Along with the variety of inputs, a beautiful 5-inch OLED touch screen display and plenty of processing power available on the PS Vita, Sony decided it was time to develop a new interface.
The new LiveArea interface is the result of those efforts. If you are used to the PlayStation Portable or PlayStation 3’s XrossMediaBar interface, you are in for a surprise. However, with just a few minutes of use, the LiveArea interface’s intuitive design, powerful options and beautiful aesthetics begin to shine.
Borrowing from most smart phone user interfaces, the LiveArea interface consists of a grid of pages that you swipe through to access various programs, settings and information available on the PS Vita. Each app or menu is represented as a bubble on the screen. Launching a desired app is as simple as tapping on the bubble with your finger. If you do not like the way these bubbles are arranged, simply press and hold on a bubble to break it away from the rest and move it where you prefer. If you need help learning how to use the LiveArea interface, the pre-installed Welcome Park app provides mini-games and tutorials designed to get you comfortable with the user interface in a matter of minutes.
Anytime you tap a bubble, the LiveArea for a specific app, game or service is displayed. This screen presents various options, such as buying the full version of a demo, buying downloadable content from the PlayStation Store, viewing the game manual or launching the game. These pages are dynamic. This means that what displays on your Near LiveArea page will not be the same as what is displayed on the LiveArea for Wipeout 2048.
Multitasking in LiveArea
As you launch apps, games and other services, you will notice a small collection of icons appear at the top of the display. Switching between these open LiveAreas is possible by pressing the home button and swiping left or right on your display. Using the multitasking features provided you can chat with friends, check your Twitter feed and play a game while seamlessly switching between apps and services. When you wish to close an app, simply touch the upper-right corner of its LiveArea and swipe downwards. Even with multiple LiveAreas and applications open, the PS Vita performs smoothly and responds quickly to your inputs.
A welcome feature of the LiveArea interface is an easy-to-access background download manager. After purchasing an app from the PlayStation Vita Store or starting an update to a game or app, you can minimize the progress screen. When you do this, a small bubble in the upper-right corner of the screen will change to tell you that background download is active. You can then continue to use your PS Vita while the download completes. If you wish to get access to the list of downloads, simply tap the bubble notification.