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Multi-tasking and multi-window view used together for high performance productivity scenarios in the state-of-the-art UX environment of Microsoft Windows 8.1 – the ultimate solution not available with Apple and Android devices
The versions of multi-tasking and multi-window view in Windows 8.1 are already the second generations of the concept which first appeared during the preview of Windows 8 in September, 2011. Properly designed applications relying on them can not only be run simultaneously but also can manifest themselves at the same time on up to 4 independent parts of a single screen, as well as extended by using any number screens where there are additional monitors connected to the system. That capability not only enables much higher performance productivity scenarios than before with the first version (i.e. in Windows 8), but the number of possible scenarios can be significantly higher and more complex.
This is especially important as – unlike the current iPad and Android system – application developers could plan their individual apps as part of a growing society of apps (delivered usually by 3d parties) which can be used together with some companion apps simultaneously, constituting together a given scenario actually created by the user himself or herself. This is very much a workstation like environment already found in classic GUI based workstations, but now inside such a state-of-the-art UX environment as that of Microsoft Windows 8.1.
Acknowledgement: I should thank Zsolt Bátorfi from the DPE (Developer and Platform Evangelism) unit of Microsoft Hungary for his invaluable input to this post.
The quite simplistic iPad and Android environments are mainly satisfying the entertainment scenarios only. So the 2nd generation Microsoft Surface family of productivity tablets priced upto $2420 (when for an All-in-One configuration) [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 24, 2013] was rightfully positioned against them as there is a growing demand on the market which is not served by any other platform. The same applies to the upcoming Windows 8.1 devices from the 3d party vendors.
There will be entry level products like the $349 ASUS Transformer Book T100 which was already shown as part of The long awaited Windows 8.1 breakthrough opportunity with the new Intel “Bay Trail-T”, “Bay Trail-M” and “Bay Trail-D” SoCs? [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 14, 2013] delivered by Intel. With that the growing but still unsatisfied demands could be fulfilled by starting at sufficiently competitive levels in terms of Android entertainments devices from major global vendors, even more so in terms of Samsung devices.
I put together this post in order to understand this additional (to Intel Bay Trail and Haswell SoCs) breakthrough opportunity as clearly as only possible.
We’re also making improvements for using multiple apps at once in Windows 8.1.
Windows 8.1 brings variable, continuous size of snap views. You will have more ways to see multiple apps on the screen at the same time. You can resize apps to any size you want, share the screen between two apps, or have up to four apps on screen. If you have multiple displays connected, you can have different Windows Store apps running on all the displays at the same time and the Start Screen can stay open on one monitor. This makes multi-tasking even easier. Also in Windows 8.1, you can have multiple windows of the same app snapped together – such as two Internet Explorer windows.
And it was showcased last time with Windows 8.1 as Microsoft Surface 2 Halo Spartan Assault Gaming and Office Suite Multitasking Demo [HotHardware YouTube channel, Sept 25, 2013]
Compare this to the previous generation hardware and software Microsoft Surface RT – True Multitasking Demo [MyWorldOfIT YouTube channel, Nov 2, 2012] with Windows 8.0 which a common Android tablet or iPad still cannot do (except some Samsung GALAXY devices still in a limited split screen fashion, as noted a little later)
which was described in Design case study: iPad to Windows Store app [MSDN, March 21, 2012] as
Use snap view to engage your users
Windows 8 lets users multitask by “snapping” an app next to another app. The snapped view is a great way to increase the app’s time on screen and engage users for longer periods. It’s easy for a user to change the main app and the snapped app by manipulating the splitter between the two, so it is important to maintain context across resizes. We don’t want users to lose app state as a result of resizing their app.
Windows Store app
The snap view of the home screen is just a different view of the home page where a user can still access the same content.
In snap view, a user pans vertically to get to more content because it is more comfortable to pan along the long edge. This is different than the horizontal panning in full view, which is also optimized to pan along the long edge.
Note that Samsung was quick to employ this single concept in its forked Android solution, first in Multiscreen – GALAXY Note 10.1 – Samsung [SAMSUNGMOBILEUK YouTube channel, Oct 12, 2012] and then later in GALAXY Note II and Note 3 phablets, and in the Note 8.0 tablet and GALAXY S4 smartphone, where it was called Multi Window (also for Note 10.1), but just for two applications at the same time for which the device screen is split into two parts. See also Samsung GALAXY Note 10.1 Has Arrived Game-Changing Device Hits U.S. Store Shelves Tomorrow [Samsung Mobile Press, Aug 15, 2012]. Not for all GALAXY devices!
And here is a rare recognition of the fact that Yes, the Microsoft Surface RT tablet is much better than Android or iPad Tablets [GodGunsGutsGlory4KJV YouTube channel, Aug 21, 2013]
I held off from buying a Microsoft Tablet and bought an Android Tablet after listening to some flawed and rather biased reviews a while back.
But after being frustrated once again that Android STILL CAN’T MULTITASK while playing videos I went and looked further into the Microsoft Surface RT and bought one.
There are several popular youtube videos comparing the Surface RT to Androids and iPad tablets but evidently either those people don’t know how to run a REAL tablet or they are deliberately skewing the comparisons. Because face it, the Surface RT is much more capable than the Android. And the Surface Pro of course is a full powered laptop but with less battery life and cost a pretty penny/ So for what I want in a tablet I got a Surface RT and it is great!
As I said, the most of the reviews that came up in search were flawed.
I was watching this pathetic one and should have known better when I saw the username… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYbCfL…
But check out the comments now. LOL! The comments were more helpful than the video.
They talked about some honest review by some Lisa woman so I found this video and it was great… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIOG2V…
So after that I bought one and the Surface RT did what I needed and then some. Like built in Remote Desktop that works just like it did on my Windows 7 laptop so I can log into my home pc while away.
And while most reviews just showed the Surface running the active tiles home screen and launched apps from there they did not demonstrate the Desktop mode which operates it in the more native Windows screen that people are used to which is where you can open windows and navigate the machine or use full Internet Explorer 10.
Anyway I am ranting again… and that’s what this video is. It is more of a RANT and a warning to others to be careful with the biased reviews. I give a two thumbs up to this tablet!
No wonder that Microsoft started to highlight the multitasking advantage in this recent video about Surface RT vs. iPad [Windows YouTube channel, Aug 7, 2013], see the part starting at [0:43] under the title “Multitask” and noting that:
One app at a time [on iPad] vs. Do multiple things at once [on Surface RT]
Design, technology and business background for the above differentiation
Microsoft design principles (Windows) [MSDN, March 8, 2013]
Here are five principles for building great Windows Store apps. Use these principles when you plan your app, and always ensure that your design and development choices live up to them.
Pride in craftsmanship Be fast and fluid Authentically digital Do more with less Win as one
- Use the UI model.
- Work with other apps to complete scenarios by participating in app contracts.
- Use our tools and templates to promote consistency.
Work with other apps, devices, and the system to complete scenarios for people. For example, let people get content from one app and share it with another. Take advantage of what people already know, like standard touch gestures and charms, to provide a sense of familiarity, control, and confidence.
Following these five Microsoft design principles will help you make the best choices when you design your app.
A very important example of “Work with other apps to complete scenarios“ is the multitasking which became available in the first version of Windows 8, and had been significantly enhanced in the recent second version:
Jensen Harris on productivity and multitasking from Tami Reller: Worldwide Partner Conference 2013 Keynote [transcript provided by Microsoft, July 8, 2013]
The desktop in Windows is the single most powerful platform in the world. It is the only platform in which you can run Photoshop and Lightroom and AutoCAD and Visual Studio and Office all in one platform. And we really wanted to bring together the best of the modern UI and the best of the desktop UI and harmonize them in Windows 8.1.
So the first thing that you’ll notice is that we’ve made it really easy to get to the Start screen in 8.1 with the addition of the Start button. (Laughter, applause.)
So when I click this, this is not just your father’s Start button, this actually floats in the tiles on top of the desktop. So you get this beautiful look of your desktop. You don’t lose context of what you’re working on. It just comes in over top and then floats away.
And you can see we’ve done a lot of work here to make your Start screen be ultra-efficient. We’ve got the small tiles, we’ve got the groups, we’ve got the large tiles that allow you to create, together with new enterprise custom ability and control that we’re giving over the Start screen in Windows 8.1 for you to create an awesome, enterprise consumer dashboard that has all the things that you love in one place.
And of course, one other thing that you can do by default in Windows 8.1 is boot to the desktop if you want as well. And so the whole experience comes together where you have control over the PC.
So we love the desktop and we have made it a lot better. But productivity isn’t just defined by the desktop. The desktop is one way of working. Productivity is defined by robust multitasking, flexibility, efficiency, and having all the apps that you need. And what we’ve done in 8.1 is taken productivity to the next level and brought what was great about the desktop and the things that you could do there and made it even better in the modern UI and optimized it for not just 8-inch tablets, but also large screens, desktops, powerful laptops.
