OS "Polish" Apple v Android


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  1. HoldenCaufield

    HoldenCaufield Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Oh, yea, another one.....But hear (read) me out, okay?

    I don't know why this is bothering me. I don't really care if Android has more or less market share than the iPhone. Buy and use what you like and don't worry about everyone else, is my philosophy. I'm coming from an iPhone 3g to my Evo. I didn't use the internet much on my old iPhone, because data speeds were just in the toilet. Of course that's Sprint v ATT. The internet experience is just better on my Evo. Even the apps I had on my iphone, I didn't use that much, because they just didn't seem that useful to me. I find myself picking up my Evo much more often.

    But, I read on these fora often about how the iPhone iOS is "just more polished" and/or easier to use than Android. Usually spoken in generalities. And while I agree that it is probably easier, I don't completely agree that it's more polished.

    Here's an article about the 5 things Google needs to fix:
    5 Things Google Still Needs to Fix in Android | Gadget Lab | Wired.com
    For the most part, I agree, too. But a lot of that has to do with the market, and it should be easy to fix. On the other hand, I like the Android market better than apple's store. And the things I would like to change about my phone, for the most part, I can. I have three different music players, just to see which one I like better. I changed the keyboard. I got a different gallery app, because the Evo doesn't have built in Picasa integration. I don't even know if you can do stuff like that on a jailbroken iphone, let alone a stock one. (I jailbroke my 3g just to sell it (($210 on ebay btw))

    So, I'm running my Evo with Launcher Pro. Even with the Sense launcher, I think the os has plenty of polish. Look at some of the screen shot threads here, and tell me that those don't look polished. I've seen screen shots of jailbroken iphones, and there's really nothing special going on there.

    iPhone and Android are totally different beasts, though. With iphone, you just get page after page of little squares. Android has widgets, which are awesome. You know, things are just different in how they do things, and for the most part, it's not that hard to figure it out. I love my Evo and don't miss my iphone at all.

    I don't know.....I guess my question is, what do you think is so much more "polished" about the iPhone, specifically? And why do you think we feel the need to stack up to iphone? If anything, Android is far superior. You just have to get used to how things work. To quote the cliche, it's like apples and oranges to me.

    Discuss.:)
     

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  2. binary visions

    binary visions Well-Known Member

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    There are some ways where Android just makes my jaw drop in stupid decisions, and other ways where it's so elegantly superior to Apple that I swear it can't possibly be one company that came up with this stuff.

    Okay. So the notification shade is simply brilliant. I mean, flat-out, undeniably brilliant. It works perfectly and effortlessly. That alone is almost worth the entry to the Android world.

    And yet, how did we come this far without a good universal mechanism for copy-and-paste? How is this possible? What do you mean, you can't copy from the Gmail client? Are you f'ing kidding me? And the browsers that do allow copy and paste, there is no mechanism to resize what you have copied? You have to just swipe it all in one shot and hope you hit exactly where you wanted? One of the primary hindrances of this kind of device is text entry - you really didn't think we needed a good copy/paste? What planet do these people live on where that wasn't a principle design consideration?

    Also, like it or not, even visual polish is important. There is clearly a LOT of the Android OS where the display isn't accelerated through the graphics chip. When you see stuttering during your scrolls? Jerky pinch-to-zoom? Apple is pushing all of that through their graphics chip, offloading the tasks from the already-taxed CPU. That's why it's so beautifully smooth. Why is Android not doing this? I haven't the foggiest idea.

    ...and yet... Apple, why can I not install a stupid widget on my iPhone desktop? IT'S A WIDGET. YOU LOVE WIDGETS. LOOK AT MacOS.

    The choices on both sides are interesting but right now I look at Android (which I love, BTW, and which I gave up my iPhone for) and scratch my head. Apple, okay, they've made it pretty clear where they want to head and they're sticking to their guns. But Android, oh Android... You are so close, but where were the priorities set? Live wallpapers were prioritized higher than copy & paste?
     
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  3. HoldenCaufield

    HoldenCaufield Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Notification pane: Agreed. I love it, compared to iphone's popups. Those always pissed me off.

    Copy and paste: I don't use it much, so I haven't really noticed those problems.

    Scrolling: Probably depends on device. I don't know much about the technical side of things, but on my evo, I've never noticed stuttering or lack of smoothness. But yea, scrolling probably is smoother on iphone.

    At least for me, I think my point is that Android is so much better than iOS.
     
  4. alamoe

    alamoe Well-Known Member

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    Notification panel IS great. One thing they should add is the option to clear individual notifications.
     
  5. Bramsy

    Bramsy Well-Known Member

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    To me the only polished features are no screen redraws and their ease of swiping.

    I do believe the copy/paste will be addressed.

    My friend is getting real fed up with his iPhone 3g cause he sees me fiddling with my Droid so much and he likes what he sees.

    He admits that he is real tired with his phone.
     
  6. MrX8503

    MrX8503 Well-Known Member

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    I would say the notification system on android is very polished and beats the pants off of the iPhones implementation.

