Available on all Orange phones released from Q2 this year, Orange have been busy developing ways to improve their range of smartphones, and have come up with Orange Gestures and Live Wallpapers.
Orange Gestures allows you to draw a shape anywhere on the four homescreens, and will act as an instant shortcut. These shortcuts can be completely customised; you can draw a square and your phone will dial out to work, or a heart to call your significant other.
We got a sneak play on both Gestures and Live Wallpaper ahead of its official announcement today, and we found that Gestures were pretty responsive.
We liked the idea of being able to use your phone one-handed, callling the office in a rush, or having an instant shortcut to WiFi options, accessible straight from the main screen of your Android phone.
You can set 27 different functions, and these can be set to standard phone features, text messaging specific , your latest app, and websites. Drawing gestures is also leftie friendly- we tested it ourselves- and the gestures were detected even if drawn relatively small.
At the moment, Orange Gestures won’t be available on HTC’s phones, but Orange have made sure that the new system works Orange’s San Francisco, acting as the performance baseline.
Avoiding the pitfall of other phone manufacturers’ meddling with Android, Orange told us that additional features can be switched off, a great touch.
The Live Wallpapers will we running beneath all your Android widgets and the Gesture system, and will subtly display phone information through the background. The version demonstrated to Recombu featured Candles, where the candles’ length was a visual display of remaining battery life.
Rather than strain to see that tiny battery icon, you can get a view of your battery status at a glance. Nearing zero, the candle will be shown as a weak glow.
Wallpapers aren’t static either, the candle’s flame flickers as you swish across your homescreen- during our play we found ourselves moving our widgets around to get a better view of the candles.
Orange also told us that more of these intelligent wallpapers were in development; hinted at city-scapes and ‘graceful patterns’ that could represent signal strength, or show social media activity, received messages and emails.
We were promised more wallpapers would be announced throughout 2011 and compatible new phones should be announced later this week.