Living with Windows Mobile

With the recent iPhone price reductions, it’s been hard to resist throwing away my slightly irritating Windows Mobile-based T-Mobile Dash in favor of a shiny new iPhone. And Apple’s new smartphone has lots to love– like a lovely interface, BSD subsystem, x86 architecture, and hordes of developers writing nifty applications.

Thou shalt not covet: not as easy as you might think. But in spite of all the compelling reasons to break my piggy bank, I’ve decided to stand firm and be content with what I have. Well, content might be pushing it: I’ve also decided that Apple fan-boys shouldn’t be the only ones to get pretty screen-shots and devoted myself to changing it. Or some of it, at least — I can’t help with the hand models.

My first victim is the home screen for Windows Mobile, since that’s my primary interaction point with my phone. The default home screens are — well, let’s call them professional. (That’s a nice way of saying bland.) Luckily, the home screens are simply XML and graphics; easy to change.

Without further ado, here are screen shots of the original home-screen and my first stab at creating a prettier one. I still have some work to do, but I’m pleased with how it’s coming along.

(Screen-shots taken with Smart SS.)

Tomorrow I’ll hopefully be obtaining a copy of Visual Studio .NET, so I’ll be able to start making software modifications as well. And then I’ve started on some browser-based applications. Time to change the world!

2 Comments so far

  1. Matt on September 7th, 2007

    Spiffy. I like the black interface.

    How much can you do? Can you ditch the Windows logo and change up the icons a bit, or is that not possible?

  2. andrew on September 7th, 2007

    What you can do alternates between a lot and very little. The design mainly revolves around plugins which provide various bits of data and are flexible height-wise, but not width-wise (they always take up the entire width of the screen): the horizontal lines on the original screenshot outline the plugins.

    You can generally add your own text to a plugin at arbitrary locations, but I haven’t found a way to do the same with images — so you’re stuck using a single background for the plugin to provide all the images. You can change parameters (including the background and visibility) for specific states: selected, unselected, and plugin-specific states (for instance, ‘nocall’ for the missed-call plugin).

    And, as far as I can tell, you can’t mix and match data between plugins. So it’s really impossible to, say, put the number of email messages and the number of missed calls on the same line.

    I don’t think you can remove the bottom soft-key labels — unfortunate, because I’d like to. Neither can you really change the icon bar at the top; you can remove it completely (AFAIK) and change the foreground and background colors, but can’t reorder or replace the icons.

    There are other plugins available that let you do more. Unfortunately, most of them cost money. I’d like this to be available for free. Hopefully, when I get .NET installed, I’ll also be able to write my own plugins and perhaps release an open-source plugin that solves some of the current shortcomings.

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