    But overall iOS is more polished. I wouldn't say its easier to use as that is a matter of opinion, but I think most people can see that iOS is much more mature.

    The #1 thing that shows polish IMO is fluidity. iOS has superior physics, smoothness, animations, and transitions. It even adds snap and bounce for good measure. These traits aren't just in some areas, it's across the board throughout the entire OS and even through 3rd party apps.

    On top of this it also has better finger tracking. You can test this for yourself in a scrollable area. Hold your finger on the screen and slide your finger left to right back and forth as fast as you can. So far from my experience iOS does a better job of finger tracking.

    Apparently gingerbread is all about polish, so expect that to make some changes.
     
  7. mrspeedmaster

    mrspeedmaster Well-Known Member

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    You don't understand what "polish" means. Polish has nothing to do with how the home screen looks or the UI.

    Polish is about smoothness, fluidity, consistency and transparency. Apple's iOS UI is very consistent and the OS elements (select list, modal windows, inputs) are standardized. It is very hard to make an UGLY iOS app.

    To me, it is mostly about consistency. The first time I tried to download an email attachment was very frustrating. I had to click a few times to get it to download. The download button was too small and the attachment was underlined like a hyperlink. After 15 years using the Internet, you would assume that a hyperlink in a web or email would do something. That is what we called "expected" UI. Especially after I clicked on a button to "show attachments" After a few clicks, I had to click on a brown square inside another button. I swear, I had to use a stylus because it was so small. I have expectations of a capacitive screen with a capacitive OS. It is suppose to be finger friendly and not fingernail friendly.

    On Android, it is a free-for-all.

    Let me give you some examples:

    The physical search button on the device is inconsistent across applications.
    For example, if Maps. if you hit the "search button" it searches within the app. Android Marketplace, the search button can go out an search the internet. Same thing with some mail clients. You don't know which apps will use the search button to search within the app or which will search google.

    Since you are using an EVO, I can cite you some more examples.

    In HTC Sense, you have a lot of "un-polished" UI elements. Some delete functions are hold-press, some are engaged in the lower scree menu. Some have delete selections to the left in the list and some to the right of the selection.

    Another example is the Favorite widget on your EVO. When you click on it, it has a silhouette of a user with a button that says "Add contacts +" Intuitive, UI, assumes the next course of action is to add items to your favorite lists. 10 year old Sony Erickson phones do this. When you go to an e-commerce site and click "add items" to your shopping cart, it adds them to your cart.
    This is what the end-user expects. With the HTC Sense, this is NOT the case.
    It only gives you a list using the Android Contact API. There is no immediate way to add a user. You have to click a few more times to find a buried menu that allows you to add them. Too many un-necessary clicks and a faulty UI.
    A polished app would be: The next action would be to immediately add whoever you select because the previous screen already has a "+ add" button. On the HTC phones, the initial screen should not have a "+Add" button if you can't immediately add. It should say "Search your contacts"

    That is just a textbook example of "un-polished" UI programming"

    Then we get into the apps. Astro file manager has a totally different experience than say the file browser to your video player (RockPlayer). Some apps use manila folder icons, some use blue Aqua icons. It is just a hodge-podge mash-up of UI elements.

    I hope this explains to you what some may consider polished.
     
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  8. grainysand

    grainysand Well-Known Member

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    So much outraged shock over nothing: you can copy from the Gmail client.

    Older Android phones didn't have graphics chips.
     
  9. ashykat

    ashykat Well-Known Member

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    I believe this is only possible using an Android phone with a keyboard and using a shortcut to do so. (Holding some character while swiping over it) I'll agree that I believe copy & paste falls very short on Android. There will be updates though to address this I'm sure, and I can just hope it'll be sooner rather than later. :)
     
  10. grainysand

    grainysand Well-Known Member

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    Nope, unless my N1 has an invisible keyboard I didn't know about. Copying from Gmail most definitely works. Running 2.2 has its perks.
     
  11. binary visions

    binary visions Well-Known Member

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    Wrong.

    I cannot copy from the Gmail client. I can copy from 2.2 (though it's kludgy and doesn't allow you to resize the selected area). I can copy using certain apps. But there is no universal, easy, intuitive copy and paste mechanism. Perhaps even your flavor of it supports copy/paste from Gmail - I don't know. I know that my Droid X does not do this with 2.1.

    In any event, that was a tiny fraction of my point. Did you not read my post or are you deliberately ignoring my point?

    One of the inherent disadvantages of designing an OS where you don't control the hardware is having to design for multiple hardware iterations, but you HAVE to do it. There is absolutely no reason why an Android phone with a graphics chip can't use hardware acceleration for those kind of tasks while old phones can fall back on CPU rendering.
     
  12. binary visions

    binary visions Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree. There need to be better standards for programs - not to restrict development, but to encourage consistency.

    Prime example: I downloaded Weatherbug last night because I liked it a lot on my iPhone. The UI is completely different on Android, which is fine. I ended up in some section of the program and didn't know how to get back to the main screen, so naturally, I hit the convenient "back" button that I really like on the Android phones.

    The app exited.