Let me show you some of what we’ve done. So one of the most important apps that exists is mail. This is the new version of the mail app that we have not yet made available publicly, but will be available with Windows 8.1 RTM.
And I’m going to use my mouse here. The first thing you’re going to notice is this power pane here on the left that shows me my folders, it shows me people. I can flag mails very quickly just here in the view — boom, boom, boom, boom, boom — and they’ll show up here in my flag view.
We have my favorite people, all of the mail here, and I also have them split out. Of course I control this. So if I want to put Panos in my list of favorite people, I can do that. If I want to take some people out, I can do that as well.
We’ve also integrated some awesome features to help keep your mail under control. Of course something like drag and drop is really important, and we have all your folders here that you can just directly drag and drop into using your mouse or touch.
We have brought together all of your social updates. So things from Foursquare and Facebook and LinkedIn, these sort of pseudo-spammy, but kind of interesting things and put them in one place so they’re out of your way without needing to set anything up.
And then probably my favorite view here is the newsletter view. And these are also things that sometimes you want to see. Like I love that I have these Living Social deals, but I don’t need to get eight of them a day, I really only need to see the most recent one. And so we’ve integrated a feature called Sweep into the mail app. And what this allows me to do is I can delete all of my Living Social deals. But what’s even cooler is I can say, just delete all of them except for the latest ones. I’m going to hit Sweep, and it’s going to set this up on the server. You’re going to see all of the Living Social deals have disappeared except for the top ones, and it’s always going to make sure that I only have one of these in my inbox from now on. These are some of the ways in which mail makes you more efficient. (Applause.) Thank you.
Another thing, though, that’s really important if you’re being efficient is the keyboard because I don’t know about you, but I do an awful lot with keyboard shortcuts just typing. And I showed you the new search feature, but I haven’t shown you how well it works with the keyboard and how it makes you more efficient.
This new search feature is really the command line for Windows. So I’m just going to type a single — I type “Windows plus S” to bring up search. I’m going to type a single character, “K.” And in doing so, it has brought back apps like Kindle and In the Kitchen, it’s brought back Music, it’s brought back settings like keyboard settings, it’s brought back files, local and in the cloud, it’s brought back Web suggestions, it’s brought back people on my PC. And it’s very, very powerful.
For instance, if I’m just here in mail and I just want to start playing a song, I can just type “K” it brings up the name of the song. I’m just going to hit enter, and it starts playing without even taking me out of the app. Just immediate music playback. So this is one of the examples of how the new Search box makes it possible to do things very, very fast. You will find that this becomes the stickiest feature in Windows 8.1, and you can’t imagine ever living without it.
Another thing that defines productivity is multitasking. And one of the things that I think is really cool about 8.1 is the multi-window view that we have.
So here are a few photos that are attached to a mail. And when I click one of these, notice that it opened up photos side by side with mail. This isn’t some weird preview app that only shows a few file formats or something like this. This is the actual app that is associated with the file extension. And so this could be photos, PDFs, it could be Office, it could be anything. And this happened just automatically.
Another example of this, let me pull this off the screen, and I’m going to show you a link. And when I click this, it’s going to open up IE side by side with mail. You can see that there’s no restriction anymore on just one very small snapped app and then a huge app. We can now use the window 50/50. I can move the snap point so I can make one a little bigger, I can make the other one a little bigger if I want. And it’s not just limited to two apps side by side.
So here in IE, I’m going to right click and do open link in new window. And suddenly, what I have here is two IE windows side by side. (Applause.) Yeah. Suddenly, I have something that is starting to look like a very productive work station. And I can move these windows around, I can put them where I want. We have maximize, we have resize, and all of a sudden you start to realize that there’s more than one way of doing awesome productivity. This uses all the pixels on my PC.
And on this sort of smallish monitor, I can fit three. But if I had something like a 2550 x 1440 monitor, I could show four apps on the screen at once. And all of a sudden, now you’re way more productive than you could have been on the desktop. You’ve got your Twitter feed, you’ve got your full running mail app, you’ve got multiple browser windows or multiple mails up at once.
And it gets even better. If I attach a second monitor, then suddenly I can do the same thing on multiple monitors at once. So I have any collection of apps across my monitors in any configuration I want, any size I want, blending desktop and modern apps across my screens. I can bring the Start screen up on one and just leave it, and this doesn’t just work for two monitors, it works for three, four, five, six, seven, as many as I have. And so this sort of shows the power of Windows 8.1 and the modern UI even on a desktop engineering workstation making you more productive.
And then we think about Windows starting on —
TAMI RELLER: A phone?
JENSEN HARRIS: A phone. On 8-inch tablets, also doing the same multitasking and running all the way up across all of these devices, integrated with Xbox and out to any kind of workstation. And it is pretty fantastic.
You can watch the full Tami Reller keynote about Windows 8.1 Product Enhancements [msPartner YouTube channel, July 9, 2013] presenting the complete high-end differentiation vs. the iPad and Android devices which contains the whole demo by Jensen Harris starting at [21:10] while the above part at [53:10], and the end of the demo is at [1:02:10]:
The new Air Command S Pen User Experience making the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 phablet, and Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition tablet next-generation devices
… in addition to the technology advances presented in the Samsung Exynos 5 Octa with Heterogeneous Multi-Processing and GPU Compute is the hidden gem in the Galaxy Note 3 and GALAXY Note 10.1, 2014 Edition, launched at ‘Samsung UNPACKED 2013 Episode 2’ event [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 12, 2013] post and innovations in the Companion Device Computing as envisaged and implemented by Pranav Mistry and his TTT team from Samsung: the case of Galaxy Gear + Galaxy Note 3 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 12, 2013] post.
(Note: for hardware specification go to Samsung Exynos 5 Octa with Heterogeneous Multi-Processing and GPU Compute is the hidden gem in the Galaxy Note 3 and GALAXY Note 10.1, 2014 Edition, launched at ‘Samsung UNPACKED 2013 Episode 2’ event [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 12, 2013].)
[ Hardware & Design ]
The GALAXY Note 3 comes with a wider (5.7″) Full HD Super AMOLED display, yet slimmer (8.3mm) and lighter (168g) hardware design, and is powered by a 2.3 GHz Quad-Core [Qualcomm Snapdragon] processor [for LTE version, and Samsung Exynos 5 Octa for 3G only version], 3GB of RAM, 32/64 GB or user memory, 3,200 mAh battery and runs on Google’s Android 4.3 Jelly Bean OS. Also, equipped with a 13MP rear camera with Smart Stabilization and high CRI LED flash, you can take crisp photos, even in low light and active situations. Plus, it can record and play in full HD (1080p), and record in UHD (*may differ by market).
The GALAXY Note 3 also features a textured back cover and delicate stitching that delivers a premium look and feel.
[ Everyday Made Easier with S Pen ]
Air Command, a palette of features and commands which you can activate on any screen simply by hovering and clicking the S Pen button, lets you access useful features for everyday tasks such as Action Memo, Scrapbook, and S Finder.
[ Smarter Large Screen Experience ]
With a larger Super AMOLED screen, the GALAXY Note 3 not only provides a stunning and defined viewing experience but also enables multitasking capabilities that allow users to fully utilize the larger screen. The enhanced new Multi Window allows you to easily move content between applications in one quick step with the Drag and Drop mode.
For more information : http://www.samsung.com/galaxynote3
More description from Design the Story of your Life with Samsung GALAXY Note 3 [press release, Sept 4, 2013]
Click S Pen to make life easier, faster and more exciting
The new S Pen reinvents and modernizes the classic note-taking experience by providing the ability to accomplish everyday tasks with just one click. The advanced S Pen is designed to be fully functional as a communication driver between the phone and the user by creating essential input and control features. It plays an integral role in how users interface with the device, making all daily routines easier.
A simple click of the S Pen button while hovering over the screen introduces users to Air Command, a palette of five powerful features that truly make tasks easier and faster. With the Air Command feature, there is no need to toggle between screens, memorize commands or look up different menus. The Air Command feature provides access to the following key functions:
- Action Memo allows users to handwrite a note, and automatically execute a function or convert that handwritten information into formatted content. Action Memo can instantly initiate a call, add to contacts, look up an address on a map, search the web, save a task to a to-do list, and more
- Scrapbook enables users to organize or track down content and information from various sources including the web, YouTube and Gallery in one place so that users can easily look back at collected content all at once. When consumers save content for future use, Scrapbook also collects source material or URLs allowing them to easily refer back to the original source.
- The Screen Write feature captures the full screen image of the current page on the device and allows users to write comments or additional information onto the captured image.
- S Finder allows users to expansively search for content on their device regardless of the type. By putting in keywords or filters such as date, location, and content type, users can search related documents, events, communication threads, and even the Help page – all in one place. In addition, users can also search for hand-written content in their Notes and memo applications, as well as symbols and formulas.
