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April 6, 2010

Imagining an operating system – Design by Community

1. IntroGLOBAL – Envisioning an operating system to breath imaginary life into our concept device is no small task. Recently you voted for this week’s topic of collectively crafting a concept OS as the most exciting part of the entire design process. Something I guess we certainly hadn’t foreseen as the most hotly anticipated area for discussion, yet here we are and the time has come to submit your suggestions.

As has been the case with much of this project, we’ve read all your comments and done our best to listen and evolve the process since we kicked off a little over three weeks ago. With this in mind we’re offering up a selection of options for you to vote on that we feel offer you the most flexibility and scope for piecing together a concept OS that leapfrogs beyond the limitations of today’s technologies and enables us to open up discussions on all things yet to be made possible, whilst satisfying some of the instant cravings of today. Find out more about your operating system design options after the jump.

So onto the question of which operating system for our Design by Community concept device? On your overall recommendation we’ve torn up our original plans of a simple A or B poll option of Symbian or MeeGo. Instead we’ve opted to present you with a set of sliders and follow the voting widget approach that we’ve adopted since the start. This promises to present you with a set of interesting top-line decision challenges, and we’ve attempted to make these design options straddle the realms of the tangible and fantastical.

Your first decision is what sort of development environment this concept OS for our concept device should reside in. Should it be totally open, restricted to partners, or closed? Now, of course, there are pros and cons for each option, but we want to see what you suggest and discuss what you feel the benefits are for your flavour of choice.

Next up you’ll need to decide how flexible you want the operating system to be. Is it crucial for the Design by Community concept device to be able to cope with virtually limitless multiple tasks simultaneously, enabling you to hop between open apps, games and processes with a nimble swipe of its now-established four-inch capacitive 16:9 touchscreen? Or would you rather plump for just a pinch of multitasking functionality, letting you scoot between a few simultaneous tasks? Or is multitasking not even on the agenda? It’s here that you can decide and debate the options.

Now, we thought this would be a good place to pull in the question of advanced sensors beyond the current array (which for the purposes of Design by Community we’ll take as standard as they already exist in devices). So how in tune would you like this device to be with you and your body? Would you like it to be able to monitor your health? Or how about temperature? Or are location sensors the only thing you’d be interested in? Or all three? Get voting!

Constructing a concept operating system kicks up countless questions, all of which can never be boiled down into a handful of options. Yet we can select some core facets and address some interesting questions, such as how the information is stored. So we thought we’d present you with three seemingly simple options, but clearly each requires quite a bit of consideration. So do you want all your storage held on the device? Or would you rather it lived in the cloud? Surely the ultimate option is for it to be held in both, no? Join the discussion and submit your vote.

The last decision you need to make is how you’d like to interact with the concept device via the operating system. Is a touch interface enough to satisfy your vision for a dream device of the future? Or would you like to be able to use gestures to operate it? Then comes the ultimate option, and something Nokia designer Damian Mycroft ‘touched’ on in his vision for a device you don’t notice, is the option to control the device with the power of thought. Isn’t this what you’d stick at the top of your wish list in the interaction stakes? But would it be as satisfying launching an app without moving as tapping or waving it open with a physical gesture? Let us know what you think, and share your suggestions.

Click here to choose which elements you’d like to see in our concept OS for the Design by Community concept device.

Vote now!