Three views forming the basics
Apart from these three screens, we have a lock screen and standby screen as well and their names suggest their appearances.
While standby screen that keeps it minimal black & white, takes care of Digital clock, unread message notifications, missed call notifications, notifications on the top bar, signal level, battery indicator etc. The standby screen is the only place, where black background leaves and give the place to a background with custom wallpaper. Standby screen can show you notification, calendar alerts, alarm, date & time and even music player controls (only in case any song is running). Just a swipe on any notification and it takes you to appropriate app.
Standby screen also shows you the name when anyone calls you via GSM or Skype\Gtalk and interesting part is, it hides the private information from the same like number in above case and Skype\Gtalk ID in case of calls via them. Might be a small trick but many of us will agree that it helps a lot in many of the situations. Though it might be funny as well, like when I did setup the accounts with the new Airtel SIM I bought just the same day, then I got a call from a friend on Nokia N9 which left me in shock as even I was not fully aware of my Airtel Number then how come a friend knew. Later it came out to be a Skype call. This is close to Nokia N900 ways, which highlights the theme that it’s the conversation that matters not the mode of communication.
The recent update has also added the feature of displaying Music controls on Lock screen, though the first iteration seems to have missed some tricks. Like it takes place of clock\calendar, means if you are playing some music then Date\Time wont be displayed on the lock screen. Same way, if you have paused the track from Music player and then check back Lock screen then no music controls will be displayed as its available for running in background tracks only.
You can slid right, left or down or up from here to move toward rest of the three screens though swiping it upward and then holding it for a second brings you a quick launch bar from the bottom with four default fixed icons for Dialer, Messages, Camera and Web. Yeah! these four icons can not be changed into something else. Same gesture for bringing up the quick launch works on any of the screens except the basic three screens. There is an application named swipe manager in Nokia Store via which you can determine that what effect these swipes gonna put over the apps, like wiping down to close some app.
Anyway, that pretty much sums up the lock screen, let’s take a look over other screens ..
Second comes the events screen that houses your Facebook\Twitter feeds and rest of the SNS/basic notifications. Feeds have an option for refreshing them, while rest of the notifications have an option to clear them. Tap on any of the notifications and it takes you to the particular app. Like tapping on a Twitter\Facebook status will take you to the native Facebook\Twitter apps and will open that particular status\tweet. Hold on any particular status and it gives you option to clear the entire feed from that account. You can customize that how many number of updates you wanna allow on this notification screen and on what schedule they should be refreshed.
I think I have some suggestions here.. it would have been better if they would have integrated the RSS Feeds to notification screen. After all, like the way, one wanna keep a check with the twitter\FB updates, one would like to have a check on RSS feeds as well. Moreover, I am not sure if the framework allows third party developers to add their feeds into common FB\twitter feeds. I think that would make the notification screen more happening.
On the upper part of the notification screen, on the left side, there is day and date, tapping on which it takes you to calendar app, while tapping on the right side over the weather icon, it takes you to weather app from Accuweather that seem to be integrated with Nokia N9.
Next is the applications screen, interestingly, there is no bottom bar like Android\Windows\Symbian neither any persistent search bar (just a search app), just a flat menu of app, no folder support, no grouping of icons. Though you can definitely arrange them by tapping, holding and then moving from one place to another. Same way, apps can be uninstalled from the same screen as well in the way, we are used to do in iPhone\Symbian^3 etc.
Note the interesting top bar that can be accessed from any screen where the top bar is accessible. Tap on the top and you have options of setting your profile to Silent, Beep or Ringing (no custom profiles here I guess), an interesting way of volume rocker, connections, SNS account status and transfer notifications. You get used to of this so naturally.
Now the third screen is a tile based task manager, named as Open Applications. Each app will have a tile of its own with the dynamic preview of status (yes, dynamic, not just a snap shot of last status). A pinch gesture turns the display mode of Task manager which can toggle between 4 app per screen to 9 app per screen. Hold on any of the tile and you get option to close down any particular or all apps.
One very interesting aspect of the UI is, its being portrait most the time, somewhat like I seen on last BlackBerry Torch 9860.