- Pen Window allows users to use the S Pen not only for drawing sketches or writing notes, but now also for opening a small application window for a true multitasking experience. Simply by drawing a window of any size, anywhere on the screen, users can easily and quickly open another application window such as YouTube, calculator or Browser without pausing current activity on the screen.
For more advanced note-taking, the new S Note presents a comprehensive solution that enables consumers to easily write, organize, edit and browse notes with a user-friendly interface and the Easy Chart feature. The new S Note can also be synced with Evernote or a Samsung account and be enabled for accessing and viewing from different devices. Furthermore, when a user wants only a certain part of an image to be taken from the web or Note 3 content, the advanced new Easy Clip feature allows them to roughly draw around the desired image and then it converts that content into a more precisely cropped image.
Larger Note screen delivers enriched viewing experience and enables you to do more
The Samsung GALAXY Note 3 delivers a larger screen and the increased size is matched with powerful improvements that allow users to fully utilize the additional screen space. The 5.7-inch Full HD Super AMOLED screen provides a stunning and defined video viewing experience for watching Full HD content, distinct clarity for reading and an elegant canvas for content creation.
My Magazine provides a personalized news, social media, entertainment and in-the-moment content experience. Developed through a partnership with Flipboard, it offers an integrated content consuming experience in a modern and dynamic magazine-style layout.
The GALAXY Note 3 enables enhanced multitasking capabilities that allow users to fully utilize the larger screen.
- With the new Multi Window, users can toggle seamlessly between applications without closing the window or opening a new page, allowing for enhanced productivity and collaboration across programs. Consumers can also run one application in two windows at the same time. For instance, users can read the news in one browser while conducting a web search in another, or send an instant message through ChatON to a friend while reading a message from another friend.
- In addition, using Drag and Drop mode within the new Multi Window, users can easily drag and drop content such as a text or image from one window to the other in an instant.
- Pen Window from Air Command further enhances multitasking experience by allowing consumers to draw a window on the screen and launching popular applications while continuing current tasks on the GALAXY Note 3.
An improvement to Group Play, video sharing, is now available. Originally introduced along with the GALAXY S4, Group Play allows users to play the same music, to play games together, and to share documents. It now enables consumers to share videos and play content together with their friends simultaneously. Users can also connect up to five devices alongside each other to create a “big screen” viewing experience.
For a tour of the new user experience watch the Samsung GALAXY Note 3 + Gear: Official First Hands-on [SAMSUNGmobile YouTube channel, Sept 4, 2013] video:
For more information go to the separate Companion Device Computing as envisaged and implemented by Pranav Mistry and his TTT team from Samsung: the case of Galaxy Gear + Galaxy Note 3 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 12, 2013] post. The overall theme of ‘Design Your Life’ for these two companion GALAXY devices you can understand by watching the Samsung GALAXY Note 3 presents “Dreams”, a digital short film [SAMSUNGmobile YouTube channel, Sept 10, 2013] video:
Here is also the demonstration of Samsung GALAXY Note 3 Group Play Video Sharing @IFA2013 [SamsungTomorrow YouTube channel, Sept 9, 2013]
as well as of the nice Samsung’s Mobile Console for Galaxy Note 3 @ IFA 2013 [SamsungTomorrow YouTube channel, Sept 9, 2013]
What about the new Air Command S Pen User Experience on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1, 2014 Edition tablet?
Here it is from the Samsung Unveils GALAXY Note 10.1: Unparalleled Tablet Viewing, Productivity and Mobility [Samsung Tomorrow, Sept 5, 2013] article
(Note: for hardware specification go to Samsung Exynos 5 Octa with Heterogeneous Multi-Processing and GPU Compute is the hidden gem in the Galaxy Note 3 and GALAXY Note 10.1, 2014 Edition, launched at ‘Samsung UNPACKED 2013 Episode 2’ event [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 12, 2013].)
Richer Viewing Experience, Enhanced Multitasking
The large, bright and crystal clear screen delivers four times the pixel density of the original GALAXY Note 10.1, providing a premium content viewing experience.
The magazine style UX allows users to organize their favorite resources in an easy to use dashboard and then access that content for a stylish reading experience. Whether watching videos or reading magazines and e-books, the new GALAXY Note 10.1 provides an immersive media consumption experience. New design characteristics, like a warm and textured back cover with stitching, inspire a sense of elegance and sophistication.
The device’s screen size also enables enhanced multitasking. With Multi Window, users will be able to run separate instances of the same application, and use an enhanced S Pen to drag and drop content from one window to another. Pen Window enables users to simply draw a window of any size on the screen, and instantly access unique in-application features such as YouTube or calculator.
Improved S Pen and S Note Functionality
The updated S Pen included with GALAXY Note 10.1 improves responsiveness, delivers day-to-day efficiency enhancements and produces more creative input capabilities. The tablet also includes GALAXY Note 3’s updated S Pen features such as Action Memo, Scrapbook, Screen Write and S Finder. Combined with the tablet’s larger screen, these enhanced S Pen capabilities present users with unique creative opportunities and the space to explore them.
With new Scrapbook capabilities, users can easily indicate any interesting content with the S Pen and organize it into individualized scrapbooks, creating a log of discussion points for a future work conversation, a wish list for new clothes or a home redesign project, or a personal favorites list.
S Note has been upgraded with a more intuitive, easy-to-use interface. Users will have access to both note files and notepads, with the ability to use the S Pen to take handwritten notes. With Easy Chart, hand-drawn visualizations of data can be instantly transformed into more formal charts and graphs.
Offering Content for Enhanced Entertainment and Creativity
The new GALAXY Note 10.1 will also offer a host of exciting partner content that complements the device’s entertainment, productivity and creativity properties. With premium partner applications and free memberships and services, the new GALAXY Note 10.1 provides everything a user might need in one place.
The Samsung Content Gifts include content from leading news sources such as Bloomberg Businessweek+, The New York Times, Autodesk Sketchbook for GALAXY for painting and sketching, a redesigned version of social broadcast network Twitter optimized for the device, and much more.
In addition, the GALAXY Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) will also include a Samsung Apps widget that will direct users to additional beneficial content provided by Samsung. The widget will live on the home screen and include a “Special Offer for GALAXY” section that will highlight unique, country-based content for users.
Finally watch this Samsung UNPACKED 2013 Episode 2 livestream (full length) [SAMSUNGmobile YouTube channel, Sept 7, 2013] in order to get the full context of the announcement, the event starts at [8:20]
[0:19:55]: GALAXY Note 3 and GALAXY Gear will be launched starting from September 25th in more than 140 countries. And all of these products will be promotionally available in October worldwide.
See also: Exclusive: List of countries receiving Galaxy Note III’s Exynos 5420 or Snapdragon 800 variant, SM-N9005 specs confirmation [SamMobile, Aug 15, 2013]
This is a very throroughly designed platform with carefully defined Nokia Asha Design Guidelines providing all the details as well as a comprehensive set of tools supporting that. From Series 40 to Nokia Asha is giving advice about migrating earlier S40 and Asha apllications to the Asha platform. It is also worth to have a look at that as by doing so you can compare the new Nokia Asha with earlier Asha Full Touch and Asha Touch and Type.
– The New Asha Range [global Nokia microsite, May 9, 2013] with separate Fastlane, Design and Browsing pages
– The Asha Apps Revolution [Nokia Conversations post, May 9, 2013]
– New Asha platform and ecosystem to deliver a breakthrough category of affordable smartphone from Nokia [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 9, 2013] my composite post of the all relevant launch information
– Nokia’s non-Windows crossroad [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 2, 2013] my composite post analyzing the technologies which are provided now with the new Asha platform
Nokia Asha — Platform overview [May 9, 2013]
The key features of the platform are:
- Platformised in software and hardware — complementing the Nokia Asha software platform is an increased focus on platformising the phone hardware, developers will now have greater certainty that a hardware feature they want to exploit in an app will be available across the new Nokia Asha family.
- Firmware updating — smartphone users expect regular firmware update to bring new features and functions to their phones, the Nokia Asha platform has been built with this demand in mind and updates are already in development.
- User experience — a engaging, sophisticated UI, optimised for 3″ (61.0 x 45.7 mm [unlike 66.0 x 40.0 mm on the previous Asha Full Touch devices]) QVGA (240 x 320 pixels [unlike the 240 x 400 pixels on the previous Asha Full Touch devices]) displays. The UI employs a swiping style for navigation between apps and the home screen, and within the home screen. It also enables apps to use the whole screen by hiding the status and menu bars until they are swiped into view.
- More advanced, fully featured apps are easier with Java. Harness features such as 2D and 3D graphic, accelerometers, and location information among others giving you more options to deliver the quality of apps consumers expect on a smartphone.
- With web apps online, content is delivered using up to 90% less data, while offering users an interactive, engaging UI because, unlike other proxy browser system, Nokia Asha web apps can update their UI locally on the phone.
