One of the core issues many people cite when Windows Mobile’s shortcomings become the topic of discussion is the look. We’re not WinMo haters but we must admit, 6.0 and 6.1 do have a bit of a Windows 3.1 look to them. UI impacts the user experience, dramatically at times, so this is one area we’re hoping Microsoft really focuses on in 7. It’s obviously way too early to say how Redmond is doing but a new round of screenshots reported to show various areas of 7′s UI have emerged, and they may give us an idea of where MS is going interface-wise.
Above, a reported image of Windows Marketplace for Mobile displays a pretty minimalist UI with clean lines and angles. Below, a screenshot of Windows IM maintains the same overall feel, and then a shot of the podcasting app goes in a completely different direction. That’s all fine of course, but if you compare all of the shots we have so far something catches the eye. Look at the battery, signal, and volume placement in each of the shots — they’re constantly moving. Battery switches from the bottom left (Marketplace and IM) to the bottom right (maps) and whatever it is that is represented by that triangle / “Y” icon does the same; hell, the icon itself changes. Moving readings around like that is a horrible, horrible idea as far as UX goes so this leads us to believe one of three things: 1) Microsoft’s UX architects have blown a gasket, which is doubtful. 2) These shots are of various builds and Microsoft is playing with the placement of these UI elements and their icons. 3) The screenshots are fake. You be the judge — hit the jump to check out the rest of the new shots along with two old ones.