In a surprising turn of events at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Yahoo announced that it is trying to buy the Android development firm Aviate. Yahoo acquiring smaller companies isn’t that surprising, the surprise is the fact that Aviate has yet to finish developing their new Android home screen app, yet Yahoo wants to use Aviate’s interface as a “central part” of its Android software this year.
Most often when I think of the term “responsive” it’s in the context of websites that adapt their layout to the device viewing them. In this case, Aviate is developing an interface that adapts an Android phone’s home screens and task-oriented “Spaces” based upon location data, recently used apps, the time of day, and a number of other factors. The thinking is that rather than hunt for the app you need, Aviate will recommend apps based upon the contextual information gathered and stored in your phone.
If done well, Aviate could be a powerful way to respond to a user and shape the ideal user experience of Android phones throughout the course of a day. If not executed well, Aviate could frustrate power users and confound new users with app recommendations that won’t work or aren’t appropriate for the situation. I’m looking forward to seeing if Yahoo and Aviate can redefine the Android phone UX, and wonder what, if anything, Apple or its developers will do in response.