Like other Google I/O attendees, I picked up an Android Wear device at the conference. I went with the LG G Watch. What follows is not really a review so much as my experiences and thoughts about Wear thus far, having lived with it literally every day since picking it up. I'll include some of my opinions on the platform (ignoring for now the hardware), and what I think might be relevant insights and comparisons to Google's other efforts (like Glass).
Let's all pause for a moment to recall fond memories of Sprint ID. Done? Yeah, that didn't take long. If you're reading this, then there's a solid chance you have little interest in a carrier-installed app that screws with your homescreen by providing an obnoxious wallpaper with a preselected assortment of apps and widgets. Thankfully, Sprint is ready to take a new approach. The carrier will start to push Sprint Live on some of the phones it sells later this year, a new experience from Chinese company NQ Mobile that strives to be an always-on replacement for your wallpaper keeping you up to the date with various content tailored to the brands and news stories you're interested in.
It's been a long time coming, but Google's distributed video advice service is finally live. Helpouts is a video chat service with a Google backbone, built on the interface and servers of Hangouts. But this is no mere chat service: it's designed specifically for users to connect with and learn from experts in their respective field. You can access the videos from the web or, naturally, the Android app.
Since you'll be connecting with individuals and companies that are ostensibly experts, you'll have to pay them for their time, either on a minute-by-minute basis or in a session fee.
If you've been paying attention to TV Guide's official app, you know that it's needed some attention for a while. Its UI through version 2.x was an outdated pastiche of Gingerbread tabs and gradated iconography desperately in need of a redesign (and support for 4.0+). Today, TV Guide has fulfilled that need (for the most part), bringing to the Play Store TV Guide Mobile version 3.0. The update also brought "many cool new features" to the app, which we'll discuss momentarily.
One of the best things about Android is its nearly-infinite customizability for users who are willing to put in the effort it takes to make it happen. The thing is, in order to get some of this functionality, less-than-savvy users are daunted by the task of doing things like flashing custom kernels. On the other side, some users just don't want to be troubled with kernel tweaks, but still want the advanced functionality that they can bring.
Bringing a much-needed update to the wildly popular Temple Run, Imangi Studios introduced Temple Run 2 to the Play Store earlier this evening. The game, which brings updated graphics, new obstacles, and player-specific powers, is essentially a refresh of the original, bringing it up to par with recent endless-runner entries like Activision's Pitfall!.
Temple Run 2, like its predecessor, provides players with a vague pretext surrounding a sacred idol. All you really need to know is that you're running from a big, scary, demon monkey, avoiding obstacles, and collecting as many coins as possible along the way.
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.
Let's face it: when Android first officially dropped, it was ugly as hell and not exactly designed with non-techies in mind. But as we've seen in the past 3 years (and a few months) since then, things have come a long way (albeit gradually at first) - the look, feel, and usability of vanilla Android became a major focus in the last year or so, especially with Gingerbread (2.3), Honeycomb(3.0), and Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0).
It has been reported that Matias Duarte, the man responsible for the look and feel of Palm’s webOS, has left Palm to join Google as User Experience Director for Android.
Duarte was the Senior Director of Human Interface and User Experience at Palm, and introduced the design of webOS at the company’s keynote in January 2009. Before leading the webOS design team, he was Vice President of Experience Design at Helio.