- All new Oracle VM.
- JAR files up to 5Mb and up to 3Mb heap memory (recommended).
- New Asha UI for intuitive, fast interaction.
- Mobile Internationalization API (JSR-238) and new Nokia specific APIs for features such as image scaling and network state.
- Earn from you apps with paid downloads, advertising, and in-app payments.
- Updated tools, with updated emulator and WiFi based on-device debugger.
- Comprehensive documentation, training, code examples and more.
Web app highlights
- Powered by the latest Gecko rendering engine.
- Rich UIs with dynamic list and fixed and scrollable regions.
- API to build hardware back-button navigation into your app.
- Ability to capture photos and videos.
- Discovery through the Nokia Store.
- Earn from you apps with paid downloads and advertising.
- Updated tools with new simulator and code examples.
- Comprehensive documentation, training, code examples and more.
UX Overview – Nokia Asha Design Guidelines [April 17, 2013]
Nokia Asha is built around the concept of stacked layers that can be directly manipulated by the user.
Base layout – Nokia Asha Design Guidelines [May 9, 2013]
Nokia Asha UI combines the use of the swipe gesture and back hardware key for navigation, and therefore apps have no mandatory control areas on screen. Each app view can be easily designed for its main purpose, maximising the amount of relevant content on the UI. The base layout in Nokia Asha has two main areas: status bar and content area.
In addition to using the content area for app content, apps can add optional controls, Category bar (with tabs or actions) and Header bar. When the view offers few, rarely used options only, placing them under the Options menu is possible. The Options menu is accessed by swiping from the bottom of the screen. When the Options menu is available, the screen shows an Options menu indicator at the bottom.
NOTE: When using LCDUI List, TextBox, Alert, or Form, the Header bar will be automatically added to the top of the view. When drawing on Canvas, the Header bar can be left out.
Nokia Asha provides a few alternatives for developing Java applications. The following information can be used to select the best approach for designing and developing your application.
CHOOSING YOUR APPROACH
Custom UI on Canvas
Using LCDUI high-level components
Using LWUIT components
Full screen apps or apps with chrome (Status bar and Header).
Everything drawn on Canvas pixel by pixel.
Good approach for game development.
LCDUI high-level components and Nokia UI API’s are in use.
Components are styled with Asha look & feel.
Custom components can be created with CustomItem.
Offers a more comprehensive component set with many customisation options.
Components are styled with Asha look and feel, but also custom theming is easy for branded look and feel.
Custom UI on Canvas
Canvas class is the main template for customised MIDlet functions. Using Canvas, the MIDlet can use any drawing primitives provided by the LCDUI Graphics interface and can receive key events. The drawback is that the MIDlet will not be as portable as ones created using only high-level APIs.
A common example of a MIDlet that uses Canvas is a mobile game that requires pixel-accurate drawing and access to low-level keypad events. Read more information about Canvas from the Java Developer’s Library.
Using LCDUI high-level components
Limited Connected Device User Interface (LCDUI) is the base of any Graphical User Interface (GUI) created in Java™ ME (Java Platform, Micro Edition). It has a similar role to the Abstract Windowing Toolkit (AWT) and Swing APIs, which are used in Java SE (Java Platform, Standard Edition) and Java EE (Java Platform, Enterprise Edition), but offers a more restricted and resource-efficient approach to UI development.
LCDUI has a simple screen-based approach, where a single Displayable is always active in the display area of the application user interface. This Displayable can contain predefined screen elements, or be manipulated in more specific ways.
On a logical level, the MIDP (Mobile Information Device Profile) UI is divided into two levels: high and low. In general, the choice is made between the easy, quick and portable high-level APIs and the more customisable low-level APIs.
Read more about the LCDUI from the Java Developer’s library.
Using LWUIT components
LWUIT (LightWeight UI Toolkit) is an open source alternative that provides a comprehensive selection of customisable UI components, layouts, and effects. Use of the ready-made Nokia Asha theme for the components is recommended, but developers can also easily create their own custom themes for branded look and feel. LWUIT is highly portable, as it scales to different screen resolutions and orientations, and has built-in support for touch and non-touch UI.
LWUIT applications are created on top of LCDUI Canvas. Though LWUIT has been optimised for Nokia Asha phones, LCDUI is a better option for performance critical applications, especially on phones with cost-optimised hardware. Also, when a compact application binary size is crucial, LCDUI should be considered instead, because the LWUIT library is added to every LWUIT application and it increases the application size by 200-800 kB (depending on the application features).
Figure 2. LWUIT overview
Nokia Asha — Java — Tools [May 9, 2013]
Nokia Asha SDK 1.0 (beta)
Create apps for the Nokia Asha family on Nokia Asha software platform using the Nokia Asha SDK 1.0 (beta). Then test your apps in an emulator based on the Nokia Asha 501. The Nokia Asha SDK 1.0 (beta) offers:
Nokia Asha UI emulation
The Nokia Asha SDK 1.0 contains an emulator based on the Nokia Asha 501, providing mouse based emulation of the phone’s touch features making testing easy.
LWUIT for richer Uis
A Nokia Asha platform optimised implementation of the LWUIT is included as a plug-in. Delivering rich UIs has never been easier.
Integrated HERE Maps API
It’s now even easier to add rich maps to your location based apps, as the HERE Maps API for Java ME is integrated into the SDK.
Enhanced location features
The emulator delivers updated location details from the integrated Route Editor to your Java apps, enabling richer testing of your location based apps.
The Pinch-to-zoom simulator enables multipoint-touch gestures to be recorded and sent to the emulator.
You can simulate fully the orientation of a Nokia Asha phone in the emulator, enabling the testing of apps and games using the Mobile Sensor API (JSR-256).
Enhanced media playback
The emulator offers accurate media playback enabling complete testing of media delivered through your apps.
Enter text directly from your PC keyboard into fields in the emulator, to speed up testing.
Simplify and speed up your testing with the diagnostic window, MIDP speed simulator, configurable MIDP monitoring, and events generator among other tools.
Java API emulation
The emulator provides full support for MIDP and CDLC, along with the APIs provided in the Nokia Asha platform.
Real phone emulation
As the emulator is based on the Nokia Asha 501, it provides you with a realistic implementation of UI, user apps, messaging, and network communication features. Now you can accurately and conveniently test your apps on a PC.
Selecting your SDK made easy
The exclusive Device SDK Selector makes it easy to locate and install the SDKs you need to target earlier Series 40 phones. Pick SDKs by platform or phone model, download and install to get coding.
Nokia IDE 2.0 for Java ME (beta)
While the Nokia Asha SDK 1.0 (beta) is designed to work with the NetBeans and Eclipse IDEs, for the easiest and most straightforward development experience, the SDK includes the Nokia IDE 2.0 for Java ME (beta). Building on the power of the Eclipse platform for Java development, the Nokia IDE for Java ME delivers exclusive features for your Nokia Asha platform and Series 40 Java apps.
Welcome to your new IDE
A comprehensive welcome screen provides details on developing Java apps for the Nokia Asha platform and Series 40, available APIs, links to key Nokia Developer resources, and more.
Selecting your SDK made easy
The integrated Device SDK Selector makes it easy to locate and install the SDKs you need to target Nokia Asha and Series 40 phones. Pick SDKs by platform or phone model, download and install to get coding.
Nokia specific JAD editor
A customised JAD attributes editor makes it easy to add the information you need to effectively target your apps’ build to the Nokia Asha and Series 40 platforms.
In-app purchase and location templates
Get started quickly with your apps that take advantage of in-app advertising or location with new templates that includes everything you need.
Access to examples
Load any of over 40 example apps straight into your workspace. Covering many aspects of the Java APIs on the Nokia Asha platform, these examples can kick-start your development.
Quickly find more information on publishing apps, remote access to phones for testing, Nokia Developer news, and code examples though the Nokia Hub menu.
Remote Device Access
Test on a range of Nokia Asha and Series 40 phones
With the Nokia Developer Remote Device Access Service you can connect to a comprehensive range of Nokia Asha platform and Series 40 phones over the internet. Install your app then run it, just as you would on your own phone, to check out its behaviour on different hardware and UI form factors.
And don’t forget that Nokia Premium Developer Program for Asha membership give you access to more phones, so you won’t have to wait to start testing.
Nokia Asha — Web apps [May 9, 2013]
The Nokia Asha software platform provides a powerful, data efficient web apps environment. Targeting this environment, you leverage your web development skills to create connected apps that deliver web content with an engaging, interactive UX that’ll appeal to consumers globally or can be targeted at specific local markets.
