It’s rare that we get a glimpse into the thoughts and processes it takes to make a smartphone like the HTC ThunderBolt, which launched on Verizon Wireless as its first 4G LTE device yesterday, but HTC has posted a great 4-minute video where some HTC designers and employees discuss the ThunderBolt, the Sense UI, and what excites them about both. The clip doesn’t necessarily share anything new about the ThunderBolt, but we did enjoy checking out the HTC designer sketchbooks at the 0:27 mark and listening to HTC Sense UI designer Drew Bamford talk about the challenges of creating a product that appeals to the masses. If you want more ThunderBolt action, be sure to check out our unboxing, too — video after the jump. More →
Mozilla said on Wednesday that RC1 of its Firefox 4 build has received a “very warm welcome,” and that since there aren’t any known issues, IT and Marketing have given the go-ahead to launch the final build on March 22nd. Firefox 4 will meet stiff competition from IE 9 and Chrome 10 when it launches, but it provides an updated user interface that Mozilla says is both sleeker and easier to use. Firefox 4 also lets users synchronize settings, passwords, bookmarks, history and open tabs with other devices, and it allows users to drag and drop open tabs into groups that can be named and arranged. Lastly, there’s a new and improved way to manage Firefox add-ons. While March 22nd is the current launch date, Mozilla does warn that there is the potential for a delay. “If at any time we discover issues that would block final release, we would issue an RC2 as soon as possible, reset the ship date, and communicate to everyone,” said Damon Sicore, Mozilla’s senior director of platform engineering. To get a look at what’s to come on the 22nd, you may want to give RC1 a whirl. More →
With all the time, effort, and, to be frank, money that HTC has invested into its Sense UI and now Sense services, it was a bit of a surprise to see the company take a hands-off approach to Windows Phone 7. The operating system’s reprieve may be, however, only temporary. In an interview with Forbes Mobilized blog, HTC’s head of user experience, Drew Bamford, noted that his company has a good working relationship with Microsoft and that it “expects to do more over time” with the Windows Phone 7 user interface.
“HTC’s goal is for the Sense experience to span all of our products,” said Mr. Bamford. “Microsoft has its own goal of consistency across Windows Phone 7 products. I think it comes down to working closely with Microsoft to do as much as we can.”
One of the beauties of WP7 is, in our opinion, the consistency that Bamford mentions. Hopefully, his company can add its own flair to the user experience without affecting the timeliness and delivery of operating system updates. More →
Making a mobile OS “open” is one thing, but this is unlike anything we’ve seen to date. The Symbian Foundation — the newly formed group charged with bringing Nokia’s ever-popular OS into the 21st century — needs your help. Finding a way to update that aged UI is a bit trying we presume (though we wouldn’t mind seeing TAT finally give it a shot) so Scott Weiss, the Symbian Foundation’s UI Technology Manager, has officially opened the UI conversation to the world. The newly launched “Symbian UI Brainstorm” blog asks users to email suggestions that will possibly be transformed into sketches and discussed on the blog. Symbian fans and critics alike have become increasingly vocal with regards to the S60 UI so this could be the perfect opportunity to be heard by the one man who actually cares what they have to say. And who knows? Your great idea might become a reality some day — as part of Symbian^7 or ^8, perhaps. Ok Symbian fans, hit the read link and get to work.
Meizu first got our attention by churning out a laughable iPhone ripoff and getting tossed out of CeBIT because of it. Ever since then, the company has been working hard to transform the Meizu M8 from a painfully blatant ripoff into a, well, slightly less painfully blatant ripoff. Fair enough. So our guess is around the same time webOS screenshots began hitting the web — coincidentally of course — Meizu began work on its new M8 UI. These images, according to reports, show the fruit of that labor. The new iPre UI, sorry Meizu M8 UI, and associated firmware update are rumored to be reaching market sometime this month or next, and won’t M8 owners be excited. Congrats Apple and Palm; imitation, they say, is the sincerest form of flattery. Hit the jump for more shots.
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By way of a Korean press release, Samsung has announced that its popular dumb phone UI for use on its touchscreen devices is getting a makeover. TouchWiz, or “wait is that a smartphone or is that just TouchWiz?” as you may know it, is present on a handful of Samsung handsets and is an evolutionary step based on the Croix UI from Sammy’s Armani phone. Designed with the finger in mind, Samsung developed the UI to have its own OS supplement for handsets that wouldn’t quite make it to smartphone status. In preparation for next week’s MWC kick off, Samsung just sent word through the vine that TouchWiz went and got its hair did in preparation for a whole new look to be shown off in Barcelona. Ok, so the screen shots it provided along with the press release aren’t too great a departure from the TouchWiz of old, but there are some sexy new elements that will make Sammy’s touchscreen dumb phones even more desirable to many. More haptic features, 3D effects, downloadable widgets and a widget dock along the bottom of the screen are among the new features you can look forward to. The best part about Samsung’s announcement? Current TouchWiz handsets will be able to install the new UI via an update. Woo! Expect plenty of hands-on love with the refreshed TouchWiz build to hit all corners of the internet next week.