Archive for 'UI/UX'
Just on Thursday, the Stage Two team brought you news about our client, Transporter, officially launching their Kickstarter campaign. Well, four days and over 300 backers later, Transporter is already more than halfway to its campaign goal of $100k!
As we mentioned in the last post, we also attended GDGT at the Metreon in San Francisco that same evening. Along with the Transporter team, we met a lot of great people. It was great to let so many folks get their hands on Transporter and get their direct feedback. It was such a success to see people come away genuinely impressed with a device that keeps your data synced online, while keeping it safe and private. It looks like people are ready for a hard drive that keeps your data online, off-cloud and private.
With 31 days to go and the funding goal within reach, we’re excited and downright giddy for the Transporter. Well done guys; we’ll see you at $100k and beyond!
Engadget (Insert Coin) – http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/06/insert-coin-transporter-the-collaborative-cloud-storage-hub/
Mashable – http://mashable.com/2012/12/09/transporter/
Mashable (via Yahoo) – http://news.yahoo.com/video/share-private-data-backups-transporter-184703466.html
Can you believe it’s already December?! The Stage Two team has been hunkered down with all kinds of terrific, upcoming announcements this month, and it starts today.
Today, our client Transporter officially launched their Kickstarter campaign! Here is their live campaign page http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/transporterguy/transporter-a-new-way-to-share-access-and-protect?ref=live.
Transporter is an online, off-cloud social storage solution to privately share, access and protect all of you valuable files. For example, if I work on this very blog post in a Word document, I can save the document on my Transporter, and then share it with the rest of the Stage Two team onto their Transporters.
Also, Transporter is completely off the cloud, so it’s totally private without requiring the user to agree to any sort of Terms and Conditions. You don’t have to hand over the rights to YOUR own content. On top that, it has a larger capacity than other cloud storage solutions, and there are no, ZERO recurring fees.
And lastly, representatives from Transporter will be at GDGT tonight at the Metreon in San Francisco! Please help us fund Transporter and check out the pledge that’s right for you!
Client News-Extreme Reality Delivers the First Full-Body Motion Game for Standard Webcams Everywhere
Happy post-Thanksgiving to everyone out there! Hope you guys enjoyed the extended weekend, time with family and friends, and of course, stuffing yourselves silly. Thanksgiving is definitely tough to beat!
Thankfully (pun intended), the holiday provided a nice, and much-needed, bit of relief from all the exciting work building up at Stage Two. Yet, here we are, back in the office with more awesome news from Extreme Reality.
Extreme Reality announced today they are releasing PandaMania, the very first full-body motion capture game specifically made for a standard 2D webcam. That means no more consoles or additional hardware to buy, just your existing PC webcam and download the game off the Windows App Store – it’s that simple!
Also, the company decided to go even one step further. Extreme Reality opened up their software development kit (SDK) to game developers interested in creating their own motion-capture game.
Not only is Extreme Reality releasing a game that is the first-of-its-kind, but lending a hand to aspiring game developers and ensuring the continued growth of the gaming industry is pretty cool. That speaks volumes to the type of people Extreme Reality has, and we’re proud to represent them.
From of all of us here at Stage Two, it’s never too early to wish you all happy holidays, stay tuned for more news to come soon!
At Stage Two we are constantly working with awesome, early stage companies that are pushing new, up and coming technologies. But it’s even more exciting when they partner with a big tech juggernaut like …. Samsung! Today our client, Extreme Reality, announced it has teamed up with Samsung to bring its Extreme UI gesture control software to the international technology company’s Series 5 and Series 7 Windows 8 All-in-One PCs.
Get ready for the next gen of computer technology where the mouse and the touch pad will feel like things of yesteryear! There has been a lot of progress surrounding gesture control technology and Extreme Reality has been extending its market leadership over the past few weeks. In October, the company announced the addition of Trip Hawkins, founder of Electronic Arts, to their Board of Directors. Last week, they announced a technology partnership with NEC, and this week, Samsung.
The beauty of Extreme Reality’s Extreme UI software is that it can turn any standard 2D VGA camera into a 3D motion capture system. Basically, Extreme UI offers simliar functionality to Microsoft’s Kinect without any special equipment requirements or extra equipment. Soon, consumers will adapt to the entirely new experience of using gesture controls for common tasks such as changing the volume or channels in the media player to navigating an e-book, recipe, even their smartphone with a simple wave of the hand. Pretty sweet!
Look for more big announcements from Extreme Reality in the weeks leading up to CES 2013!
