The UI has shades of iPad in its appearance but claims to be a whole lot cleverer. The basic appearance is minimalist, with only a few apps, contacts and website links displayed.
The “Zee” launcher is a little like (boy, people are going to hate this analogy) Windows 8 home screen, in that you can type what you want and it will search for you, although being on a tablet rather than a PC you “scribble” what you want rather than type, drawing the first letter of what you are looking for and then the second to filter further.
But what makes it different is that Z Launcher learns as you go. The idea is that the contacts, websites and apps you use most often bubble to the top. This means the need to scribble two or more letters is reduced during subsequent visits.
It does this intelligently, based on location and time of day. Brook Eaton, director of the Z Launcher, claims that you might use it to call your mother at the same time every day. Or you might not.
The software has been developed at Nokia’s Sunnyvale offices, and the Z Launcher blog Nokia claims:
We’re constantly making small changes that add up to something bigger and better for all of our users. We look at obvious things; such as ways to minimize memory usage on specific handsets, especially ones with lower memory capacity so that those phones will perform better. We also look at more obscure things like “finger tracking latency”, or the time it takes between when you move your finger on the screen and when the item underneath responds.
When you consider that you’re drawing letters with your finger to find apps many times a day, even hundreds of times a day, that one per cent increment really adds up.
The Z Launcher has been in beta for a little while, with Nokia using some Samsung phones for testing, and is available now in the Google play store for Android devices running 4.1 or later.
With the N1 missing the Christmas market it will first go on sale for the Chinese new year and have Pinyin support for Scribble. ®