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Editorial: Nokia Needs SwipeUI on Windows Phone

Nokia has a wonderful thing going on in the Nokia N9: you swipe to exit apps, and double tap to wake up the phone. This is the kind of thing that really makes the N9 a pleasure to use; it’s so addictive I was swiping the screen of the Lumia 800 as soon I started using it. SwipeUI is natural, is intuitive, it’s brilliant. It’s the kind of thing that is obvious but no one had seen before; like the capacitive touchscreen and the App Store as the two pillars of the modern smartphone. SwipeUI doesn’t only bring interface improvements, it eliminates the need for buttons and provides more screen real state in smaller frames; think about it, the Lumia 800’s screen could have been slightly bigger had those three button not been there.

But the fact that SwipeUI is awesome is not the only reason why Nokia should implement this on their Windows Phone devices. Nokia needs to give reasons their Windows Phone devices are different to the point there’s no doubt. Navigation is not enough, nor is Music and the ESPN app. I am a college student; I am not going anywhere in a car for the next four years of my life, and I don’t care that much about sports to the point I would need an ESPN app. However, if Nokia Windows Phone devices had SwipeUI, there’s a tangible and interface-wide difference between a Nokia WP and a Samsung or HTC; anyone who picks up a Nokia device will realize without the need to explain anything that the phone they hold in their hands is different–there’s no buttons! It’s all-screen! The Nokia-Windows Phone differentiation debate would be over, for good.

It’s easy to make an argument that Nokia already has enough differentiation with design, camera, Nokia Drive, and other things; it does, these services are special and unique. But it’s still not absolutely undebatable, a Windows Phone would feel more like a Nokia if it had SwipeUI.

Simple Idea: there are two buttons you really need, back and home. Swiping from left to right replaces the back button, swiping from right to left replaces the home button. Multitasking is done swiping from left to right (back button gesture) and holding; which could oppen an Ice Cream Sandwich like multitasking view. Bing search? Place it in a tile and be done with it, or possibly a up-down swipe like pulling a notification bar on certain platforms.

  • http://twitter.com/kopte3 Matija

    It’s a nice idea, but no way that Elop will allow it. He cares first about what could that do for Microsoft, read: fragmentation, and then, secondly what could that bring Nokia, unique differentiation. It would be a really nice thing, i completely agree.

    • Anonymous

      That’s the piece I don’t know, would adding this add fragmentation? I am not sure… Maybe it’s just mapping a swipe to the exit button, or maybe it’s not.

      • http://twitter.com/kopte3 Matija

        It would. If you change the UI you are differentiating it from the stock WP UI concept.

  • Markk N

    Swipe UI Rocks!
     

  • http://twitter.com/dabbu101 Dabbu

    Swipe UI comes naturally to the curved glass of the Nokia N9. Mr Flop did everything to dilute the N9 brand, so much so that he copied the curved glass on the Lumia 800, which is still old scho0l button device and has no reason for having a curved glass. Remember the curve is to aid in swiping!
    BTW, be ready to pay more for the apps in the market place, where do you think Microsoft is going to recover all this crazy marketing costs from ;)

    • Anonymous

      more sales