Posts Tagged corner
The holidays may be just around the corner, but the pace of news shows no sign of slowing. So here's another quick recap of the week's main Android events around the world. It's been a busy week packed with device launches on various UK networks, app updates from Google and the BBC, as well as review and first impressions features here on AC.
Check past the break for this week's round-up.
With the holidays just around the corner, odds are you’ll be uncorking at least a couple bottles of wine. While you might not need any help emptying them, there are a bunch of solid Android apps out there that can help you pick out the best ones and share your experience with the wine-loving community at large. Now, I’m not a wine guy at all and usually reach for whatever’s in the bargain bin, but maybe with the help of some of these apps, we can classy things up a bit.
D3lit3 writes in our Nexus 4 forums,
I was taking pictures with my baby and I realized that the HDR mode does not show a tick when you enable it. Thus I am left in confusion because I never know if my pics have HDR. Am I missing something? Thanks.
Don't be left in confusion, D3lit3! While this only applies to the stock camera app in Android 4.2, it is a change, and a little easy to overlook. When you're in HDR mode — or any other scene mode, you'll see it listed in the circle in the corner. That circle may move around a little bit, depending on which way you're holding the phone. (Also, tap that circle to pull up the settings buttons.) But that's where you'll see it.
With new Apple, Android and Windows Phone 8 devices hitting the market this fall, and new BlackBerry 10 phones just around the corner in early 2013, there have never been so many amazing phones on the market to choose from.
Before the holiday season hits, we wanted to pause for a moment and check in to see where everybody is at. It'll only take a minute or two to fill out this State of the Mobile Nations survey, and we'll love you forever if you do. Thanks for participating!
If you know anything about User Experience (UX) Design, you’ve read Steve Krug’s popular book “Don’t Make Me Think”, now an industry manual on how best to approach Web usability. The basic premise of good UX, according to Krug, is to reduce the amount of thinking a user is required to do to successfully use a Web site. This is also known as the K.I.S.S. method (“Keep It Simple, Stupid”), and is today being applied not only to Web sites, but to all software, including mobile operating systems.
Hit the break to find out why this may not be the most elegant approach to mobile OS design.
Who Does Simple Best?
Apple, of course, is considered the king of simplicity. Stories of toddlers navigating iPhones like they’re diminutive Wall Street executives abound on the Interwebs. (Hmm, is that where the e-trade baby came from?) Apple’s iOS unquestionably changed the mobile landscape by bringing the UX ahead at least a decade. When mobile OS’s were stuck with awkward Start buttons, quirky stylus controls, and clunky directional pads, Apple produced a user interface that was so simple by comparison, it became the epitome of Krug’s mantra.
Fast forward half a decade and we now have Android in its current Jelly Bean form being praised for its improved UX, but still considered more complex than iOS. It’s an OS “for the geeks” they say. In many ways, that’s true. Android’s open nature attracts those who understand its benefits… geeks, nerds, hackers, tweakers, modders… but the general population has no idea, nor do they care, what Android is all about. They just want a device that works and is easy to operate. This is Apple’s biggest draw. Pass along the message that iPhones are easy to use, and people who don’t want a technical hassle will naturally gravitate toward that option. Who doesn’t want easy to use devices?
This Garden Has Walls
Unfortunately, what ends up happening is that these people are absorbed into a world where, yes, everything is beautiful, but it is a very controlled beauty. Stray a bit from the lines and you’ll bump head-on right into one of the walls of this beautiful garden. Not satisfied with one of the base elements that make up the garden? Too bad. That’s the way it is. You’ll use it and like it. Many people are fine with this. They like the simplicity and safety of this world. It is non-threatening. It is understandable, relatable, and most of all, easy.
Many UX practitioners call Apple’s design “elegant”. If “elegant” simply meant “simple”, I’d agree. But the definition of the word includes the phrase “pleasingly ingenious and simple,” and this is where I believe Apple falls short and Android is starting to pull ahead.
