If you blur your vision, you can't tell one smartphone from another. As the physical designs begin to converge on the iPhone model, at least two options remain for how to distinguish one product from another: 1.) the phone's ecosystem, which Apple has down to a science (indeed, it's the reason analysts are dismissive of Microsoft's iPad competitor) and 2.) the design of the user interface.
It's just about impossible for a consulting ID firm to change a phone manufacturer's ecosystem, which leaves the UX as the sole differentiator. So frogdesign, tasked with setting Sharp's Aquos phone apart from the competition, focused on what they're calling the Feel UX.
Sharp collaborated with frog's team of designers and technologists to design a new mobile user-experience model, called "Feel UX", that is uncluttered and effortless to organize and use. Unlike other handset manufacturers who historically customize Android by simply adding another layer on top of the platform, the frog team carefully curated the experience to create a new device that is straightforward for beginner Android users, yet has the flexibility in customization that advanced users love.
In this video of what Feel UX looks like in action, there is no explanation of what's going on onscreen—but that's the point: The goal was to design a system that would be intuitive to use. Take a look and let us know what you think: Are you able to easily follow along with what's happening? Do you see any strengths or weaknesses versus existing user interfaces?
Although everything in the video is in English, the Feel UX is slated to roll out in Japan this summer.