With Research In Motion providing sneaks peaks of the BlackBerry 10 as they near the 2013 launch, it has been interesting to observe the evolution of the operating system's user interface. There most definitely have been changes from the first BlackBerry 10 preview build to the much further along BlackBerry 10 software we experienced at BlackBerry Jam last month. We summarized these changes in our Dev Alpha 2 hands-on.
I'm mainly loving these changes, including the relocation of the BlackBerry Hub from the right side of the homescreen to the left, which makes for a much more natural motion for right-handed folks (I'm hoping at somepoint a setting gets built in so lefties can flip it). But one change that I'm actually less fond of is the new look of app icons on the homescreen.
On the initial BlackBerry 10 preview, app icons could take any shape (transparent background could show through around icon) and the name of the app appeared floating below the icon. With the latest BlackBerry 10 software we're seeing, both the application icon and app name are now boxed into a solid rectangle frame, with the name of app displaying on a semi-transparent background.
My sense is this change was made to provide continuity in the visual experience between application icons and Active Frames, which are minimized running apps. And I agree that it logically it should be this way. As you flow through the homescreen from the BlackBerry Hub to the Active Frames and into the App Icons, the consistency between the look of the Active Frames and App icons makes sense.
That said and logic aside, for whatever reason, there's something about them that I'm just not in love with yet. And every single person I've discussed this with (and there have been dozens) has agreed with me. There's just something about the look of the homescreen with the new application icons that justs feel heavy compared to the rest of the OS, which maintains a light and fast and flowy feeling. It's not that they're *bad*... they're definitely OK... it just feels like there's just room for improvement.
But maybe we're crazy. Which is why were putting this one to a poll. Check out the images below comparing the old design vs. the current design and vote on the poll above and be sure to sound off in the comments if you have a strong opinion on this topic. RIM has never stated that what we're seeing now is the "final" version of BlackBerry 10, so I wouldn't be surprised if by the time it goes to market we'll see a further evolution here. And for this particular point on app icons, I'm hoping we do. I want to LOVE them.
Old BlackBerry 10 Application Icons and Active Frame
New / Current BlackBerry 10 Application Icons and Active Frame