A new beta of the hotly praised but seemingly dormant Pointui Windows Mobile shell project is available for download. A quick test leaves us with this tentative verdict: it's awesome.
Jason got a pretty serious boner about Pointui Home when he tested the first version early last year, and things have only gotten better. A new, skinnable UI veils most of your common Windows Mobile functions, only subjecting you to the standard interface in a few instances (most notably, texting). The system supports extensible applets, and comes with a few obvious ones: a today screen, weather, messaging and tasks. These all sit within a somewhat complex but easily navigable finger-friendly top interface, which lets you swipe through screens quickly and smoothly.
The skin reaches pretty far, covering everything from your contact list and your message inboxes to your settings panels and calendar. This version doesn't have all of the features listed at the project page, as some aren't yet completed and others will only be present in the forthcoming paid version of the app. There will be a free home version which, if this beta is any indication, I suspect will be more than usable.
Pointui Home 2's best feature has to be just how well it runs. HTC's lauded TouchFlo 3D and Samsung's TouchWiz do very similar things to Pointui, but they're just not quite as buttery. PointUI provides an experience akin to using an OS that was actually designed for touch navigation, responding properly to errant presses and following your gestures precisely and quickly—a welcome change for those of us used to Windows Mobile's glitchy, stylus-oriented touch handling.