Sorry for those who have been following my Windows Phone 7 posts, I have been a little preoccupied with work but mainly Call of Duty Black Ops.
So back to Windows Phone 7. This post is about the User Interface. The user interface that Windows uses for the phone is different to any other smart phone on the market. Instead of following the iPhone Os like Google did with Android, Windows has gone with the “Metro” Os which it had been using on the Zune player. The Zune player was Microsoft’s response to the iPod and iPod Touch. This device though not very successful in the market place was one of the first to offer full HD and full games using Microsoft’s XNA Framework (used for the Xbox and Windows PC).
The major difference with the Metro UI, is that you don’t “tap” into hidden areas of the interface. Instead with Metro you have multiple columns; which can house endless rows of content. However if the app designer chooses you can also have multiple application windows that you tap deeper into.
Without the capacity to take screen shots on the phone at present this is a little hard to demonstrate with images; though I shall try my best with these pictures below. The application on show first is Four Square. As you can see, across the top of the application window there are the titles for each row, similar to the same app on iPhone, except you do not have to tap further in to the UI, you simply scroll or slide across to view the content.
As you can see from these images, all the elements with which the user interacts are placed at the bottom of the window. If you tap the ellipse on the right side of the elements bar, the bar rises slightly to show the textual meaning of the icons. In some applications there is far more information in this section.
To show this User Interface some more, here are images of the Twitter application.
So that’s how the standard Windows Phone 7 User Interface looks and operates. I think that Windows has been very smart implementing this UI. it is very simple to use, swipe left or right to see the content available, swipe up and down to view that content in the column. When you have selected content to view, say in the twitter application and you want to send a reply, you dive down another level to see just that tweet, you tap the reply icon which moves to the message writing window. Once you have typed your tweet and sent it, you simply use the back button to return to where you want to go, either back to the tweet you replied to or back to the time line/mention.
The back button is one feature that both Windows Phone 7 and Google Android have in common which I believe the iPhone and fellow devices lack. having to double pump the Home button on an iDevice is a pain.
My battery life issues
I’m not sure if I mentioned this earlier or just on twitter, but ever since I first started my HTC Mozart 7 Windows Phone 7 I had had severe battery life issues. Well there’s been a temporary fix, of 9 characters of text to be added to the VPN. @benpaddlejones put me on to the link, I didn’t save it so may be Ben can add it in the comments. Since adding this fix my phone now runs a normal day as it should, including some power intensive Xbox live games such as Harvest.