Sony's custom Android 4.4 UI from D6503 'Sirius' leaks out in screenshotsAlex Wagner - Editorial Director of News and Content
Hot on the heels of a report that revealed the spec details for the Sony D6503 "Sirius," which is expected to be the follow-up to Sony's Xperia Z1, a new leak has surfaced with screenshots that show the Xperia Android 4.4 KitKat user interface that'll likely be loaded onto the Sirius when it hits store shelves.
Several of the screenshots posted by XperiaBlog reveal new features that are specific to the D6503 Sirius. For example, the Camera app shows that the handset will support 4K video capture and Timeshift video, the latter of which is described as "Record high frame-rate video and apply slow motion effects."
The Settings app includes entries for Glove mode, which allows the user to operate his or her touchscreen while wearing gloves, as well as a Smart Backlight Control option that will keep the unit's screen awake as long as it senses that the user is still looking at it. An option to double-tap the unit's screen to wake it from sleep is also available.
Another new feature shown in today's screenshot leak is Answering Machine. This functionality is baked into the Phone app and allows the user to set greetings, messages and the length of time that the Answering Machine will wait before it picks up a call.
Sony's new Xperia Android 4.4 UI also includes a number of personalization options. In addition to its standard launcher, Sony is including a "Simple Home" launcher that appears to be aimed at users that want a simplified, easier-to-use Android experience. It includes larger icons and fonts as well as an app grid and quick access to Speed Dial contacts. Users can also select which apps are allowed to send notifications and which icons are shown in the status bar.
Speaking of the status bar, Sony's Xperia Android 4.4 UI includes a transparent status bar and navigation button area, just like in stock KitKat. The app tray is transparent as well. When a user pulls down the device's notification shade, he or she will be able to flip between notifications and Quick Settings, the latter of which can be reordered.
Finally, Sony will apparently introduce a new feature in its custom Android 4.4 UI called "What's New." The feature appears to be accessed by swiping up from the virtual home button, just like Google Now. Details on exactly what "What's New" is are still up in the air, but one screenshot of the app shows an HTC BlinkFeed/Flipboard-like screen with tiles of varying sizes.
Overall it looks like Sony's got quite a few nice tweaks planned for the Android 4.4 version of its custom user interface. It's good to see the company include small KitKat elements like a transparent status bar and white icons, and having the option of selecting which icons are shown in the status bar is a nice touch as well.
One of the more intriguing aspects of today's leak is the "What's New" feature that's placed right next to Google Now when the user swipes up from the home button. While there's still a lot we don't know about it other than it looks like Sony's version of BlinkFeed or Flipboard, it's interesting to see the company place the app right next to Google's own personal information feed.
Based on these leaked screenshots, what do you think of Sony's custom Android 4.4 user interface?