It’s always fast-paced, exciting and busy here at Stage Two. Even with the holidays approaching (or as we like to call the holidays… CES Prep), there’s no rest for the weary, right? Trust us, it’s a good thing!
Today our client, Extreme Reality, announced that NEC has chosen Extreme UI to power gesture controls for the company’s VALUESTAR Family of All-in-One PCs. Extreme Reality’s state-of-the-art gesture control technology gives consumers an entirely new way to interact and control their PCs. You can read all about it HERE.
The company’s Extreme UI software tracks the user’s palm and responds to hand gesture commands, providing an alternative to the standard point and click interface. This is only the beginning for Extreme Reality and its motion control technologies, stay tuned for big news to come in the next few weeks!
After reading this article from Daring Fireball we got the idea that Windows 8 is like that guy who is always modifying his old car. Sure, he has custom rims, tinted windows and monogrammed upholstery. But at the end of the day, he is still cruising around in a ’99 Celica.
While Windows 8 does offer some pretty nifty features- you can view two apps side by side, among other enhancements – the esthetically pleasing demeanor doesn’t equal flawless functionality. Quoting from the page:
I think it’s a fundamentally flawed idea for Microsoft to build their next-generation OS and interface on top of the existing Windows. The idea is that you get the new stuff right alongside Windows as we know it. Microsoft is obviously trying to learn from Apple, but they clearly don’t understand why the iPad runs iOS, and not Mac OS X.
So while Microsoft has built a visually appealing mobile operating system (and it is pretty – see the video below), they tacked this new UI on top of Windows. The result is a potentially muddled experience that aims to power tablets, laptops and desktop PCs. Others have wondered if this new OS is capable of powering both desktops and slates.
Microsoft needs to understand that a great touch OS is defined by restraint and streamlined elegance, while a desktop OS is defined by thoroughness and depth. It is interesting to see how the UI has progressed, but in failing to differentiate mobile from desktop user needs, Microsoft may have just put new spinners on an old Toyota.
Posted by Jeremy Toeman and Greg Franzese
Andrew Orlowski has a detailed article in The Register that looks at why Nokia’s mobile ecosystem failed. It wasn’t because their Symbian software was faulty (the article states that Symbian devices actually performed better than others in terms of signal strength and battery life). According to the article, Symbian died because it lacked usability. Quoting from the page:
Nokia’s phones were considered uncompetitive in the marketplace, because new products from Apple and Android had raised the bar for ease of use, particularly for new data applications, and Nokia’s user experience was awful.
The UX matters: it’s the first thing potential customers see when a friend passes them their new phone in the pub. A well-designed UX is consistent, forgiving and rewarding; Nokia’s user experience was inconsistent, unforgiving and hostile.
This last point is especially salient. Apple’s focus on usability and user experience is one of the reasons they have been so successful with devices like the iPad 2. In order to succeed, device makers must deliver well designed products with great UX.
GigaOm delivered their own Symbian autopsy in which ex-Nokia designer Adam Greenfield stated that the cause of death was lack of taste. “There’s nobody with any taste in the decision-making echelons at Nokia,” he writes. Steve Jobs has made similar comments about a lack of taste in the tech sector in the past. Tasteful design and desirable user experiences matter more to consumers than hardware specs and processing power.
While UX is certainly a critical component of successful product development, we see another key factor that led to Nokia abandoning their mobile ecosystem – the rise of 3G and constantly connected devices. In our opinion, Nokia (and Palm, for that matter) got into trouble early in the 3G adoption curve. The company built a bevy of brilliant feature phones up until the 3G paradigm shift, but once technologies like email and mobile web arrived, Nokia failed to adapt in the ways consumers wanted. Its operating system could not handle these newer features and the entire platform stagnated. Eventually, the OS fell too far behind the rest of the market to save it. When people examine the end of the Symbian ecosystem, usability issues will certainly come up.
Great usability must work in concert with a nimble, adaptive corporation that can respond to (and hopefully initiate) tech trends. And this – by the way – is how Apple could one day fail. If a paradigm shift occurs outside Cupertino and Apple fails to pay attention to it, they could move quickly from market leader to tech laggard. As a final aside, placing widgets on homescreens is not something we consider a paradigm shift (hint, hint, Android). When a real computing sea change happens, the winners will be the companies that recognize it and react swiftly.
I was recently asked to do a Xoom review and I have to say that I am pained just picking up the device. And apparently I am not the only one who feels this way. The Motorola Xoom recently launched to tepid reviews and slow sales. Engadget said “there isn’t much here for consumers right now,” and there are already rumors that Motorola is cutting production of their Android tablet.