- New user experience — the Nokia Asha UI builds on the popular Series 40 UI. Delivered through a 3.0’’ (61.0 x 45.7 mm [unlike 66.0 x 40.0 mm on the previous Asha Full Touch devices]) QVGA capacitive touch screen (240 x 320 pixels [unlike the 240 x 400 pixels on the previous Asha Full Touch devices]), it supports two touch points for pinch-to-zoom and similar gestures. The UI swipe paradigm has been extended to include the Options Menu and fast access to the Home screen. A hardware back-button enables consumers to easily navigate an app’s hierarchy.
- New APIs — so you to make most of the Nokia Asha UI, web apps include an API to listen for the hardware back-button. In addition, enhanced HTML tag support also means you can add image and video capture to your web apps.
- New tools — the Nokia Asha web app tools deliver a Nokia Asha software platform option to the simulator and fresh examples that show you how to use the latest APIs.
Start with the Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0
See how to create, test, package, and deploy to a phone your first Nokia Asha web app.
Follow the step-by-step guide ›
Start with Xpress Web App Builder
Xpress Web App Builder offers a no-code approach to creating Nokia Asha web apps and delivering them directly to your Nokia Publish account.
Watch the video ›
When Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0 graduates beta you will be able to use it to target all the phones that support Xpress Browser. During the beta phase the ability to capture images and video will only be available on the Nokia Asha 501. You can target all other features at Series 40 phones with Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0 or download Nokia Web Tools 2.3.
Nokia Asha web apps UI [May 4, 2013]
Nokia Asha web apps UIs benefit from the features of the Nokia Asha UI, such as its swipe interaction to reveal the Options Menu, which enable web apps to focus the entire phone screen on content. When designing a web app UI, you have the freedom offered by web technologies coupled with the dynamic UI features offered by the Nokia Asha web apps runtime, such as the ability to dynamically update lists or set fixed and scrollable areas within your apps. Web apps can also make use of the hardware back-button to offer users safe and simple navigation of an app’s hierarchy.
A great UX is about more than simply implementing a UI style; whether you are new to design or a seasoned pro, access a range of resources to help you create the best and most engaging experience in your apps and games. To get started check out the Nokia Asha web app design library before discovering other useful resources, such as design guidelines, UI stencils, and icon templates in the Design and User Experience Library.
What’s new in web app UX design [May 4, 2013]
The Nokia Asha software platform 1.0 offers a significantly updated UI compared to its predecessor, the full-touch UI on Series 40. This section describes the key UX changes that effect web apps:
- screen size – the New Nokia Asha UI on the Nokia Asha software platform 1.0 supports 240 x 320 pixel screens. For more information, see the Displays topic.
- multiple page support – the Nokia Xpress Browser 3.0 supports up to four active browser windows, enabling up to four web app to be run at once.
- touch gestures – the New Nokia Asha UI extends the platform wide mechanism for accessing key features using a swipe from the edge of the screen. As this mechanism overrides application behaviour, care needs to be taken in the design of web apps to ensure gestures within the web app aren’t confused with the system wide gestures. Ffor more information, see the Touch Gestures topic.
- back button behaviour – the New Nokia Asha UI employs a physical back button, this back button implements back-stepping in platform and Java apps. For web apps a new Mobile Web Library method addBackNavListener() enables the key to be captured so that web apps can implement the same back-stepping behaviour. For more information, see the Navigation Controls topic.
- Options menu – the Options menu is opened with a swipe gesture from the bottom of the screen in the New Nokia Asha UI. The menu by default contains the Data counter item, but no longer includes an exit item. For more information, see the Options Menu topic.
- launching web apps – from within the Nokia Xpress browser web apps will be launched from the Featured Apps option. For more information, see the Launching web apps topic.
- file upload and download – the Nokia Xpress Browser Download Manager is available from within web apps. For more information, see File uploads and downloads topic.
- passwords – web app passwords can now be cleared from the phone’s Settings feature. For more information see Passwords topic.
- Data Usage option – web apps can now access a report on their data use. For more information see the Data Usage topic.
Nokia Asha — Web apps — Tools [May 9, 2013]
Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0 (beta)
Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0 (beta) delivers a suite of applications that assist in the development, testing, packaging, and deployment of Nokia Asha web apps, including preparing them for distribution through Nokia Store. The key components of Nokia Asha web app tools are Web Developer Environment (WDE) and Web App Simulator (WAS).
During the beta release the features to provide the capture of images and video from within web apps won’t be available on earlier Series 40 platform phones supporting Xpress Browser.
Web Developer Environment [WDE]
Built on the Eclipse platform, Web Developer Environment delivers the code creation tools needed to efficiently create and package web apps.
Extensive templates for new projects
Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0 offers wider variety of templates for common web apps styles, which you can use to quick-start the development of your web apps. Import existing projects to take advantage of enhanced editing features.
With the UI Designer you can build web app interfaces by dragging and dropping UI component snippets and laying them out visually, enabling you to create web apps UIs faster.
Powerful code editing
With code completion and full validation, your coding will be quicker and more accurate, enabling you to build Nokia Asha web apps faster.
Comprehensive range of examples
The range of web app examples has been further expanded in Nokia Asha web app tools 3.0, to illustrate use of the hard back-key and media capture. You can now easily access more examples of how to code common web app APIs and features.
Targeted HTML/CSS validation
Validation of HTML and CSS includes specific Nokia Asha web apps rules. You get better feedback to ensure your web app will work optimally on Nokia Asha platform and Series 40 phones.
Partial web app upload
When uploading a web app to the preview server, the Web Developer Environment only uploads changed content. This makes starting a cloud preview fast, minimising the time needed to test your web apps.
Your web apps are automatically packed by the tool and delivered in the format required for distribution through Nokia Store.
Published web apps’ JAR
Once your web app has been published to Nokia Store you can request a copy of the deployment JAR. This enables you to distribute your web app on websites and through other app stores.
Deploy for phone testing
Completed Nokia Asha web apps can be deployed directly from the Web Developer Environment over a USB connection for testing on a Nokia Asha platform or Series 40 phone, while for Series 40 phones deployment over Bluetooth is also available.
Web App Simulator
Run your Nokia Asha web apps on a computer during development using the Web App Simulator. It simplifies functional testing and final design validation.
Preview your Nokia Asha web apps to see how they’ll look and behave on Nokia Asha platform and Series 40 phones, and interact with the web.
Control phone features
Take control of your simulation and test your web apps against all the UI variations available on the phones that support Nokia Asha web apps.
Local preview are automatically reloaded as code edits are made — speeding up testing by ensuring Web App Simulator always show the latest changes.
Location simulation built-in
Web App Simulator enables you to define location information to your simulated Nokia Asha web app, making testing of location-aware apps a breeze.
Debugging made easy
Web App Simulator includes a custom version of Web Inspector for the easy debugging and performance analysis of your Nokia Asha web apps.
Xpress Web App Builder
Xpress Web App Builder is an online tool that guides you through the process of creating rich web apps, with no coding required. Select from a variety of templates, customise your theme, and then add clipped web content, RSS feeds, and social media information. The key features of the tool are:
- layout templates to present content, including single pane, tabbed view, and accordion view, as well as focused templates for news, pictures, and video content.
- a wide range of content widgets for clipped web content; RSS feeds; video from YouTube; pictures from Flickr, Picasa, and other photo sharing sites; and blogs from Tumblr and WordPress.
- the ability to add SMS and call capabilities, static HERE Maps, and in-app advertising from Nokia Ad Exchange.
- the option to customise your app’s colour scheme, including header and font colours.
- static and dynamic previews of your app, for all supported screen resolutions.
When you’ve completed your web app, the tool provides a short URL for testing the app on your phone, and lets you submit the app to Nokia Publish to start the process of publication in Nokia store. However, if you want to customise your web app further, you can download the source code and import it into Nokia Asha web app tools.
Remote Device Access
Test on a range of Nokia Asha and Series 40 phones
With the Nokia Developer Remote Device Access Service you can connect to a comprehensive range of Nokia Asha platform and Series 40 phones over the internet. Use your web app’s short URL to launch it in the Xpress Browser then run it, just as you would on your own phone, to check out its behaviour on different hardware and UI form factors.
Learn more ›
And don’t forget that Nokia Premium Developer Program for Nokai Asha membership give you access to more phones, so you won’t have to wait to start testing.
… Nokia In-App Payment [May 9, 2013]
We have also introduced the new Nokia In-App Payment tool, designed to make it easier for you to sell content from within your apps. It provides a simple and secure purchase experience for consumers and transparent payments for developers. Nokia In-App Payment will also be available for existing Asha and Series 40 phones*(from 6th edition platform and above, except C1-01 and C1-02. Nokia will release a public beta of Nokia In-App Payment in the coming weeks, and you can sign up for the beta here.
Nokia In-App Payment invitation-only beta program [May 9, 2013]
In-App Payment is one of the dominant monetization models in the mobile app industry. This model also referred to as ‘Freemium’ model, helps you build apps with higher and recurring revenue opportunity.
