It was a different time. A time before sizable data plans, a time before streaming on your phone, a time before Vines. It was a simpler time, in so many ways. It was a time when Apple’s iPhone, then only two years old, still hadn’t conquered the smartphone universe, turning every competitor into a virtual clone of itself. It was a time when you could own a flip phone and not be completely embarrassed.
DIRECTV had a mobile version of its web site as early as 2007, but it was deliberately light on functions and stripped down in its graphic content. Keeping in mind that we were a good five years away from being able to stream DIRECTV content, what we wanted was a quick and easy way to set up a recording to our home DVRs, no matter where we were.
Way back in 2009, that meant an iPhone app, and it looked like this:
Let me tell you something, I was jazzed about this at that time and I didn’t even own an iPhone yet. I was working for another tech site back then and I’m pleased (and a little embarrassed design-wise) to show you the review I participated in. You can find it here in all it’s reflective and needlessly shiny glory. Hey folks, that’s what good design looked like back then.
The iPhone app was really nothing but a glorified version of the web-based scheduler, but because the graphic content was generated by the phone, it could look a lot better. And it did, in a very mid-2000s way. You could tap and swipe and scroll and it all worked.
It was the best app of its time, and then for some inexplicable reason DIRECTV decided not to do an Android version (yet) and instead focused on the Palm Pre – here’s the Wikipedia article on it since I know you’ve never heard of it. They came around eventually, though, with a top-notch Android app and as far as I know they no longer support Palm products.