Thursday, July 10, 2008

Winterface, brings a cool refreshed interface for your Windows Mobile

Vito Technology, the software developer behind the successful iWindowsMobile apps, has just released a very cool interface for the boring Today screen of Windows Mobile, called Winterface.

It just happens that I'm taking my two days off from work, so I immediately installed and launched it in my Treo 750v to see how it will work, and I must say that so far I’m very impressed with Winterface. At first I was afraid that Winterface v1.0 will face compatibility issues with Treo 750’s square screen resolution (240x240 pixels), like many modern apps do. But looks like my skeptic perspective has been proven wrong, Winterface works very well.

The main interface

Upon launching Winterface, it first taught me how to re-launch Winterface with the left to right angled finger movement on the touch screen, and other infos such as how to add more apps into the main menu. After that, it quickly takes me to the main menu where I’m greeted with 12 icons that resemblance of the basic operation from Windows Mobile. Here they are in random order:

  • Calendar, will takes you to WinMob’s Calendar. The Winterface’s Calendar icon shows exactly the date and day of today, so you don’t have to click it to know what date and day it is.
  • Clock, the same as above where the icon shows the time and if you click it will take you to WinMob’s Clock & Alarms settings.
  • Phone, will takes you to Today Screen.
  • SMS, takes you to Messages.
  • Email, takes you to Email.
  • Memory, will takes directly you to Memory Settings while shows you on-screen the available memory left.
  • Running, opens up a mini menu window which shows every applications that are currently running on the background. At each of the apps icon, there’s a small Stop symbol red button on the top-right corner, to close the running app just simply click it. Very handy to stop the unnecessary apps you don’t need, and save up some more memory.
  • Battery, will takes you to Power Settings.
  • Menu, opens up Advanced settings for Winterface. Such as add more Applications, Settings & Contacts icon to the main menu, or change the language of Winterface.
  • Profile, will quickly opens up a mini option window to choose the appropriate profiles you wish: Ring, Vibrate or Silent.
  • Internet Explorer, takes you to the home page of Pocket IE.

Changing the position of the apps icons in the main menu is very easy, I just click on one of the icon long enough until the icons are floating & rapidly jiggle on the top of the black-colored background screen, and a small ‘X’ symbol red button will appears on the top-right corner at each of the icons. This indicates that the icons are now able to be move to the desired place, simply by drop and drag. The icons will automatically self-arranged themselves, and the existing icons will move aside when you put an icon on the occupied space. To finish editing, just push the middle buton of the D-pad.

Winterface allows up to 10 screens of the main menu, so you can put app shortcut launch icons as many as you want. And while you’re at the main menu, the only Treo’s ribbon buttons that you can use are ‘Off/On’ and ‘ok’ buttons. Other buttons such as the D-pad, Windows and both of the Select buttons are all disable.

The look & feel

What I really love from Winterface is its lock screen, where it’ll always shows up the first time I turn on the Treo 750v screen. The lock screen shows day, date and a big digital clock in the middle. On the bottom under all that, there’s a lock icon which requires us to slide it to the right in order to unlock it. Pretty much like iPhone’s unlocking feature, so Winterface gives me a little bit feel of owning an iPhone. ;-)

In the end of the day, I disable the WinMob’s built-in KeyGuard and use Winterface’s lock screen instead. Now, I have a very cool on-screen if I turn on my Treo. ~LOL~

The black-colored background screen of the Winterface’s main menu makes all of its icons look spectacular in contrast with the brilliant simple design, either they’re just black & white colored (the 12 basic icons) or even better if you placed colorful apps icons on it.

Flipping through the main menu windows with the finger gestures are fast and nimble, I’m very pleased with the smooth operation of each menu and whenever I launch the apps through their representative icons. And adding the apps into the main menu is a breeze, all are done only with finger touch.

Another thing I’m falling in love with Winterface is its About page, which is accessible through the Menu option and will be opened with 180 degrees of pivoting page. A small detail, that says on how much efforts from the iWindowsMobile team had put into Winterface. Gotta love the small details, cuz that’s what make life worth living for… ;-D

Winterface also capable to show on-screen whenever you have unhandled calls in, new messages and emails. Again, it’s shown with just a simple notification of numbers in a small red circle at the top-left corner of each respective icon on main menu.

Pros & Cons

What can I say? No matter how much I like an app, there will always something that feels missing or need to be improved better. I believe you do that too… Let’s start with the short list of pros first, since I’ve been talking how good Winterface is:

  • Fast launch
  • Smooth operation
  • Fabulous on-screen lock and main menu view
  • Simple in design & functionality

That last one up there, simplicity, is the key of all the cons I can found and listed below:

  • No advanced customizations (ex: change colors, themes, names, etc.)
  • Can’t show on-screen the updated apps (ex: RSS aggregators, weather, etc.)
  • Unable to turn off Treo’s screen manually, without putting Winterface into the background process
  • No D-pad navigation, makes it harder to use Winterface with only one hand

Overall, Winterface is a game changing app for WinMob’s UI shell. Even though its design is going towards a certain similarity with other popular mobile phone OS (read: Mobile Mac OS X), Winterface can bring a fresh air for the usual boring type of WinMob’s UI shell apps that are available out there.

If you’re interested, you can grab the trial version at iWindowsMobile’s website or grab this CAB files and install it right away. And if you’re falling in love with it, then I’m sure you’ll agree like me that the $19.95 price tag for the registered version is very well worth it. ;-D

[blogged with my Treo 750v]

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