Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Android: UI Still in Development Phase

If you (Android lovers) are thinking that the imminent release of the first phone using the user-interface would mean it is almost complete, then you are definitely wrong.

Our fellows over at Gizmodo to share the world a sneak preview of Android via a video of the emulator, and while it hints at possible great things, the Android 0.9 SDK (Software Development Kit) is worryingly under-stocked.

The good news is the home screen looks great. We can have (what looks like) up to three home pages, with the wallpaper divided into thirds to accommodate all three positions. Moreover, we can drag and drop widgets onto each including things as if a clock or Google search-bar, or we can click a tab to bring up a menu of everything.

The wallpaper choice is easy, and most applications and options can be customized to appear in a drop down menu at the top of the screen, so multi-tasking is on. In addition, the web-browser looks a bit spiffy too, with full web page support, easy zooming and a small magnifying pane for scrolling over bunch of text.

In fact, Google Maps looks great, with a nicer and more simplistic interface, and great StreetView integration. Here we can see a man drinking his coffee on our mobile stuffs!

However, the negative side is worrying that the absence of all the beautiful Google Apps likes Documents and Mail. Everything from the media players to the picture viewer seems to be divided into panes for access. Whether this will be complex or intuitive, we will have to sit, wait and see. However, the emulator did not really show enough to convince us either way.

Overall, the big worry is that the SDK leaves many questions unanswered. Nevertheless, if Google gets them right (and it seems simple), then this could be the interface everyone has been waiting for. Yet, add in some open source applications that raise the bar even further, and this could be the user-interface for years to come.

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