Windows Mobile: How the iPhone Will Benefit WM Applications

I for one welcome the iPhone’s Application Design Overlords.

As I’ve commented on in past posts, and on these Windows Mobile Developer Wiki pages, I’m a little disheartened that Windows Mobile applications tend to look like Windows 95 applications squeezed into a 320 by 240 screen area. Hey, I know we are to blame – we provided all the controls that make it look like Windows 95. But Windows Mobile can do so much more...

However, as from about 6pm today, things will be different. Suddenly everyone and their dog will be writing applications for a certain device from Apple in the form of web applications, or just web pages with nice designs. These designs are going to be based on the premise that the user is stabbing the screen with a very blunt stylus, also known as a “finger”. (And don’t forget that the HTC Touch demonstrates that Windows Mobile devices are starting to appear with that capability too.)

I have absolutely no doubt that the lessons learned from these applications will quickly be translated into a host of mobile-orientated websites that are also available from Windows Mobile devices (we do Ajax too, mostly).

Pretty soon there will be resources and frameworks for designers available that will include nice button designs, and JavaScript animated controls, and with a little tweaking these will also work on Windows Mobile’s browser. Look at this Digg viewer for some potential.

 My hope is that now everyone will realize that a good application on a mobile device doesn’t have to look like Windows 95. It can look pretty, and be user-centric in a way that applications designed to be used on the bus/while you walk down the street/while you wait in line for a new gadget should be designed.


My blog, my views.

Comments (5)

  1. MSDN Archive says:

    Here’s a nice commentary on the iPhone UI, and UI for mobile devices in general:

  2. Kevin Daly says:

    Windows Mobile 6 is still very rare, and as for earlier versions it’s pretty disheartening trying to support AJAX (or DHTML) with a browser that doesn’t even recognise getElementById.

    If I design Mobile Web applications for the capabilities of WM6, I’m just going to receive a lot of unhappy feedback from the vast majority of Windows Mobile Users who don’t have it…so I don’t see myself getting interested in AJAX on Windows Mobile for another year or so.

    Now, if you **really** want to raise the UI bar for Windows Mobile Applications, give us a mobile version of Silverlight (based on 1.1 or later) that supports something like the "desklet" concept the Mono/Moonlight guys are having so much fun with at the moment. I think that would be an excellent solution (or solution-enabler) for Windows Mobile’s UI problem (I think of it more as a VB4-5-6 than a Windows ’95 issue, especially since that fits the idea of limitations being imposed by the development framework rather than necessarily the OS).

  3. MSDN Archive says:

    >If I design Mobile Web applications for the capabilities of WM6, I’m just going to receive a lot of unhappy feedback from the vast majority of Windows Mobile Users who don’t have

    An excellent point. We have a tendency to say "well, we fixed it in WM6, so it’s all sorted", wipes hands, moves away. We’re always chasing the next version, forgetting that the vast bulk of the audience is on the previous version.

    Hmm.. Silverlight.. I need to go visit those guys and see what’s happening.

  4. MSDN Archive says:

    Here’s a video of Silverlight for Mobile being demonstrated. Unfortunately it’s all about baseball, so I’ve not got a clue what they are talking about.

    But at least someone, somewhere is thinking about Silverlight and Windows Mobile.

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