The model enables you to attract a larger user base with a free baseline experience and then extend this experience by offering digital content for sale. Nokia In-App Payment marks Nokia’s renewed approach to In-App Payment. The solution has been designed afresh with several new features and it enables you to sell digital content to Asha consumers from within your application.
- The best payout in the industry
- Easy to integrate and maintain
- Single click payment
- Nokia brand adds credibility to the transaction
- Unparalleled coverage of devices
This translates to more consumers, more purchases after download and higher payout per purchase – all leading to more recurring revenue for you!
We are pleased to announce the Nokia In-App Payment invitation-only beta program. With a beta invitation, you will get to:
- Try the Nokia In-App Payment Beta library
- Publish apps with Nokia In-App Payment
- Share your feedback
Please sign up to be eligible to join the Nokia In-App Payment invitation-only beta program. We will start sending out invitations starting May 10th 2013.
Integration of Nokia In-App Payment in your app is easy!
- Download and install Java Development Environment for Asha and Nokia In-App Payment library
- Implement in-app payment feature in your application using the test product IDs
- Test your app in the emulator or on device with the test purchase flow
- Register in-app purchase products, declare price points with Nokia Publish
- Update your application using the product IDs
- Test your app using the in-app purchase flow
- Submit your final app to Nokia Publish and be ready to generate revenue!
The Nokia In-App Payment includes several improvements
- Access to a larger consumer base through Series 40 backward compatibility**
- Simpler consumer purchase experience through single click payment
- Support for faster development and testing.
The introduction of Nokia In-App Payment means that the current in-app purchasing solution will be deprecated. In the near term, the intake of new apps using the deprecated in-app purchasing solution will be closed on June 10th 2013. However, published apps that use the deprecated in-app purchasing solution will continue to be available on Nokia Store until 2016. Please refer to the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ for more information.
** For more detailed device coverage during the invitation-only beta, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions.
Update: Upstream supply chain sees Surface RT orders cut by half [DIGITIMES, Nov 28, 2012]
The upstream supply chain of Microsoft’s Surface RT has recently seen the tablet’s orders reduced by half, and with other Windows RT-based tablet orders also seeing weak performance, sources from the upstream supply chain believe the new operating system may not perform as well as expected in the market.
Microsoft originally expected to ship four million Surface RT devices by the end of 2012, but has recently reduced the orders by half to only two million units.
Although Asustek Computer, Samsung Electronics and Dell have all launched Windows RT-based tablets, consumer demand for those devices is also weak.
The sources also pointed out that Surface RT is also unlikely to achieve great performance in the upcoming quarter which may force Microsoft to bring out its Intel-based Surface Pro tablet earlier in December.
The sources also noted that Microsoft may consider reducing its Surface Pro price to attract more consumers; however, such a decision may put the already awkward relationship between the software giant and notebook vendors in an even worse situation.
Something is indeed wrong to a certain extent with the Microsoft Surface as in an earlier report even Microsoft CEO Says Surface Sales Starting ‘Modestly’ – Report [Capital.gr, Nov 10, 2012]. It was the first report in English from the news in leParisien. The French headline is even telling that: Microsoft: Steve Ballmer announces “a new tablet upscale”. And indeed we find in the Capital.gr report that:
The CEO also said that in the three months following Surface’s launch, Microsoft plans to offer a high-end version of its tablet equipped with Intel Corp.’s (INTC) new processor and a higher-definition screen.
So I have investigated what users have found during this two weeks with the Microsoft Surface tablet.
My conclusion: some software, including parts of the Windows RT operating system need tuning! In certain scenarios Microsoft Surface is definitely underperforming!
Updates: providing additional evidence of the “under-engineered” character of the Windows RT software for the Microsoft Surface
- Technology explanation for lower software performance on ARM from here:
He explained that creating Windows 8 and its new tablet-friendly Windows Runtime has absorbed much of the C++ team’s energy.
“We’ve been really busy for two years with our biggest release ever. There’s an industry tsunami to the tablet revolution, the GPU compute revolution. Because C++ matters is why we’re at the centre of it. Now we can emphasise conformance again,” he said.
“We have a really mature compiler and optimiser. It’s been around for a decade or two, on x86 and x64. Then we have a version 1 release of ARM. You can expect that to get better.”
Note that people present on that BUILD 2012 session and even having an opportunity to speak to Herb Sutter the day before were not only confirming the importance of the above but even adding to that: “the Visual C++ team had the biggest pressure inside Microsoft in the last 2 years as everybody was relying on them”
- Patch Tuesday pushes out 7 updates to the Surface, including a performance update[Microsoft.News.com, Nov 13, 2012]
Patch Tuesday, the second Tuesday of the month, and the time when Microsoft pushes out software updates for their products.
On this occasion this includes includes Microsoft’s first ARM computer, the Surface, and the update is a “Cumulative Update for performance/compatibility” and another is a firmware update which hopefully addresses the same issue.
We noticed definite performance improvements, including in multi-tasking, text input, quicker loading times and improvements in IE, including in tab switching and closing.
Techtony • a day ago
Not only the Surface was updated, The Asus Vivo Tab RT was also Updated. New Firmware Message and a total of 8 Updates
RJD • 2 days ago Absolutely notice performance improvements across the board…loading apps, screen accuracy, word accuracy, IE improved to boot.
It is indeed faster. In some cases much faster. A Hungarian developer was measuring the improvement via the CPU usage with the Mandelbrot program as a benchmark: C#: +25%, C++: +110%!, C++ AMP (software emultaion): +72% improvements were found by him (see in this Facebook message in Hungarian).
End of updates
I’ve also found videos on YouTube which will prove my point accordingly:
iPad 3 VS Surface: Fruit Ninja – Gaming Performance [DarGdgtZ YouTube channel, Oct 28, 2012]
The historic cadence leading to Microsoft Surface:
Was there enough time to tune everything properly? I thinks so. Look at the following history of the Windows on ARM (Windows RT) evolution:
NVIDIA quad-core Tegra 3 “Kal-El” quad-core processor demo blows us away [IntoMobile YouTube channel, Feb 15, 2011]
Who is gaining with that?
It is no doubt that Intel is the party gaining most with that!
Look at the stakes:
– Intel market capitalisation: US$ 103.50B which is critical for large investors because a collapse of Intel may cause an unprecedented upheaval on the stock market. Also note that Windows 8 is the last chance for Intel to prevent such collapse to happen.
– Intel fabs which are:
- Huge, numerous and most of them are representing the latest manufacturing technologies: see List of Intel manufacturing sites on Wikipedia
- Each representing multibillion dollars of multi-year investments:
see New $5 billion Intel facility planned for Chandler [AZCentral.com, Feb 19, 2011] as the latest example
- A tremendous effort made by Intel to outgun its fabless competitors exactly through such cutting-edge manufacturing. It is now described not only as leading edge in terms of smaller die sizes and thus higher chip volumes on the same wafers, better performance and/or lower power use, but also speed and agility with the time to manufacture a component halved in the past five years.
- Strategic for the US economy as whole to prevent its advanced manufacturing sector to go the way of its lower-tech predecessors – to Asia. See Insight: As chip plants get pricey, U.S. risks losing edge [Reuters, May 1, 2012].
- Entering into a critical phase against its major by far fab competitor, TSMC for whom the capacity shortage of its leading 28nm nodes will end by December, 2012. See my Qualcomm’s critical reliance on supply constrained 28nm foundry capacity [this same ‘Experiencing the cloud’ blog, July 27-Nov 8, 2012] post as updated just 4 days ago. Considering that the competitive strength of all of its fabless competitors depend on TSMC manufacturing capabilities this is the most critical window for strategic survival in Intel’s whole history.
A further evidence of why Intel’s survival might be behind that is the fact that the latest mobile SoC from Intel, so called Clover Trail will be in the Windows 8 tablets only in the later part of November. Even the first tablets based on that, the Acer Iconia W510 models are “Temporarily out of stock” on the Amazon while it was oiginally promised to be available from Nov 9 in the US and Canada. See: Acer Iconia W510: Windows 8 Clover Trail (Intel Z2760) hybrid tablets from OEMs [this same ‘Experiencing the cloud’ blog, Oct 28, 2012]. So the tuning was going on well after the “final” Windows 8 launch of Oct 26, and might continue even these days.
Another evidence is the fact that the x86-based version of the Microsoft Surface, Surface Pro will arrive just 3 month later as was pointed out in the leParisien interview of Steve Ballmer referred to in beginning of this post. Moreover when it was announced it was for the much better performing Ivy Bridge processor, not the Clover Trail we indicated here as available in a numerous products by the end of November. This could mean a delivery of Surface Pro as late as January next year! Plenty of time to make the new Windows software and the available applications performing well and smooth in all respects.