It’s obvious what side of the wall I’m on, and for a professional UX Designer, I believe I’m in the minority. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in all my years working in Silicon Valley, it’s not to underestimate the user. Sure, in most cases we have to design for the lowest common denominator because “if they can use it, anyone can”. Traditional UX and usability principles all reinforce this way of thinking. But when we’re talking about a product that is used by millions of people from all levels of expertise, the lowest common denominator may actually be too low.
Less Is Less
The Cupertino approach is to simplify by removing options that could be confusing to some. For example, iOS does not support widgets on their home screens. As a matter of fact, the home screen is simply a grid of icons each representing the actual app that is installed. That’s easy to understand, but the functionality has been reduced to provide that simplicity. Android has one level of abstraction with its home screens since they contain app shortcuts that can be added and removed without affecting the installed app, as well as home screen widgets, which can be thought of as pieces of an app that can be displayed right on the home screen without having to launch the app. The complexity lies in having to have a way to manage your shortcuts and widgets… a problem Apple avoids all together by not allowing this feature.
Elegance Requires Ingenuity
Elegant design is one where a user is made to feel like the UI is just at the right level to be able to discover new features easily and not get lost. The experience needs to feel tailored to their level of expertise. Rather than removing functionality to make it easy for everyone, why not hide the more advanced features where those who know where to look can find them? That seems a lot more “pleasingly ingenious” to me. Simply designing for the lowest common denominator is more of a brute force approach of only including the bare minimum. It is denying the more advanced for the sake of keeping people from thinking too much.
I’ll be the first to admit that Android is not without a slight learning curve. Most versions of Android have a ways to go before becoming the simple candy colored shell that hides the more complex chocolatey goodness inside. Versions prior to Ice Cream Sandwich spill their chocolate all over the candy shell, exposing advanced options right alongside the options everyone would use daily. Add to that some of the manufacturer skins that change some of basic Android elements and you have an inconsistent design across multiple devices, adding to the noise.
But Google has been consistently honing Android’s UX for the better, making it more accessible for the mainstream, while maintaining the more advanced options for us geeks. Pre-ICS Android devices included four device buttons (home, search, menu, and back). The Menu button in particular was a huge UX problem since the user had to remember to try it to see if the app had any hidden menu items. ICS and Jelly Bean have reduced device buttons to only three (home, back, and multitasking) and exposed the Menu icon in the app’s action bar instead, greatly improving the discoverability of menu items.
Developer options have been further hidden in Android 4.2 by requiring the user to actually unlock it with a series of touches. Non-developers would never be bothered by confusing and very technical menu items, but developers would know to unlock those options.
The Future Is Elegant
There’s still a way to go to find that perfect balance between iOS simplicity and Android functionality, but seeing the current direction Android is headed, it won’t take long. Under the leadership of UX guru Matias Duarte, Android is certainly in good hands. It might be a bit behind in ease of use when compared to iOS right now, but keep in mind how much of a head start Apple has had, and also remember that Google is not removing advanced functionality for the sake of user experience. It wants to keep both, and in achieving that, it will certainly earn the badge of “elegant design”.
Ever dreamed of having more than one user account on your smartphone? Microsoft’s making that a reality with Kid’s Corner for Windows Phone 8. If you’re not a parent, don’t let the name deceive you: this particular feature is great for both the tiny tots and all of your grown-up friends, as it allows you to choose which apps, games, music and videos show up when the device is in that particular mode. It’s a feature that has strangely eluded the other major platforms, and it absolutely gives WP8 an edge for those concerned about youngsters (and potentially even colleagues) getting into trouble with your phone.
For more, check out our Windows Phone 8 event liveblog!
