Update: @Janole has released a new update that is v2.7 Build 7153. Download link
Do you know what was the last time when Gravity got its last update? It was March 08, 2012 means exactly two and half a month before. Not exactly the longest period between two successive Gravity updates but still it was quite a long gap and people like me who been following Gravity updates since long, knew that longer period between successive updates always been leading to some great new features. So let’s see what new features are on card this time?
Before starting to talk anything about it, let me warn you, this time this update is a real Alpha means a premature build and you must be ready for some bugs while trying it (though like always, I didn’t found many of show-stopping kind of bugs).
So, are you ready for a walkthrough of new features? Here we go.
The changes that I might have noticed till now are as given below:
1. All New Notification Bar and removal of Full Screen Mode: Many of us liked Gravity in the full screen mode always but this was a big dilemma for people since the Belle update came in with drop down System notification bar. Being in Gravity timeline with full screen mode was meant to miss the status bar altogether.
@Janole decided in favour of removing the full screen mode (as was in earlier version, showing in extreme right screenshot) and introducing an all new notification bar with three sections.
An either blank or Home icon that will take you back to all accounts screen.
The middle part of status bar will take you to the top or to Dashboard of particular account.
The brand new notifications section that will take you to notifications + last visited history section.
For me, the issues in this approach is, Gravity has an option to tap on top to move to top of the timeline and with two status bars (One of system and one of Gravity), it becomes a lot confusing. You have to hit the status bar precisely to get to top because if you hit top most system bar then it might be lead to system drop down that might annoy you. Moreover, the pixel size of the new Status bar is almost doubled means loss of screen space on already low resolution Symbian screens. I think @Janole also agree on it.
All I can say that this approach might be good for many but may annoy many as well. In my opinion, there should be a full screen mode option present and in that mode, the pixel size of the status bar might be lowered as well. Though I wont push more for the pixel part because status bar needs to be in the same size as the search bar to cover it up in other parts of UI.
One of the workaround might be an Auto-Hide search bar along with half the pixel status bar in full screen mode. But let’s see how @Janole will deal with it.
But the better side of this exercise is, you now have access to drop down toolbar, signal, battery, time and system notifications etc.
* Thanks to @HardikLive for some of the screenshots.
2. New Add Account section with a minor change: Not a big change but one may spot a little change in Add Accounts section, where we find two options for Twitter account.
The “Can’t add a Twitter Account?” section is to bring back the old OAuth part for adding a twitter account without going to Twitter website because many a people faced issues via web route. Obviously for getting DMs, you will be needed to authorize via web only if you choose this choice.
3. The Search bar on the top of Twitter/ Facebook section: This is one of the experiments that even @Janole wasn’t sure and delayed it since January even after early implementation because it certainly takes its sweet time to get used to of it.
Only issue might be the screen real estate taken by it, but over the time, people will sure start getting used to it. Thing is, we are so accommodated to traditional UI elements of Gravity that any such change feels awkward in the start.
4. The notifications + History Section: The introduction of brand new Notifications section brings you a single place where you can keep track of notifications and history of the last visited places inside the app.
Not only that but @Janole has planned to make it even bigger in next updates.
5. Anna-Belle type rounded icons across the UI: I am not sure that why it wasn’t here already in last update but finally the native looking icons are here to make the experience consistent throughout the OS.
6. Facelift for Groups and Lists Section for Twitter: Groups and Lists section which was just a list earlier now gets the much needed grouping/
Isn’t it look good enough now.
7. User profile shows if the user following you: The new user profile section in twitter now shows that if the user is following you. So no more, tapping on profile and check if Direct Message option is appearing or not.
8. Image save option in Facebook section as well: It was already there in twitter section via tap on the picture or tap on the button in the middle bottom and it was about time, when it makes to Facebook section and its here now.
One difference here is the absence of the bottom middle button for saving the image but as the place was already taken by Edit button, @janole left it to tap on the picture to save it.
9. Facelift in Foursquare section, comments notifications: Not much significant, but the foursquare section also have got some minor changes in the way a check-in looks or in the way you search for a place.
The left most screenshot is from old Gravity while the middle one is from new one. You can spot the changes. Also the search bar in top is a new introduction. Also now you will get notifications when someone comments on your check in.
Though still we don’t have emphasis on marking system as in Foursquare and it doesn’t notify you that how much last checkin earned for you or where you stand in leader board.
10. New share menu in Gravity: Though as of now, it works only for the links in Browser, Facebook and Google reader section, but finally we have a share menu in Gravity that serves the purpose of saving articles/web pages from one social network to another.
Also now you can edit the title before sharing it in Google Reader menu (share function was there earlier). Though with this share menu, @Janole hasn’t integrated the is.gd or any other url shortener, but may be its for good, because who wants his/her URL getting shrink three times while posting? Twitter already has t.co while Facebook treats URLs other way.
As expected, introduction of Share option means no Tweet it button in Google Reader section anymore.
11. Gravity Browser gets attention again: Since the implementation, Gravity browser seen very less visible changes, but the big update this time decided not to leave it.
The first change is change of share icon that comes back to Symbian style iOS style as earlier and also Readability support for formatting the webpages for mobile screens.
While its a good step in right direction, it has its own share of glitches.
First, its rather annoying to get it back from Full screen mode which it choose automatically once open, then if you tap and hold you finger for 2-3 seconds, then bars appear but they get away once you remove the finger. It should stay for long so that one may come out from browser easily.
Second, Readability support is only for formatting the page, not for using you Readability account as Gravity browser still doesn’t support cookies means no kind of logins can be supported.
Actually this was a feature suggested to @janole long back in 2009 itself which finally got delivered by this new version.
12. Last but not least, option to share status on multiple networks finally: Yeah! finally you can share the same status on multiple social network accounts at once (facebook\Twitter}. All you need to do is to swipe your finger from left to right or right to left on Add Account section and you will get the screen given below:
This was a much needed and heavily requested feature since long. Thanks to @jryap28 for bringing this into my notice
13. Picture size shown while uploading photo to Twitter: As told by @janole, this was actually a debugging feature, but he found it rather useful for public as well and released it with this version.
Though its available for Twitter section only and not available in Facebook section as of now. But should come shortly with new version.
Bug: As of now, Gravity has two of the known bugs with this new version.
Push Notifications or User Streams brokenFixed with 7153 UI issues with Swype split screen modeFixed with 7153 Hope that it would be sorted by the upcoming version in next 2-3 days. Already out as build 7153.
So, this was all that I spotted about the new Gravity and now its your turn to tell me if I would have missed anything. Also this time, @Janole has made some important comments about the future of Gravity that you must not miss.
It says the long awaited Picasa (May be even Flickr Integration) might not be too far and may be a complete makeover of Images section may arrive with our long awaited Symbian Imaging Flagship Nokia Pureview 808.
And then the biggest announcement that might bring back many a hopes and smile on faces of people who have left Symbian and missing Gravity very much though @janole has cleared further than no work on Android\iOS right now. Schedule for second half or late of this year.
So this was what I had to say, now its your turn. Download it from here http://bit.ly/7152ALL and comment here if you find any more changes in it or wanna suggest something. Also keep a note of the fact that its a preview version so many a things might get changed in the version that will come shortly.