Other information on this blog:
– Microsoft Surface: its premium quality/price vs. even iPad3 [Oct 26, 2012]
– Microsoft Surface: First media reflections after the New-York press launch [Oct 26, 2012]
– Core post: Giving up the total OEM reliance strategy: the Microsoft Surface tablet [June 19, 2012]
Update: Marko Ahtisaari, Head of Design at Nokia on the Lumia 920 & Working with Microsoft [minipcpro YouTube channel, Oct 31, 2012]
People Made: Conversations with Nokia Designers [published on nokia YouTube channel, July 31, 2012] prepared for and shown on “People Made – An Exhibition on Nokia Design” held between June 8 and September 2 in Helsinki (see the background information below)
Views/opinions/answers by Marko Ahtisaari, Executive Vice President, Design; member of the Nokia Leadership Team, leading both the industrial design and user experience design activities in Nokia.
Part 1 – PT1 [7:27] What is the biggest motivation in your role?
… [8:23] I think for me it’s that moment when you see the impact of something that you and the team have been working on, in the hands of people and then inventing ways to use it, or take it further that you haven’t anticipated. And I think that power to cross things that spread imagination and empower people. That’s for me, and recently that’s been with N9 getting feedbacks in how the imagination races when you start using it. And us of course making it better. [8:57] …
Part 2 – PT2 [3:30] Where will Nokia Design have its biggest impact in the future?
… [4:12] Further to what Pete’s said one particular topic of the studio, the scale is what we can do to impact change at extremely affordable price points. And that’s something that our industry as a whole does not get excited about, innovations in that area. They care more about something very expensive parts of the portfolio like get N9 and innovating then. What we can do under 10 Euros, under 5 Euros that changes everything, in a way from bottom up? That’s very unique and exciting. [4:51] …
Regarding the design aspects of N9 see:
– Nokia to enter design pattern competition for 2011 smartphones with MeeGo [this same Experiencing the Cloud, Dec 9, 2010 – Jan 31, 2012]
– Nokia N9 UX [?Swipe?] on MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan [this same Experiencing the Cloud, June 24 – Oct 27, 2011]
[12:40] What are the foundations Nokia Design is laying for the future?
… [13:20] I think if continue on that, real challenges: we make things that are combinations of hardware and software, how do we make the business more sustainable in value in the sense that we can give you a phone and it has a longer life. May be one phone is enough, and then you can upgrade it, even in our industry where the cycle is so fast, and constantly the engines and technologies are changing. How do we get to a path that isn’t built on selling you one every year. [13:47] … [15:01] I think one area where we have huge opportunities: we are just at the beginning. If you look at the physicality of the object, how natural we can make the interaction? I think the N9 shows a bit, it’s like a hint. It’s the first glimpse of how you can make something so direct. Peter and I were last summer in the garden of alvaraldos (??), experimental summer house muratsava (??). In the garden walking with Nato Fukasawa (??), and we were asking “Do you think that your view of just discovering the most natural way that a person relates to an object, is that already applied to software?” He said: “Oh, maybe now with this directness .. I’m coming to see you next year.” [response] “Oh, we have something to show you.” We are just at the beginning, so how do we make common technology to recede to the background, so feel even more natural, it becomes even more invisible? [15:58]
Part 4 – PT4 [8:28] How will our industry change in the next decade?
… [10:29] I think an important angle to that which Peter you raise as we have to develop ways of moving very quickly in five to ten months, not just five to ten years, and catch the small things that change. Couple of the things that are certainly happening: one is this drive to lower and lower cost, then almost anyone can manufacture, and how is that changing? Everything sort of democratization of making things, not only effecting our industry. And then the other one, which is I think good all around us, more democratization of information, so we are getting to a point where there will be a website for that. And this period of having apps as a way to structure our relationship with these devices probably [will end]. It’s difficult to see from the inside, because this is all moving so fast, but I think we’ll see more of the open web again, then we’ll have the Internet back. [11:22] … [12:02] We are very sensitive to small beautiful ideas [12:05]
[15:25] What will the Nokia Design legacy be in the future?
… [16:00] Potential. [16:07]
Important presentation video (you should click on the image to go to a video page):
see at: http://www.dmi.org/dmi/html/conference/europe12/CE12AHT.htm
– Nokia Lumia (Windows Phone 7) value proposition [this same Experiencing the Cloud, Oct 26 – Nov 2, 2011]
– Designing smarter phones–Marko Ahtisaari (Nokia) and Albert Shum (Microsoft) [this same Experiencing the Cloud, Nov 23, 2011]
– Best practice industrial and user experience design – Nokia and Microsoft [this same Experiencing the Cloud, Dec 17, 2011 – Jan 31, 2012]
– Less focus on feature phones while extending the smartphones effort: further readjustments at Nokia [this same Experiencing the Cloud, June 25, 2012]
Nokia recently launched Lumia 610 in India, adding to the Lumia 800 and 710 ranges it already has in the market. It plans to launch the Lumia 900 here soon.
Marko Ahtisaari, Executive Vice-President (Design) of Nokia, spoke to M. Soundariya Preetha on the “heads up” design principle the company is adopting for its products. The correspondent was at Nokia’s design studio in Helsinki recently at the invitation of the company. Excerpts:
How does Nokia plan to take forward its “heads up” principle in the design of its products?
It is about designing products in a way that allows people to have heads up. It means the user interface is planned simple, is easy to quickly look at and does not demand more of your attention. I am interested in the 50 to 100 everyday things that people do with the phone that can be designed better. It involves combining innovation in hardware and software, an innovation that helps simplify the core use of the phone. One example is what we already have in the market for some time: on the screen of your phone you see the time and some view of what notifications you would have on the screen even when the phone is taking almost no power.
Why is design an important factor in a product?
We are ahead in a trend towards purity and we are focusing the product on essentials. People appreciate attention to detail. Our key challenge and opportunity is how do we apply the same level of attention to detail to all ranges of our products. Another challenge and opportunity is material innovation. We are meaningfully different because of quality and attention to details.
Apart from design, the other key areas that make the difference include photography features, continuous innovation, and features related to location and motionon our products (maps, drive, and public transport).
Can you elaborate on the plans to extend some features of the smart phone to all ranges?
Nokia recently launched Asha touch products, introducing full touch experience at new price points. We can do these kinds of hardware and software combinations, and can innovate in all price points. We cannot restrict innovation to a category of products.
Moving forward, how would you like Nokia products to be?
It is designing phones that feel human yet extremely advanced, phones that feel very organic and beautiful. Design is the soul of a product. It plays a key role in building products better, and it means consequent attention to details.
Design also stands out by re-imagining and improving what people do every day with phone and designing the product is such a way that people can use it heads up. It allows people to be connected to each other.
More information: Smartphone-like Asha Touch from Nokia: targeting the next billion users with superior UX created for ultra low-cost and full touch S40 devices [this same Experiencing the Cloud, July 20, 2012]
Nokia’s Executive Vice President of Design Marko Ahtisaari says in an interview with the Finnish business magazine Optio that he is looking for the next big leap in mobile user interfaces. It is likely to involve a radically different way of using mobiles.
His vision for the mobile phone in 2020 can be summarised in two words: ’heads up’, meaning that users should be able to use their phones without hunching over a screen.
He refused to give further details, beyond saying that it is a breakthrough, and that it involves speech commands.
In a word association exercise, Ahtisaari said that Google’s Android operating system was a ‘business innovation’, and had ‘nothing to do with design’. He also described Apple’s iPad as ‘significant’, and the iPhone as ‘five years old’.
Nokia’s forthcoming Lumia 900, meanwhile, was described as pure, clean-cut and simplified.
Ahtisaari also said that work on developing tablets takes up around a third of his time at Nokia.
On Windows Phone and Nokia’s ability to change its preferred smartphone platform, Ahtisaari told Optio that he believes the premise of the question is wrong.
”First you have to ask, how much Windows Phone should change,” said Ahtisaari. If the operating system is modern and holistic, it is pointless to change it. The most important thing is to get it into the market quickly, because the life cycle of operating systems is not eternal. Evolution always goes in 7-8 year leaps.”
Q & A with Marko Ahtisaari, EVP, Nokia Design
The smartphone market is highly competitive with two operating systems currently taking a large share. With the Lumia project, Nokia set out to establish the Windows Phone operating system as the third ecosystem, building awareness of its superior capabilities and simplicity and to establish Nokia as the leader of this ecosystem. Designed to be singularly beautiful, and as the lead product in Nokia’s brand renewal, the Lumia line also expresses the company’s strategy to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Which came first the device or the OS? Which side (Nokia or Microsoft) initiated this unique collaboration?
The Nokia Lumia 800 and Nokia Lumia 900 were both born out of work that was ongoing at Nokia and Microsoft before the two companies came together.
Early on, we discovered that the design principles that inspired us were closely aligned. These are phones that aspire to be human and advanced and authentically digital. The design approach is one of rich reduction: on-screen and off this required taking away the unnecessary to make a simpler more beautiful phone. It’s a phone that puts your stuff front and center, where you want it and can find it fast. These phones are designed to be unobtrusive when in use, with the boundary between physical and digital interaction blending seamlessly at the curved edge of the screen. The result, we think, is a very natural fit.
