I Want an iPhone Interface on Windows Mobile

April 3rd, 2008

So, what do you do when a customer asks if you can create a Windows Mobile application that looks like an iPhone app? Well, if you’re smart, you’ll run. If you are not, like me, you’ll give it a go. Seriously though, creating a rich user experience with an iPhone-like look, feel, and interaction is hard if not impossible to attain on a Windows Mobile device today. The tools for implementing complicated business logic and algorithms on Windows Mobile devices are fantastic; want to interact with a camera or bar code scanner, stream live video, implement complex data structures or OO architecture, build an intricate ORM/relational database app, or do some other complex bit twiddling, that’s no problem on Windows Mobile. If you want to make a stunning Windows Mobile user experience – good luck. There’s no CSS treatments you can leverage or Ajax goodness… you gotta build your fancy shmancy controls from scratch and that’s no fun. When I created the NewsGator iPhone reader (m.newsgator.com) I had a great UI toolkit to work with (thanks to Joe Hewitt), but no such luck with Windows Mobile.

So, in this case I spent many painful (but oddly enjoyable) hours writing custom controls to build a fairly interesting and attractive RSS “widget” for Windows Mobile… there are some screen shots below. Yeh, I know it’s no iPhone app but it’s not bad…

As a side note, after seeing some of the demos of Silverlight running on mobile devices (Windows AND Nokia – that’s right Nokia), I’m pretty psyched to see this technology flourish. It may be just what the doctor ordered. Flash Lite is another possibility but has been painfully slow to get adoption. Oh, there’s the iPhone SDK now too which is sure to enable some beautiful mobile apps. Good times!

Windows Mobile iPhone 1

Windows Mobile iPhone 2

Windows Mobile iPhone 3

Entry Filed under: Mobile