Friday, January 11, 2008

.NET Compact Framework for Symbian OS

Red Five Labs, a company based in South Africa has just released second beta of NET60. NET60 is actually Compact Framework for S60 (Series 60) platform of Symbian OS. It basically enables S60 mobile phones to run Compact Framework applications without any change required.

It offers interesting proposition for ISVs with primary skills in .net or windows mobile development as there are a hell lot of S60 devices out there including the popular N-Series from Nokia.

However they seem to support CF 1.0 only and CF 3.5 is already out so I think they are lagging behind there. In my opinion they should support atleast CF 2.0.

Credits: Thanks Abhijeet for telling me about NET60.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Stylus is Out, Finger is In

Using fingers on touch screen of your mobile is always easier and convenient then using that dumb old stylus, but then with small elements present on those small screens you need stylus, don't you? Well Apple said you don't with the launch of iPhone. With the big icons and buttons it allowed users to do away with stylus and just use their fingers.

Well this proved to be quite a hit as every other mobile manufacturer started working to support that finger-friendly user interface on its mobile phones.

Windows Mobile does not yet support a finger-friendly user interface, although that may change with Windows Mobile 7, but till then you a few options to jazz up your windows mobile phone.

First there is Spb Mobile Shell which costs $30. It hass user friendly Today screen, big buttons and menus for common tasks so that you don't need to pull your stylus everytime.

Then there is HTC Touch with its TouchFlo system which not only gives you large buttons and a finger-friendly user interface. It also has those iPhone like animations and special effects where you can slide and scroll using your fingers. Its kinda a cool phone but then you can't just install TouchFlo on any other windows mobile phone. You need to buy one of various variants of HTC Touch phones which come with TouchFlo.

Finally there is Poinui Home which is again a software like Spb Mobile Shell so you can install on any windows mobile 5 or 6 phone. I will say it really scores quite high in coolness department. Its animations are smooth and slick you can use finger to scroll like in iPhone. The animation when it starts up or the animated opening of its various screens and even its about screen effect is really word class and on top of it all its FREE. Ya you heard me right :-)

It has a few negatives as well - many bloggers say that its uninstall does not work well. I have found its scrolling to be counter-intuitive as it scrolls left when I expect it to scroll right and vice-versa. Also sometime when I am just sliding my fingers it detects a tap and takes me inside the application or opens another screen so it does not work as smoothly as sliding on iPhone, but then I think it has to do with the TouchScreen hardware on windows mobile phones rather then their software. Nonetheless this product is making quite a splash. You can watch its very cool video at Gizmodo.

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