The Astonishing Tribe (TAT) is currently giving Android’s new UI the finishing touches. Hampus Jakobsson from the Swedish company was so kind to answer some questions. Let’s see if TAT reveals Android’s new UI during the Mobile World Congress 2008 (February 11-14th).

Q: What was TAT’s role in giving Android a new UI?
A: We are part of the open handset alliance working with specifying the platform UI.

Q: What were your primary goals in terms of style and functionality and how would you describe the outcome?
A: We are still working on is as you know, there will be a release in a couple of days. As all UI:s the goal is to make the style fit the target group, and make the right features as accessible as possible. A good UI is seldom noticed, only bad ones. So our goal is to make the platform and the devices built on it as user friendly as possible.

Q: Which particular challenges did you face in doing this particular work and how did you solve them?
A: One big challenge with a platform which should cater multiple form factors is always that the UI should “scale” well and be plastic, as the same time as it should make optimal use of the physical UI and keys, to not become to “generic” and clumsy. It is a tricky one!

Q: If you could pick one or two specific things that worked out especially well, which ones would you pick?
A: Can’t tell you… You’ll see in time 🙂

Q: What do you think is the future of mobile UIs? Will GUIs get less important?
A: No way! I think it will get more important. Time of pure enabling technology innovation is of no more – it needs to be useful to be commercial! More and more services are developed, and the phone is not getting bigger due to the size of the pocket, so UI:s will increase in importance.

Q: What do you think of non-graphical UIs like, for example, speech and gestures?
A: I think ui in general and gui in particular will be important. There are many social (as well as technical, but in time those are easy to fix) obstacles of gestures and voice recognition – accuracy, fidelity and privacy are issues.

Thank you very much.

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