It's not every day that I get excited when I look at a UI demo, largely because they tend to end up being vaporware. But it's hard to ignore a revolutionary UI when one comes along - and that's exactly what Chameleon is:

Still not sold? Check out this demo video from 2 months ago, when Chameleon was first announced:

It's certainly a stunning UI, and one that manages the rare feat of being equal parts beautiful and functional. But there's a catch: the company initially intended to sell Chameleon to OEMs, but it seems they couldn't find a buyer - so they're taking to Kickstarter.

That's a cause for worry (and understandably so), but the situation may be a bit more optimistic than usual. As I said above, UIs that haven't made it out of the prototype stage tend not to make it to reality. Factor in a whopping $50,000 Kickstarter goal and the picture might make you hesitate. But as shown above, the company has working code, not just some Photoshop renders.  More importantly, it turns out that Teknision, the company behind Chameleon, has respectable history as one of the designers behind the UI for the BlackBerry PlayBook.

All things considered, I think this has the potential to be an amazing tablet UI - assuming it ultimately sees the light of day. Hit up the link below to support the project or see more details.

[Source: Kickstarter via reddit]

Aaron Gingrich
Aaron is a geek who has always had a passion for technology. When not working or writing, he can be found spending time with his family, playing a game, or watching a movie.

  • http://twitter.com/XaTiOn John

    Wow, looks awesome. What would be even cooler is if that "Smile Detection" system were to toggle whether to get "Straight to the point" in most aspects of the tablet, to prevent further frustration if you're not smiling / really pissed off. I don't know, it seems like an okay idea in my head.

  • Loren Cogar

    I'm in for $5

  • http://twitter.com/PCSievers P.C. Sievers

    As awesome as this looks you guys need to be really wary. It isn't immediately apparent why they can have a working prototype, have approached OEMs and got turned down and need 50k for some reason to release it in the play store. Their kickstarter page certainly isnt saying where the funds are going.

  • http://lord-data.myopenid.com/ Lord_Data

    I'm sure it's fine, I can't help but wonder why $50,000 is needed to put an app on the market, especially if it's already a functional prototype that people want to buy.

    • Pc Wong

      Exactly. Just put the prototype on Google Play. If you can write the app without any kind of support or investment. You shouldn't charge for it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=825640724 Adam Sablich

    Looks beautiful, and useless.
    I have one widget on my tablet's home screen - google search. My phone has three widgets, weather, calendar, and search. Anything more than that and they start to slow down, like the tablet in this preview video. I want my machines fast and functional. Quick access to ALL data is far more important than slow access to 2-3 emails, then waiting 10 seconds for the widgets to disappear and the gmail app to float in. Same reason I don't use desktop gadgets in win7 - I can get any of that information in one or two clicks, why would I want any of that crap constantly running, being annoying, and being basically useless in the background?

    • Devcager

      That is you opinion and your way using Android. A lot of Android users ARE Android useres because of the homescreens and widgets which you dont have in WP or iOS. This app does make completely sense!! ... and! The video is shot on Asus Transformer which is today quite slow machine. Big difference from Transformer Prime.... AND the product is in the development state - the most common problem of unfinished apps is speed and lags which can be much more improved!


    What's the point of kick-starting this? Just release it as a launcher, and it'll pay itself.

  • http://twitter.com/renzenkuken Cecil

    No idea why they need 50K for this, can someone explain

  • Jays2Kings

    At the very least will it be free for those who donate (or everyone) when it hits the Play Store when/if they reach $50K, I'm not sure why all that is need for something with a lot of progress already made.

  • Freak4Dell

    Okay, I'm confused. Why do they need to Kickstart this? It's not like duplicating software costs money. It's also not like this would require servers on the backend, like utter! would. Sounds like they're just out for the money to me.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Say you're a developer, and then you have this idea to make something really awesome. But rather than lose your house because you can't make payments on the house after you quit your job, you raise some money.

      • Freak4Dell

        But according to the article, it's already created. That means all they have to do is upload the APK to the Play Store. If I'm missing something here, by all means, let me know. From what I read in the article and saw in the video, though, there's no indication of why these guys need $50,000 to release this app.

        • Luis Augusto Fretes Cuevas

          They probably want to get some, if not all, of their investment back.

          • Freak4Dell

            If the product is good, then they'll have no problem getting it back through sales of the app. If the product sucks, they don't deserve their investment back.

            Being scared that they won't get their investment back is not a valid reason to do a Kickstarter, IMO.

        • Justin

          According to the video its not finished, and is going to take many months to complete. So no, uploading an apk is not all they have to do. My guess is 50k for the time to finish the code, finish testing, get a FINISHED product out thats not buggy.. 50k would be a small fraction of the cost I'm guessing.