Did the Nokia ID team have strong UI competency? What challenges did you face designing within Microsoft’s OS constraints?
Yes, our Lumia team comprises ID and UX designers. One of the biggest challenges was controlling the screen temperature of the colors. Nokia Lumia smartphones are colorful to the core; color is inherent in the polymer of the polycarbonate and central to the digital experience with the live tiles. The bold and simple look of these matching colors belies the amount of work that went in to achieving them, but the results we ultimately achieved on the Nokia Lumia 800 and Nokia Lumia 900 really make the Windows Phone interface pop.
How was research divided among the two teams? Did Nokia focus on materials? How did the Nokia team contribute to user research?
Yes, we started with materials; it’s the material that determines the form and function of the phone. Polycarbonate is RF transparent, so it offers great antennae performance and, as we mentioned, it allowed us to ingrain the color in the monobody. It’s a material that Nokia has mastered, and we continue to innovate with. For the Nokia Lumia 800 and Nokia Lumia 900, we used post-processing techniques more commonly reserved for metals, such as machining to tight tolerances and removing part lines, ensuring there is high definition in every detail to create a premium look and feel for the phone.
What was the biggest obstacle to getting the monobody to flow seamlessly into the glass display?
We had immense challenges in manufacturing and assembly. We had to rethink the entire construction concept and design of the phone from the inside out. We had made the body out of a single piece of polycarbonate, and so we needed to assemble the internals and chassis in sections through the screen aperture, locking them together with a puzzle joint. It was a bit like putting a ship inside a bottle.
We minimized flaws by using as few parts as possible, simple split lines, tight tolerances and relentless attention to detail. All of the openings on the body were machined after the injection moulding and then coated to achieve the most precise geometry possible. In this way we were able to produce the part with a level of craftsmanship normally associated with materials like metal.
How did you arrive at using cyan, light magenta and lime as the colors for the body?
We wanted to create a timeless device, not follow a trend. The colors of our Lumia range are inspired by the CMYK color palette, traditionally used in the print industry. These colors are distinctive modern design icons, people recognize them instantly. As primary colors they contrast with each other, and when you put them together with a black glass screen they produce a bold confident look that really stands out.
This line has a strong heritage including the N9. Which design element was most difficult to leave behind or omit in iterating from the N9 to the Lumia 800 (or Lumia 900)?
The Nokia Lumia 800 was a continuation of the Nokia N9 approach, iterated to get the best of Windows Phone. We brought back the camera key to better integrate the camera experience and utilized 64 pixels of screen real estate to position the soft keys.
With a less but better design attitude, everything has to earn its place. We took the same approach with the inbox accessories. Starting with the USB cable, we designed the USB plugs with aluminium caps to make the plugs as compact as possible. We created the European charger as a pure cylinder, matching the 38mm diameter socket. The high gloss white finish from the tool meant we could avoid the use of protective coatings while allowing tight draft angles and masking visual imperfections.
What do you hope will be the design legacy of these devices?
People want phones that look great and work brilliantly. The best legacy for Nokia Lumia 800 and Nokia Lumia 900 would be to continue to give people exactly that.
Helsinki is World Design Capital 2012 [Conversations by Nokia, Jan 5, 2012]
Marko Ahtisaari, Nokia SVP Design, said: “WDC Helsinki 2012 is a natural way for us to talk about our latest design innovations such as the Nokia N9, in which the physical form, materials, user interface and services – such as Nokia Maps – are combined into one seamless whole.”
One of the many activities Nokia will organize during WDC Helsinki 2012 is a design exhibition. The exhibition provides people with a unique chance to learn the stories behind some of the Nokia devices that changed the world. In addition to looking at the past 20 years, the exhibit will also give insights into the future design of mobile products.
People Made: An exhibition designed and curated by Nokia Design [nokia YouTube channel, June 11, 2012]
People Made: Nokia’s role in shaping the industry and changing lives [page on the Nokia website, June 8, 2012]
People Made, an exhibition as part of World Design Capital Helsinki, looks across more than 20 years of Nokia product making, and explores how Nokia has been instrumental in changing the lives of millions of people around the world.
Life-changing design innovations
The exhibition charts some of Nokia’s most significant design innovations, starting with the first mass-market digital handset (Nokia 1011) through to Nokia’s latest game-changing products (Nokia Lumia 800 and 900). The exhibition also offers a compelling human dimension. A new film installation called ‘Changing Lives’ shares personal, and often emotional, perspectives on Nokia and the influence of its products as told by the people who have had their lives changed by mobile technology.
Nokia designers on the future of the mobile industry
A further aspect to the exhibition is a film documenting a series of conversations between Nokia designers on the role they and design have in shaping the future. Taking a speculative look at the coming decade, the designers explore where the industry is headed, the challenges and opportunities that will exist, and they share their thoughts on advancing design and the Nokia legacy.
Innovations in colour
A special addition to the exhibition during its stay in Helsinki is a studio called the Colour Space. The Colour Space explores and celebrates the process of design. At the centre of the space is a permanent showcase of Nokia’s latest innovative experiments with colour.
Showcasing the brilliance of the Finnish design community
The Colour Space will also host ongoing workshops, seminars and ‘live’ projects where experts from the Finnish design community show some of the practices and methods behind the brilliant design work that permeates our lives.
People Made — Nokia Products That Changed The World will be at the Cable Factory in Helsinki from June 8.
People Made, the exhibition which premiered last year at London’s Design Museum, has just re-opened its doors at World Design Capital Helsinki. As part of the Hi Design expo at Kaapeli, People Made looks across more than 20 years of Nokia product making, and explores how Nokia Design has been instrumental in changing the lives of millions of people around the world.
“The exhibition charts some of Nokia’s most significant design innovations, starting with the first mass-market digital handset, the Nokia 1011, through to Nokia’s latest game-changing products such as the Nokia Lumia 800 and 900.” says Stephen White, who curated People Made. “But the exhibition also takes a speculative look forward in a film with Nokia designers discussing their role in shaping the future.”
New elements for this run of the exhibition include a film installation exploring the influence of Nokia and its products as told by Nokia customers. The second new element is a space celebrating the process of design through ongoing workshops and seminars where experts from the Finnish design community share some of the practices and methods behind the brilliant design work that permeates our lives.
People Made – Nokia Products That Changed The World
8 June – 2 September 2012
Merikaapelihalli, Kaapelitehdas, Helsinki
Design and curation: Nokia Design
Exhibition build: Eastway, Fair Factory
Photography: Angel Gil
Working harder: How industrial design influences Nokia [Nokia Connects, June 30, 2012]
If there’s one thing that practically everyone agrees on when it comes to Nokia phones, it’s that they’re beautifully designed and as hard as nails.
In fact, there’s an entire genre of memes dedicated to their amazingly indestructible nature. While these are loads of fun, what they show is how the principals of industrial design underpin everything Nokia does. But what exactly is industrial design and why has it been so central to Nokia’s evolution, and reputation?
What is industrial design?
Industrial design has its roots in early 20th century Germany. Eager to catch up with the industrial dominance of Great Britain and the USA, the state began to sponsor efforts to integrate traditional craftsmanship with industrial mass production. This eventually led to the creation of the Bauhaus, a school which was a to have a huge effect on not just industrial design, but everything from typography to architecture. Rather a group of like-minded creatives, than an explicit design philosophy, Bauhaus inspired designers embraced the new era of mass production as an opportunity to create art for living. You don’t have to look far to see their influence.
The World Capital of Industrial Design
In fact, if you happen to be anywhere near Helsinki, this year’s World Design Capital, you can just jump on a tram to the Cable Factory. Here you’ll find Hi Design 2012, an exhibition dedicated, to showcasing Finland’s amazing wealth of industrially designed products. Finland, as well as the other Nordic countries, industrialized a lot later than most of Western Europe. As a result, the Nordic countries were better able to preserve their traditions of craftsmanship and integrate them into commercial production. Today, the Finns produce a huge selection of carefully constructed mechanical masterpieces, everything from stunning lifts by Kone to kick ass snowmobiles from BRP Finland. Then, of course, there’s Nokia.
Nokia helped put Finnish Industrial design craftsmanship on the map, so it’s no surprise an entire floor is dedicated to mobile tech. The exhibition, People Made, which first kicked off at the London Design Museum, looks back over 20 illustrious years. From classics like the first mass-market digital handset, the Nokia 1011, right up to the Nokia Lumia 800 and 900, you get a real sense of Nokia’s design heritage. The beauty of these devices, as well as accessories like the Nokia Play 360 and Nokia Luna, are great examples of how industrial design has evolved over the decades. We’re sure that those early German design pioneers, from almost a century ago, would have approved.
See also: Nokia Products That Changed The World: Stephen White [Nokia Connects, Dec 7, 2011]