When Columbus set sail to find a new route to the Indies, he had no idea how long it would take with only an idea of where it would take him. He pointed his ship in a direction and went off into the empty horizon. Into the unknown.
Chameleon Launcher started off in a similar fashion. Our team had an idea that we wanted to explore.
The team over the last couple days and weeks have been in evaluation of where we are now, where we want to be, where our users expect us to be, and how to get there in the most efficient manner.
Where Are My Updates?
The last Chameleon update, v1.1.4, was November 20th 2012. A month and a half ago and was just a minor update with bug fixes. The last update that brought new features to the app was October 29th 2012, two months ago. For any kind of software, new features every couple of months is an aggressive schedule yet it was the pace we set.
However, updates have slowed down quite a bit over the last while.
Teknision is a service company at its core. Our business is based on this fact. The last two months we have had some fairly large and intricate client projects in house that needed attention in order to get out the door on time. So focus was shifted. We are a small shop so resources and time are precious commodities that flow where they are most needed.
We can’t talk about the fun client projects we have been working on yet. We do think you will be interested in them once we can, though.
The idea, and what we won’t do.
Context is the driver behind Chameleon Launcher. We believed the launcher experience should be more than a grid of applications.
Application launching was the focus of the first generation of modern touch screen devices. This is where the very first iPhone started in 2006. Not only do our devices now have more features and more horsepower but how we use these devices and how they fit into our day to day lives has massively progressed. Why shouldn’t the user experiences as well?
This is the challenge we are taking on with Chameleon – pushing the mobile user experience into the next phase of evolution. Context is the idea that started it all and is what we want to re-focus on. We aren’t there yet but we are about to take a big step down that path.
While we will be including some features that all launchers need, we will not strive to match other launchers feature by feature. We dont want to make a launcher that is basically the same as all the rest, but with a different look. We want to push towards the next generation of the touch screen experience. We want to be the black sheep. This is why certain features we will be avoided. For example, skinning and overall user specific customization is not what we are after. We believe focusing on useful features over flashy features will ultimately make our launcher more valuable. In fact, all of the code that makes up Chameleon launcher is made from scratch. We started fresh on line one on day one. Unlike some launchers, we didn’t build upon and modify the current Android Launcher. This is why we have our own widget system and why we have a context engine.
The focus, and what we will do.
Our focus moving forward is to bring the idea of a context driven user experience front and center.
Kickstarter was great to get us started. It solidified the fact that people are looking for something different and new. Delivering on that and taking the steps needed to achieve is an ongoing process. Chameleon has taken a uniquely public approach to product development. By doing so, we let everyone in on the process. What you are about to see is something that happens often with software. After an initial release and feedback, you evaluate where you are relative to where you want to be and then make plans.
Over the last while we have realized that where Chameleon is now won’t allow us to take it to where we want it, or need it to be. Rebuilding some of the key UI elements and streamlining the experience will give us the foundation we want to get back on a more innovative feature cycle.
We have started this process and are excited in the direction it is going. It will take us some time but we are focused and have dedicated time to get Chameleon to where it is suppose to be. We hope you can be patient and believe that we are taking the steps needed to bring you the compelling user experience that you wanted when you installed Chameleon onto your devices.
This process isn’t something that is going to take months. We are already well into it. It also isn’t going to be next week. We will be releasing it when we feel it is ready. You know, that Blizzard style approach of ‘it’s done when it’s done’. As we build out these updates we will be trying to take the approach we did with Kickstarter and show off progress as often as we can.
The team is excited, and we can’t wait to get it into your hands.