Walk Ahead of Android: How Meizu M8 thrived on adversity



2017-06-27 00:21

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In the June of 2012, Meizu officially rolled out Flyme 1.0, the deeply-customized smartphone operating system it independently developed based on Android 4.0. Time flies, and now Flyme is already celebrating its 5th birthday. However, do you know that Meizu’s first operating system was actual not Android-based?

As is known to many, the first phone under the Meizu brand is Meizu M8, which was released in 2009 and honored as “the pioneer of smartphones made in China” back then. I wonder if you have any impression of the “Mymobile” OS incorporated into the model. Guess for new Meizu fans, it almost sounds like ancient history. Let’s look back in time and take a glance into Flyme’s previous life!

[Choice: reshaping Win CE]
It was at the end of 2006 that Meizu determined to produce mobile phones. At that time Meizu’s MP3 player business was at its peak, yet the company resolutely shifted its focus to mobile phone R&D. Later, we would know that iPhone would come on the scene on Jan 9, 2007 to change the way people use and think of cell phones, but before the real reformer of the smartphone industry—the Android OS — was officially launched at the end of 2008, there were only three choices for Meizu in 2006:Windows Mobile, Linux, and Win CE.
The royalty of Windows Mobile by Microsoft was overwhelmingly costy, while Linux was a huge challenge for an initial tech team with only 18 software engineers. Naturally, with its affordability, good transportability,and sound underlying architecture, Win CE became the most suitable choice ofthe time for Meizu.

Win CE was an embedded OS that mainly ran on automobiles, machine tools, and other industrial products. As Aber Bai pointedout, Win CE was not an OS specifically designed for mobile phones, lacked the interfaces required for communication protocol and applications, and had no readily available WLAN module. There were so many blanks to fill in. The 18 software engineers worked day and night. The power stimulated by hardship was beyond imagination.With incredible efforts and persistence, they made it eventually.

[Debut: the charm of Mymobile]
The UI (user interface) of Mymobile was deeply customized with code created by Meizu and graphics designed by EICO, a professional UI design team in China.

*Check out the videoabout the launch of the collector’s edition.
-Lock screen
lock screen.png
The lock screen featured a simplified style. An upward slide from the bottom allowed users to unlock the phone, makea call or access messages. The screens on both sides show the status of charging or synchronization in progress. After several firmware iterations, the classic charging animation made its return to Flyme 6. Both the green charging animation and the blue synchronization one still look pretty and stylish eventoday.

-Home screen &Settings

All Home screen icons were devised in a skeuomorphic style. The icons were much larger in size than their labels for better recognizability and operability. The “Settings” screen contained airplane mode,WLAN, Bluetooth, and other common options, with relatively larger font sizes.Each toggle had a summary below so that users could easily understand what itwas for in specific.

-Phone & Messages
You can open “Phone” or “Messages” with a tap on their icons in the Home screen dock. Both apps had simple theme colors, withgrey as the dominant hue and in line with the entire system. The dialer, the text edit box, and the keyboard were all minimalist in style, which reflected the consistent design philosophy of Flyme.

-Multi-media apps
The system had four multi-media apps built in: Music, Videos, Recorder, and Gallery. Music and Recorder had similar interface, with dynamic blue spectrum bars against dark background. Different from them, Videos and Gallery featured a white backdrop and a straightforward file list for easy browsing. Videos supported a variety of video formats, while Music inherited the outstanding expertise of Meizu MP3 players — high-quality, lossless music playback.

-Tools & utilities
Clock, Calendar, Notes, and Calculator were four essential utility apps of the system. Similar to the Home screen icons, these apps were also skeuomorphic. I personally think that, with three built-in themes, Notes was more recognizable in UI than the others. Just like its current successor, Clock encompassed four functions: local time, alarm, timer, and stopwatch. Calendar supported lunar calendar and allowed users toadd events; these features have remained in later Flyme versions.
Meizu M8 was the first mobile phone made byMeizu, as well as one of the most successful phones in China. It prided Chinese users and was regarded as “the king of Chinese mobile phones” by users on the internet. According to Baidu Data Research Center, Meizu M8 was honored as onethe ten “Phones of 2009”. The Win CE-based Mymobile system added varioususer-friendly features and enhanced the interactivity with users. The translucentgrey elements and the dark hue in conjunction created for M8 a sense of high-tech and a low-key charm.

As the first OS by Meizu, Mymobile solidified Meizu’s positioning as a combination of “Technology, fashion, and quality”, and laid a solid foundation for the release of Flyme 1.0. During thepast 5 years when Flyme evolved from 1 to 6, it has stayed true to its mission and persisted in its focus on user experience. Every step Flyme has taken is for the purpose of “pursing perfect user experience.” We are grateful to allusers. With your support, Flyme will continue its endeavor in providing an extraordinary user experience.