One of the technical highlights of HTC's recently announced HTC Excalibur Windows
Mobile Smartphone might be HTC's JOGGR concept; basically a virtual wheel/rocker
which replaces the mechanical wheel and rocker type navigation by keeping its
functionalities and even adding new functionalities.
However, while the HTC JOGGR concept is new for HTC, the overall idea isn't that
new anymore since it is based on the touchpad idea, which is used in most
Notebooks today which also replaced the trackball some years ago.
Even Apple switched from a mechanical wheel of it's first iPod to a touch
sensitive wheel for following iPod generations.
Therefore you can say, that the JOGGR is working pretty similar to these
concepts and HTC hasn't invented anything new here but has reinvented the use.
The JOGGR is located on the right side of the device, right to the screen and
even if it looks on this photos like physical buttons, I can tell you it's not:
Part of the whole JOGGR-pack is also an admin utility, which allows to define
how the JOGGR should work, e.g. if it should work to scroll through pages or if
it should be used for volume adjustment only:
If it is used as a scroll JOGGR, it offers three functionalities, best explained
in the animated tutorial which is part of the JOGGR admin utility as well and
which opens automatically, if you tap the JOGGR 3 times within 10 seconds.
First the double click functionality to go back (same functionality as the back
key on every Windows Mobile Smartphone), select (same functionality as using the
action key on Smartphones) or open the Pocket Outlook Inbox (same as having a
dedicated Pocket Outlook Inbox key on Smartphones):
Second the standard scroll functionality to scroll through pages and menu items
up and down by sliding the thumb up and down:
Third the continuously up or down scrolling by quickly sliding the thumb twice
and holding the thumb on the JOGGER after. Releasing the thumb stops the
As you can see from the three examples above, the JOGGR works similar to jog
wheels and rocker, basically it has the same functionalities but everything is
non-mechanical but touch sensitive.
At the end it comes to the question, if the JOGGR is just another gimmick or
if it adds real value to the device and here I'm not sure at all, especially
after more than one week of use. First of all it works - way better than it was
working with the first prototypes I saw and generally it does what it is
designed to do. Maybe you can compare it a littlebit with touchpads on
Notebooks: Not everybody enjoys or use touchpads, I still know many users which
either prefer the joysticks or even trackballs. I for myself love touchpads -
today but the switch from the trackball to my first touchpad wasn't that easy at
Similar is the JOGGR working for me - today. If I compare it to the jog wheel of
my HTC MTeoR or the navigation wheel of my Xda trion, today I definitely prefer
both wheel version over the JOGGR. I'm not used to use the JOGGR yet but I'm
sure it can change over the time. Nevertheless, as good as the JOGGR might works
already, it has some problems with the navigation concept of the Windows Mobile
Smartphone which was pretty much designed for 4 way D-Pads but neither for
wheels nor for JOGGRs. While you recognize this limitation with the wheel at the
first moment you have used it, you will try way more to use the JOGGR only and I
have found many situations, where I had to release my thumb from the JOGGR to
use the D-Pad of the Excalibur instead. The overall Smartphone design isn't
designed for a up/down navigation only, as you have it with BlackBerrys but
Microsoft had the D-Pads an joysticks in mind, when the user interface was
designed. The JOGGR (as well as the wheels) might be good for 70 - 80 % of the
navigation scenarios but for the other 20 - 30 % you definitely need a D-Pad.
So yes - I can say the JOGGR is working well, if you get used to it. If not
(similar to T9 which you have to train as well) you will dislike it and might
use it for adjusting the volume only.
Cheers ~ Arne