IDOS (Imperial Dynamics Operating System) is a “virtual operating system” within an app. By that we mean that it has its own app store, its own homescreen, even its own API (but that is technical and of little interest to most users).
The IDOS homescreen consists of 12 tiles (they are contained in a panorama page but that panorama serves no purpose yet).
Each tile has the same aspect ratio as the screen (WVGA for Windows Phone Mango. If you rotate the phone the tiles are rescaled to match the new landscape aspect ratio). This is a very important design decision for the following reason:
An IDOS tile takes the “Live” idea of the core OS to the next logical level:Â Instead of merely including a number, an icon and a text it fits a whole IDOS app (rescaled to fit). So when you are in an IDOS app and press the back button to return to the IDOS homescreen the app you just had open is still visible in smaller form as in the following screenshot:
The first app in the screenshot is active. And by active we mean actually running (it is continuously updating).
This is all very reminiscent of the leaked Blackberry 10 tiles but Imperial Dynamics can take pride in that we conceived the concept first
Read more after the break.
It has all the features of a store though:Â name of the available apps, rating (albeit not user submitted), even publisher name (they are all made by Imperial Dynamics at the moment but there have been thoughts about opening the API to third parties).
Selecting an app takes the user to the details page.
All the usual suspects are there: app title, rating, description, even screenshot (when you tap on it it displays it in full screen).
At the bottom of the details page there are two buttons:
Pin to IDOS:Â Â When the user taps it the currently shown app is pinned to the homescreen of IDOS
Pin to Windows: This makes it possible to pin the app to the core OS (wp) instead!
- clock:Â an analog clock
- notepad:Â for taking quick notes, it saves the changes
- paint: my nephew loves this one, vivid colors, save option
- app creator:Â experimental, currently underwhelming (understatement) but ambitious
- file manager: easy way to move photos and text files from local storage (both IDOS isolated storage and pictures hub) to skydrive and the reverse
- world clock: personally i don’t travel but it is a well-made utility. The clocks are digital in this one
- text on photo:Â easiest way to add a text (eg watermark or comment) on your photos. Works like a charm
- animation studio: intuitive way to make simple animations. A bit like Paint (above) but with pages so as to allow transitions. Currently no save option
- defender of Athens: buggy little game but has …achievements! A first for an IDOS game
- attack of the shadows: even more buggy “tower defense” game with a dark atmosphere
- biocells:Â ID’s implementation of a classic. Shoots octagonal cells. User needs to match colors to defeat the “virus”
- save the forest:Â last but not least a very very popular Windows Mobile game (yes…mobile). It was made by Imperial Dynamics long ago, Windows Mobile users really loved this one. This is a direct port of the game, exact same functionality.
A small forest is on fire and the user has to program a little robot to extinguish the fires. There is a program listing and a keyboard.
Without spoiling any other level (it gets increasingly difficult) here is how one solves the first -very easy- level:
you type two forward commands (F) and then a water command (W). Press the Execute button and the robot executes your program 🙂
Warning: it gets really challenging after level 5 or so
IDOS was made because initially none of its apps were considered good enough to be stand-alone apps in the Windows Phone store. After several updates later both its apps and the interface of IDOS itself (ie homescreen and store) have made huge strides. Is it worth a try? You’ll decide. But it is FREE and has a promising future. Install it and KEEP it,Â if only to see where itâ€™s heading â€¦Â Â Â Â Â 😉