Apple recently won an injunction that could prevent HTC from importing several Android phones into the United States, and now it has been granted a patent for a technology that may drastically affect how Android vendors design their devices and user interfaces. The Cupertino-based company was granted a patent titled “Portable electronic device with graphical user interface supporting application switching,” which basically means Apple has been awarded a patent for switching apps while on a phone call. That’s a pretty valuable patent, considering most smartphones allow users to switch to a new application while on a phone call. As CBS points out, the broad wording within the patent documentation could make it very hard for Apple’s competitors to create a workaround. For example, the patent describes how a user might use his or her finger to tap a menu and choose another application — something that can currently be done on all smartphones. Read on for more. More →
Facebook has totally overhauled its Android application to better align with the UI available on the iPhone and the iPod touch. There’s a left navigation sidebar for quick and easy access to your messages, profile, friends and more. Your timeline takes the stage, front and center, right when you launch the application, so you don’t have to go tapping through menus to find status updates. “Photos and albums are up to two times faster than the previous Android app,” Facebook explained in a blog post. “It’s also easier to share photos, view comments and edit captions on the go.” The free update is expected to roll out shortly. More →
User interface expert Dr. Jakob Nielsen, who describes himself as an author, researcher and consultant on user interfaces, recently studied the user experience of the Kindle Fire and dubbed it “disappointingly poor.” Nielsen said the lack of physical buttons impeded the reading experience, the device was too heavy and was “unpleasant to hold for long periods of time,” and while there was potential for a good magazine reading experience, Nielsen said the result was “miserable.” Nielsen even proposes a bit of a conspiracy theory to why the web browsing experience on the Kindle Fire might be inferior to other devices. “If I were given to conspiracy theories, I’d say that Amazon deliberately designed a poor web browsing user experience to keep Fire users from shopping on competing sites,” he said. “Amazon’s own built-in shopping app has great usability, so they clearly know how to design for the tablet.” More →
Netflix, compelled by the increasing number of Android tablets now flooding the market, announced a brand new user interface for tablets on Tuesday. The company explained that the revamped UI now displays twice as many movie and TV titles, with larger cover art, and that users can easily swipe through titles to find additional content. The changes are all welcome, since we found the old UI was a bit sluggish while searching for something to watch. “In the last 12 months we have seen a threefold increase in how long Netflix members are watching on their tablets,” Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt said, noting the company wanted to introduce the redesigned UI in time for the expected influx of new users from the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s Nook Tablet. The update is free and is available in the Android Market now. Netflix said the update will be available for iPad users “in a few weeks.” The full press release follows after the break. More →
A report was recently published by Android Police that suggests HTC’s Sense user interface has several major security flaws that provide HTC with access to SMS data, phone numbers, system logs, location information and much more. Worse, the flaw could potentially allow any third-party application to access the same private information without having permission from the user to do so. The security issue has been identified on the HTC ThunderBolt, EVO 4G and EVO 3D. “HTC takes our customers’ security very seriously, and we are working to investigate this claim as quickly as possible,” HTC said in a statement. “We will provide an update as soon as we’re able to determine the accuracy of the claim and what steps, if any, need to be taken.” HTC addressed a browser privacy issue in June and also commented on another report in early September which suggested the Sensation and EVO 3D were spying on users. HTC responded to the browser issue with a fix and said the “spying” allegations were a result of an HTC “opt-in” feature that allows HTC to collect data so that it can improve its phones. More →
The first images and details surrounding Google’s next major Android release have seemingly been revealed. Mobile site RootzWiki claims to have received images and details from a source with an early build of Android 4.0 “Ice Cream Sandwich,” and it has published two images of the OS running on a Nexus S. The site says this Ice Cream Sandwich build is “still very early in the works and not 100% functional,” and it speculates that the OS will not be released in the near future as a result. Among the features reportedly found in Android 4.0 are a new blue theme in place of Gingerbread’s green theme, a camera with an integrated panorama feature and various Honeycomb-like UI details. The site’s source says that Ice Cream Sandwich will be made available for the Nexus S following its release, but the Nexus Prime will be the first device to launch with the new OS, just as BGR exclusively reported in June. More →
