3 years ago
Android's User Experience Director takes jabs at Microsoft's Metro UI
We mentioned Google's User Experience Director for Android, Matias Duarte
as he had just showed of 'Roboto', the new design-language for Android 4.0 which will hopefully make it less geeky. A noble challenge.
Not too surprisingly, he has some choice words both for Apple and Microsoft in terms of UI design. We were under the impression that Microsoft's approach was unique, stunning and generally pleasing. And you folks certainly go critical if an app we cover is not authentically Metro enough. But not for Duarte, he's no fan. In an interview with This is My Next/Verge, he had the following pot shots at Metro:
“There’s this thing that’s happening right now in user interface design that I find kind of shackling. The faux wood paneling trend, and the airport lavatory signage trend.” He laughs when he says this and pulls up a slide on his computer, a split screen of an Atari 2600 and… airport lavatory signage. It’s an obvious dig at both Apple and Microsoft.
But what about Microsoft and their “authentically digital” design? “The problem with going too starkly systematic, forcing everything into this completely constrained, modernist palette, for both of them, you’re not leaving any room for the content to express itself.”
“Instead, I offer the web. Here there’s beautiful examples of very customized, very different feeling websites.” Matias flips through slides in his deck, a variety of websites, some news-focused, others which are services or shopping sites. “These look completely unlike each other, but people understand how to use them because the right things are standard conventions, and other things are flexible.”
Of course, we beg to differ. With Metro, all we get is straight content with no unnecessary and distracting flare aka "chrome". That's the best part of Windows Phone: straight information, video, photos, without cartoony graphics or something that looks like it came from a cheesy 80s sci-fi movie. Because sorry, but that's what Android looks like.
Source: This is My Next
3 years ago
Windows Phone and SkyDrive featured again on TV's Hawaii Five-0 [Video]
We received numerous tips that Windows Phone and SkyDrive were shown off, prominently, on Hawaii Five-0 recently. So we went ahead and found those clips for your viewing pleasure. Turns out they used it twice, with what looks to be the HTC HD7 and while the exact usage of Windows Phone is suspect, we suppose it can't hurt to show off some of those features, eh?
This is the third time, at least, that Windows Phone has appeared on Hawaii Five-0. See earlier last November here and here.
3 years ago
Xbox Live: Sudoku makes it outside of the US at last
Babaroga’s Minesweeper and Sudoku both launched on August 10. Both are free, ad-supported Xbox Live titles that sport a sleek Metro look. The only problem with the August launch is that it applied to the US only. Minesweeper came to other territories a short while later on August 23, but Sudoku has been MIA in those places – until now. Sudoku is finally available outside of the US! (Note: it may take a few hours before it shows up on your Marketplace.)
Sudoku is a logic puzzle game in which players must fill in each square of a 9 x 9 grid with the appropriate numbers. While sudoku is traditionally a pen and pencil game, Babaroga’s version adds a nice leveling system and powerups to the mix. It also includes a unique and challenging Lightning Mode with a timer and combo system, should regular sudoku not be exciting enough for you. For more details, check out our full review.
Remember, Sudoku is free and has 50 GamerScore worth of Achievements, so you have no excuse not to download it. Pick it up here from the Marketplace.
Thanks, DarkSynopsis, for the heads up!
3 years ago
Android 4.0 adds style but borrows heavily from everyone
Information is still coming in but Google and Samsung just showed off Android 4.0 aka Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). Coming first to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus which will feature a 4.65” HD Super AMOLED display technology at 720p resolution and a 1.2GHz dual core CPU, ICS looks to finally bring a little pizazz to the robotic OS.
A lot of the new "look" to Android 4.0 can be tied to Matias Duarte, who worked on Palm's ill-fated webOS UI till he was snagged by Google about a year and a half ago. Because of that, it seems quite obvious that things like Android's new calendar and especially the "card view" for multitasking look very familiar (something that even Windows Phone "borrowed"). We not sure making the card-view vertical instead of horizontal is going to fool anyone though. Other things like the People App and even the camera also look heavily borrowed from Windows Phone. Heck, they even said "Putting people at the heart..." instead of "Putting People First", so yeah.
Reader Anthony submitted the following observations he noticed during the recently YouTubed Keynote:
- Swiping between menus instead of tapping them is Metro
- action bar is copied from wp7 (especially making it common between apps, is exactly what Metro is)
- photo album UI looks exactly like WP7 gallery
- contact groups is from WP7
- people app is direct copy of wp7 people's hub
- folder creation method (dragging two icons together to make a folder) is from iOS
- Lock screen to camera is from WP7/iOS (which iOS copied from WP7)
- switching reply method between email/sms/call in contact card is WP7 (Actually, webOS did that 1st -ed.)
