What would a Samsung device be without the company’s own unique take on a user interface? For the forthcoming round-faced Samsung Gear smartwatch, it will take some hacking to figure out the answer to that question as Samsung has released the latest Gear SDK which includes a new user interface codenamed Orbis. Unlike past versions of smartwatches from Samsung, the round face of the forthcoming Gear device means developers will deal with some new challenges. The other new feature Samsung will bring to market is a rotating bezel that can be used to control functions on the watch, becoming a physical part of the interface. Read more
One of the more recent additions to Samsung’s Touchwiz interface is the ability to load themes. Themes go beyond changing the wallpaper as related assets like buttons, some interface colors, fonts and icons are also updated. In addition to adding this new feature to their UI, Samsung is also working on opening a “theme store” where users can grab new themes to match a mood or look that they may be interested in loading. To help populate that store with content, Samsung is reaching out to designers and inviting them to partner with Samsung. Read more
Over the years, one complaint that surfaced about Samsung smartphones was the TouchWiz UI that Samsung deployed. While Samsung was always adding in lots of interesting and unique features, critics also felt the interface was becoming too bloated and busy. Samsung took that input and started to trim things back some for the Galaxy Note 4. However, for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge, it was clear that Samsung was being more aggressive in trimming things down. Many believed a lot of this was due to the influence of Google’s Material Design framework. However, it appears that Samsung also leaned heavily on their work with the Tizen OS, recently employed on the Samsung Galaxy Z1 released in India. Read more
The IFTTT app for Android devices received an update this week designed to make it just a little bit easier for users to tap into its power. The IFTTT developers made some small tweaks to the user interface and added several new channels that can be accessed from the mobile app. They also indicate they have improved Recipe syncing and made some minor bug fixes. Read more
Pandora has announced the release of a beta version of a new interface for their mobile app on iOS and Android devices. The interface is called Station Personalization and according to Pandora, it is designed to “provide effortless music discovery and listening” for their 75 million listeners. According to Pandora, the interface focuses on three areas – new transition and animations, improved personalization and station details, and improvements to the “thumbs” system. Read more
The concept of themes applied to the interface of an Android device is nothing new as many third-party launchers have supported themes for a long time now. The ability to quickly change the look of a device is a feature that many people enjoy as witnessed by the popularity of third-party launchers along with the host of theme and icon packs available through the Play Store. Based on some new images that surfaced it appears Samsung may have realized they can keep people using their own TouchWiz UI if they add in the ability to load themes. Read more
Taking a break from all the Google I/O 2014 news here, we have some sweet info regarding Netflix’s Android app for you.
The video streaming company has pushed a major UI update to its app. There’s a completely new design layout and according to the changelog, there’s been some bug fixes as well. (You might also notice they’ve changed their logo!)
Google has a lot of apps for lots of different platforms, so it may not be surprising that updates take more than one week a month. Even though several apps were updated last week, Google has continued this week with the release of an updated Google+ app for Android devices. Probably the biggest feature added to the new version is the new auto awesome Stories and Movies features that was announced earlier this week. Probably the biggest change users will notice though is a refreshed user interface. Read more
The ‘MapMyFitness’ app in Google Play was updated to version 3.0 just a few days ago, and boy does it look great.
Not only was there a complete UI overhaul, but several functions have been expanded as well.
There’s a new workout recording experience, a slide-out menu (which we’ve all begun to get very familiar with), new friending/social capabilities, new mobile graphs for post-workout use, and new MVP features including mobile coaching, custom spits, heart rate graphs, leaderboard filtering and live tracking.
The app is free, but the MVP advanced features will come at a price. MVP pricing costs $29.99 annually or $5.99 monthly. All users will be able to take advantage of a free two week trial for the MVP features, and Galaxy S5 owners will get 6 months free.
Hit the break for a link to the app in the Play Store.
Shazam is working on an update to their music identification app to bring users a new, cleaner interface. This should make it easier to preview, buy, and share songs or TV show information. Shazam is also improving access to lyrics, showing them as soon as a song is matched. Shazam is also improving the speed with which information about broadcast TV shows is displayed. Read more