      • Devfrost

        Yes they have created the apk but huge chance it's not refine or bug free yet. They need the fund to hire programmers to speed that process up and create a more refine advertisement to spread their apps. That's my guess

  • http://nibras.co.cc Nibras Ahamed Reeza

    02:20+ in the first video. He says they are planning to launch in September *but with your help, we can get it in your hands earlier*. So, I guess it means they are gonna launch it anyway but need money only to accelerate development?

    • Tyler Chappell

      What this really means is that people are lazy when not motivated by money.

      • Justin

        I know I am, and 50k is chicken feed anyway.

      • Cuvis the Conqueror

        What it means is that they have mouths to feed, and the Kickstarter money would let them work on this full time instead of holding down a day job.

  • Chris Bozsik

    I have no issue with them doing a Kickstarter but considering that they have the product essentially in a working beta form I don't see why they should have to. The way I see it Kickstarter is for people or groups with a great idea but no funding. If this was a physical thing and they had one working prototype then fine, but since it's software it's not like they need money to buy parts and pay for manufacturing. They must not have faith in their product if they aren't just putting it on the Play Store. Maybe if their Kickstarter goal was more modest they would reach their goal but 50 grand? no way.

  • Himmat Singh

    This and Onskreen are what's going to make Android tablets that much more useful and practical.

    • Jonathan Wong

      And it's going to make it look hot!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1519620310 Zac Rodriguez

      And Cornerstone! I LOVE Cornerstone.
      Its a bummer though because the 2 ROMs I know of (Team EoS and AOKP) available for the Transformer Prime with Cornerstone are: 1) Both seen as just side projects by the teams involved (Not too surprised since it is not their application though) and 2) Still quite unstable (Again, Cornerstone issue).  When it works though I love it.

  • http://profiles.google.com/kanebateman kane bateman

    Why wouldnt google absorb such a fantastic product..  50k is pocket change.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/7GU4N7CVDBJXMZOBFO3DMIQZH4 J

    Nice...A phone version of this could be nice to have as well...  

  • Yimengh

    Is it just me, or does the interface look a lot like windows 8? I can see a many Metro design elements, especially in the side scrolling widgets

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=636165701 Zaeem Shahzad

    I think this looks amazing. I hope they make it with the funding! :)

  • http://profiles.google.com/leemarkin Mark Lee

    i don't understand, is it a skin, a widget or a launcher?

    and i agree google should buy it, little money but can help competing WP7's live tile...

  • Andrew

    I'd be a little wary of this. For something that appears at face value to be amazing to be turned down by all OEMs is a bit suspect to me. I'm assuming the $50k is to go on paying 10(ish?) programmers for a few months?

    I think they'd garner more support by being a bit more transparent, as the video is heavily implying that it's more or less a finished product. Saying in the video itself that it'll be on the Play store within 6 months anyway and then asking for $50k certainly isn't going to help them.

  • Sven Enterlein

    Why not just chip in the $5 and see what happens. If the project doesn't get funded you won't be charged and can get the product some time later anyway. Everyone is always talking about supporting developers but when they ask for support everyone is upset and skeptical.

    • aiden9

      Thats not true at all, when Cyanogenmod asked for donations for new build servers they got what they needed within hours of posting.

      I think it has to do with transparency and being clear on what you need and why you need it. These guys look like they have a complete (or nearly completed) project, so what exactly do they need? Are they looking for money to test their app(skin, launcher, widget?) on multiple devices to better support it?

      • Sven Enterlein

        Maybe they should be more transparent about what they need the money for, agreed.

      • Freak4Dell

        Agreed. The video and the author of the article imply that the product is already done or close to it, yet these guys are asking for thousands of dollars without telling anyone why. It makes no sense.

  • denbo68

    Skeptical. The UI looks "ok" but I disagree how functional it really will be. At least, I'd have to use it first to see.

    Swiping seems slow. Someone mentioned it was running on a slow tablet but when you demo a product the last thing you want to do is to be making excuses.

    Why do they need $50K?

  • Tony Sidaway

    I abandoned the concept of a home screen recently because I don't find it useful. It really isn't that difficult to start an app as and when you need it--in fact Android is designed to work that way. I just keep a couple of folders on the Apex dock, with all the apps I'm likely to need to start. Common functions such as web, phone and calendar occupy the rest of the dock. The single screen I use is clear (except sometimes for a pretty wallpaper) and I have never, ever had a use for any widgets.

    So from my perspective, this looks like a solution in search of a problem.

    • Sven Enterlein

      This is why Android is so great - You can choose to have widgets or not! I use only very few apps but want to see the most important updates right on my homescreen.
      Just one question (and not to start a flame war, just curiosity): what keeps you from getting an iPad?

