MetroUI inspiring poster designers

I was really surprised the other day when I bumped into this movie poster at a Paris bus stop. I had the feeling to look at a WindowsPhone home screen with lots of pictures and contacts pinned.


The designer of this movie poster seems to have been influenced by Microsoft Metro UI. Is it conscious or not ? Usually designers are big fan of everything with an Apple touch.

I don’t know if the movie is featuring a lot of Nokia phones, but apparently Microsoft has found a new soft power with its UI.


So little space to differentiate

HTC has announced that it is shutting down, the device firm’s portal that enables users to sync their contacts, messages, footprints and call history.

HTC has been caught between Microsoft and Google. There is no room for customized UI with Windows Phone and it is the same with Android and its non-fragmentation agreement. Furthermore, the services provided by HTCSense have been commoditized by the OS vendors: Microsoft Live and Google Mail are backing up all the device data in the background so you can access these data from your PC, tablet or a new device.

HTC Sense UI

The real question for device makers is ‘beyond hardware how can they differentiate from one another?’. Except for the ones with a fully integrated approach like Apple, the solution is to come from the outside.

Customers are lost in the zillions of applications available from the Application markets. I think they would appreciate some help from their preferred device manufacturer to pick up the best ones.

Which games? Which weather application? etc.

Device makers need to do something quite unusual for them: open to third parties, discuss partnerships and not try to do everything by themselves. The same service has much more value if provided by the top Internet brand than by the manufacturers. In these times of hardship, device makers need to focus on their hardware core business again and again.

2012 : the year of the Tablet & PC merge

I was mentioning in some previous posts that the PC industry was colliding with the mobile industry. For every accident one expects a big boom. It will be the case with the launch of Windows 8 next year.

Windows 8 transforms the way we see tablets and computers. There will be no clear frontier between a PC and a tablet anymore. The tablet will be able to change its finger friendly UI into a mouse friendly UI when docked with a mouse and keyboard.

On this video I shot you can see the Metro UI and a switch to the PC legacy UI.

In the past we used to think a machine = a UI = a processor. This paradigm is no longer valid.


Now an OS will be able to run on different chipset architectures (ARM or x86) and to run different UIs depending on the context.


It is already the case with UBUNTU 11.10 which runs on X86 and ARM.

Toshiba AC100 running Ubuntu 11.10

I really love my Toshiba AC100 running Ubuntu. OK it’s really sluggish due to the lack of RAM (only 500MB) so it’s more or less a mono task computer but never the less it works. For more information on Ubuntu on ARM > Ubuntu Wiki

One can expect next year a revival of the long lasting war between MAC and PC. I expect Apple to merge its MacOS and iOS for Tablet UIs into something new that will combine the 2 product categories. Apple will most probably manage it smoothly to avoid damaging its healthy iPad business as it did in the past managing the transition from iPod to iPhone.

OS UI Processor future

Microsoft which has no presence in the tablet space will be far more aggressive in merging the 2 segments. The unknown factor remains Google. Will Google be able to strengthen its Android value proposition and combine it with Chrome OS?

How will mobile devices look like 15 years from now?

I was wondering with some friends and mobile experts what could be the future of the mobile phone. When you look back mobiles have changed during the last 15 years: evolving from a 12-keypad / 1 line display shoebox to a no key / 4” display fit for HD videos and data usage.

You can have a look at the device evolution from 1983 till today on this webdesigner depot page.

How will look a mobile (computer) device in 15 years from now?

One can extrapolate the form factor trend and imagine a device very thin which basically would be a screen with no key. If one goes a bit further, a foldable screen one could extract from a tube to display information.

foldable screen concept

foldable screen concept

One step further would be to eliminate the screen and project the data on glasses or on any surface in front of you. It is the vision of Pranav Mistry and it’s sixth sense project.


sixth sense

‘SixthSense’ is a wearable gestural interface that interacts with the physical world around us making information a part of it.

This is merely a concept, but as the UI used by Tom Cruise in Minority Report, Sixth Sense is showing the way for future mobile interfaces.

Microsoft icons TV ad: a dangerous game

Here is the TV ad for the launch of Windows Mobile 6.5. The message is clearly consumer oriented and except the outlook giant icon there is no reference to the business space which was the heart of WM target.

Apart I find this ad very ugly I believe it misses the point and is potentially dangerous for Microsoft business.

1st there is no diffrentiator. Taking along on one’s mobile all its PC/Internet world is common today. Furthermore most of the consumers know that you can get it from other platforms like the iPhone, a Symbian or an Android phone.
The main improvement of WM6.5 is its UI which is now in the pack. But there is no mention of it in this ad.

People don’t want a phone that carries the same experience as a PC and the promise of this ad is just that: get the same experience as on your home PC.
The main risk is that consumer will think this statement is reversible, I want the same experience as on my iPhone so I’ll buy a Mac instead of a PC, or worse for Microsoft, I want the same experience as on my Android phone so I’ll switch to Ubuntu or Suse for my PC.

Last but not least this ad denies the mobility capabilities of the laptop, which seems crazy when you see the growth of the 3G embedded PC segment.

This ad seems the work of a Microsoft trainee playing with the matches on a hot summer day in the middle of a dry forest…