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Old 01-21-2009, 06:50 PM
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Manila TF3D - What's The Point?

I just got an HTC Touch Pro (AT&T Fuze) as the Tilt I had for over a year finally starting getting unreliable. Happy with the Fuze so far, but I'm sort of perplexed with this whole Touch Flo 3D (aka Manila) deal.

Essentially as I see it HTC decided to leapfrog Microsoft and slap their own Today interface on top of Windows Mobile which makes their phones look and operate more like an iPhone. But HTC is a phone designer, not an operating system designer. We all know Microsoft makes buggy products, especially operating systems (I've been a Windows Mobile/CE User for about 5 years now.) I can't switch to an iPhone though because it doesn't have all the apps that I need, yet. But what a slap in the face from HTC - or really just a half-baked solution to Windows Mobile users who have some sort of inferiority complex that there phone isn't as "cool" as an iPhone.

So, as I, and many others have probably discovered, the TF3D Today Screen is woefully lacking in configuration options. I have both the PhoneAlarm and PocketWeather apps which cannot be displayed on the TF3D display. You have to use an additional app (2nd Today for example) or enable the Touch Flo option in Phone Alarm so you can toggle between the two different Today screens. What a joke.

So I installed a really nice looking skin for my PhoneAlarm App called 'My Touch VGA' which has a similar look to Manila. Granted I have only had the phone a couple days but I am having a hard time seeing what the BIG BENEFIT is of using Manila versus the regular WM Today screen? Wow you can flip through pictures and contacts sort of like an iPhone. Real cute. BIG DEAL. The weather app is a joke as you can't see forecasts on the Today screen without scrolling to it and it will only show you one city at a time. And that stupid clock is using up a ton of screen real estate that could be used to display snapshots of much more valueable information.

Here's a screen shot of what my WM Today screen looks like.



Can someone tell me what the REAL BENEFIT is of Manila is aside from looking cool? I don't consider "cooler" a REAL benefit. Is it faster? Does it let you perform tasks twice as fast? Is it more useful? I just don't get it. It looks to me like it is just some half-way slapped together wrapper that's been slapped around the Today screen which gives you far less control of what appears on the Today Home Screen in exchange for making people think they have something that works more similar to an iPhone. How pathetic.

I'd love to be surprised if someone can explain some major beneficial features I've missed?

I guess I should clarify, I realize Touch Flo inn general is more referring to the ability to do gestures with your fingers instead of using a stylus. I guess what I'm referring to more specifically is the Touch Flo Today plug-in. Here's some examples of drawbacks I immediately saw:

1. Can't add 3rd party plugins to Touch Flo Today screen (HTC provided no API - dummies)
2. No easy way to switch between Touch Flo and WM Today screens without installing 3rd party app
3. No lock screen
4. Home screen provides little 'at a glance' information due to big clock taking up too much room. It limits you to only 2 or 3 lines of appointments even in collapsed clock view.
5. The photo flipping is gimicky. In the Contact manager, it looks great, but is only practical if you have 3 or fewer favorite people. You might use photo flipping to show off the phone, but for all practicality, when you actually want to call someone the slider is better.
6. SMS and Email are lumped together
7. Weather takes up the whole screen instead of just being part of the Home Screen whether you are looking at current conditions or a 5-day forecast. Weather is like time, it should be something you can quickly glance at on the home screen.
8. No way to add/remove or reorder the selections at the bottom

Bottom line TF3D LOOKS slick but looks don't translate to real world significant efficiency/functionality improvements/benefits. Once you get past the iPhone'ish glitz, you realize it is not much better, if better at all than a re-skinned standard Windows Mobile Today Screen because there's no way to integrate 3rd party apps with the Touch Flo Today interface. And most of us know, probably the main benefit (if the only benefit) of Windows Mobile is the HUGE selection of very useful 3rd party apps.



5.

Last edited by jazee; 01-21-2009 at 07:30 PM.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:00 PM
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Re: Manila TF3D - What's The Point?

I think it is a nice addition to the stock WM 6.1 interface... I upgraded from a Mogul to a Touch Pro, and I consider the Touch Flo 3D interface as a plus.. Not as a reason to upgrade, but a definite plus... I find it useful, yes.. When i get a new text, I don't have to open the SMS app to read all my recent messages... Also, having the weather and internet tab's benefit me... I guess everybody has their own personal preference.. To each his own, as the saying goes... I have only ever used the stock WM 6.1 interface and Touch Flo 3D...
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:05 PM
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Re: Manila TF3D - What's The Point?

disable tf if you think its not any good and be done.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:09 PM
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Re: Manila TF3D - What's The Point?