Gallery: Windows 8 Kids Corner
Microsoft brings guest user account to Windows Phone 8 via Kid’s Corner originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 29 Oct 2012 13:32:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Please don’t be upset with me Galaxy S III owners, for I am the bearer of bad (and possibly discouraging) news. As Galaxy S III users in Korea and Europe are enjoying the Jelly Bean update on their devices, Jelly Bean testing has seemingly been not as smooth on the carrier-branded versions here in the States. As reported by the Examiner, the US variants of the device will be among the last to get the update and will see the update by “2013″. This is definitely a bummer too because Samsung has shown its commitment to providing timely updates, but the wireless carriers continue to be a thorn in customers’ sides.
For now, we’ll just need to wait and see if the update truly will be delayed for those of us here in the US. The good thing is that 2013 is just around the corner, so hopefully the wait won’t be too long for those Galaxy S III owners.
This morning, ASUS has sent out invitations to the press and industry affiliates for them to book their flights over to Taipei, Taiwan and Milan, Italy for the unveiling of the Padfone 2. Unlike some companies, ASUS isn’t trying make this a secret and even has a corner of the device on display in the invitation. Except for that [...]
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If you watch enough TV, you have probably seen a commercial or two with Shazam logo in the corner urging you to head to the app to instantly obtain more info about the advertised product. But that’s not the only way Shazam is getting tied into TV. The folks behind the song identification app have quietly been rolling out the ability to tag television shows, with the goal being to provide additional info about a show such as the cast and credits rather than provide identification.
The functionality has been built into the current version of Shazam, but the company has been keeping the feature on the down-low until only recently. So if you were to tune into your favorite show right now, you should be able to pull up additional info. And it should be a lot easier with full TV shows. Those 30-second commercials are usually over before the app can even finish processing what is being watched.
AT&T has announced it’s just lit up two more markets with their 4G LTE. Folks in Wilmington, Delaware and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania will get the super fast speeds being delivered to many currently-available 4G LTE devices. Offerings like the Motorola ATRIX HD and the Samsung Galaxy S3 await those who were holding out for LTE coverage, and more are sure to be on the horizon this holiday season. You should see their LTE logo light up in the right corner of your screen so be sure to check at your earliest convenience.
When we heard Amazon would be displaying ads on the lock screen and the corner of the home screen on the Amazon Kindle Fire devices we were led to believe the ads would be mandatory. Fortunately, that may not be the case at all.
A support rep from Amazon apparently confirmed that there will soon be a way to opt out of the ads. Unfortunately the method of opting out is currently up in the air.
They might either offer the option for free, or will ask you to pay a small subsidy to disable them. We don’t want to speculate too much without certain word from Amazon themselves. The journey continues, and we’ll be right back here to bring you the latest on the situation. [via Engadget]
A lot of people were vexed to find that Amazon would be pushing ads to the lock screen and bottom left corner of homescreens of the new Kindle Fire devices announced yesterday.
The ads are not optional, but Amazon has designed them to be unobtrusive and found a slick way to introduce new content and items to you. Not only will digital Amazon content like books, videos, games, and apps be dangled in your face, but Amazon will also show you deals for consumer electronics and other items available in their online storefront.
A lot of people feel a very particular way about ads, but as these aren’t the usual annoying ads that are of absolutely zero interest to most users I expect a lot of you won’t complain. Is this a deal breaker for you or would you gladly accept ads for an experience that ties into the very backbone of Amazon’s premium services?
It looks like AT&T might be thinking about carrying the Sony Xperia T soon. UK retailer Phones4U accidentally posted a press shot of the Sony Xperia T with AT&T branding on its listing.
While this isn’t hard confirmation that AT&T is set to bring the device out it’s a rather clean render and there’s no reason to believe it was doctored by either Phones4U or Sony.
Also note the two separators on the AT&T render — that design is not present in the international version which could be further proof that this is a shot of a possible AT&T version.
We’re not sure when AT&T might be bringing the device out if they are, in fact, doing so, but considering it was just unveiled last week in Berlin we’d say it’s not exactly right around the corner.