And in general, the consensus at least from the Twitter-sphere seems to be yes, Android borrows a lot. We always said Android was pretty ugly so this at least goes a long way to addressing that though we're not convinced that it's as elegant, smooth or as unified as the Metro design language. Just see the Windows Phone version after the break for comparison...
Loads more at our sister site, AndroidCentral.com
3 years ago
Fan love from the ladies: The Windows Phone rap
If it's one thing our platform needs is fan love--that unabashed desire to share and espouse the greatness that is our OS. For that, we'll always encourage people to show their devotion, no matter how geeky or nerdy.
So it's with great pleasure and a hearty smile we bring to you the Windows Phone 7 rap. The idea was spawned by @MobieChick on Twitter, who pinged us with the idea if anyone would watch. We basically dared her saying we'd run the video and the rest is history. What made this fun of course was that MobieChick solicited lyrics from other Windows Phone fans on Twitter, making this a community project.
Lets give the ladies a big hand, especially for putting themselves out their on Vimeo like this. Takes guts! (And lets be kind in comments to our sistahs!).
So do the guys now want to make a response video?
3 years ago
Nokia showing a "bunch of new devices running Windows Phone" next week in London
...at least according to Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft at the recent Web 2.0 summit. Now, we suppose we can engage in a semantic debate about what constitutes a "bunch" combined with social-linguistic and pragmatic uses of the term, but up till this point, we were only really expecting maybe two devices from Nokia: SeaRay/800 and the Sabre/703/710.
But perhaps we need to re-think what Nokia may be doing. We know at the very least the SeaRay will be going on sale in various countries in November e.g. France, Italy, so for certain we'll see those devices for respective carriers. But Nokia has always talked about "shipping in volume" in 2012 in addition to bold claims like a new device every three months (remember that one?). So maybe, just maybe we'll see more than just 2011 devices but also what's in store for 2012--like perhaps that rumored Nokia Windows Phone for AT&T?
Then again, if Ballmer was just being colloquial, perhaps a "bunch" really is just two. We'll be live in London next week at Nokia World to find out, so stay tuned...
Source: Mary Jo Foley (Twitter)
3 years ago
BBC News Mobile, Mango edition, is finally released to the Marketplace
We've been following the development of BBC News Mobile for months now as it was in beta since July. Now, you can finally get your hands on this top-notch free news app.
We're not going to mince words, as far as news apps go, this one is the creme of the crop. You get an excellent news source, a slick looking app and now with Mango, you get some awesome features on board. Some of those features in version 2.6 are:
- Double Sided Live Tiles
- Pin individual feeds to home screen
- Background service meaning improved live tile and breaking news notifications
- Background caching if WiFi is available to speed up the app
Pick it up here in the Marketplace, nao. Hey and combine it with the BBC Radio Player for Mango and get the whole BBC experience. And check out our early hands on video after the break to see it in action. Thanks, Christopher L., for the heads up!
3 years ago
Windows Phone Camps
Last year we had Windows Phone App Garages. This year, we've got Windows Phone Camps. Regardless of the title, these developer workshops, hosted by Microsoft, are a great resource for Windows Phone developers of all skill levels.
The all day event includes sessions on:
- Silverlight and XNA
- An overview of Mango features (Fast App Switching, Live Tiles, Multitasking, etc.)
- How to make money with your Windows Phone app (ad supported vs. paid type discussion)
- An open lab for hands-on app development
- Q&A Session with the Experts
There are door prizes, catered lunch, and a room full of Windows Phone developers to network with. You can find a full listing of Windows Phone Camps over at the Microsoft's Events page. The events are free but seating is limited.
If your interested in developing Windows Phone apps these workshops are a valuable resource to get you on the right track. Attendees range from the beginners to the "Been there, Done that" crowd. You can share your experiences getting an app off the ground and tap into other's experiences to find an approach that may work better.
On a side note, for those in the Birmingham, Alabama area a Windows Phone Camp session has been added to the schedule. Which is great for those who can't make the Atlanta Camp. The Birmingham Windows Phone Camp will be held on November 9, 2012 at the local Innovation Depot. You can register for the Birmingham event here and who knows, you might see me there.
3 years ago
AT&T tags Focus and Quantum with EOL status?
Shouldn't be a shocker if this is true but we've received word from our AT&T double-naught spy that the Samsung Focus and LG Quantum's status has changed to "End of Life". A status reserved for devices no longer carried by the wireless provider or in production by the manufacturer.