    When I went back into the app, I was back at the screen I didn't want to be in.

    So, okay, it took approximately four seconds of studying the screen to realize where I had to go to get to the screen I wanted, but it's a classic example of inconsistency across apps, and it affects the overall user experience. There are consistent UI elements that you can say people have to "get used to." That's fine - I can get used to something that is consistent. What user should not have to fight with is getting used to each individual app's behavior.

    I work in IT and deal with the quirks of applications all day long. It's cool, I'll remember it next time and it won't happen again. But not everyone wants to deal with it.
     
  13. DannyB

    DannyB Well-Known Member

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    Live wallpapers get noticed and sell phones.

    Copy & paste isn't something you notice until after you buy the phone.

    That said, android had to do a lot of catch up to the iPhone. I'm sure that we'll be seeing android get more polished before too long. Look at how significant the most recent releases of the OS were.
     
  14. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum Moderator

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    Slippery slope. The question becomes not whether consistency is preferable, but who establishes the guidelines, and what happens when those guidelines are deviated from. Would you reject an app from the market because it had a button in the "wrong" place or used the "back" button for an alternate function?

    What you end up with is a Jobsian dictatorship or a technical oligarchy. Right now we are trying to move past the app anarchy of the present, but it's better that the market shakes out the worst offenders rather than apply a set of arbitrary rules to developers and manufacturers.

    The problem I have with the rigid consistency of the iPhone is that it caters to the lowest common denominator. Such consistency to me is incredibly boring. Don't get me wrong, I think iOS and the iPhone are remarkable and deserving of the praise (although not necessarily the devotion) they currently enjoy. And part of the appeal is that I can pick up ANY iPhone and apart from the installed apps, know exactly how it will behave and where the settings are. My needs, however, are not a universal constant. Without the flexibility that Android provides, i would be regularly frustrated and no amount of OS polish would fix that.

    I would love a perfect phone, but I am sure that my idea of a perfect phone would be different from yours, Joe the Plummer's and Mr. Obama's.
     
  15. mrspeedmaster

    mrspeedmaster Well-Known Member

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    You still can't copy and paste an inline graphic or email into another email document. That is basic copy-n-paste.
     
  16. MrX8503

    MrX8503 Well-Known Member

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    I don't think consistency would lead to a slippery slope. The consistency that I see in iOS apps is that all the navigating is the same. The app itself is still unique. When I move over to Android each app is totally different and you have to re learn how to navigate through the app.
     
  17. Demache

    Demache Well-Known Member

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    But how are you going to maintain consistency without evaluating every app like Apple does? That's the slippery slope. All dev's have different ideas on how an app should be laid out.
     
  18. MrX8503

    MrX8503 Well-Known Member

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    You don't have to evaluate every app. All of the standards are set in place by the SDK.
     
  19. Demache

    Demache Well-Known Member

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    But are they going to follow those standards?
     
  20. HoldenCaufield

    HoldenCaufield Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    All true. I see now what you mean by "polish." Thanks for the explanations and examples. This helps me see why the iphone comparison is necessary. I'm kinda a geek when it comes to trying to learn about new things, but I don't have any sort of computer science background or anything.

    IMO, you are correct in saying that there should be more intuitiveness and consistency across the OS and apps. But I also agree with another poster here who says its a slippey slope into a walled garden. I like the openness, having just left the "garden." I'm willing to put up with some hiccups.

    It sounds like that polish and consistency and intuitiveness is what they are going for with 3.0, even though it seems nobody knows anything about it yet. I for one am looking forward to seeing how Google balances the open aspect with the standards (for lack of better word) aspect, and how makers like HTC and Motorolla react. My understanding is that Sense is not going away.
     
  21. binary visions

    binary visions Well-Known Member

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    There's a pretty big difference between draconian enforcement of suggested standards, and just putting the standards in place in the SDK as guidance.
     
  22. MrX8503

    MrX8503 Well-Known Member

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    I would think they would. If you look at the iOS sdk they have standards for the app icon and an option to have apple auto add sheen and a drop shadow. Outside those parameters the icon can be anything. A similar standard is applied to the navigation buttons at the top of the app.

    If you look at the android sdk they don't have standards like this other than tips on what make a good icon.

    This is the reason why everything on the iPhone is the same size and consistent while the icons on android is willy nilly. This is just an example of what android can do to polish their OS without affecting the core functions of the app.
    Well then Google can set standards as guidance. I'm not a developer so all I want are great apps that look good. I don't care what it takes to get there.
     
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  23. ari-free

    ari-free Well-Known Member

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    Android does need more smoothness but is consistency really such a virtue? There is no consistent UI for the web and people manage just fine.
     
  24. IOWA

    IOWA Mr. Logic Pants Moderator

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    So reusing the same old boring icons is considered more polish? eh? :confused::confused:
     
  25. sinsin07

    sinsin07 New Member

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    You shoud re-read mrspeedmaster post. If all you got from that is "the same old boring icons" then you truly did not understand. To make it simple, the poster is talking about uniformity across applications and how the user interacts with them.
     
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