When Research In Motion in last December snapped up The Astonishing Tribe for an undisclosed sum, watchers pondered how the acquisition would help the BlackBerry maker revamp its mobile operating system and add polish. After all, the Sweedish design shop is responsible for the original Android user interface and their concepts are being used in literally hundreds of millions of mobile devices.
RIM hinted at plans to integrate The Astonishing Tribe with their QNX group responsible for BlackBerry 6 software by saying the designers would be tasked with the creation of "beautiful user interfaces for any screen and any device."
At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, we caught a glimpse of their work for RIM’s upcoming PlayBook tablet. Check out the below examples and you’ll immediately realize why they call themselves The Astonishing Tribe.
The Scrapbook demo showcases a beautiful photo management app that lets you move the images around in a scrapbook-like fashion, jazz them up via a very responsive user interface by choosing from a wide range of design elements such as funny animated stickers, thought bubbles, 3D reflections depending on how you hold the device, etc.
Aura, another demo on show, files as a regular weather app. It was written in about a week and entirely in HTML5 and CSS. The app sports a couple of interesting features, such as transparent and layered graphics and clouds that move on the screen depending on how you tilt the tablet.
The final demo shows off the power of the PlayBook’s dual-core processor. One core is rendering a complex stereoscopic 3D scene on an external full HD 1080p display in 60 frames per second while the other takes care of user input on the tablet itself. Just look at how zippy and smooth everything is – that tablet is going to be a real workhorse.