We've already seen signs that the HTC Surround is on it's last leg and our tipster notes the HD7S is slated to drift into the sunset as well.
This is likely being caused by the manufacturers shifting production efforts on the new Windows Phone models and AT&T wanting to make room for the new models. It's likely the case where AT&T will continue to offer these models, they just won't be replenishing the stock room.
So, how will AT&T's Windows Phone line-up look in a month? The HTC Titan would replace the HD7S. The Focus S would replace the Focus. But what would replace the LG Quantum? Maybe the Focus Flash or Nokia Sea Ray? Or is there a new sliding keyboard Windows Phone hiding in the shadows?
Hopefully whatever happens with AT&T's Windows Phone line-up occurs sooner than later and we start seeing the second generation Windows Phones on the shelves soon.
Thanks goes out to our tipster on this!
3 years ago
And now, HTC Radar's turn...
Earlier today we mentioned that the HTC Titan was getting a little ad time in London newspapers. Well now, it the HTC Radar's turn.
@alexb8 spotted this print ad on the back cover of Nuts Magazine in the UK. The ad highlights the Windows Phone's live tiles.
Not sure if the doodled-up hands helps the cause but it's nice to see the new Windows Phones getting some exposure.
Thanks goes out to Alex for the tip!
3 years ago
Cool Tools - Mango App Spotlight
Cool Tools is a toolbox of tool or utility type apps for your Windows Phone. Need a stopwatch? There's a tool for that. How about a need to covert inches to millimeters? Need a countdown timer for the kitchen? Cool Tools is a rather simple app that delivers seven useful tools that most will find a use for.
The tools include:
- Stopwatch with lap time
- Countdown timer
- Flashlight with Emergency Strobe setting
- Accelerometer with x, y, and z axis
- Soundcheck with THX clips (moo cows!)
The converter will convert length, liquids, weight, speed, temperature measurements from metric to english (and back/forth). It will also convert calendar dates to age.
Cool Tools is laid out rather nicely and in a straight forward fashion. Cool Tools is a free app and you can find it here at the Windows Phone Marketplace. Keep in mind that Cool Tools is a Windows Phone 7.5 app so you'll need to update your phone to Mango before you can use the app.
3 years ago
LazyTube 3.0 in the works
LazyWormApps is gearing up to release version 3.0 of their popular YouTube client LazyTube. Version 3 gets a major overhaul to improve performance and the overall user experience.
LazyWormApps will be offering a series of "What's new" videos over at their YouTube Channel that will highlight all the changes in store for LazyTube. Expect the updated version of LazyTube to hit the Windows Phone Marketplace sometime in mid-November.
LazyTube is a very nice YouTube client app for your Windows Phone and the updated version looks to carry on that level of quality.
3 years ago
HTC Trophy on sale at Verizon
We're not sure if this is a way to clear out inventory for new Windows Phones or just Verizon being generous. Regardless, Verizon is offering the HTC Trophy for $29.99 through October 20, 2011.
The deal is web only so you'll probably not see the $29.99 price tag in your local Verizon stores. The discounted price does call for a two year contract and minimum data package of $30. Oh and if you're so inclined the Casio G'zOne Commando is also on sale.
You can find all the details on the three day web sale over here at Verizon's website.
Thanks goes out to Reese for the tip!
3 years ago
HTC Titan gets a full page ad in London newspaper
Looks like HTC has started a small advertising blitz for Windows Phone as the HTC Titan got a nice little full page ad recently in a London newspaper.
Will it help? It certainly can't hurt and HTC knows a thing or two about selling phones, so we'll give them a little nod here of approval.
Big thanks to @smoothbond (Ben S) for the image!
3 years ago
Nokia to alter strategy and "rejuvenate" brand
Nokia is reported to be looking to change the strategy used when marketing upcoming Windows Phones to include the youth of today and get more 'young people' on board. The manufacturer is set to increase social media usage and presence with a more direct connection to consumers. It may be no coincidence that the winning ring tone from the contest is dub step.
John Nichols, Nokia’s head of marketing for the UK and Ireland, had the following to say about their vision of a younger Nokia:
"This isn’t a standing start, we already have a huge youth market but for teenagers we need to ensure that we create the content and partnerships that matter. As a teenager, the brands I loved had an opinion and told me whether to engage with them or not. The trick is to remember to not just wade in; otherwise our personality could look like the drunken uncle dancing at the wedding."
Nokia is also set to spend a reported £80 million on advertising in the UK and Ireland, so the Finnish handset maker is pulling out the big guns.
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