In this video, I cover in detail the X1′s Panel interface.
In summary, the idea behind the panels is in making your Today screen a platform on which programs can run to display rich content. Traditionally, the Windows Mobile Today screen has been a place for static content – next appointment, date, time, new messages, etc. With Panels, you can view multimedia, track RSS feeds, initiate Google services, see the weather, listen to FM radio, and play with fish, right from your Today screen.
So – you may have different panels for different times. For example, you’ll use the panel with the calendar info and RSS feeds during the workweek, and then switch over to multimedia or the fish screen (which shows basic info like missed calls, time/date, etc) on the weekends.
It’s a great idea and has a lot of potential if the developer community begins to come up with innovative panels. Right now, there are only 4 panels posted on the Sony Ericsson Panel website – of which two are junk. My favorite panel by far is the Spb Mobile Shell Panel – which essentially gives you a free version of Mobile Shell (which usually costs $30), with the added functionality of having access to the top and bottom bars in Windows Mobile.
I’d like to see a messaging panel, similar to that in TouchFLO 3D on HTC devices, that lets me shuffle through my mail and preview certain ones. I’d also like to see a text messaging panel that would contain various tabs along the bottom to keep track of my ongoing SMS conversations.