Nothing we say is worth more than any official word, though, so we’ll be waiting to hear more from AT&T in the coming weeks or months. [via AndroidCentral]
With the announcement that Samsung would soon be releasing Jelly Bean for the Galaxy S3, owners have been eagerly anticipating the impending update. Not too long ago we saw a leaked Jelly Bean update leaked online and today, it looks like we have a more recent build. Version I9300XXDLI1 is the latest version (postmarked September 3rd) and although there’s no way we can be sure if this will be the final build that will soon be pushed out to Galaxy S3′s, it does serve as a reminder that the official over-the-air update is just around the corner.
As a reminder, this is only for the international version of the Galaxy S3. Those with carrier branded models here in the US will have to wait for your respective carrier to get a hold of the update, and put it through the paces before pushing it to your device. Which carrier will be the first to push out the update still remains to be seen.
Satechi is known for offering good products for a good price. Recent examples: an awesome $30 portable Bluetooth speaker, a high-quality headrest mount for tablets, and a whopping 10,000mAh portable charger for just $50. So when the company announced some new lightweight Bluetooth headphones (creatively named “BT Lite Headphones”), it caught my attention.
With the promise of light weight, good features, and quality sound at $45, I cracked open the package with high expectations. At first, the sound produced by the BT Lites is impressive. But run through a range of songs and you start to notice a fatal flaw – one severe enough to prevent a buy recommendation entirely.
Official Android Police t-shirts are now on sale, with over 25 designs to call yours.
- Satechi Swift Portable Bluetooth Speaker Review: $30 Of Awesome
- [Quick Review] BBP Mobiband Bluetooth Headphones: A Budget Product With A Mid-Range Price
- [Lightning Review] SuperTooth Melody Bluetooth Headphones: Wireless, Compact, And That’s About It
- [Lightning Review] Philips SHL9705A On-Ear Headphones With In-Line Controls And Control App
- a-JAYS One+ Earbuds Review: Impressive Features And Performance – Without A Hit To Your Wallet
[Quick Review] Satechi BT Lite Headphones: Cutting The Wrong Corner was written by the awesome team at Android Police.
So, if you don’t want your child messing up your smartphone, you can always snag a Mugtuk in hopes of scaring the crap out of them, but before you start inflicting emotional scars — and racking up psychologist bills — take a look at what the folks at Microsoft are cooking up for Windows Phone 8, because it seems much more sane. Known as Kid’s Corner, the app is a separate launcher that parents may fully customize. Not only can you include or exclude individual apps or games, but also music and video selections. Parents can find Kid’s Corner by swiping left from within the lock screen, though it’ll also be remarkably easy to exit — a child merely needs to press the power button. With this in mind, it seems that a lock screen password will be in order. According to The Verge, we can expect this feature to be available on all Windows Phone 8 handsets.
Kid’s Corner uncovered for Windows Phone 8: a customizable, simplified launcher for rug rats originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 30 Aug 2012 21:13:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Those of you peeved that you can’t play Call of Duty: Zombies because it’s limited to Xperia phones until September 1 may want to check out SAS: Zombie Assault 3. It offers online multiplayer wave defense with lots of guns and perks.
SAS: Zombie Assault 3 uses a dual-joystick layout that works well enough given the game’s format. It can be tricky being precise without any guides in place. Zombies come in waves, and your sole goal is to stay alive long enough to mow them all down. As you might expect, the undead can hurt you pretty badly if they get close, so your job is to keep moving, keep shooting, and try not to work yourself into a corner where you’ll inevitably become surrounded.
With back to school season around the corner, some parents may be getting antsy about having their young ‘uns out in the big wide world. Luckily, thanks to phones and stand-alone GPS units, mindful moms and dads can track the little buggers every moment of every day. Amber Alerts, the long-standing organization built with the express purpose of preventing child abduction, has launched their own companion Android apps.
As the Apple vs Samsung trial starts here in San Jose, California, neither side is backing down from the fight. Samsung’s Chief Product Officer Kevin Packingham had some words that pretty much sum up his thoughts on the whole scene. It all comes down to fighting over rectangles. Here’s what he said during an interview with Wired.
