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Monday, December 18, 2006 

Microsoft and Java ME

Windows Live Search for Mobile is a connected application available for Java ME and Windows Mobile phones that allows the user to search content into Live Maps service . You can find addresses, traffic information, business, restaurants, hotels, etc. in US and inside a map you can pan, zoom in and zoom out. When you are typing your search, it has a very useful autocomplete feature.

After opening the application you'll see a full-canvas design with many Windows Mobile Smartphone UI components and features, like:

  • Full width list items with horizontal scrolling labels when they are focused

  • A textbox that works a bit different as Nokia's one. You should start typing wherever the focus are, and you don't have an “editing” or “non editing” status inside the textbox.

  • The Command area for softkeys is a bit diferent than Java's one. They are two commands rendered like visual buttons, with their labels centered (not aligned to the edges).

  • The “Options” or “More Options” command is called “Menu” and opens a mini-submenu in a pop-up style where you can browse with up-down or use [1] to [9] keys to select the option (similar to Opera Mini too)

  • The “Ok” or “Select” Command is called “Go”.

  • There is a “Home” command to go the the Main Menu and you have an “Exit” application command in every screen. Sometimes there isn't a back command, so you should use “Home” instead (a bit confusing).

  • The alert messages are similar to Windows Mobile.

  • When you are typing in the search box, the autocomplete feature replaces the Home menu options with new ones. But you must clear characters with the left arrow (I've to try many keys to detect that). Right key acts as "Select". If you keep pressed a key, it doesn't appear the number corresponding to that key, you should cycle between letters and numbers, for example "abc2ABC".

Windows Mobile or Java ME application?

I think if you are a Java ME phone user, like a Nokia's one, you can feel yourself lost inside this application for a while. The usability guidelines aren't the same between Windows Mobile and Nokia/Symbian/other vendor OS.

I like the visual design and some of the “original” UI behaviour like the dynamic options based on the user partial input (similar to an autocomplete), but I'm not sure if it's a good idea for the usability to have a totally different UI compared to the device's where the application is running and different from other applications installed.

Download the application free from http://wls.live.com and tell me what do you think.

source: Forum Nokia Champion Blog (
Maximiliano R. Firtman)

Pedro "K2" Macêdo

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