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UPDATE: Microsoft adds a File Explorer and new Start Menu navigation to its Smartphone OS
Posted by Arne Hess - on Saturday, 05.08.06 - 12:33:38 CET under 02 - Windows Mobile News - Viewed 13891x
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With the latest Windows Mobile 5.0 AKU 2.3 release for Smartphones, Microsoft added some useful features to its Smartphone platform, including a file explorer and a slightly modified Start menu.
Microsoft always uses these AKU releases to either fix bugs or to add new features and while most stuff and changes are under the hood, these two new features can be seen and used by the users and both adds more convenience to the Smartphone use.

File Explorer
From the launch of the first Windows Mobile Smartphone, Microsoft's mobile phone OS never had an inbuilt file explorer, as we know it from the Pocket PC platform but either the ODM added a third party file explorer or users had to download a third party file manager from the web.
Now, Microsoft changed this since a kind of file explorer was required anyway to improve the picture browsing functionality. Based on this API, Microsoft added a native file explorer to the latest AKU release, which reminds pretty much on the Pocket PC file explorer:

The Send function lets you send a file via E-Mail or MMS and through Beam... you can share a file with others via Bluetooth or IrDA:

Edit lets you Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete and Rename files as well as creating a New Folder while properties provides you the file information only without an option to modify anything:

Microsoft's new File Explorer for Smartphones is pretty handy, even if it is - compared to other third party file explorers - pretty basic but for most of us it should be enough.

Start Menu
While the first Windows Mobile Smartphones, until the 2003 Second Edition platform, had a list view of the Start menu, Microsoft changed the list view to the more modern an common grid view in Windows Mobile 5.0.
However, the grid view had one disadvantage: It provided the menu items per page and if you had more than 9 applications/shortcuts installed, you had to circle through the menu pages by using the * and # keys on your phone keyboard.
Now, Microsoft mixed the grid view with a kind of list view functionality (as known from the Pocket PC as well) since you can scroll up and down through the menu as well, line by line/shortcut by shortcut, but you can still circle through the menu pages with the * and # keys also. To show a better indication, where in the menu you are, Microsoft also added a "virtual" scrollbar on the right side of the menu.

Page by page vs. scrolling:

That's the two new and improved features, AKU 2.3 for Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphones offers. As said, all the rest of the changes are under the hood. Please note, you can not download the File Explorer as a stand-alone application to your current Smartphone and as always, it's up the the manufactures of your device to either implement AKU 2.3 to the next ROM release or to leave the one or the other feature unimplemented.

Cheers ~ Arne


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Posted by Niclas on 09.08.06 - 10:14:53

Actually it seems like the File Explorer was added in AKU 2.0. It is present in the emulator images with AKU 2.0 from Microsoft.
However I have not seen the File Explorer on at least one device with AKU 2.0 so it seems like the OEMs have the power to include it or not. Most OEMs already have a more powerful file explorer since it was missing to begin with. But I think that the new one from Microsoft is more "elegant" since it looks like it is part of the system unlike the alternatives.

The scrolling function is not present in AKU 2.0 so it seems to be new in AKU 2.3.

Posted by Niclas on 16.08.06 - 17:15:40

I noticed that my friends Qtek 8500 with AKU 2.3 does not have the scrolling function in the start menu.

I guess this feature is also something that the OEMs can enable/disable.

Posted by Arne Hess on 16.08.06 - 17:55:35

Yes, as always it's up to the ODMs... sad

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