Wednesday August 8th saw the launch of Lumiya 2.2.0, followed on Saturday August 11th by 2.2.1. With them came a host of goodies, including:
- A new user interface
- Split-screen layouts for tablets
- The ability to:
- Add and remove friends
- Set an auto-response for incoming IMs
- Send teleport offers to others
- Support for legacy user names (rather than only using Display Names)
- Avination added to grid list.
As we shall see, this is really quite a modest representation of what amounts to a huge amount of work to completely overhaul what was already a very usable and increasingly intuitive application and turn it into a highly polished product.
This review was written using a Samsung Galaxy S2 smartphone running ICS 4.0.4. Note that as I do not have a tablet device, I’m unable to do any direct screen comparisons, therefore some details might differ on a larger display.
The changes are apparent from the moment you launch Lumiya, as a slick new log-in page appears, complete with new widgets.
The widgets are at the top right of the screen and comprise (in left-to-right order):
- Account Manager: easily access all of the accounts you’ve used Lumiya to log-in to SL. Tapping on this will display a list of accounts, including the name of the grid the account is used to access. Tapping an account name will return you to the sign-in screen, with the user name and password fields auto-completed with the required credentials, and the client pointing towards the required grid
- Settings: tap on this to access and set / amend your preferred settings for Lumiya.
Before getting into the various changes within Lumiya itself, it is worth covering the Settings options, as these include some important updates. Chief among them is the new Light skin option. Until now, Lumiya has presented itself on a dark background. On smaller screen, than can be hard on the eyes and lead to discomfort. The Light skin option displays Lumiya’s screens on a white background which on smaller screens especially can be easier on the eye.
Also within Settings are the new options to: use legacy names rather than Display Names; enable the split-screen display and when it will be activated (see Screen Orientation, below); and display local chat in the 3D world view (see Conversing in the 3D World View, on the next page).
The grid access list can now be displayed in one of two ways:
- By tapping the name of the currently selected grid. This will display a pop-up list of grids
- By tapping the Menu button on your device and selecting Grids from the menu which is displayed. This will switch to a full-screen list of defined grids
Tapping on the name of a grid in either list will automatically return you to the sign-in page, with the grid selected. Both lists also include the option to add further grids, as I’ve documented in my last review of Lumiya.
Menu Options and Icons
Tapping the Menu button on your device in earlier versions of Lumiya would pop-up a set of on-screen buttons. This has now been replaced by what I’ve dubbed here the “Lumiya menu”. This is a set of context-sensitive menus which will display options in accordance with the screen you are using / function you are performing and which take into consideration screen orientation (see below). These make working with Lumiya even smoother and more intuitive.
Greater use is also made of on-screen buttons as well. These are also context-sensitive and present a far slicker and faster means of performing activities within Lumiya than with previous versions. As the buttons rely on icons extensively when in portrait mode (at least on smaller devices), a PDF-format guide to the icons and their functions can be found here. A long touch on an icon will also show an on-screen tool tip.
Lumiya now includes much better screen orientation options when rotating between portrait and landscape modes, and adds a split-screen capability.
When rotating between portrait and landscape views the screen layout will automatically adjust itself. This will generally result in better screen utilisation in either orientation. However, when in landscape mode, it may appear as if buttons are vanishing from the screen due to the use of icons & labels – not so! Any buttons that are not displayed as icons are moved to the Lumiya menu, accessed via the Menu button on your device.
The a split-screen option is primarily intended for tablet devices, but can still be useful when used with suitable screens on mobile phones. It is enabled via Settings (tap the Menu button on your device to display the Lumiya menu and then tap Settings), and can be set to one of the following:
- Automatic: Tablets will automatically switch to split-screen when in landscape orientation, devices with smaller screens may not
- Always in Landscape: the split-screen will activate whenever the device is rotated to a landscape orientation, regardless of screen size
- Always: the split-screen mode will be active in both landscape and portrait modes, again regardless of screen size
- Never: split-screen never activates.
Continue reading “Lumiya 2.2.0: out with the old, in with the new”