A new version of Gecko SMS is finally ready and available in the Android Market. If you already have Gecko SMS installed in your phone, you can update it easily - see My Apps screen under the Market -application.
This version includes three major improvements:
- Redesigned layouts with better focus on messaging
- Improved usability without Internet, improved landmark data caching
- Global panning: zoom out and use landmarks from anywhere
Before, landmarks were shown visually in both the conversation list and the message composition view. Touching this area made the landmarks show up in full screen. When composing a message, there was a separate landmark menu.
In the new version (1.2.0), the messaging views only show the landmark text, and a button which gives access to the landmark view and landmark options (Disable, ¤ At/Near etc.). This makes the user interface cleaner, and gives better focus on the task at hand - messaging.
Below is screen shots from both versions, highlighting the changes:
*These images also explain the "2 times more" -claim: Earlier version used in average about 29 % of the messaging screens for landmarks, the new version uses only about 12%, 29/12 ≈ 2,36. As an engineer, I just could not post the number without this explanation.
Improved data caching and transfer, global panning
Changes 2. and 3. are both part of a rewrite on how landmark data is handled in Gecko SMS. The old versions gave access just to the 50 closest landmarks, which is a simple approach and worked pretty good for most use cases.
In the new version however, one can pan and zoom to anywhere in the world. All downloaded landmark data is stored locally in the phone, which means that after one use it is instantly available without an Internet connection.
If you pan and zoom around in Gecko SMS, you may notice green or cyan rectangles shown. These mean that Gecko SMS is downloading more detailed landmark data for that particular area. Below is an example of zooming into Buenos Aires, when landmarks are only partially loaded.
So go a head, check it out. And when you do try the new version, please don't hesitate to send us comments at firstname.lastname@example.org, or using the blog comment form below!