CI Spotlight – Windows Mobile

by on Jan 10, 2013

windows_phoneToday’s mobile revolution, which has forever changed the way consumers communicate and go about their daily lives, owes its start to the iPhone. Since the iPhone’s release, Android devices have gained strong market share and emerged as Apple’s top competitor, while the popularity of Blackberry devices has waned. Another key player, Windows Mobile, is still working to gain traction among consumers and developers. Here, CI takes its first look at four Mobile Monitor firms we track with apps for Windows Mobile.

Bank of America
Bank of America’s Windows Mobile app offers a comparable level of service to its other platforms, with even the firm’s most advanced mobile capabilities including check deposits, P2P payments and BankAmeriDeals. The design is more spacious and less boxy, but the biggest functional difference is in navigation. Users can swipe horizontally anywhere on the screen to move to the next section of the app – not unheard of on other devices, but a much more common navigation control Windows Phone users may be accustomed to. Instead of presenting menu icons at the top or bottom of the screen, the Windows Mobile app shows the current section title, plus the next section grayed out. Novice users may not realize that top menu options they cannot see at first – Alerts, Locations and More – are actually available.

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Bank of America Accounts Screen – iPhone vs. Windows Mobile (left to right)

Chase
Chase’s Windows Mobile app departs much more significantly in design, color scheme and overall aesthetic from the firm’s iPhone app. Instead of clearly-demarcated sections on a bold blue background, Chase opts for larger text on white or gray on Windows. Functionality is consistent, though. It lacks some advanced features such as QuickDeposit (planned for early 2013), but offers most other capabilities including QuickPay P2P. As with Bank of America, users can move between screens with horizontal swiping, not a static main menu, although an expanding bottom menu is offered.

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Chase Accounts Screen – iPhone vs. Windows Mobile (left to right)

E*TRADE
E*TRADE illustrates many of the same design and navigation differences as B of A and Chase. However, to date, the firm’s Windows Mobile app trails the iPhone and Android in terms of capabilities, with no mutual fund trading, voice recognition or barcode scanning. Since its release in September 2012 E*TRADE has rolled out options chains and trading, funds transfers and watch lists, and E*TRADE’s public site overview lists other features as “Coming Soon.” It also offers advantages based on Windows Mobile interface – users can pin elements such as quotes or markets as tiles to the device’s home screen, functioning as direct links.

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E*TRADE Trading Screen – iPhone vs. Windows Mobile (left to right)

USAA
USAA services its various lines of business – banking, investments, insurance – through a single app. While some mobile services on the iPhone and Android may not be available on Windows Mobile at this point, the app again sets itself apart in design and navigation. USAA customers will first notice the more colorful, textured background. They can also swipe horizontally to access different listings – “Recents” as well as a searchable “All” list. These make the app’s extensive resources more readily available.

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USAA Main Menu – iPhone vs. Windows Mobile (left to right)

Closing Thoughts
The Windows phone is a sleek, modern device that can support the same capabilities for financial service firms as the leading Apple and Android smartphones. Microsoft has tried to create a distinct aesthetic and user interface from existing devices, presenting a challenge for developers. Companies including financial services firms can respond either with new native apps or by a renewed emphasis on device-agnostic mobile sites. These decisions surrounding Windows Mobile will certainly impact mobile finance design and development across the industry going forward.