Archive for January, 2007

Jared Benson

iPhone Theme for Windows Mobile

iPhone theme for Motorola QGot Windows Mobile? Don’t fret, you can be cool like Steve Jobs too.

If you’re like me, perhaps you bought that Motorola Q for its slim form factor, only to find that you no longer have the sveltest handset on the market anymore. Well look no further; you don’t have to switch to Cingular in June after all. Simply enable this handy iPhone theme on your Q (or brand new Q Pro) and be the envy of all.

Before you get your hopes up, those nifty icons are just for decoration. Its Windows Mobile; you didn’t actually expect them to work, did you?

The theme does provide one-click access to your messaging options. [Not available for download.]

I’ve tried to separate myself from my Apple fetishism, and slough off Jobs’ reality-distortion effect and really assess this mornings’ announcement from the perspective of it’s impact on mobile user experience. (Certainly, a true UI critique will occur once we can get a device in hand in *sigh* June.

At the end of his keynote this morning, Steve Jobs summed up Apple’s mobile strategy saying, “There’s an old Wayne Gretsky quote I love — ‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it’s been.’” Which felt apropos given the product they had just announced. But, is the Apple iPhone announcement truly a “revolution of the first order?”

My take is that this is not a revolution for mobile phones. No, it feels more like catching up in a major way in an industry that has been behind far too long. Features like push email are best practices (read: Blackberry), not revolutionary. Integrating mail, voicemail, sms, contacts, voice calls, photos, music and video is also not revolutionary, but Apple is able to realize it where others have not.
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About Idlemode

Idlemode is the official blog of Punchcut, an interface design and development company focused on improving the mobile user experience.

Joe Pemberton

The future of mobile gaming is connected

We’re constantly anticipating ways consumers engage in mobile usage. One area I’m intrigued with is mobile gaming — why and when people play them. With a few exceptions, mobile gaming is limited to single player puzzle games and stripped-down versions of best selling PC/console games. So, if you’re a hardcore gamer (as opposed to a casual one) you’re likely not that enthralled by Bejeweled, Sudoku or Tower Bloxx. My brother, a long time World of Warcraft (WoW) addict, actually laughed at me when I showed him Civilization III for mobile (which I thought was a pretty cool port of the desktop version).
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Joe Michiels

Mobile Location Disclosure

An interesting study ( PDF ) (partially from Berkeley GUIR, U. Washington, and Intel) about why & when people would want to share their location. Highlights are how people are willing to share their location based on their relationship with the requester (and where the requester lives), why the information is being requested, and what level of detail they should allow.

Warning: It’s a pretty dry submission to CHI 2005, but full of lots of info based on a group of 16 test subjects.

This question was asked a few days ago on the Adaptive Path blog. The following was my response:

Device manufacturers have been chasing the iPod’s form factor for several years now. How many white phones have entered the market in recent years? How many preemptive iPhone knockoffs have already been blogged? One need only look at Verizon’s Chocolate, Sprint’s Fusiq, or Helio’s KickFlip to see examples that have gained mainstream traction in the last 12 months.

Both the carriers and OEMs are trying to figure out how to create a device that generates the level of allegiance, enthusiasm and evangelism that Apple seems to create with every product release. When was the last time someone loved their phone so much that they insisted you hold it, try it, then get one for yourself?

User experience has only recently been getting lip service from the mobile industry as they recognize that it becomes the differentiator in a crowded marketplace where the competitive choices are so similar. Suddenly we’re hearing mobile executives talking about it openly at the conferences. The rumor of an Apple phone has much of the industry on guard as Apple has proven to be a company who truly “gets�? user experience and have leveraged that knowledge to create unparalleled loyalty.
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The following was my response since I couldn’t let Jared have all the fun. This question was asked a few days ago on the Adaptive Path blog.

It’s a broad question, but I think it’s really about whether Apple can launch a successful music phone. The iPod is the perfect music player and people are cheering Apple in hopes to get the perfect phone.

The current industry model of carriers and OEMs partnering to create a compelling music phone has had pretty limited success — for example, even though the Motorola ROKR partnered with Cingular to bring Apple’s iTunes and was marketed in unprecedented ways it was what basically a flop by Motorola’s standards because it failed on it’s primary promise to be a music phone. (Engadget reported that 1 in 6 ROKRs got returned). That carrier/OEM dynamic is possibly what’s at stake if Apple succeeds.

Consider this: with ringtone sales on the decline (which is a first in the US), carriers are the ones who stand to lose on the R&D spent developing a music phone offering (since they won’t get paid from data and music sales if everybody’s side-loading their music ala the iPod method). It’s the handset manufacturers (OEMs) that serve the carriers, and these OEMs are the ones who stand to gain from a hot handset that could deliver a compelling music experience.
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