Today I've played a little bit (to be honest 2.5 hours ;-)) with the Smartphone Home screen which is equal to the Pocket PC Today screen and includes the current network, your next appointment, etc. However, unlike the Pocket PC Today screen the Home screen is xml based which means the user can customize it by himself, without using any additional programs (but I'm sure we will see some cool 3rd party software here, which adds even more fund to the Home screen.) and I've tried to optimize my standard Home screen.
Below you see on the left the Microsoft's standard full screen which includes the past used programs on top, the network name and time plus full day events and appointments and an overview of your unread E-Mails and SMS messages (wonder why MMS isn't includes here) as well as the handset profile in the last row.
In the middle you see Orange's original full screen which differentiates on the top icons (this icons are fixed and don't display the last used programs) as well as you see News, Fun, Sport and Gallery shortcuts which directs to the Internet Explorer and launch predefined URLs.
On the right, is my modified Home screen which takes Oranges fixed icons (but modified to my requirements) as well as the last used programs in the second row.
Editing the Home screen was truly fun and I created around 10 different Home screens to fulfill my requirements. However, it took me some while to understand the xml source code but it isn't so hard to learn at all (see xml source code example here). And - what I did there was so basic doing... ;-) If you want to see some real cool Home screens, check out
smartphony.org's Home screen page (site is in French):
Overall, Microsoft made a pretty good decision to use xml for the Smartphone 2002 Home screen (and not only the Home screen, mostly everything of the phone is xml drive) and I wonder if we will also get this kind of freedom with future versions of Pocket PCs.
And I'm sure, we will see a lot of cool Home skins in the future and I'm just awaiting the first Home plug-ins! Wonder if/when we will see Flash enabled stuff!? ;-)
Cheers ~ Arne