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Sony EvolutionUI 'game' launcher could help Android newbies

Making the switch to an Android smartphone when you’ve been a longtime iPhone, Windows Phone or Blackberry user could get easier. Sony is working a new research project called EvolutionUI that aims to teach users how to speak Android.

Sony's EvolutionUI launcher rewards successfully completed tasks with new features
Sony Developer World

As Android Beat reports (April 30), Sony is attempting to “gamify” the Android operating system (OS) user experience with its EvolutionUI experiment. Smartphones come with instruction manuals, but most people either don’t read them at all or skim through the booklet.

The EvolutionUI resembles a stripped down version of the Android launcher found on Sony's Xperia Z1 and Xperia Z Ultra smartphones. It features just 4 app shortcut icons on the main screen, including the dialer, SMS messages, Chrome browser and camera. The clock widget and Google search bar are the only other decorations on the home screen.

According to Sony Developer World, to unlock other features like the desktop customization ability for example, the Android user is prompted to perform tasks such as “open four apps”. Similar to a game, earning “achievements” and completing “levels” grants access to more advanced functions within the Android OS. Simultaneously, the user is learning how to use their Android OS based mobile device.

Sony could be onto something here with its EvolutionUI project, especially for individuals who are new to using the Android OS. Mobile operating systems “talk” different and learning the language of a new OS can be frustrating for some people. “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,” software developer at Sony, Pál Szász said.

Sony’s idea to “gamify” the Android OS experience is an alternative approach that some consumers may find useful. Rather than blindly playing around with the system, watching a tutorial or asking others, EvolutionUI could be a way to learn the ropes of Android. Existing Android users may also find EvolutionUI to be a fun way to test their Android knowledge or maybe even discover new features.

Sony encourages developers who would like to try out the EvolutionUI concept to head over to Github for the complete source code. Check out the demo video of the game-like launcher in this article