Move over TouchFlo, here comes the Bell Experience!

Posted On: Friday, February 06, 2009

Note: If you have installed the Bell UI onto your Xperia, then please share with all (via comments) the effect it has on the battery life of the device. For me it has come down to a full day of use with DirectPush, Wifi, etc. enabled along with Bell UI running.

FYI: I have been enjoying the Bell Xperiance since three days now and i have to say that it doesn’t disappoint. Though the media section’s links are all wrong, despite it is one of the best inteface out there, if not “the” best. And since day one, it has been running as smooth as it should. If anything, Bell UI is definitely getting me excited to get my hands on PointUI as soon as it is released.

To-date i was quite in awe of TouchFlo 3D. Okay so that is a bit over the top, but i seriously love the Weather tab on TF3D and slick animations here and there. But today i came across something known as the Bell UI or Bell Experience.

Bell (the Canadian company) announced a few months back that it would use its own innovative user interface, called Bell Experience, for its whole line-up of Windows Mobile smartphones. The so-called Bell Experience user-interface has been developed by Bell together with a well-known design company, PointUI. Yes! the same PointUI that is soon releasing PointUI Home 2.

In my opinion, Bell UI is far superior than TouchFlo 3D. This unique interface offers more than 60 ways to customize the Home screen using various combinations of 25 icons such as: headline sports, news, weather, horoscopes, email and more. The user can easily customize the main screen for quick access to features like live TV channels, music playlists, on-demand videos, radio channels, favorite contacts and applications.

Quote from Mark Arteaga’s Blog:

The Bell experience completely customizes the Windows Mobile home screen and attempts to make things a lot easier to access, improve the user experience from the standard Windows Mobile home screen and delivers content right to your Windows Mobile device. It also uses 'gestures' to slide content, scroll lists etc.

How does Bell display the content? They created what are called Bubbles, and with these Bubbles, Bell can display content selected by the user. It's a way to quickly access content important to you. Bell has developed this new user interface to try and promote Bell's Mobile Entertainment offerings services that they offer for example LiveTV for Windows Mobile. But they also have things like Headline News, Entertainment News, Business News and Music. The user interface also allows you to slide from bubble to bubble using gestures (sliding your finger across the screen) giving it a nice user interface effect.

You can easily customize what bubbles to show on your home screen removing any that don’t interest you. Furthermore, the Bell Experience makes accessing your applications and windows mobile settings easier than ever. For accessing applications you can either click the Menu button at the bottom to be presented with a grouped list of all the applications installed on your device such as Games, Photos, Email, etc. Or you could click on the favorite applications icon on the Home Screen and get a list of your favorite applications – which can be easily customized.

In a nutshell, Bell Experience takes Windows Mobile devices to a whole new level. It is definitely an eye-candy, but also a very powerful interface that showcases how flexible Windows Mobile is.

For more information on this new Bell interface, click here. For a thorough video demonstration of the interface by PocketNow, click here.

Excited? Wondering what this has to do with Xperia? Well… brace yourselves, the Bell UI is working beautifully on Xperia! I visited the XDA forum last night and noticed the line ‘BELL_UI 4.30 interface ported to vga & wvga device’ which got me excited enough to test it out. And it works flawlessly. No delays in animations. No performance hiccups.

The only two issues:

  • Wrong shortcuts in media.
  • Works in landscape, but back image is VGA. (look at screenshot below)

To download this awesome interface, go here. I love it more than TF3D – other than the weather tab! :)

Some screenshots…

And a screenshot of Bell Experience in Landscape…



8 Responses to “Move over TouchFlo, here comes the Bell Experience!”

  1. Johnny Boy

    Well! You have beena busy lad, lately.
    I hunt and lurk in many forums around the web, but fail miserably at finding the treasure, unlike you!

    It seems like every time i visit here, i wander off to download something from your links.
    3 things this night.

    Thanks to you for this blog. I for one really appreciate the work you are putting in here.

    Stay happy, Salman. I'll be back soon. :)

  2. M.Salman.K

    Lol! thanks Johnny Boy! ;)
    Hopefully i'll keep bringing in new stuff from time to time, and see hear from you guys now and then.

    Best regards.
    Salman Khalid.

  3. N※M

    hey M Salman K ,

    just wanted to say a big thank you :)
    your blog now has been heavily promoted by me in malaysia xperia forum hahaha :)

    just wondering , is that possible to have bell ui as one of the panel ?

    any xpert did that yet ?


  4. M.Salman.K

    @Nic - Thanks dude. Hopefully i'll keep it up to the standard. :D

    Bell UI hasn't been ported as a seperate Panel yet, and i don't think anyone will actually do it - since PointUI is about to be released, which is pretty much a more customizable, polished, and powerful version of Bell UI.

    Regardless of how good Bell UI is, there is one annoying little thing. When you are on a different panel and click on the top bar icons such as battery or volume and so on (excluding the close application button when that appears), it opens the Bell UI's management interface and when you close that, you are back in the Today panel! Not much annoying for me though 'coz i am usually using the Today panel with Bell UI activated... and the funny thing is that it is so quick that i didn't even believe that it had switched the panel the first time it did it. :D

    Best regards.

  5. Davis

    Hi Salman,

    Do you have to uninstall touch flo 3d first? I did not install touch flo 3d as a panel.. Should I do that if I want to try this UI?

    Thanks a bunch.

  6. M.Salman.K

    @David - No. You don't need to uninstall TF3D, but will need to uncheck it from the Today Items if not automatically done by Bell UI. You can switch from the Bell UI to TF3D or the other way around by simply selecting the one that you want from the Today Items settings - One thing you'll notice is that Bell UI is great on load. First time is a bit slow, 2 to 3 seconds maybe. But when you switch panels, etc... it doesn't take time to show up like TF3D.

    FYI - You will need to install the Bell Experience on your internal storage. Since you have TF3D installed... you probably might be going low on space. Not too low i hope, but porobably left with around 100-120 MB. If you want to gain space, delete the videos and Music files that come with Xperia from the internal storage... they take up over 40 MB of space.

  7. Johnny Boy

    PointUI 2 available now! as an X1 panel, as well!

    Go to Pointui site, for free download.
    Professional version coming soon.

    I have it running as sweet as a nut on my X1, and i cant wait for the Pro version. This looks like the interface for me.

  8. A S

    Great site ! XDA is a fantastic developer site.. but it takes hours to go through all of the threads and reactions ! Thx for this site.. It helps discovering the greatest phone around atm !

    greatings from the Netherlands.

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