Mix10 is here and so are the much awaited anouncements regarding WP7S. The blogging world is abuzz with posts regarding the newest phones, the development kits and tools, the customized hubs, the marketplace and its featured apps and even the Metro book, handed out by Microsoft. Instead of elaborating more on it, I would like to just share some of the must read articles out there.
- A look at “Metro” – the book (istartedsomething.com)
- Confirmed: Marketplace will be the only way to get apps on Windows Phone 7 Series (engadget.com)
- Ballmer’s visage evoked for ‘developers, developers, developers’ demo app on Windows Phone 7 Series (engadget.com)
- Some Good and Bad News From Mix10 (fuzemobility.com)
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About two days back, I had the opportunity to compare the two stalwarts in the android phone market, viz the Motorola Droid and the Google Nexus One. Both the phones looked sleek and packed a punch. However the one thing that the Droid stood out for was its 4-row QWERTY slide-out keypad. I currently use a HTC Fuze (yeah.. i know .. its passe.. ) which has one of the best QWERTYs ever to come out on a mobile device and the short experience i had with Droid was very much comparable to that. It has all the keys (include the symbols) that one might need and the key press seems just right. I was so impressed by its feel that if my friends had offered to sell their phones off and I had surplus money enuf to buy only one of the phones, then I would hve definitely chosen the Droid despite it having a slower processor and an older OS. Of course! That didnt happen, but that did lead me to an important question: How much role does a QWERTY keypad play in the selection of a phone ??
Well.. I am sure this dilemma is faced by every buyer and the answer to this depends on what you intend to use your phone for.. One thing a qwerty is really good at is to churn out long texts easily and quickly. So if you are the kind of person who is into texting or tweeting or emailing using ur phone on a regular basis, then qwerty is the way to go. From the gamers perspective, although a qwerty may seem to be a good option , there arent actually many games out there in the market that make “playing using a keypad” more fun. Most of them have onscreen buttons which are very easy to use and some others make use of accelerometer instead. So I wouldnt mandate buying a qwerty phone for gaming enthusiasts. If you fall in neither of the two categories (basically an avg user), then a non-qwerty phone wud be the best choice as it would definitely be much sleeker than the qwerty ones. Also, the absence of the keypad could be compensated for such softwares as Swype, which claims to provide a typing speed of over 40 wpm. If you have already bought a phone and miss having the qwerty keypad, then you can look at options like the Logitech diNovo Mini or wait for the Pelikon’s MorphPad to be released.
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Now that the Windows Phone 7 Series was unvieled by Steve Ballmer at MWC 2010, it was quite expected that the clones of the theme would soon be released for windows 6.1 and 6.5 phones by ambitious and eager developers. However, these have come much earlier than expected and how!!! A very naive version called Metro UI was first released by JaxBot at xda-developers. Current version of the theme includes lock and home screen with ‘Live Tiles’ for phone, SMS, mail and weather. The developer promises to bring more customization options (changing wallpapers), more smoother animations, ability to rearrange icons/tiles, right-side program launcher and social network integration. The interface seemed a bit sluggish, but I am sure there will be a lot of improvements to it. Meanwhile, another XDA developer Lesscro came up with his own version of WP7S theme based on Wisbar Advanced Desktop 2.x (WAD) and shared a video demo of it and it is just awesome, to say the least. The animations seem smooth and most of the stuff already seems to be in place. Features include :
• Lockscreen with time, date and notifications
• Start screen with familiar blue tiles and links (hopefully customizable)
• Profile settings (WiFi and volume settings)
• Transitional animations
• Pictures Hub
• Games Hub (probably to hold all your games)
• Media Hub for music, video, podcasts, radio
• Office Hub
• Stocks Hub
• All apps launcher in list format
Eagerly waiting to give it a try.