Архив метки: UI

Here’s A Sneak Preview Of The Pebble Smart Watch UI [Video]

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Following the disappointing news that the InPulse team — the clever folks that raised over $3 million on Kickstarter in a matter of days — wouldn’t bring their e-paper Pebble smart watch to consumers by September (as promised), the company has released a video with a sneak preview of the watch’s UI.

The Pebble will be able to connect via Bluetooth to your iOS or Android smartphone, and can be set to alert you of incoming emails, texts, calls, and other alerts through an app. This isn’t necessarily unprecedented, but since the display uses e-paper technology, the battery lasts up to seven days — way longer than your average LCD display would.

In the video you’ll see that Pebble’s UI designer, Martijn, has created a custom tool to allow any graphic design work he does on his PC to be displayed on a Pebble watch prototype display in real-time.

He also shows off a demo of email, incoming calls, and the music app. All seem to be quite beautiful and functional, but feel free to confirm that for yourself below.


Here’s A Sneak Preview Of The Pebble Smart Watch UI [Video]

Does Auto Layout In iOS 6 Mean A Larger iPhone Screen Is Coming?

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The WWDC keynote came and went with nary a mention of a new iPhone, but that didn’t stop people from ruminating about Apple’s newest mobile juggernaut. Apple’s brass spent much of their time on-stage pulling back the curtains on the latest version of iOS, and now some are claiming that a fairly innocuous (albeit useful) new feature for developers means that an iPhone with a larger screen is barreling down the pipeline.

That feature — Auto Layout — appeared briefly in a iOS SDK slide during the keynote, but most of us got too caught up with Siri updates and the swanky new Maps app to pay it much attention. Is it the sort of dead giveaway that iPhone fanatics have been breathlessly waiting for?

First though, a bit of background. Auto Layout allows developers to create a set of constraints that define how UI elements are displayed on-screen. Instead of using the standard “springs and struts” positioning method, Auto Layout allows those elements to shift and move depending on a prioritized list of rules — think “the left side of one button should always be 30 away from the right side of another button.”

It’s also worth noting that Auto Layout isn’t exactly new to the Apple development workflow — it was introduced into OS X with the release of Lion, and became the default positioning method for new Cocoa projects in Xcode earlier this year.

That’s great and all, but what does it mean for the new iPhone?

Developers will be able to streamline their UI design process, but Auto Layout’s uses may extend far beyond that. One developer I spoke with went on to say that in order for Apple to release mobile devices with multiple resolutions, Auto Layout is “certainly something [they] need to have in place before that’s feasible.”

Nelson Gauthier, lead iOS developer for LocalMind, seems to be of a similar mind — he told GigaOm in the weeks leading up to WWDC that the Auto Layout system as seen in OS X could work for iOS developers to more easily “transition between form factors.”

If they’re to be believed, Auto Layout could be a tremendous tool for helping developers prepare their apps for the coming of an iPhone with a different screen resolution. It would seem that with the right constraints in place, updating an app that used Auto Layout to display properly on a larger screen wouldn’t take too much additional time and effort. What’s more, the inclusion of the feature also means that developers who have taken shortcuts and made certain assumptions about the device’s screen size when crafting their apps’ UIs will more easily be able to get their products up to par ahead of an impending iPhone launch.

Still, we’re left without a smoking gun. The benefits of using Auto Layout are plentiful, especially for developers looking to localize their apps for other markets. Apple pointed to China as a prime target during the WWDC keynote, and I’m told that many of the sessions at WWDC the company positioned Auto Layout as a way to simplify app localization. With Auto Layout for instance, developers can more easily tweak the UI for alternate-language versions of their apps by tying those elements to constraints that allow for larger characters and smaller navigation icons as needed.

That’s not all — Auto Layout can also help developers with handling how their apps transition from portrait to landscape mode, or how even they handle having a call indicator bar sitting at the top of the screen. Though it aims to simplify certain parts of UI design, using Auto Layout is also far from an automagic process; to quote one of the developers I spoke to, “I wouldn’t expect to take an iPhone app, add auto layout to its xib file and get it to look fantastically custom on iPad.”

The jury, it seems, is still out on whether or not Auto Layout is a clear indicator of an iPhone with a larger display being prepared for launch. That said, its inclusion into the mix definitely doesn’t hurt — as one last developer put it, Auto Layout “is neither a sufficient or necessary condition for a different device… but if Apple is bringing out a 4-inch iPhone they would be crazy not to provide [it].”


Does Auto Layout In iOS 6 Mean A Larger iPhone Screen Is Coming?

Tired Of Talk? Here’s What BlackBerry 10 Might Look Like

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Even though we still don’t know when RIM will get around to launching it, CEO Thorsten Heins gave us a few brief glimpses at what BlackBerry 10 would be able to do during his keynote address at the BlackBerry World conference.

But what’s that? You missed the keynote? Well, just for you, here’s the video that Heins played during his time on stage that shows off what the company’s forthcoming mobile operating system could look like when it officially launches later this year.

