Yappa Aquatic Spin UI on Willcom D4 UMPC

Willcom_d4_yappacorpNow that the Atom-based Willcom D4 has just become better than ever, I’m hoping it won’t just be me and the crickets at those D4 fan meetings for much longer. Once membership picks up, our first order of business (aside from adding internal HSDPA) will be to get Yappa Corporation’s Aquatic Spin UI up and running on our English units.

The user interface, developed for Willcom, was announced as the D4’s UI solution (PDF) nearly five months ago but hasn’t been seen in action since Akihabara News tested an unimpressive alpha version several months before its official release.

What happened to it?

I’ve got Brett from on the case right now and am hoping to hear from Yappa’s media contact on the matter as well. In the meantime, read on for Yappa’s description of the ocean-inspired Aquatic interface.

The UI ‘AQUATIC’ developed for WILLCOM has been designed taking the concept of the ocean, and by selecting the menu, the menu layers align itself with the layers of the ocean. Once the icon from the sea level layer is selected, the icon sinks down into the ocean to the second layer, and then moving down to the third layer. Spin UI enables seamless movement particularly when the icon drops downward. Additionally, users can trace the touch panel for screen transitioning delivering a unique interface. As a result, users are able to get a more intuitive feel by freely moving between layers of the menu.

The interface may not be available in English, but everything looks so icon-driven that it probably doesn’t matter.



Without using the UI myself or seeing a final-version demo, I’m assuming that it can be likened to Microsoft’s Origami Experience 2.0. I never use OE 2.0 on my HTC Shift, but I think a variation of it (which is what I think Aquatic is) might work well on the D4’s smaller screen. Its high resolution, paired with Vista, is hardly optimized for fingertips; Aquatic could change this. It would just sit on top of Vista, of course (i.e., the meat of the OS would still be reliant on the stylus/cursor), but I’d still like to give it a try.

Update: Here’s a nice overview by Sharp.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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5 thoughts on “Yappa Aquatic Spin UI on Willcom D4 UMPC

  • Avatar of Maarten Hammega

    Hi Jenn,

    I got the Aqua UI running on my D4, it works quite nice and it seems that it is possible to add/remove items yourself.

    It works like this:
    -Start at top layer (ocean level)
    -even click on an item takes you down 1 layer until you arrive at the place of your destination (Office Word for example)

    It works quite nice just because it is so simple, no complicated menu’s just flow through :)

    As it is a separate application + windows widget it should be possible to install it on any machine not just limited to the D4.

  • You’re kidding! How did you get it? I searched high and low in my D4 and couldn’t find it.

    Thanks for your quick rundown. The UI sounds promising. Is it all in Japanese?

    BTW, how are you liking the D4? I can’t get enough of mine. :-)

  • Avatar of Maarten Hammega

    No kidding :-)

    It was already installed on my Japanese D4.
    I presume that when “they” re-installed Windows ENG for you the additional programs got removed (I also have UMGPS support and some other apps)

    So far I really like that UI although I have not been using the D4 a lot because of a few reasons.
    – mini-USB instead of normal host USB. (Thus no USB stick to plug in)
    – No LAN port, I prefer a LAN port for in Hotels.
    – 1Gb of RAM is quite limiting for Vista (although I like the handwriting (Chinese character input though handwriting is great)
    – Battery life :(

    Although the L battery solved the battery life issues I don’t like the size when when it is attached.

    Because of the above I have been using my SC3 much more than the D4.

    I think the combination of the bigger screen, ports, battery and keyboard I just like it better.

    I’ll be trying to sell my D4 :)

  • Let us know if that software is available to us D4 users without the Japanese software Jenn. I think it would be a cool way to load applications.

    For me after Windows CE HPC’s enabling me to do most things with a handheld and not always needin to lug a laptop around, I really appreciate the Sharp D4 a lot! To me using the small mini usb to standard usb adapter along with the vast array of such adapters/ports/etc. the mini usb is no big deal. While the Sharp D4 is not my ideal UMPC, it is the closest thing to my ideal UMPC; a great compact jacket computer to get the job done without lugging a big laptop, etc.

  • @ Maarten: It’s the opposite for me. I use the D4 so much that my SC3 hasn’t been touched in a few weeks! Did you use the D4 in laptop mode a lot? Since you mentioned wanting a LAN port, I assume you weren’t using the device in two-handed mode very much.

    I just bought an HSDPA router that has a LAN port because I want to use the D4 in hotels that only offer wired internet. I really wish the unit had built-in 3G.

    Do you think you could send me the Aquatic software? I assume it’s all in Japanese, but it looks easy enough to navigate.


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