A smartphone home screen that's more real-use habits than folders of hidden apps is how Yahoo believes mobile activity will evolve. During Marissa Mayer's keynote at CES this week, the Yahoo CEO announced the company's latest play in a move toward the world of mobile, the acquisition of an app called Aviate, which bills itself as an "intelligent home screen that simplifies your phone." Translation: it's a custom Android skin that organizes a phone's digital doings into spaces as you might need them rather than its current cluster of static app icons.
Just how clever will your smartphone get? Aviate first creates a new-look home screen, with your most-used apps immediately available at the bottom, apps by category (social, music, work, etc.) with a swipe to the left, and all apps visible with another left swipe. The real intelligence comes through using signals such as WiFi, GPS, and accelerometer gathered by your phone to then push information to your home screen as you might need it. For example, while walking through Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas, Aviate notified me of restaurants within the hotel.
It's similar in many ways to Google Now, but gives users the appearance of a full-phone customization.
Currently, Aviate is in private beta, open to the first 25,000 people who enter the code "YAHOO" after downloading the app, with a full rollout to appear in the coming months, likely with some Yahoo-inspired changes.