Now, there’s plenty of time for RIM to change things before the operating system officially debuts on a BlackBerry smartphone, but the teaser video shows off a handsome, simple UI that I hope makes it into the final builds.

How close the video actually comes to accurately depicting the current state of BlackBerry 10 is still up in the air though — the pre-release Dev Alpha device runs on a modified (not to mention stripped down) version of the PlayBook OS, and RIM’s Vivek Bhardwaj wouldn’t show off the newer software build on his own testing device when we visited RIM in Waterloo last week.

We’ve explored some of the features spotted in the video (like the keyboard) in a bit more depth too, so take a peek if you haven’t yet had your fill of BlackBerry 10′s new tricks.




Tired Of Talk? Here’s What BlackBerry 10 Might Look Like

Nokia May Be Down, But They’re Not Out

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As bad as Nokia’s financials look right now – a $4 billion drop in sales won’t make anyone’s day – don’t consider the Windows Phone move a failure just yet. They’ve done what many phone companies have thus far failed to do. They’ve changed swiftly with the times and, more important, they’ve done it in quite admirable way.

If you’ll recall, the first real Android phone was HTC’s G1. Considered a clunker by all but the most die-hard of users, the device sold fairly well, topping out at 1 million units in 2008. But the G1 did something more important than make T-Mobile the first Android carrier – it grabbed a certain user contingent who understood Android, understood the framework, and would follow the platform to the grave. The popularity of the G1 was a direct reaction to the burgeoning iOS platform. The same thing happened in the WebOS space, but WebOS was exactly the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time and is a disaster distinct from the Android launch.

Over time, the maker of the G1, HTC, got better and better at making Android phones. The experience gained from the G1 allowed manufacturers to rejigger their sales strategy, leading to the famous Droid marketing campaign and the hysteria for Google’s Nexus line.

Nokia is in a similar place. The company has pivoted completely. Their popular Symbian smartphones are essentially dead and their Windows Phone line is curtailed until popular adoption grows. They’re essentially waiting. Most important, they’re taking a bath on the Lumia line by pricing it at or below the comfort level of most casual smartphone buyers

They’re selling loss leaders in order to gain market share. Microsoft knows it and Nokia knows it and I assure you HTC, Samsung, and LG know it. They only folks who shouldn’t be worried are Apple but I suspect Microsoft is definitely on their radar.

I can say one thing without equivocation: Windows Phone is better than Android. WinPho is monolithic, there are no clear issues with branching or hardware compatibility (today’s news notwithstanding), and WinPho’s UI familiarity will soon be bolstered by millions of Windows 8 installs around the world. Android is great if you’re a small manufacturer and you just want to dump a stack onto what would have once been called a feature phone. Windows Phone is great if you want the largesse, the popularity, and the trustworthiness of Microsoft behind your product.

So ignore Nokia at your peril. Their strategy is just right at just the right time. Remember: nobody ever got fired for installing Microsoft. Not even Stephen Elop.


Nokia May Be Down, But They’re Not Out

Zimride Nabs LinkedIn Design Lead, Brings Its Ridesharing Service To Mobile

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There’s a lot of exciting action in collaborative consumption, much of it being inspired by the early success of carsharing and ridesharing networks. After hitting 100 million miles served last year, Zimride is now one of the biggest online ridesharing companies in North America. Today, the startup is announcing the release of the mobile version of Zimride.com, a mobile-optimized version of its online service, which will, among other things, enable users to receive and send messages, view user profiles, search for, post and book new rides.

The mobile service’s launch coincides with this year’s Coachella Music Festival — which takes place April 13-15 in Indio, Calif. — as the startup has been named Coachella’s exclusive ridesharing partner. (It’s also the exclusive ridesharing partner for the Bonnaroo music festival.)

For those unfamiliar, the FbFund recipient launched three years ago to give college, university and corporate communities the ability to join networks built around those communities to facilitate and coordinate carpooling and ridesharing.

The startup allows users to connect via Facebook to promote authenticity, at which point they’re encouraged to share personal information on their profiles, like their occupation, favorite music and interests, to build trust around their on Zimride identities. Before accepting a rider, a driver can view the person’s profile, mutual Facebook friends, etc. to ensure that they’re comfortable with their potential co-pilots.

Zimride’s new mobile version brings these features to mobile, with the added benefit of being able to search and book carpools while on the go. Zimride Co-founder and COO John Zimmer tells us that the startup has facilitated over 26,000 carpools, saving users over $50 million in vehicle operating expenses collectively, and now has more than 350,000 registered users.

To build on this traction by bringing its platform to mobile, Zimride hired LinkedIn Mobile Product and Design Lead Frank Yoo, who joined the team to lead its mobile web launch. Yoo was also formerly a UI Design Consultant at Plancast and a UI designer at Yahoo.

Zimride now offers rides in 42 states and territories in North America. For more on the service, check it out at home here. Mobile launch video below:


Zimride Nabs LinkedIn Design Lead, Brings Its Ridesharing Service To Mobile