Making the Nexus homescreen more appealing
I wrote about the industrial design of the Nexus handsets in my last post and how I thought Google needed to give it an iconic look beyond the monolithic black rounded front, particularly as Google now seems to be making a push into the consumer market with the Nexus 7 and Q. This post is a continuation of that idea and was sparked by some of the comments that were made there. This time I want to talk about the homescreen, particularly as it is presented in Google's marketing (in what little there is of it).
The picture below is a promotional image of the Galaxy Nexus from Google's own Nexus website. Take a look at the homescreen...
<a href="http://www.google.com/nexus/#/galaxy" target="blank"><img src="http://www.google.com/nexus/a-images/phone-galaxy-a.png" /></a>
Why is it so empty?
The only there are some icons and the Google search bar. Where are the widgets?
Looking back at official photos of the Nexus S and Nexus One you see the same thing basically, and that has always surprised me.
One of the first things that you would tell someone when they ask about the difference between an Android phone and... oh I don't know... an iPhone is how Android allows you to put widgets on your homescreen and that there is all this cool and useful things that widgets do.
So why then hasn't Google showcased this basic but fundamental feature to their advantage on a Nexus handset?
There are many that love the new Holo UI introduced on Android post 4.0 ICS however it has also been said that it is part of the reason why the general public hasn't embraced stock Android: it lacks warmth and reinforces the old notion that it is better suited to techies and bleeding edge first-time adopters. Well, with such a stark looking homescreen it is no wonder why really.
The manufacturers had the good sense to put widgets on their homescreen. I think Google needs to do the same. Android needs a friendlier face.
TL;DR The "blank canvas" approach doesn't work. It's time the stock widgets got some Holo UI love too like the rest of the OS and it's time Google shows them off on the homescreen of a Nexus phone. Perhaps Android could use a well-designed weather+clock widget?