Tuesday, June 21, 2011
The Nokia Swipe UI perfects the Menu UI
Nokia today unveiled their latest creation, I'll call it the Swipe UI, it is the fourth incarnation of their Linux platform that saw the light in the Nokia 770 six years ago. Then you add a typical 3 years to that, which is what it takes to build a new mobile OS from scratch and you have nearly a 10 year labour of love.
This incarnation is finally polished, clever and interesting. As we all know it it comes late, hopelessly late. It is more statement of: Yes we can make cool stuff things at Nokia, now we just have to figure how we can manage the products, the priorities and make decisions so that they ship when they are still hot and desired. Management, get out of the way and let the rockstars play!
This UI is in my mind a perfection of the past. It perfects the menu UI, all apps are in same hierachy, multi-tasking works much like apps, you see an app in a minature state and you have a rolling structure of integrated notifications and then you rotate between these views by Swiping. Simple and clever.
What about Here and Now, two core elements of context? What about mashed up experiences? What about atomised tasks? It does not simply scale to this. It feels like the Criterion Boy boy of UI's, which by many art historian was the perfect sculpture of a human. Just as artist learn to shape marble to that level of perfection, the progressive folks had moved on. Is Nokia looking for perfection of the past or smashing the barricades to the future, if you ask me, I want to see the latter. Swipe is done, now start over.
We now have one more UI to compare. Comparing iOS, Android, WebOS, Windows Phone 7 and 'Swipe'. I still think the Windows phone 7 is the most scalable concept towards the context era. What makes it so scalable is that Microsoft has taken ownership of the square in a rectangle. As long as displays are square then owning this is very powerful. These things are simple in the end, but getting to this level of simplicity requires mastering many disciplines and making brutal choices. I can certainly see how the Live tiles could be deviced into 4 and even 9 adressable segments over time as display still grow a bit.
Imagine taking the N9 HW with the Metro UI (The Windows Phone 7) UI and you see that if these giants can figure out how to execute, some cool stuff will enter the market. Axel and his team has done an amazing effort with the industrial design, I want one!
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Nokia-Zeiss just rocks - cannot wait for my mobile imaging renaissance
In the darkest of hours, what better than a bit of optimism. Many Nokian's see me as a massive Apple fanboy. This is true, but what I am really a fanboy is of awesome product innovations, elegant simplicity, things that just works.
At present there is simply very little written that is good about Nokia, but one thing which is amazing is the partnership with Zeiss. I remember how excited I was when I first heard of this deal, being the son of a photographer, Zeiss was a brand I knew from childhood. This deal was one of Pekka Rantala's finest moments, he had a massive impact on making happen, and I do think it is one of the best deals both companies have made. I am sure that the Zeiss folks are a bit dissapointed now, but I am sure that once Nokia brings out new phones with an OS and experience that works with that amazing Zeiss technology, imaging will be back in focus bigtime. I loved my N90 'Liferecorder' and I loved the N8 camera. Now with the contextual nature of Windows Phone UI, I can easily envision some amazing imaging experiences. Look at this video and you get a sense of the sheer knowledge that exist in this partnership. Remember that great people make great products. So Nokia, Zeiss and Microsoft go make magic together.