When the HP TouchPad and BlackBerry PlayBook are released, there is no doubt in my mind that they will suffer the same fate as the Xoom: lackluster sales, middling reviews and generally regarded as also-rans in the tablet kingdom.
Since the iPad 2 came out (and sold a million units over a single weekend), the writing is officially on the wall. The tablet space is Apple’s game to lose.
So here is the message for HP, RIM and every other company developing a tablet computer right now: stop the presses. There is nothing to be gained by releasing these devices as they are now. Unless these firms have extremely small unit goals for their devices (which they don’t), they need to reevaluate how they can compete in the tablet space. And they won’t compete by launching tablets that look kind of like the iPad that are aimed at current iPad owners. Apple competitors need to innovate and differentiate themselves if they want to win.
Let’s be clear. There are markets for these products – I outlined a few of them in this earlier tablet post:
Here are a few sectors that present real opportunities for non-Apple tablets.
We are quickly approaching a world where medical records and information will be displayed on tablets. Windows and Android devices could thrive in this vertical.
Someone is going to sell the Pentagon a lot of secure, battle ready tablets. Smart manufacturers should keep an eye on this space.
A “cheap,” sturdy tablet for kids is a no-brainer. Part coloring book, part media player, part game center- think LeapPad on steroids.
It’s time that the consumer electronics industry takes a hard look at the iPad’s strengths and comes up with a few interesting alternatives for these specific market segments.
Instapaper founder Marco Arment has a post that talks about the iPad abandoning office productivity apps and moving more toward “casual media creation.” Since the iPad’s role “doesn’t include office productivity for most of us,” there is an opportunity for an enterprise tablet built for business needs. If someone other than Apple made an amazing office tablet, people would love it- they would just love it differently than they love the iPad. HP could own this enterprise tablet market. It isn’t hard to imagine a scenario where people absolutely adore their HP work tablet. In order to thrive, though, these devices must be inspiring, not merely functional. There is an opportunity here to connect with people and improve their working lives (and maybe surprise and delight them in the process). HP (and others) just need to seize it.
RIM, HP, Motorola and others can’t deliver products that are a little better than the iPad. Their offerings need to be far superior or far different to the iPad in order to succeed. They need to create a user experience that people love. The fact is that the PlayBook and TouchPad – as they are designed and marketed now – won’t capture people’s emotions the way the iPad has. Which is why they should not be brought to market.
Posted by Jeremy Toeman and Greg Franzese
We recently ran across the following presentation that covers “10 Rules for Connected TV App Development.”
Javier Lasa’s deck inspired us to post our own 10 rules for building Smart TV Apps (we will get it done by the end of next week). For more good reading, check out Stage Two’s ten essential tips for making a great Google TV site, and ten commandments for building an amazing Boxee Box App.
I firmly believe that only Apple could deliver a device like the iPad 2. Their focus on usability and user experiences ushered in a post-PC paradigm in computing. The Cupertino company defined the tablet space and is expected to ship 30 million tablets in 2011. There is a reason other tablet makers don’t have Apple’s market share- their tablets just don’t measure up at this time.
I recently reviewed the Motorola Xoom, and in the first few seconds of interacting with it, it became clear that it was not an iPad. From the moment I picked it up, it just felt wrong. The first time use feels cumbersome and even languid. Motorola’s tablet asks me for account information – user names and passwords – before I can do anything with the device. When I pick up the iPad, it works – quickly and effortlessly. There are other differences, as well. Stability, for one. As the venerable Walt Mossberg puts it in his iPad 2 review: “[The iPad] never crashed in my tests, unlike every Android tablet I’ve tested.” Then, of course, there is the price point ($800? Really?). And finally, the news that Xoom owners will have to send their devices back to the manufacturer for a 4G upgrade. Quoting Dvice:
Poor Motorola Xoom. We all wanted to love you, but you may have popped out of the oven a bit too soon. If you want 4G LTE on your shiny new Xoom (goes on sale today), you’ll have to return it back to Motorola for the upgrade.
This debacle is more Motorola’s fault than Android’s. Someone at Motorola said that this tablet was ready to ship when it clearly wasn’t. Who is that guy? What motivated his decision making? At what point did making customers return their product for an upgrade seem like a good idea?
Hardware makers must innovate tablet technology while delivering fun, functional user experiences. The reviewers and consumers have weighed in and at this point only Apple can deliver a tablet worth waiting in line for.