Sony Plans to ‘Gamify’ Android for Newbies, But Will it Work?

April 30, 2014 - Written By Syed Sofian Rabbani

Let’s take you back to the first time you held that expensive smartphone in your hand, when you took oh-so-much care not to do anything that could potentially damage the device in any which way. As a first timer – and that if you were never too technical to begin with – were you overwhelmed with all the bells and whistles of your Android smartphone? Sony believes that there is an answer to help first time green horn users to get familiarized with their Android device in a much less antagonizing manner. After giving us waterproof phones, from Sony, the answer comes in the form of a gamified Android launcher which the Japanese OEM is calling Evolution UI.

Evolution UI has been going for quite some time as an internal research project at Sony, however the company has recently released it to GitHub for developers in the Open Source community. The UI has been devised with four progressive levels – Beginner, Easy, Medium and Advanced, and a user moves through these stages in a game like manner. Once the device is switched on for the first time, the user will have access to only four apps – dialer, sms, camera and the browser. The UI works on a gaming rewards mechanism, so in order to access the app drawer the user would have to open and close these four apps five times in succession. Similarly the entire UI is designed to reward the user and progressively gives access to advance features as the user matures along this journey. You can check out Evolution UI in action in the video posted at the end of this article.

Though, in concept, the idea of helping users along their journey from newbie to advance seems tantalizing, the idea is also cumbersome to implement in a real-world scenario.  For the most technically challenged (pardon the term) user Evolution UI might seem easy and required, however the average person nowadays doesn’t require too much hand-holding. A commercial launch for Evolution UI may or may not happen, but if it does we would definitely ask Sony to put a kill switch for the launcher, or there will be far too many frustrated users. Would you like to have Evolution UI or something like that on your next smartphone? Do let us know in the comments below.