HTC’s Android Interface

With more confirmation that HTC will be releasing their Android powered device by the end of the year, it might be time we start looking into what the devices interface will look like. The first thing that comes to mind is that Google has given clear indication that the Android platform can be tailored to fit almost any use you can imagine. They have also said you can slap on any UI you would like as well. So far we have seen two distinct interfaces from Google, but I can almost guarantee you that you will not see that interface on many devices once Android handsets start shipping in mass early next year. Manufacturers will be spending a lot of time trying to differentiate themselves and the easiest way to do so is by customizing the UI.

HTC started this trend in Windows Mobile devices last year when they launched the Touch. Their TouchFLO interface gave users easier access to applications and other features on their phone which typically would require them to pull out a stylus. This year, HTC took TouchFLO one step further, introducing us to Touch FLO 3D. HTC was able to completely cover up the default Windows Mobile interface and give an entirely new experience on a WM device. The only problem was that TouchFLO 3D was simply added on top of the Windows interface since Microsoft is not too keen on letting people play around with the underlining framework of their OS.

Android is a whole new game. Google has given developers access to the UI and is allowing them to make any changes they want. This could be great for manufacturers who choose to develop simple android phones with a nice list menu interface, but manufacturers like HTC will be taking full advantage of the opportunity. I’d expect HTC to deliver an experience very similar to that of TouchFLO 3D, but since they can actually change the interface rather than slapping it on top of another one, the implementation and performance should be a lot better than that seen on the HTC Touch Diamond.

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  1. “They have also said you can slap on any UI you would like as well.”

    Who is ‘you’ here. Customers or manufacturers/carriers?

  2. TouchFLO 3D blows in comparison to the UI Google demonstrated in the I/O…

    I mean 3 full desktops, 2 for shortcuts and widgets (imagine the possibilities), one for the main menu.
    All 3 desktops are separated by one finger swipe.
    The pull down status bar which i found brilliant.
    Shortcuts could include contacts and bookmarks as well.


    I was a fan of TouchFLO 3D when I first lay my eyes on it. But it’s more of a fixed, limited Windows Mobile themes. For Android, you need something beautiful and unlimited like what Google showed on the I/O. I’m already thinking of a single long wallpaper for these 3 desktops (instead of the mountain which looked cool).

    So please, speed up the release and don’t let me format your theme HTC and reinstall the original.

  3. If customers could slap in any UI, then that would definitely include a format and loss of all your programs, as you’ll be installing a new build of Android with a new UI.

  4. I was very much excited by the reviews that HTC Touch diamond got. But then, user experiences started to pour in. Many complained that it is painfully slow when the TouchFlow 3D is turned on. Out of the box it consumes about 65% of memory. Under the hood is the same Windows interface (ugly) which is even more slow. Media player is buggy. Videos on YouTube also show the obvious lag b/w touch & response.

    HTC knows the formula for a successful phone; it got to have a stunning interface. & with windows as the OS they are having a tough time coming with an UI that is not resource hogging.

    I hope this is where Android steps in. They can come up with any UI design without being dictated by the constraints of the underlying OS.

    What we need is NOT an UI that sits on top an OS (resulting in sluggish user experience). But one that is tightly integrated & embedded in the OS itself. Just like Apple have done with their OS & what makes iPhone hard to beat.

  5. The reason TouchFLO 3D has had bad performance is because it is on top of the WM default interface. If TouchFLO 3D was the main interface, it would not hog as many resources and run a lot smoother. HTC is still working hard to make the interface work a lot better. There’s a new review about it her: and it seems they have almost got things squared away.

    I’m not saying that HTC would simply slap on TouchFLO 3D on Android as it currently is. It’s a very good starting point. All the features that Google showed off with multiple desktops and widegets could easily be integrated into TouchFLO 3D. It’s a simply way to keep all the essential features on the phone right at your fingertips in a sleek design.

  6. I’m really interested in knowing if anyone can skin Android. It would be great to create your own skins and even put them online for others to download.

  7. I don’t want anything resembling Touch FLO 3D on the HTC Dream. It is very boring and limited. Eye candy? Sure. But it pre-defines everything on your phone.

    We all know it’s slow because it’s on top of Windows Mobile.

    I would be satisfied with the I/O version Google demoed.

  8. Agreed TareX…. TouchFlo 3D is just eyecandy. But it is also too much black & white or dark IMHO. & not very easy to use… Sometimes HTC tends to go for too much.

    What I need is something that is very easy to use, intuitive & meaningful UI that is also drop dead gorgeous!!

    Google is close:
    It is easy to create themes for this type of UI than TouchFlo 3D. (I’m already thinking of iPhone theme for my HTC Dream)

    Still I think this can be improved upon. Font is clear. But the icons need more working. I didn’t like alarm, camera & browser icon.

    Anybody with good, suggestive screenshots??

    PS : what is that ‘x’ button on the ‘applications’ title bar. If I close the applications menu, where do I go? Empty home screen?

  9. You would go to the dock on the bottom, or you could add the applications icon on your home screen. Remember during the I/O video when Steve Horowitz pressed and held his finger on the home screen and a short cut screen showed up? I’m sure you’ll be able to add the applications folder on the home screen if you didn’t want it in the dock. They did say everything was customizable.

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