Sony is working on a new smartphone user interface that is said to have gamified features. What this basically means is that the UI gets more advanced as the user gets to know it better. This works best for consumers who buy a new smartphone and don’t want to get overwhelmed by its numerous settings and options.
According to Pál Szász, Software Developer at Sony, “If we look at games, many of them start with a simplified gameplay, which over time becomes more and more complex. For example, the main character may start with a single stick as his or her only tool or weapon, but during gameplay the character will learn spells, find new weapons and armours. This is something we started to think about for smartphones as well, since many end users have problems with the complexity of their smartphone. When an end user starts a smartphone for the first time, he or she is faced with hundreds of features immediately. This is where the idea of the EvolutionUI started.”
With the EvolutionUI a smartphone will have its advanced settings disabled at first. The key features of a device sporting this UI are as follows.
- There is only one desktop panel.
- There is only a clock widget on the desktop.
- There are only 4 application shortcuts on the desktop, the really core applications: dialer, messages, browser and camera.
- The desktop layout is locked, so the user won’t remove items by mistake.
Once a user gets familiar with the device more advanced features are unlocked with the smartphone getting advanced. So how does the device know when to unlock certain functions? Sony says that once a user performs certain actions like stating 5 applications for example they will be receiving an “Achievement” and certain features gets unlocked.
The Achievement rating has two advantages
- The “Achievement” itself will give a positive feedback to the user.
- The features of the phone are unlocked step by step, in the same pace as the user learns how to use the phone. This makes the learning of the phone much easier, and a lot more fun as well.
The EvolutionUI basically monitors the usage of its user. Every time the device is used an experience point is gained. Making a call for example provides 10 experience points or starting an application is worth 1 experience point. Once a certain number of experience points has been obtained then a corresponding achievement will be obtained which leads to the unlocking of a certain feature of the device. One a feature has been unlocked it is automatically enabled but not activated. It is up to the user to use that feature.
The experience points are basically used to level up. At the beginning a user starts at level 1. To reach level 2 a certain amount of experience points must be obtained first. Once a user advances to a new level a Coin will be given. This coin can also be used to unlock other features of the device.
What if the owner of the new device is already an expert Android user? EvolutionUI comes with four profile settings which can be set when the smartphone is switched on. These are Beginner, Easy, Medium and Advanced. In the Advanced profile all features of the device are enabled however users can still take part in gaining Achievements just for fun.
At the heart of the EvolutionUI is the EvolutionUIService which keeps track of every activity done by the smartphone. Each application can access this service and set their own experience points requirements. The service then collects the data of every application to keep track of the progress.
This new UI is still a work in progress that may be coming to Android smartphones soon.