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TEST DRIVE: Day 2 - A look at the Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Inbox
Posted by Carlo Guerrero - on Tuesday, 15.07.03 - 19:38:56 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 7323x
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TEST DRIVE: Day 2 - A look at the Inbox

For the second day of the Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC test drive, I decided to concentrate more on the Inbox and slightly on the the connection manager. In the previous segment of the test drive we reviewed the improvements made on the Today screen. It seems that Microsoft has put a lot of emphasis on navigation and accessibility.

Going back a bit on the subject of the Today Screen, the Inbox plug-in has been improved to provide quick access to the Inbox and its specific accounts. Unlike with previous versions of the Pocket PC which only allows you to jump to the active account in the Inbox, the Inbox Today Screen plug-in for Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC actually allows you to select which account to open right from the start. This I would say is a very helpful change that makes the Pocket PC experience a really good one.

On to the Inbox. The first thing that you notice are the horizontal stripes which were borrowed from the Smartphone 2002 design. Other than this, everything seems to have remained unchanged. Well, that is as far as looks go, but the big surprise is that with the new Inbox, single handed navigation has never been as easy. It seems that the whole redesign of the Inbox, as far as the user interface is concerned is once more like a treasure to be discovered. The Inbox is now controlled pretty much by the D-Pad. All movements, Up, Down, Left, Right, and Action all mean something.

In the list view of the Inbox, pressing the D-Pad to the left or to the right will cycle the Inbox through the different accounts. Pressing it up or down will scroll through the Inbox message list, and pressing on the Action button/D-Pad will open the selected email. Shown below is the notification bubble which shows how long you've been connected.

In message view mode everything looks same as before except for the now horizontal arrow icons (on the PPC 2002, they were vertical arrows), pressing the D-Pad to the left or right will move you from message to message, while pressing it up or down will let you scroll through the message itself. Pressing the Action button/D-Pad will simply bring you back to the Inbox message list.

The PPC Inbox pretty much supports Microsoft Outlook's iCalendar format, which is basically a Meeting Request, but it never supported vCalendar (*.vcs) or cCards(*.vcf) formats. The good thing about Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC is that it now supports it. I tested sending a calendar appointment from my Sony-Ericsson T68i via MMS (Multi-Media Messaging Service) and received a vCalendar attachment in my Pocket PC's Inbox. My Pocket PC 2002 device simply treated it as an nknown file attachment which could be saved in the My Documents folder, while the Windows Mobile 2003 device, upon tapping the attachment, simply asked me if I wanted to add the item into my Calendar. Similarly, the contact (in *.vcf format) I sent myself was received by the Pocket PC 2002 device as an unknown file attachment which I could only save. The Windows Mobile 2003 device upon tapping on the attachments simply asked me if I wanted to save the contact into my Contacts list.

Also, another new feature of the Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC Inbox is the autocomplete feature which makes entering email addresses a breeze. If you prefer selecting email addresses from the contacts list, it is still supported. But now, it makes use of a feature also found in the Smartphone 2002 platform. Similar to the Smartphone 2002 Smart Dial feature, it now highlights the Contact's first or last name for as long as it matches the letters entered in the "Find a name" box.

Not only that. It even makes use of the AutoCorrect feature which is also available with Pocket Word. I tested this and misspelled "experience" as "experiance". After putting a space after the word, it automatically corrects the misspelled word.

Stay tuned again tomorrow as we move on to the other features that make Windows Mobile 2003 for Pocket PC a true winner.

Mabuhay! ~ Carlo


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