Samsung is teasing the upcoming Galaxy S5 in a new image that could be hinting at the incoming redesign of TouchWiz.
Speed, Outdoor, Curiosity, Fun, Social, Style, Privacy, Fitness and Life are the nine attributes that will characterize the Galaxy S5, according to Samsung. The device will be powered by the latest Exynos or Snapdragon processor, which should ensure Speed, while Privacy and Fitness are other attributes that Samsung has focused on in the past. The inclusion of Outdoor could be hinting at some form of elements resistance, as some prior rumors suggested.
What’s interesting about this image is the design of the nine icons, which is flat and void of any embellishments. Is this the “back to basic” approach that a Samsung VP talked about in January?
A user interface that Samsung was said to be exploring showed a drastic departure from the skeumorphism-heavy current incarnation of TouchWiz, but these icons seem are even more radically simplified. One other clue that Samsung is moving towards a flatter look for its interface is the Magazine UX it debuted on the NotePRO and TabPRO line at CES. The settings in the NotePRO’s notification dropdown in particular resemble the icons in this teaser. Several apps expected to be preloaded on the Galaxy S5 have leaked in the past weeks, and they too received a flat, utilitarian overhaul.
Samsung will launch the Galaxy S5 on Monday, February 24, in the first day of Mobile World Congress Barcelona 2014.
Do you like the direction that Samsung seems to be heading to with its UI design?
While Nokia is yet to unveil this handset that’s said to run a custom version of Android, renown leaker @evleaks has released what looks like a press image for the Normandy via its Spanish Twitter account.
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Getting back to the freshly leaked image, we’re looking at an app arrangement on the home screen that looks pretty much like Windows Phone’s Metro UI, although it’s not quite Metro UI, is it? We can also see various apps installed on the device, including Plants vs Zombies, and, from the looks of it, this device has dual SIM support.
That said, Nokia is yet to unveil the Normandy, so we can get back to waiting for an official announcement. Anyone looking forward to a Nokia Android device, even if it’s an entry-level device that runs a forked Android version?
Loom for Mac has updated, adding Photobooth upload and a simplified design. Photobooth should appear as a photo source automatically, thought it can be added manually. The new interface seeks to eliminate user confusion. Where source and album lists were separate windows before, now both appear in a single, unified window. Additionally, any library can be used as a source, whether it’s a file or a folder. You can download the update by going to Loom’s preferences and clicking Check Now under the General pane.
N Richland Hills, Texas – Since its release in April 2010, Drafts has become one of the most popular productivity apps on the iOS App Store. Drafts distinguishes itself by making it easy to quickly capture text and send it to almost anywhere: email, messages, events, todo lists, social networks as well as services such as Dropbox and Evernote.
Advanced customization and workflow features have helped Drafts win many accolades, including Macworld’s “App Gem Award”, Lifehackers “Lifehacker Pack” and a selection as a “Best New App” on The Verge.
Drafts has always been a forward looking app, and Agile Tortoise is happy to announce Drafts and Drafts for iPad will be ready for the September 18, 2013, release of iOS 7 with great new updates that take fit right in to the look and feel. Version 3.5 updates will be free updates which require iOS 7.
Version 3.5 brings many enhancements to the Drafts experience, including:
* Incredible, fresh interface takes full advantage iOS 7
* Post to Google . In addition to Twitter, Facebook and App.net, Drafts has added support for Google posting, to make it the best one-stop shop for all your social network updates
* Magic “+” Button. Tap and hold the new draft button and get additional options, such as the ability to quickly create new drafts with a text selection, the contents of the clipboard
* Import from Dropbox. With Dropbox’s app installed, Drafts can now import files easily
* Display count of unprocess drafts as an app badge
* Hide the status bar when editing
* Enhanced customization through new action tags to work with text selections, or ranges of text lines
* Many more tweaks and improvements
Pricing and Availability:
Available immediately, Drafts and Drafts for iPad 3.5 require iOS 7 and are free updates for existing customers. Download from the iTunes App Store for .99 (iPhone) and .99 (iPad).
Founded in 2006, Agile Tortoise, Inc. is an independent software shop that develops mobile and web software both for end-users and clients. Agile Tortoise, Inc. is based in Dallas-Fort Worth, TX. For more information, visit Agile Tortoise online. Copyright (C) 2006-2013 Agile Tortoise, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod and iPad are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the U.S. and/or other countries.
