Frog Design launcher for Sharp Aquos phones may be the first custom UI to improve Android
I’ve just recently started getting into Android themes, and while I am usually strongly opposed to manufacturer skinning, something I found today while looking through some Android theme websites caught my eye. Sharp isn’t really a company that we usually asssociate with Android phones, and it’s easy to only remember the company from their TV spots starring George Takei. However, the Japanese electronics company has entered into a partnership with a design studio called Frog to make a custom UI for their Android phones, and the proposed result looks quite impressive.
In case you haven’t heard of Frog Design, which I hadn’t until today, they are a German design company based in San Francisco. Why am I telling you this? Well, Frog Design isn’t just any design company; they actually worked for Apple and designed the Apple IIc, in addition to several other Macintosh models, which should get them at least a little bit of credibility. Of course, that was in the now-distant past, and they have since switched to designing for Android. As I mentioned, their current project is a partnership with Sharp, where they are working on making something called the Feel UX.
In a change from most manufacturer interfaces, Feel UX actually looks like a piece of software that is more than just a regular theme. Yes, the lockscreen, notification bar, icons, and nearly everything else have been themed, but the real change is in the homescreen. Instead of a regular homescreen, Feel UX uses three categories: apps, widgets, and shortcuts, to organize all your content. I can’t speak to how well this will actually work, but I can say that the interface does look like something that I would at least like to try out. Sharp is touting real-time weather, neutral colors, and a streamlined homescreen as the main features, but doesn’t yet have a finished product. Instead, the Feel UX is a work in progress that should ship on Sharp’s new Aquos phones later this year.
As I’ve made clear in the past, I’m no fan of manufacturer interfaces, but this one actually looks interesting. I still don’t think it should be the irreversible default on a phone, but it is something that I would install as an addon to a ROM, or even a full-on ROM to give it a try. It is one of the few Android UIs I have seen that does something different (other than Chamelion), and it actually reminds me a little bit of the Windows Phone 7 Metro interface. Whatever the reason, I’m actually looking foreward to see what Sharp and Frog Design manage to do with this project, and will be waiting to see if there is a way to install and try the Feel UX on other devices. You can see more of the concept in the video below, or follow the source link to Frog Designs page on the project.