Huawei didn't have any new hardware to show during its packed press conference, but it did have an early version of its Emotion UI skin for Android devices. Aiming to make its smartphone experience a little gentler for first-timers, while offering up a slightly different flavor of Google's OS, Huawei's been polling its customers, running user experience salons and meeting regular groups of between 40 - 70 consumers to understand what was working -- and what was definitely not. To this end, the company's "driven [itself] crazy" by keeping to a tight schedule and releasing iterative updates every two weeks (at least for beta) and monthly for stable builds.
Huawei Emotion UI hands-on at IFA 2012See all photos
At its core is the "uni home" screen, drawing together both Android's typical homescreen and the app drawer in one place. Apps can be arranged into folders, while deleting the app icon now uninstalls the app. Also working on the early iteration were several pre-loaded Android themes (up to six) that tap into the UI's design. To augment this, Huawei's made additional themes available online -- about 20 plus. Interestingly, there's even a stock theme here, which adds Google's homemade Android 4.0 icons and wallpapers. This doesn't, however, stretch to the aforementioned uni home. We also noticed that Huawei has made the shortcut switches within the drop-down menu far more expansive, far beyond the Bluetooth and WiFi staples. The Emotion UI will roll out for public testing starting tomorrow -- you can download a (currently Chinese-only) version at the source link below.
Joseph Volpe contributed to this report.
Huawei Showcases Proprietary User Interface for
Android Devices at IFA 2012
Sneak preview of Emotion UI demonstrates Huawei's ambitions
Berlin, Germany, August 30, 2012 – Huawei, a leading global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, today launched a sneak preview of the Huawei Emotion UI at IFA 2012. An Android-based user interface (UI), Emotion UI will play a critical role in cementing the strength of Huawei's smartphone portfolio. Reinforcing Huawei's user-centric design philosophy, "Design with Empathy", Emotion UI is built on a clear understanding of how consumers interact with their smartphones and what they expect from these interactions.
"Emotion UI is a reflection of Huawei's empathic design philosophy – built by consumers for consumers. In designing this user interface, we spoke to consumers to find out what they wanted from their smartphones, the type of experiences they sought when interacting with their devices and what we, as consumers ourselves, want from our smartphones. The team was very conscious about placing people before technology. We believe that it is only through listening to what consumers want and need that we can truly develop products that they will love," said Dennis Poon, Global UI Design Director, Huawei Device.
The Emotion UI showcase at IFA 2012 provided a glimpse of what consumers can expect from the final product. Emotion UI improves usability and provides a much simpler navigational experience for users. It enables users to customise the design and functions of their smartphone home page to suit their personal needs, in addition to simplifying folder functions for easier management of applications. "Me Widget" allows users to combine all the information and functions they need in a single, customisable widget while "Smart Tutorial" acts as a comprehensive support tool to help entry-level users get up to speed with their phone's features in the shortest time possible.
Post-IFA, Emotion UI will enter the next phase of its development, driven further by consumer wants and needs. From August 30, 2012, Huawei will call for consumer and user feedback for use in the UI design and development process. Consumers can download the Chinese version of Emotion UI via http://ui.vmall.com/emotiondownload.php from August 30 and provide feedback by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with an English version to follow. The commercial availability of Emotion UI will be announced nearer the time. Consumers can watch a demo video of Emotion UI at www.youtube.com/HuaweiDeviceCo or access more information via the Emotion UI Facebook page www.facebook.com/Huaweiemui.