Taking a Look at Caller ID with Windows Mobile 5

By Mike Temporale on Monday, December 19, 2005

I've used most of the Caller ID packages on the market, and for the most part, they are pretty good. However, they all suffer from the same flaw - difficulty of attaching a picture to a contact. Ideally, this should be something that could be easily managed on the desktop and then transfered over. Further more, they really should be managed through Outlook. After all, it's where your contacts are in the first place, and the contact card even has a place for a picture. The lack of integration between Caller ID and Outlook is something that I have complained about a number of times in the past.

If you had a Windows Mobile 2003 SE based device, then you had Caller ID built-in. This was thanks to HTC's purchase of IA Style, which saved you having to buy an application. But it still didn't do Caller ID the right way. Thankfully, it's all changed. In Windows Mobile 5, Caller ID is baked into the OS and it is integrated with Outlook. It will display the picture that you have associated with a given contact using Outlook. :clap: You can assign a picture from your desktop or using the phone. What you can't do, is change the template that is used when that contact calls you. At least I haven't found a way to tell it to display a larger picture, or to display it in a different location.


It's a good thing that I know who is in that picture, because there is no way that anyone else in the world will be able to identify them. Not from this picture! (The name and number has been removed to protect the innocent. Wink )

While I have to applaud Microsoft for integrating Caller ID with Outlook Contacts, I feel they have more than dropped the ball when it comes to displaying that picture on incoming calls. The template/design is utterly useless and the picture ends up being no bigger than my fingernail. Just look at all the free space available below the callers telephone number, why not place a larger version of the picture here? Confused
I've been told that this is just the default template for incoming calls and that Microsoft expects the device manufacturer to customize this screen. They had no answer for why the default screen wasn't more useful, especially when we routinely see these type of issues being over looked by the manufacturer. There was also no answer when asked if this is something that we could customize in the same fashion as the home screen.

All in all, this ends up being one step forward followed by a couple massive steps backwards. It really makes you wonder what Microsoft was thinking when they made the default template so useless. Evil or Very Mad

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