This isn’t a new request by any means. Many people have made it many times, including me last year. Palm had the beginnings of it in webOS, jailbreak apps like BiteSMS have been doing for ages, and Google started adding it to Android in 2012.
And here’s why — whether we’re tired, busy, or just plain lazy, having to go hunting for apps — even widgets — just to reply to a message, reset a timer, change a song, or do any other trivial activity is outdated and inefficient. It’s pull in the age of push.
It’s well past time for actions, like information, comes to us.
From creation to conversation
In the current version of iOS, if we’re using an app or playing a game or just fiddling around on the Home Screen, and an SMS, iMessage, IM, Hangout, or any other short bit of text is sent our way, we get a roll-down banner notification. If we tap the banner, it rips us from our current activity and sends us carousel-ing into whatever app owns that bit of text. At that point, we have to wait for the host app to wake up, connect, and download the actual message. (Even if all of it was shown in the push notification, the information isn’t passed along and the app has to make its own, post-launch request to get its own, post-launch copy.) Then, after replying, we have to either use the fast app switcher to go back to our previous app, or the old Home button click/icon tap combo. There’s no insta-back button or gesture for that.
Imagine instead that, once the banner notification rolls down, we could not only tap on it to go to the app, but drag it down to get an actionable dialog. Then we could quickly enter and send a response, at which point the dialog would disappear and we could immediately resume what we were doing. No carousel app switching, no need to click and tap our way back.
Apple already does a lot of the out-of-app heavy messaging lifting today, in Share Sheets. Launch the Photos app and pick a photo. Tap the Action button, tap Mail, Messages, or Twitter, and an embedded Mail, Message, or Tweet sheet slides up from the bottom. Type and send a message. The message gets sent and the sheet slides down again, allowing you to continue right where you left off. In fact, Notification Center already has buttons for calling up Twitter and Facebook sheets.
The current system only works to create new messages, and only for Apple’s built-in and integrated partner apps (Mail, Messages, Twitter, and Facebook). It’s not impossible, however, to imagine it working for replies as well.
And with third-party messaging apps. At worst, Notification Center could simply keep pulling the icon to identify the app. In a perfect world, those third-party apps could include parameters for/register with with Notification Center to use in presenting their own embedded sheets (similar in spirit to how Passbook provides for some level of design in third-party passes).
With Notification Center maintaining control of the transactions, communications could be handled more securely and power efficiently as well.
From snooze to choose
The same basic system could also work for changing alarms. Right now, just like with messages, if an alarm goes off, we can either okay it or put it to sleep, but we can’t change it. If we want to do that, we have to mishandle the alert in someway, then go track down the app (typically Clock) to do something about it.
In a push-interface world, the alarm would go off and the banner could be pulled down into, or the popup would already be, a widget that could not only be dismissed or slept, but altered right there and then.
Even if it was kept model, a timer could be scrubbed back from 00:00 to 00:30, for example, right on the alert.
Likewise, an alarm could be deferred, but could also be quickly changed to another time.
From switcher to center
Controls are trickier, because they’re persistent rather than event-driven. No one wants a constant banner with audio controls in it, for example, which is probably why Apple annexed them into the fast app switcher in iOS 4.
They might make more sense in Notification Center, however, where instead of being a double-click and horizontal swipe away, they’re just a downward swipe. The brightness and AirPlay controls could easily live there as well, as could all the other settings most people never use, but the nerds among us want faster access to — everything from Wi-Fi to Bluetooth to hotspot to Airplane mode, to the kitchen sync in there as well. They could be set to off by default, so mainstream users aren’t bothered by them, but there and ready to be enabled by those who want them.
From static to dynamic
As much as we like to compare platforms and talk about who and who isn’t innovating, who’s blazing ahead, who’s copying, and who’s playing catchup, the truth is every major player is mostly just giving us variations on a theme.
Siri, Google Now, and Kinect are starting to break down the old concepts, not just with natural language and gesture-based control schemes, but with dynamically generated, contextually aware interfaces. They’re still new, still experimental, still layers on top of far more static Home screens, apps, and activities, but they’re getting there.
If Apple wants to get really avant guarde, Notification Center could become contextual, presenting information, actions, and options depending on the time of day, our location, and what we’re doing when we invoke it. And, of course, helpfully nudge us with actionable banners when we haven’t invoked it — the classic example being “Traffic has changed, you will now have to leave 10 min. earlier for your meeting, would you like me to message attendees?”