Sony Ericsson confirmed in a blog post on Monday that its developers have been working hard on the Android 2.3 Gingerbread update for the Xperia X10, and that the roll-out will begin in early August. The company confirmed that it will keep the original camera UI as found in the Eclair version of the phone, and that the Facebook Inside Xperia functionality in the newest Xperia family of phones will be available on the X10 as well. Unfortunately, SE said that it will not add DLNA support to the X10, as adding that would “jeopardize the time schedule.” Generic trade phones will get the Gingebread upgrade, which was announced in March, but Sony Ericsson did note that “some of you will not be able to upgrade your customized version of Xperia X10.” In other words, we seriously doubt AT&T users will ever get it. Hit the jump for a video of a prototype running Gingerbread in action. More →
Time flies. Motorola introduced its MOTOBLUR user interface and software service with the debut of the Motorola CLIQ back in 2009, but now it appears that moniker’s days are coming to an end. Just yesterday the company unveiled two new Android smartphones for Sprint and Virgin Mobile: the Photon 4G and the Motorola Triumph. The Motorola Photon 4G clearly sports Motorola’s custom user interface, but there was absolutely no mention of the name. We’ve confirmed that Motorola will phase out referring to its UI as MOTOBLUR. Perhaps the move is related to Motorola’s purchase of Three Laws Mobile (3LM) earlier this year, which suggests that an entirely new UI is in the works. Either way, it’s clear that customers didn’t care for the original service and UI, but the bits and pieces that Motorola continues to use seems to be working well for the company. More →
We’re only a couple hours away from finding out, but a photo has been making the rounds depicting what some are claiming to be part of the enhanced notifications UI in iOS 5. As you can see the in the photo, Twitter mentions are displayed on a second bar below the status bar, much like how Apple displays tethering or background voice calling. The question is, if the photo is indeed real, does tapping on the status bar then bring you to a page with all of your unread notifications? Is there an Android style drop-down panel? TechCrunch, which originally published the photo, says at the very least it has been told the photo is the “right idea,” even if it is not authentic. We’ll know in under two hours and we’ll be covering WWDC 2011 live.
Nokia’s latest QWERTY candybar phone, the E6, is now available for pre-order in the U.K. Nokia took the wraps off of the E6 in April — at the same time it announced X7 — and said it would ship with the latest Symbian “Anna” operating system. The E6 offers a 2.46-inch 640 x 480 pixel touchscreen, an 8-megapixel camera, GPS, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and a 1,500 mAh battery. Symbian “Anna” will provide enterprise grade security with hardware accelerated encryption, several new e-mail features, a revamped user interface, and a new version of Nokia’s mapping application (formerly Ovi Maps). The E6 is priced contract-free at £349.00 ($570) and Nokia expects pre-orders to ship by the end of June. More →
Awaiting yet another 4G LTE device to take advantage of the fastest 4G network in the country? The LG Revolution for Verizon Wireless might be your handset… on second thought, maybe not. While we had high hopes for the LG Revolution, even in our short time with the phone, we came away disappointed. The device itself feels a little thinner than the chunky HTC ThunderBolt and it’s more comfortable to hold and use, but most of the positives end there. We can’t stress this enough, but the display on the Revolution is just disappointing. It’s dull, lacking colors, and looks extremely pixelated. LG’s custom UI doesn’t help as well, as it feels like a knock-off version of Samsung’s TouchWiz without the added benefits. LG’s default keyboard in Android is the poorest attempt at a software keyboard we’ve seen lately, and the way LG organizes their app drawer is chaotic. We haven’t spent enough time with the device to get a good handle on the battery life, but if it’s anything like the ThunderBolt, well, you’re going to be looking for an extended battery STAT. Check out our LG Revolution hands-on gallery below while we get revolving on the review.
Gingerbread is lurking deep in the recesses of your Honeycomb, Android tablet. According to a report filed by mobile blog Pocketables, the interface you’re presented with on your Honeycomb tablet can be changed by adjusting your tablet’s perceived screen density. On a rooted Dell Streak 7 running Android 3.1, the default interface experience is the new Honeycomb UI — complete with updated widgets, homescreens, and controls. By changing a single line, thereby tricking that tablet into thinking its pixel density is 170 instead of 160, the Gingerbread layout is presented upon reboot. What does this mean for you? Nothing… but it is pretty cool to see in action. Hit the jump to see a video demo and let us know what you think. More →
According to a purported internal screenshot obtained by TmoNews, T-Mobile may launch the HTC Sensation 4G on June 8th. We fell in love with the Sensation 4G in early April during our hands-on. It has a rock-solid aluminum uni-body design, is powered by a dual-core 1.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, has a 4.3-inch 960 x 520 qHD display, 4GB of internal storage, an 8-megapixel camera capable of recording 1080p HD video, and runs Android Gingerbread with HTC’s latest and greatest Sense user interface. Pricing for the phone hasn’t been officially announced, but earlier rumors have suggested it will cost $200 with a new T-Mobile contract. More →