Batteries or Clocks?

Upgrades from WM5 to MSFP (AKU2) have started to hit the streets.  One of the major features (direct push) has been a big hit.  But one of the smaller features (a battery icon) has been met with ... less enthusiasm.

On PocketPC, AKU2 replaced the clock display on the Title Bar with a battery indicator.  The clock was moved farther down into the today page.  We've gotten a lot of feedback on the relative usefulness of clocks and battery indicators, and we've gotten a lot of feedback on the usefulness of this particular battery indicator.  We're taking both pieces of feedback to heart and are working on improving the situation.

It's unlikely that we'll make the clock the default again.  Prior to AKU2, we got a lot of consistent feedback that users prefer a battery indicator.  I know that many of you feel that the clock is more useful (and I happen to agree with you), but there are a lot more battery people than clock people in our customer base. 

However, something we've definitely learned from all your feedback is that, if we're going to make a change like this, we need to give users a way to switch back to the previous behavior. 

The bad news is that there's no way to get the clock back in AKU2.  The good news is that there will be a way in the next minor release (AKU2.2).  But the other bad news is that I don't know which hardware devices will use AKU2.2.  So I can't tell you when or even if you'll be able to make use of this change. 

I also don't have a good way for you tell which version your hardware is on.  These AKU's are really intended for OEMs, not end users to see.  The best I can offer is for you to make the following change and see if it works.  If your device has the "put the clock back" feature, the change will enable it.  If it doesn't, the change won't have any adverse effect.

The change is enabled by a registry key.  Please understand we're reserving the right to change its location in future releases.  So don't write software that relies on it being there. 

What you need is a DWORD value called ShowTitleBarClock that is set to 1.  The value needs to be placed in HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Shell.  After adding the value and flushing the registry (usually the safest way to do that is to hit the power button to suspend the device, wait a few seconds, and then hit it again to wake it back up) reset the device.  If it comes back with the clock showing, you've got an AKU2.2 device.

Note that this will only work for PocketPC.  Smartphones have always had the battery icon on the Title Bar, and we're not planning to add a clock to them.  (In fact, one of the reasons we changed the PocketPC was that we wanted to make it consistent with Smartphone.)

Thank you for all your feedback on this matter.

Edit: I've been told that you can tell which AKU you're on.  If you go to Start->Settings->System->About it will list the build number as something like xxxxx.2.0.0.  The numbers after the first five digits is the AKU number.  So that example is AKU2.0.  The registry key went into 2.2, which will show up as xxxxx.2.2.0.

Mike Calligaro