By Vlad Bobleanta on 28 May 12
Another Android phone maker is set to unveil a UI overlay sitting atop Google’s mobile operating system. This time it’s Huawei. Its Sense/TouchWiz competitor will be called Emotion UI and is going to arrive in July.
Just a few days ago, ZTE (the other big Chinese manufacturer) announced its very own 3D skin for Android, powered by Rightware’s Kanzi UI. This skin will be used from now on for ZTE’s smartphones running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
ICS is also presumably Huawei’s ‘target’ for its Emotion UI, although details are scarce at the moment. The grand unveiling is set for June 9, and the interface will become available sometime in July. Still a mystery is whether Huawei plans to issue updates to already shipping Android smartphones in order to add the Emotion UI. However, it seems almost certain that all Huawei Android devices that will ship in or after July will come bearing this new overlay. That obviously includes the Ascend D quad, the company’s flagship smartphone for this year, which may have been delayed until July specifically in order to get the Emotion UI baked in.
At this point we don’t really know what the Emotion UI will look like, or what functionality it will add to Android. Huawei uses words such as “emotional”, “simple”, and “smart” in describing it, and says that it has listened carefully to the needs of users. Then again, they all say this. HTC even dared say it was ‘listening to its customers’ when it decided that extra-slim phones were preferable to better battery life – and that’s quite absurd.
In the picture above which speaks about the big event in which the Emotion UI will first be showcased, we can see what looks like the stock Android ICS launcher with no modifications whatsoever. So maybe Huawei’s UI really is subtle. Or maybe the company wanted to keep it a secret until said event.
It’s not 100% clear if the Emotion UI will make it outside of China, but it probably will given Huawei’s new global ambitions. The company is undergoing a massive transition from a manufacturer most widely regarded for its low-end price-competitive offerings to one that can compete on the high-end as well (with its own in-house designed processor even).
Apparently Huawei thought that part of this transition had to be adding its own UI to Android. I would have liked it to try to differentiate itself by becoming the only Android device maker not to have its own custom UI slapped on top of the OS, and as such deliver updates quicker than its competitors. But Huawei obviously disagrees. Sure, by designing it own UI, Huawei gets to use the words “user experience” in PR materials, but maybe the world’s had enough of all this gimmickry. Or maybe Emotion UI will prove to be subtle enough to be brilliant. Let’s wait and find out, shall we?