I really dont see TF3D as an attempt to "be more like the iPhone." It's really just another intuitive way to use your phone. For the ppl who are to the point that feel the WM today screen is to bland its kind of a breath of fresh air. Usually you have to pay for 3rd party apps to try and spice up the today screen (or atleast your supposed to), but HTC gave us a little surprise with the TPs, and guess what? If you dont like it, you have the option of turning it off and installing anything else you want as a today plugin. Personally, I love it. And unlike some of the other plugins i have used in the past, its not really all that buggy.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:12 PM
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Re: Manila TF3D - What's The Point?

Quote:
Originally Posted by z28marols1 View Post
I really dont see TF3D as an attempt to "be more like the iPhone." It's really just another intuitive way to use your phone. For the ppl who are to the point that feel the WM today screen is to bland its kind of a breath of fresh air. Usually you have to pay for 3rd party apps to try and spice up the today screen (or atleast your supposed to), but HTC gave us a little surprise with the TPs, and guess what? If you dont like it, you have the option of turning it off and installing anything else you want as a today plugin. Personally, I love it. And unlike some of the other plugins i have used in the past, its not really all that buggy.
I agree, I upgraded from a Mogul running TF2D and its just an added benefit. Like others said, just turn it off.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:12 PM
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Re: Manila TF3D - What's The Point?

I consider TouchFlo 3D to be an upgrade over plain Windows Mobile. It aggregates the things you need to do into pages. That's an upgrade. Overall, though, I agree with what you're saying. It's good that it's there for some people. I moved to SPB Mobile shell immediately. Reason being that it actually caused me physical pain to do so much finger swiping. I just got some overuse pain and I realized quickly that TouchFlo 3D was horribly inefficient. With SPB Mobile shell, everything you want is pushed to the forefront on 3 easy to use tabs. I love the tab with people to dial. Just a big screen of squares (with pictures if you use that feature). Much better than scrolling through a list of pictures. Same with the apps tab. It's just designed better from a user interface perspective.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:15 PM
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Re: Manila TF3D - What's The Point?

Every interface that will come out after the iPhone will inevitably be compared to it... If anything, I applaud HTC for doing it.. They have gotten much good coverage for it.. They took an interface that was not very finger friendly and installed their own interface...
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:27 PM
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Re: Manila TF3D - What's The Point?

I think TF3D is great so far. Very intuitive and easy to get to most everything I need. If I need a program, I put it in the programs tab and nothing is more than a finger swipe or 2 away.

I was so tired of the old Today screen from my Vogue. I think it is pretty ugly personally. This is a huge step up.

But to each his own, I reckon.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:43 PM
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Re: Manila TF3D - What's The Point?

These are good points in the sense that they point out that it really depends on where you are coming from. If you were previously using the latest greatest Windows Mobile Smartphone and had spent time (and money) to tweak it to your liking, then TF3D is more of a distraction, or another problem to deal with, than an upgrade.

For example, if you didn't have a nice weather app before, then I would imagine you would be impressed by having a free weather app now. But if you were a PocketWeather user before, you would be really disappointed with the new weather app, even being free, and be even more disappointed you couldn't put the pocket weather Today Home screen plug-in on the TF3D Today screen.

I've discussed differences between the iPhone and the best WM phones before. It has always been concluded, reasonably enough, that until now, they serve two different markets. The iPhone is more the consumer and light business user market. The WM phone is more the heavy business and PPC Geek market. TF3D is essentially trying to bridge the gap and make WM devices more "accessible" to people with a more basic interface closer to the iPhone. They would have hit a home run if they still had the app buttons that you slide through at the bottom (and the screens/apps they take you to) but given you more control over the Today screen by 1) allowing you to add/remove/rearrange those selections at the bottom and most important 2) allowed you to replace the clock and other information above with one or more 3rd party plug-ins. Heck even my standard today screen is overkill on the clock size. The time can easily be displayed in the top status bar giving you tons of room to display more info like more appointment info, more weather info, etc. I'll all about being able to glance at my phone to get lots of important info without having to scroll and/or launch an app. A giant clock and a couple lines of info isn't very useful.

I think people are too easily impressed/seduced by looks and lose site of practical functionality. DS Gamer is a great case in point. He starts out saying he thinks it is an upgrade like everyone else and then goes on to say he finds a 3rd party app's interface, although not as nice looking, is much easier and more efficient to use.

Last edited by jazee; 01-21-2009 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 01-21-2009, 07:58 PM
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Re: Manila TF3D - What's The Point?

God... It has very little to do with the iphone. People wanted something more finger friendly so htc came through with the htc home plug in. Then they did one better with tf3d. It was heading in that direction anyway. Why must the iphone always be mentioned. tf3d looks nothing like the iphone
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