MS Reader: What do you mean, it’s not on here?!?
Nope: Strange as it may seem, there was no MS Reader on my new Windows smartphone. I looked twice. Says a lot about Microsoft’s dedication to the platform, doesn’t it? Anyway, I decided to download it anyhow, since I still
have a few lit files of books, and would like to test any that I create.
So I went to the Microsoft page to download MS Reader. The Reader page has an app for Windows Mobile 6, but I was again surprised to realize they did not have a CAB file for the app… I’d have to save it to my PC and use ActiveSync to load it. I don’t know, maybe it’s a control thing. I ran the EXE file, and it installed easily enough. When I opened it, the app forced me to choose a font size, then displayed the LIT books I had stored.
When I first opened a file, I saw the cover, and below it, the number “314.” Obviously not a page number. Further examination revealed that the app did not respond to finger-swipes or taps to advance the page. Just like MobiPocket, I found myself opening the hard keyboard and using the arrow keys to advance the page, and in this case, I was forced to read in landscape mode. I also could not access any general menu controls, but I could tap on a page and get page tools.
In checking out other pages, I did discover something about the mysterious number at bottom: Apparently the left and right arrows that are supposed to display on either side of the page number had somehow become a “3” and a “4”. As the number changed between them, the 3 and 4 stayed put. They did nothing, including responding to taps to change the pages.
Later, I tried MS Reader again, and I discovered that the “3” and “4” had become the proper arrows again. Further examination revealed that you could advance the page by pressing the arrows, allowing you to read in portrait mode without the extended keyboard… much better. Possibly the TP2 needed a restart to finish loading the app. The type was good and clean… but the pages did not respond to finger-swipes, and with the left and right arrows so close together, page-turning required careful placement of your finger (or stylus) to accomplish.
Again, Microsoft is now developing Windows Mobile 7, so older OS devices can look forward to being significantly ignored. So, even if MS is actually interested in updating MS Reader—and I’m not sure they are at all—they won’t be doing it for pre-Series 7 devices. At least I can read my legacy LIT books… but perhaps one more reason to go ePub in the future.