I’ve had the privilege of using a HTC Touch Pro device (courtesy of Bell Mobility) running Windows Mobile for the past few weeks. You are probably thinking, “great another review of the Touch Pro and HTC’s TouchFLO user interface” but I have not been using the TouchFLO user interface.
The Touch Pro from Bell Mobility is yet to be released, but instead of using the TouchFLO home screen I have been using the ‘Bell Experience’ home screen. Bell has decided to create their own home screen for Windows Mobile providing what Bell calls the ‘Bell experience’.
The Bell experience completely customizes the Windows Mobile home screen and attempts to make things a lot easier to access, improve the user experience from the standard Windows Mobile home screen and delivers content right to your Windows Mobile device. It also uses ‘gestures’ to slide content, scroll lists etc.
How does Bell display the content? They created what are called Bubbles, and with these Bubbles, Bell can display content selected by the user. It’s a way to quickly access content important to you. Bell has developed this new user interface to try and promote Bell’s Mobile Entertainment offerings services that they offer for example LiveTV for Windows Mobile. But they also have things like Headline News, Entertainment News, Business News and Music. Here are some screen shots of it:
The user interface also allows you to slide from bubble to bubble using gestures (sliding your finger across the screen) giving it a nice user interface effect.
If you are not interested in the default Bubbles you have the option to select which Bubbles to display on your home screen:
I also mentioned how things are more easily accessible. What do I mean by that, well say for example you want to watch LiveTV such as HBO, CTV Newsnet or BNN (Business News Network). By clicking on the Media Buttons you will get a screen with the option to watch live TV, internet radio, music or video on demand right from your Windows Mobile device.
What else makes the device a little easier to use? Ever try to raise the volume on a Windows Mobile device? Usually you would be presented with this
But with Bell’s user interface you get this with the option to quickly put it in vibrate or silent mode.
How about accessing your applications? There are two ways, you can click the Menu button and you are presented with your running applications, plus groups of other applications such as Games, Photos, Email etc
The second way is by clicking the favourite applications icon which presents you with this screen (which can be customized)
What else makes this device a bit easier to use? Usually with setting up your device on Windows Mobile you are presented with the standard settings screen that comes with Windows Mobile. (With Windows Mobile 6.1 this has been improved somewhat with a Windows Mobile Welcome Center)
The Bell experience user interface simplifies this by giving you a settings screen followed by some items in a list to modify your device settings:
In summary I think Bell has done a pretty great job in improving the user experience on Windows Mobile. It shows how flexible Windows Mobile is as a platform and allows developers, OEMs and wireless providers such as Bell Mobility to provide a unique user experience to users. It also allows Bell Mobility to up sell their services such as Live TV.
I’ve been showing the device at my Windows Mobile TechDays Canada Sessions (so far Toronto and Montreal) and will be bringing it to the rest of the cities. This device has not yet been released so if you want to see it let me know.