Let’s get this out of the way: The first version of Android, Cupcake, was a steaming pile of garbage. Things got better when Eclair, and then subsequently Gingerbread, hit the scene, but it took the release of Ice Cream Sandwich on the Galaxy Nexus to get us to stand up and applaud Google’s design team. Sharp, looking to copy HTC, Samsung, and just about every other handset maker who throws a custom user interface on top of Android, felt that despite ICS being impressive enough as is, it might be a good idea to do their own thing. So instead of hiring a team of designers and software developers, they outsourced the work to none other than Frog Design. Never heard of them? Read a little bit about their history and come back to us once you’ve cleaned the drool off your floor.
What did Frog do? Starting with the lock screen: It’s separated into two parts, with the top portion taking up roughly two thirds of the display. There you see a photo gallery that you can swipe through. On the bottom third you get the date and time, but you can also swipe through various pieces of data. Pull down to unlock and you get one long list of icons, similar to the MeeGo powered Nokia N9. Said icons can be put into folders. Swipe to the right once and it takes you to another infinitely scrolling list of widgets. Swipe to the right again and you have your favorite apps, favorite people, and things you think you’ll be accessing quite regularly. Swipe from the top of the screen to the bottom and look at that, it’s the Android notification bar we all know and love.
Is this skin the mother of all skins? Hard to say without some hands-on time.