From the Apple II to the Mac, Apple’s been at the forefront of making ever more accessible types of interface mainstream. Actionable notifications could be a piece of the whatever’s-next puzzle, and I hope we see it from Apple sooner rather than later.
If you’ve used webOS notifications, or Jelly Bean notifications, or BiteSMS, or if you’re just tired of switching apps every time you get an alert, let me know what you think — should the future be actionable, and how?
The Next Web has an image that indicates a tab-based UI is coming to Gmail at some point in the near future. As you can see in the screenshot below, we’re looking at four different tabs, with each one presumably storing certain types of emails.
There are four tabs in the screenshot that read Primary, Social, Promotions and Updates. However, the publication mentions other tabs including Main, Notifications and Forums.
In Main, users will reportedly eceive emails from friends, while Social and Offers will include social networking emails and emails from retailers, respectively. The Notifications tab will include emails mentioning bills, dining reservations, flight alerts, and similar important mails. Finally, Forums will include notifications from forums.
Apparently each tab will show you that there are new emails requiring your attention, and that “+” sign in the screenshot could indicate that users will be able to create custom tabs as well – although that’s only a speculation from our part.
At this point, it’s not clear when the new UI will be rolled out, but we would assume that both the web and the mobile Gmail versions would be updated at the same time. The screenshot for the Android Gmail app below shows some of the same tabs we talked about for the web version, including Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forums. To activate it, you’d have to tap on the three-line menu on the top left side.
Before Google I/O, a source told us that a Gmail update was on its way, but Google did not introduce it during the keynote. Will the new Gmail UI arrive once Android 4.3 launches? We’ll just have to wait and see. For now, Google has refused to comment “on rumor and speculation,” according to The Next Web.
The publication says that while the handset comes with a new TouchWiz version on top of Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean – TouchWiz Nature UX 2.0 – Galaxy S3 owners will be very familiar with the overall interface when switching over. Apparently the new UI is “more of an evolution than a revolution,” although you’re going to discover “an overall new fresh look,” that will offer many changes.
Looking at the Gallery app, the site noted that it’s somewhat more limited than the Galaxy S3’s and Galaxy Note 2’s similar app. Apparently there’s no way of changing preview stiles like on the Galaxy S3, but there’s a new “Content to display” feature that lets users choose what kind of display to show, and even import it from other sources such as Facebook, Dropbox and others.
In its turn, the Camera app has been completely redesigned. The application is similar to the Galaxy Camera app, although it also features “tons and tons” of new features including Dual Camera, Sound & Shot, Drama Shot and Story Album (in case you have no idea what these features are, check out our previous coverage on the Galaxy S4’s software features).
The Easy Mode is a TouchWiz feature that lets users access a simplified user interface, which could be suitable to those smartphone users not comfortable with touchscreen-based UIs. The Easy Mode was seen before in the Galaxy S3 Android 4.1 Jelly Bean update, but it’s apparently not as good looking as the Galaxy S4’s.
Sam Mobile apparently worked with a GT-I9500 version that was running the latest test firmware, although changes may still appear by the time the device hits stores. The same publication made available several elements of the Galaxy S4 firmware, including wallpapers, ring tones and the full system dump, in case you’re interested in experiencing the Galaxy S4 environment before the phone actually launches.
Spotify, the popular music streaming service, has updated its iPhone and iPad with a brand new interface. Now you can navigate around the app with a new sidebar, always see what you’re listening to from the Now Playing bar along the bottom of every screen, and a new Track menu.
This update to Spotify also fixed a few issues including the “track only available online” bug, the lock screen no longer displays the incorrect track, and shuffle now turns off after you’ve used “Shuffle Play” on an album or playlist.
A basic ad-supported account with Spotify is completely free and an ad-free subscription is .99/month. A premium account with Spotify allows you to download and listen to music offline and will run you .99/month.
Spotify users, what do you think of the new update?
I’ve been a big fan of the Google Glass concept since I first heard about it, but this new video has really made me want a pair more than ever.
The video shows off how the UI will look and operate in real time, and it seems like they’ve nailed everything pretty much perfectly. The seamless camera and video capture features, real time video chat, and voice commands are not only exceedingly awesome but, perhaps most importantly, shows that the device is practical for your social needs, rather than just a cool concept.
Anyway I’ll shut up now, take a look at the video for yourself.
With Google Glass reportedly launching sometime early in 2014, there’s still an agonizing wait until we’ll be able to get our hands on it. Are you impressed, or is the Google Glass design still too gimmicky looking to make you want a pair?