Hands-on with the Chameleon skin for Android tablets

Canadian design firm Teknision recently announced Chameleon, which promises to be an interesting twist on Android tablet home screens. Besides having streamlined, resizeable widgets that span a bunch of third-party apps like Netflix, Twitter. Spotify, Flickr, and others, Chameleon's signature trait is its ability to automatically change modes based on its surroundings -- hence the name. By setting up certain rules, you can set up Chameleon to shift to a different home screen layout depending on the time of day, GPS location, or which Wi-Fi network you're connected to. In short, it's a smarter version of "scenes" that you might find in various manufacturer UIs.

The build that I played with here in Ottawa was still very much in development, and all of the apps being shown were canned, but the animations and transitions were definitely slick. Teknision is hoping to get outside developers interested in making their own Chameleon widgets with HTML5, but the current sampling that they cooked up with publicly available APIs is pretty sweet. It sounded like it will be a ways off before we'll see these widgets coexisting peacefully with other home screen widgets, so be prepared for an all-or-nothing affair. 

Teknision previously worked on the BlackBerry PlayBook operating system which, say what you will about the app ecosystem, was very nicely designed. Most of the time, these guys work behind the scenes with partners, so it's really interesting to see them step into the limelight a bit and pump out something that's entirely their own. Here's hoping it pays off and they consider doing more slick custom work on Android. 

Chameleon is due out this August, and Teknision is using Kickstarter predominantly to handle preorders and speed up the release. Right now, they're at $31k out of a $50k goal, which is due in 20 days. You can pitch in $5 to get Chameleon before it goes public, and if you're really jazzed about the project, you can help out by providing Android tablet diagnostic information to ensure compatibility. Check out our hands-on video, a few screenshots, and their pitch below that. Any takers?