“In terms of patents, we have a made lot of contributions in the design space as well. I would say the patents we’re struggling with — where there’s a lot of discussion and litigation right now — are around these very broad design patents like a rectangle. For us, it’s unreasonable that we’re fighting over rectangles, that that’s being considered as an infringement, which is why we’re defending ourselves.”
If we ignore all the legal detail surrounding the myriad of lawsuits between the two companies, and take a huge step back for a very wide point of view, it’s not impossible to boil the whole thing down to “Your thing looks too much like my thing!” and that’s what Packingham is essentially saying… that Apple and Samsung are at odds over a basic geometric shape.
Should a company be able to patent a shape? Obviously, hardware and software-wise, the two company’s devices are very different. But the general shape of a rounded-corner rectangle is common to both, so should that be allowed? You could also say that a particular Honda has the same shape as a particular Toyota, or that this Logitech mouse is shaped just like that Microsoft one. Personally, and perhaps obviously, I am totally on Samsung’s side on this one. Apple has a lot to lose since they have all their eggs in one iOS basket, so it makes sense they would defend it with all their power. But you’ve got to think somewhere inside the halls of Cupertino, someone is saying quietly to themselves, “Wow, I hope we get away with this.”
We have seen working builds starting to pop up of CyanogenMod 10 based off of Jelly Bean code, but the team is still hard at work to make a final release of CM9 at some point soon. Release Candidate 2 is now being cranked out by the build servers and adds support for a few [...]
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If you have finally received your Nexus 7 and are looking to score a smartcase, then why not just make one yourself? If you haven’t heard, the N7 has a “sweet spot” on its bezel where if you place a magnet on the specific corner, it will then turn on and off your display. To take advantage [...]
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If you’re a Pinterestee (that’s what they call ‘em, right?) you’ve probably been moaning over the lack of an Android app for a while now. Well, fret no longer. Or actually, just for a couple of days more. Because it looks pretty clear that the Pinterest for Android app is right around the corner.
People over at Ausdroid spotted a mention of Pinterest, Inc in the Google I/O app sandbox, which clearly states “Now available for Android”. The screenshot from the I/O app is attached below. If the news breaks at the conference, we’ll be right there to report it.
For those of you wanting to tinker with the ICS source files for the AT&T and T-Mobile Galaxy S III, I have some good news for you. Samsung just dropped the source for the SGH-I7474M and the SGH-T999V, and can be downloaded through the links below. It’s nice to see that Sammy is keeping their source codes up to date and is offering them before the devices actually launch. I wonder if this means the Verizon version of the source is just around the corner?
If you are at all familiar with the CyanogenMod team then you have some sort of idea how much time and effort goes into building their custom ROM’s. When ICS came out it posed to be a large task to incorporate all the Android 4.0 goodness on top of adding the CM features and injected butter we all have come to enjoy. CM9 is the teams latest build and has been in the nightly stage for some time now but the team just announced that they are gearing up to release an official RC1 (release candidate). Since the team is ready to build something final, they have recently issued a code freeze. That means although they still plan to release nightly builds, they wont be accepting any new code other than bug fixes and additional device support. What features and extras you see now is what you get, and RC1 will be a polished version of the most recent nightly builds.
As usual, the initial release will support a small number of devices, but more devices will be added in the future. We still don’t know exactly what devices will receive support at launch but you can imagine they are hard at work to release versions for most of the popular devices. Stay tuned for CM9 RC1 because it is just around the corner. Head to the source link for more details.
source: CM blog
With last week’s news about T-Mobile‘s GSIII scheduled for a June 20 release, the FCC now has also received filings for Sprint and Verizon‘s GSIII variants. Not much is disclosed about either model at this time but many of us hope to see 2 GB of RAM a la the Canadian GSIII, which in my opinion is a “sorry you aren’t getting quad-core” move from Sammy. We also know that a spotting at the FCC means that availability is just around the corner!