I was just reading the headlines and noticed how much Windows Mobile users focus on the user interface (UI). Just think about it – Toshiba has that crazy one with the bold colors; Acer has a custom UI; Omnia has its widgets; Xperia has its panels; HTC is releasing TF3D 2.5 (that extra .5 means a lot apparently:)) and there are rumors about the HTC Sense interface. Personally, I am buying time before I upgrade to 6.5 and TF3D2 was great but started to wear thin on me so I’m going through UI’s like I go through underwear (one a month or so:)). Anyway, I figured we were due for a poll so everyone can share their thoughts on what interface is the best. And remember, there’s no right answer so cheating is allowed!
Here’s a bunch that I can think of (in the order that my brain gave them to me) but if I missed any please remind me and I’ll add it:
TF3D (stock) This is the version of TF3D that comes standard on the Touch Pro/Fuze/Diamond series. We all know it. It’s a series of tabs on a slider that has a tab for most things you would use frequently (like email, texts, pics and settings) and felt very revolutionary when it came out.
TF3D2 This is the newer version of TF3D that has more tabs (including calendar and stock) and is fully functional in landscape mode. We also associate this with the upgrades it brought that are more than just a home screen like the contacts manager and SMS interface that’s pretty sleek. Since this is a ported version it’s a little buggy and it’s a pretty heavy application. There’s only a hand full of people using TF3D 2.5 at this time so I won’t separate it but it is very anticipated:)
HTC Home I’m going old school now and I’m about to confess that this is the UI I am currently using. This was the UI that was introduced on the Tilt if I recall and is available in VGA as well. Depending on the version there are various tabs but there’s no sliding here – the tabs are just buttons that change what is shown at top from the home screen (clock, emails, texts and VM count), speed dial tab, weather tab (which switches to 5 day mode by pressing it), app quick launcher and sound profile tab). Later versions had a music tab as well but I haven’t seen it in VGA. You can still load standard Windows plugins below HTC Home like the calendar, wireless profile, etc.
PointUI Home This is available in a paid and free version but I think if you want to be serious about a UI you probably upgraded to the Pro version by now:) This interface lets you customize your experience by setting your own pages as you want and adding applets onto each page. It’s generally fast and received pretty high ratings overall. The paid version is $20 and you are limited by the applets but that’s still a very large pool to fish from.
SPB Mobile Shell This one is pretty neat since there are pro and casual screens you can flip through. Instead of tabs there are screens you can flip through with a screen dedicated for whatever purpose you would like – so you can have a page for apps, one for contacts, etc. This is also fully customizable and skinable. Herg called it the best UI and that’s a pretty big endorsement:) It is also noted as the top selling WM professional app at $30 so that also says a lot about it.
Wisbar Advance This may be the king of customization. You can pretty much create any interface you want to with this…or if you’re lazy you can import someone else’s interface. So if you want your phone to look like Windows 7 then go right ahead. I’ve seen versions of TF3D, WM 7…there’s really a lot out there. The downside is that you need to actually customize the thing and it’s not as simple as the other shells but that’s partly because of the fact that most customization is very advanced (you can obviously opt for the simpler customizations but this app seems to have found a niche in the ultra-mod category). It’s $15 for the license.
iPhone Clones Do I need to describe this?:) It looks like Steve Jobs’ phone…except it’s unlocked, is in VGA…ok I’m not going down that path:) We’ve mentioned iPhone Today which is now up to version .9.2 and as expected you get essentially an app launcher with a few pages to flick between.
Winterface This is Vitotechnology’s UI which is very iPhony looking but can be installed as a home screen plugin and is pretty configurable (while remaining in the iPhone category). You also get a few perks beyond just a UI but it’s also a paid app at $20.
SBSH Skins I’m cheating here and combining all of the SBSH apps into one. They have a few different products like PocketBreeze and iLauncher that are high end today plugins but are powerful enough to count as a UI by themselves. These are paid apps which vary based on what you get.
WM 6.5 The stock 6.5 home page with it’s plugins is a pretty big step for WM especially considering how long it took them to realize that UI is important. Of course, we’ve already seen a lot of custom plugins developed for this.
Windows Standard Hey, don’t mock it. We used this for years and collected plugins like baseball cards:) Just go to Settings – Home – and uncheck TF3D and start checking away at the other boxes and there you have it. But if you’re a long time WM user then you probably have a ton of plugins, like weather, connections, speed dials, app launcher, etc. Good times:)
MobilityFlow’s Touch Shell This also comes in a free and pro version. This is also fairly customizable and has some neat graphics but was noted as being a little choppy.
Touch Flo 2D This guy was ground breaking for HTC. In fact, it’s still pretty nice. It’s like TF3D but without all of the fancy graphics. And because of that it’s actually a little lighter to use. And don’t think work has stopped on this – You Know Who is still beating this UI and while we’re waiting on TF3D2.5 for a FootPrints tab these guys have had it for a while already.
OK so there was your overview just to remind you of your options (which were not reviews – just overviews…I’m leaving the opinions for you guys:)). I’m also including non-HTC UIs in the polls just so if anyone out there is not a Fuze reader and they want to chime in they don’t feel left out of the party:) Oh and since a lot of users switch between UI’s you can select up to 2 answers.