      • denbo68

        iPad? I prefer buying my music from Amazon. I prefer having an app market that isn't restricted because the products compete with the market owner. I prefer using a platform that doesn't restrict me to just one market. I prefer a platform that makes the dev environment free and I am not charged money to program for it.

        I guess I could sum all of that up into one word "freedom".

    • ratnok

      I actually have ALL widgets on my phone and Transformer Prime. I can't stand looking at a blank screen or rows and rows of apps. I use Go Launcher EX which allows me to resize all my widgets, including those that aren't Google. Plus, it allows me to keep the same visual theme across all icons and widgets for a cleaner look.  If this UI was on the Google Market (I refuse to say "Play Store") then I would buy it- depending on the price. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Олег-Цой/100002515142603 Олег Цой

    It is a 50/50 chance idea. We have launchers and widgets. Part of the Android attraction is interaction with your phone/tablet widgets and GUI. At least for me or for those that like minimalist look.
    I am not questioning why they need 50k, but it is certainly easier to understand reason for  project like Pebble. Manufacturing.

  • FrillArtist

    lol. $50,000. Dream on...

    • ratnok

      Actually, it's not a lot of start up money for a company. I take it you've never started a business. 

  • HunnyBear

    To those who don't understand the need for $50,000 to develop an app/UI...well, those aren't "manufacturing" costs. That money largely goes to supporting the developer(s) because if we pay them money to cover the cost of living then it greatly frees up time for them to work on the project in question instead of other paid projects or work.

    Well, at least I think that... :P

  • denbo68

    Wonder how much they will charge for this on the market?

  • br_hermon

    The UI is ok. Nothing earth shattering, but it does look like it may have some promise. The functionality of this project however is HORRIBLY UNINVENTIVE. There's nothing here that's unique as best I can tell. Granted, I haven't researched it heavily, so perhaps there's more to it than meets the eye. However, If my initial instincts are right... At it's core, this is no more than "scenes" as developed by HTC, or "profiles" you can change OR at it's simplest form: It's your launcher with multiple homescreens, one with all your work widgets, one with all your personal / home widgets, one with all your entertainment widgets, etc. I could set up my phone / tablet in this exact same format today. I'd lay you odds that OEMs came back with the same exact criticism and said that Chameleon brings nothing new to the table.

    The UI could have some nice elements (but will eventually be copied by other developers / home replacements) leaving it with nothing to it's name. Pass on this one folks.

  • CeluGeek

    Very nice looking but not too practical. I'd definitely hate such a cluttered homescreen. There is a reason Android gives you multiple homescreens, so you can get organized. I like widgets as much as the next guy but would not put more than two in the same screen. This looks more cluttered than a Windows Phone.

  • brainimp

    I see nothing that cant be achieved with by a developer coding a full screen multi-purpose widget

    • Freak4Dell

      Hell, it's possible that some clever use of Tasker could accomplish this without any new widgets being coded.

      • Pc Wong

        Exactly. It's possible that some clever use of vim could replace your todo list, your word processor, your spreadsheet, your IDE, your music composing app, pretty much anything you do on your computer. Without any new program being coded.

  • http://twitter.com/stevetek Steve MacKenzie

    Hey Guys,

    We're scrambling to answer all of your questions so we figured we'd update the kickstarter site with an FAQ. We'll definitely be addressing where the funds are going. Stay tuned!

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Feel free to reply to some of the questions here, many won't see the FAQ.

  • TheFirstUniverseKing

    I've watched both videos and honestly I don't see what's the big deal about it. I don't care for user profiles, and I'd never use that video throwing feature. ICS already has face-unlock, and the UI just consists of giant widgets. What exactly is so innovative and/or great about this?

  • Dark69Slayer

    Its not easy to create a good app,there is time involved,and the devs have to pay their bills too. Some do this as a living so they do need some money . 

  • Gigikent

    OOOO my GOODDD. Awesome!!!!

  • ratnok

    Why don't they just launch it in the Google Market for - say - $5-10? If they got a 100,000 downloads (easily done at $5) they would net $350,000. Get some good reviews by the Android blog sphere and maybe Engadget and CNET, and wa-La! You get 1,000,000+ downloads and $3.5 million in net revenue. There are only two issues, marketing exposure, and quality. 

    I WOULD BUY IT!! - for my T-Prime.

    And so would my wife for her OG Transformer, and my step-mom for her Tab 10.1.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ktkintner Kevin Kintner

    Chamleon posted an .apk to try at  http://chameleon.teknision.com/thelab/

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Looks like the apk is only to let them collect tablet stats. Nothing to do with the actual launcher.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Looks like the apk is only to let them collect tablet stats. Nothing to do with the actual launcher.

  • casinrm

    Please support 1024 x 600 7 inch tablet resolution. Android has a lot of tablets in the 7 inch sector, including my poor ol' Kindle Fire running CM9 that won't be able to take advantage of this innovation.