Monday, March 22, 2010

WP7 Design - Call & End Call buttons

This post and the next one will have nothing to do with development but will be about design choices that Microsoft made for WP 7 and I don't like.

The first one is the decision to eliminate Call and End call hardware buttons in favor of Back and Search buttons. It is a strange choice to me (maybe someone could explain to me why) because the buyer is mainly buying a phone so it will mainly use it for calling. Sure the iPhone has only one button and it's selling very well but this doesn't mean that it cannot be improved.

There are two important reasons why I think they should put back the Call & End call hardware buttons:

1. It is a phone and I want to access the phone immediately from anywhere in just one click. In this moment I need at least two clicks (Window button + Phone icon) which makes me slower.

2.Almost every phone user it's used to end the call with a button without even watching the screen.

The back and search buttons are also important, but why not put them on the sides?

Off topic: What happened between HTC and Microsoft? Why isn't HTC one of the first 3 manufacturers? It is very strange as HTC was the only company that really innovated in the Windows Mobile area. Could it be because there is not much space left for innovation on WP 7 (from the manufacturer point of view) as it is a really closed OS for OEM? This way HTC won't be able to distinguish his phones from the ones produced by the other manufacturers! For LG (one of the newest manufacturers of Windows Phones), Samsung (never really created a best seller Windows Phone) and Asus (which is an old Windows Phone maker but never really invested a lot in this area) won't be a big problem if they will "share" sells of WP 7 , but on the other side more than 70% of HTC business is based on Windows Phone so they need to create "unique" phones that sell. Indeed lately HTC is releasing more Android phones than Windows Phones.


  1. To me, it's a good idea to have a return button and a search button. Why ?

    Because a smartphone is not just a phone. When you have this kind of phone, are you calling all the day ? Personaly I'm not, but I am always looking for something (a location, a store, a word's definition or translation, ...) but I call my friends from time to time.

    May be the return button is a choice to make the user experience more simple with this new interface because you switch from hub to hub going threw the main menu.

    Having a big tactile button to end call is easy to touch when you know your phone, so it's not a problem to me.

  2. The problem for me it's that they will have to lock the display while you are talking if not you could press a button with your face. So in taking the phone off your ear and pressing the button you would loose some seconds that you could still talk to the other person or at least not pay (it will not make you richer but little by little maybe will mean something).
    I didn't say the search button it's not useful but I would not give it such big importance. On the sides it would be just fine.
    Anyway all of this are personal opinion so very subjective.

  3. the reason htc and microsoft broke up is because htc violated a mutual understanding that they would stay loyal to microsoft and started producing Android phones. microsoft has held a grudge ever since

  4. It's true that Microsoft helped HTC to grow but it was a two way thing. LG, Samsung and Asus are also developing Android devices so if that is the reason Microsoft should not partner with them. I think HTC have more space to innovate on Android device in this moment. Eventually they will release a WP 7 but it's not a priority.

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