standard a WM Professional Today Screen feel to it. Facade 2 spreads things out a bit by utilizing five tabs that are horizontally scrollable. Additional tabs can be created with other SBSH applications such as PocketWeather.
This is your main page for Facade which includes your time, alarms, message summaries, and upcoming appointments. With PocketWeather you can also included current conditions to the Home Tab in place of the analog clock.
The Schedule Tab shows an overview of your upcoming appointments. Through your settings menu, the Schedule Tab can display your daily agenda for the next day as well as up to 120 days out. The display also includes the ability to display icons representing the priority of the appointment.
Again, with PocketWeather you can add forcasted weather conditions to the dates.
If you prefer to have less clutter in your Schedule Tab, Facade has a Tasks Tab to sort your pending tasks on. With the ability to display tasks on the Schedule Tab, the Tasks Tab seems a little redundant. If you don't need the Tasks Tab, you can always hide it in your settings menu.
The Calendar Tab puts a monthly calendar on the display for quick access to future dates. Using the directional pad on your Windows phone, you can navigate to a particular future date or month.
The Programs Tab could easily be called your Favorites Tab. Here is where you create shortcuts to your favorite applications or use Facade's pre-set shortcuts.
The one tab that is missing is a speed dialing or favorite contacts tab. When you are on the go, a Windows phone's capability for one-handed operation is very important. Facade does a very good job of making your agenda, incoming messages, tasks, and program shortcuts handy for one-handed operation.
While you can always dial the telephone number from your keypad, having a speed dialing option from the screen is a lot easier and efficient. It's one key feature that Facade is missing.
Facade 2.0 has a considerable amount of customization ranging from color schemes to font size to how much information is displayed on the tabs. The one setting that helps streamline Facade is the ability to sort and hide tabs. If you prefer the Calendar Tab next to the Home Tab, you can move it. If you don't need the Task Tab, you can hide it.
Navigation through the settings menu was easy and straight forward. However, there are so many settings options to Facade, it is easy to get lost.
SBSH also has a Facade resources forum that has customization tips/tricks as well as user created themes.
If you are looking for an alternative user interface for WM Standard on your Windows phone Facade has a lot to offer. The previous version lacked the tabs of the updating version making the display a little cluttered. The updated version is an improvement over the old, spacing out the information better through the use of tabs.
The two downsides to Facade would be the amount of customization and the lack of a speed dialing feature. With the vast amounts of customization available with Facade, some may find it a tad overwhelming. It takes a little patience and some trial/error to go through the entire settings menu. Fortunately there is an SBSH support forum available as well as the WMExperts forums to help your customization efforts.
While most SBSH applications can be integrated with Facade, it would have been nice to have seen a dialing tab for your favorite contacts. I like the PocketWeather integration and to increase the marketability of Facade, SBSH should consider making PocketWeather a permanent feature of Facade.
If you are using a Windows phone running Windows Mobile Standard and have grown tired of the native home page, Facade is worth a try. There is a 15-day trial version available in the WMExperts Software Store just in case you're on the fence.