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iWindowsMobile Communication Suite Review Part 1

The Suite contains four software programs which include, Winterface, ZoomBoard, SMS-Chat, and FunContact.  Part 1 will cover Winterface v1.1.

 

For the record, Vito Software owns the iWindowsMobile website.

 

Winterface is a mobile shell for Windows Mobile 5 and 6.  This launcher replaces your default screen and is fully customizable, allowing you to determine what programs, plug-ins, files and contacts you want to make easily accessible.  I tested it on an Hp Ipaq Hx4705 running Windows Mobile 6.1.

wintermain 

Read on to learn more about Winterface.

Activation

Vito’s products have an unusual activation process.  This activation locks the program onto one device.  Once activated, you cannot then load the software onto another device.  So if you upgrade or change devices you must repurchase the program.

Here’s how it works:

To activate:
connect your device to Internet
start Winterface
press Menu > i (About) > Activate
choose “I have Internet”
type in your activation code from the e-mail you received from VITO after purchasing Winterface and press Activate now.

 

If your device does not have internet access then you must send an email to Vito, then they will email you back a code.  Online activation is far easier.

I found the activation process to be a bit difficult.  Somehow I only managed to activate Winterface, though the activation should have worked on the whole suite.  I emailed Vito and they quickly responded with a corrected key.

 

Startup

Winterface will load by default onto your device.  If you have to open it you can do so with a simple gesture.  See photo below:

startup 

On my Hp Ipaq HX4705 it worked successfully about half the time.  You will probably find that although companies such as Vito/iWindowsMobile are producing excellent finger friendly software, the pocket pc screens are more sensitive to the point of a stylus rather than the far larger touch of a finger.  Nevertheless, using the gesture is still useful.

The Lock Screen

ScreenShot007 

The lock screen is an optional feature that provides a simple method to unlock your screen a la the iPhone.  As with all pocket pc software that utilizes finger friendly features, I found it works better with a stylus, as when I use my finger the pocket pc has a bit of trouble understanding what is being done to it.  I must reiterate that it is finger friendly and Winterface is doing a great job of utilizing finger friendly gestures, but the pocket pc screens are not as capable of  understanding these gestures as an iPhone screen.

What I like about Winterface is that the black screen is transparent, allowing you to see what’s underneath.  I also find it to be quite attractive and like the use of the three dimensional buttons.  The lock screen shows the date and time.  The lock screen can be turned on or off through the Winterface menu.

 

Managing Your Screen

menu 

Pressing the Menu button icon at the top left of the main screen opens up the settings.  They are quite intuitive.  At the top left is the letter “i”, which shows you the About screen.  The “?” opens up your internet and brings you to iWindowsMobile help.  The “-” minimizes Winterface while the “x” closes it.  Winterface comes with many icons preloaded onto the screen.  You can easily add more.  The initial screens holds a maximum of 15 icons.  Additional ones go onto the next screen.

appsopen

To choose a program simply touch the area just right of that program’s text:

choose 

That will place a checkmark next to it.  You can choose multiple programs.  When done press the checkmark at the bottom of the screen and the icons will be added.

You can just as easily add files, settings and contacts.  I chose to add the screen icon, so I can easily switch between portrait and landscape.

addfile

addcontactc

When pressing the back arrow I expect to return to the Winterface Menu.  But that is not the case.  It returns you to the main screen instead.  I would like it to return me to the menu in case I have more changes I would like to make.

Plug-ins

If you have an appointment the applet calendar will show the number you have in red (look closely at the photo below.  On the far left you will see two red circles with numbers):

appt

Other applets show battery charge remaining, time, memory, bluetooth status, number of incoming phone messages, emails, ringer profile and more. 

Moving and Organizing Icons

I found this feature to be a bit strange.  Since the first screen only holds 15 icons, I am utilizing a second screen.  Notice the dots at the very bottom of the screens:

wintermain screen2

These dots tell you how many screens you have and which one you are on.  To go from one screen to the next you simple make a gesture with your finger as if you are sliding one page over.  If you are on the first screen, swipe your finger left to go to the next.  In order to move icons around you must press and hold any icon until the program goes into edit mode.

wintereditmode

To remove an icon from the screen press the red X.  To move an icon you “grab” it by touching the icon and dragging it to your desired destination.  If the first page is full and you drag an icon from the second page onto it, it will automatically move an icon from the first page to the second.  If you move an icon on the first page to the spot of another icon on the first page, they will swap places.  It took me awhile to figure this out.  In edit mode everything is jiggling and at first, moving icons can be confusing.  To escape edit mode press the center button of the d-pad.

I found that moving icons was not very easy.  I found it difficult to “grab” one.  If you don’t grab it in the right place the screen starts to slide as if you are trying to move to another page.  Once you get used to this feature it becomes easier to utilize.

Running Programs

As you know, Windows Mobile devices do not actually close programs when you click the X at the top right.  This software does not include a utility for that either, to my surprise.  To view running programs you just click the icon:

running 

To close a program click the red circle.  To return to the main screen press the back arrow.  To switch to a running application just click on it.

Help

Winterface includes a built-in help if you have internet access on your device.  It also comes with a pdf manual that you can view online or load onto your device.  At the beginning I had a couple minor questions and the fine people at Vito were very quick to respond and help via email.

Conclusion

You don’t need the manual.  This program is very intuitive and easy to use.  It is beautifully rendered and solidly built.  It has not crashed on me yet.  I love the finger friendliness, the handy interface applets, the customizability and the support that iWindowsMobile provides.  It is a very attractive looking program as well.  And despite Windows Mobiles’ meager ability to understand finger-friendly gestures, this software adds much utility in that regard and is fun to use.

I would like to see an easier way to register the product, the menu screen back arrow to return to the menu instead of the main screen, and a utility that automatically closes running programs.  It would also be nice if the OS were better able to support finger gestures, but that is for a future version of Windows Mobile.

You can get the Suite or individual programs at iWindowsMobile.  The Suite sells for $39.95.  Winterface sells for $19.95, ZoomBoard $14.95, SMS-Chat $14.95 and FunContact $19.95, so the Suite is a great value.  Stay tuned for part 2 of this reviewing coming soon.

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August 21, 2008 - Posted by | Reviews, Software, Windows Mobile

1 Comment »

  1. Steve,
    Thanks for the review. It is rather just paying what is due to Winterface and to Windows Mobile touch screens 😉

    About registration. Users do not have to purchase a new license for a new device. They have 3 licences and in most cases when they bought a new device or repaired it, we issue a new key without any problems.

    Comment by Konstantin | August 25, 2008 | Reply


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