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TEST DRIVE: Day 3 - Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC's Contacts and Calendar
Posted by Carlo Guerrero - on Wednesday, 16.07.03 - 21:46:22 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 6654x
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Yesterday I talked about the new improved Inbox. But before we jump to another portion of Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC, let me add a few more comments on the improvements made on the Inbox. It seems that Microsoft has indeed fixed some of the bugs in Pocket PC 2002, one bug which I find annoying is the inability of the Inbox to remember to delete a deleted email from the server on connect/disconnect. It was rather a flaky affair but all seems to have been fixed now with Windows Mobile 2003. A nice touch also is the ability to add a signature to new email as well as to replies or forwarded messages. You can assign different signatures for different accounts.

Today we shall look at the other two most used components in Pocket Outlook, the Contacts and the Calendar. Basically the Contacts has not changed so much from the one used in Pocket PC 2002. Just like the Inbox, the first giveaway that it is a Windows Mobile 2003 device is the horizontal stripes that make the background. The Contacts now shares a similar characteristic to that of the Smartphone 2002 devices, that is, it operates similarly to SmartDial where in if you use the Find a name box, it highlights matching characters on the decreasing list of contacts that are displayed. The system simply deducts non-matching entries from the possible ones. As you type each character in the box, the it highlights letters either found in the first name or the last name. This is basically similar to that of Pocket PC 2002 but with Pocket PC 2002, nothing gets highlighted. So obviously, Windows Mobile 2003 has been improved with ease of navigation in mind.

Once a contact is chosen and opened to show the details, a new feature welcomes you. Details can now be highlighted which makes it easier to read the specific info needed. You can either tap on the required info or use the D-Pad to scroll up or down the details. Each detail then gets highlighted when selected (similar to a mouse over on a PC). Other than this, with devices that allow you to send SMS or make calls like a Pocket PC Phone Edition, another tap on the selected info will activate the required function.

The same ease of navigation is shared by the next component, the Calendar. Once again, the calendar has the same Smartphone 2002 like treatment with the horizontal lines for the background. Nothing has really changed except that navigation can basically be done with the use of only one hand. All actions for viewing info are basically accessible via the hardware keys or the D-Pad. With Pocket PC 2002, it seemed incomplete as some D-Pad actions just weren't supported. Now with Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC, the user gets more control and while everything may not be visible, the do exist and are quite intuitive.

With the new Agenda View, D-Pad control is used to scroll through the days appointments or events by pressing it up or down while moving from day to day is done by pressing it to the left or to the right. The selected appointment or event can be opened into a detailed view by pressing Action on the D-Pad. The Day View also relies on the 5 actions of the D-Pad and does so similarly to that of the Agenda View.

The Month View on the other hand has slightly changed in the sense that the only improvement is the inclusion of the left and right presses of the D-Pad to move quickly from month to month. It still shares the same function on the up and down presses though with the Pocket PC 2002 devices wherein you can scroll through the months in a weekly basis going up or down the calendar.

The week view and year view remains almost unchanged. Another notable improvement for the whole Calendar though is the color coding of the weekends with blue for Saturday and red for Sundays and Holidays. For Holidays, you will have to install your respective Holiday list on your Outlook on the desktop though.

Overall, I like the changes made by Microsoft. I even find myself trying to control my Pocket PC 2002 device the way I do with Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC and I can't imagine how I was able to survive without the new controls.

Mabuhay!~ Carlo


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