11 Nisan 2008 Cuma

Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard & Professional

The latest Windows Mobile upgrade brings minor, but very welcome additions to the platform. In this article, we'll cover both the Standard (non-touchscreen) and Professional (touchscreen) editions and show you what's to love about the Windows Mobile 6.1 update. Now, you'll notice this is not a full version upgrade, but just a ".1" upgrade so you know you can't expect a full overhaul. It really feels like just a quick update intended to fill in a couple of gaps between the Windows Mobile and Apple iPhone functionality. You'll notice some similarities between the Standard and Professional operating systems (such as the Internet Explorer and Text Messaging updates), but you'll also notice some odd differences. Read on for our thorough rundown of the next version of Windows Mobile to hit your phone!

Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard Edition has certainly gotten much more attention by the development team this time around. You'll notice a new font is used through-out. I'm not sure how I feel about this since it causes some 3rd party applications to render text incorrectly (since the new font takes up more pixel space.)

It's a huge improvement over the "Neo" Home screen design introduced with the T-Mobile Shadow and I'll tell you why. The "Neo" Home screen layout only showed one type of information at a time. You could not see your appointments, number of unread emails, or profile status at the same time. You had to specifically navigate to those sections to find that information. This made it much more difficult to find those details despite the "Neo" design being marketed as "easy to use". Microsoft's "Sliding Panel" Home screen design seems to be a direct answer to my criticisms of the "Neo" interface.

The old Windows Mobile 6.0 style Home Screen is still available. Notice the unlabeled "Recent Programs" icons at the top. These are very difficult for new users to understand. Also notice that in this home screen layout, most of the data is accessible with vertical scrolling which means it's easier to use with a scrolling thumb wheel since you don't also have to navigate horizontally.

In the Sliding Panel screen layout, notice in the second row of icons how the one with a greater-than-zero number next to it becomes more prominent. This is indicating that you have a notification for that item.

If you have one unread item in the notifications panel, once you scroll down to it, it will jump directly to that item. If it's an email or text message, it will show the contact's photo along with a preview of the message. Pressing the action button will open the full message.

If there is more than one new message, selecting the notification area will show the number of unread messages for the account. Pressing the action button will bring you directly to that account's folder. Also notice the right softkey at the bottom has changed to the "Compose" command when the messaging account is selected in the Home screen. This makes it much easier to create new messages since the "New" command has been buried in the messaging program of Windows Mobile 6.

In the Notifications panel, pressing the directional pad left or right also shows the number of voicemails and missed calls in addition to the text messages, MMS messages, and email accounts. Notice that when the Voicemail panel is selected, the lower right softkey changes to the "Voicemail" command which will let you easily access your voicemail.

The Calendar panel shows the earliest upcoming appointment and you can slide left and right to show other upcoming appointments or create a new one. Notice the bottom right softkey is assigned to the "Today" command which will launch the Calendar application and open it to today's date.

The "Getting Started" panel lists and links to a few instructional pages intended to help new users with some of the more complicated things such as setting up email, connecting a Bluetooth headset, and syncing music with the desktop. Selecting a topic links you directly to that topic in the "Getting Started" application. The "View All" right softkey brings you to the "Getting Started" application and its full listing of topics. If you don't want to see this panel on the Home screen, you can easily remove it within the "Getting Started" application.

The Music panel works in much the same way as the T-Mobile Shadow's "Neo" interface and links up with Windows Media Player. It will show album art and you can browse through and select other tracks to play all from here.

The photos panel lets you browse photos on your device in the My Documents/My Pictures folder. Unfortunately, it does not show photos in the /Storage Card/My Documents/My Pictures folder. That's a big disappointment since generally you wouldn't want to keep many pictures in the phone's memory.


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