Will Android phones ever achieve iPhone's level of polish and usability?

Current Instapaper and former Tumblr developer Marco Arment wonders out loud if Google Android phones can ever achieve the levels of usability and polish Apple's iPhone has arguably had since day one:

Android will continue to exhibit what Google does best: great low-level engineering and tight integration with Google’s other services. But it’s never going to be Apple-like in user experience, polish, or design.

Attention to detail, like most facets of truly good design, can’t be (and never is) added later. It’s an entire development philosophy, methodology, and culture.

Armant argues that users waiting for Android to get iPhone-like fit and finish "any day now" shouldn't hold their breath. (Probably any more than iPhone users should hold their breath for Google-like features, such as a less curated market open to system-wide enhancers.)

Smartphone platforms as reflections of the corporate cultures is an interesting idea that doesn't stop with consistent UI or tightly integrated hardware. HP/Palm's webOS, is both slick and far more "open" when it comes to end user than open-source alternatives. Apple has wrested almost all control away from carriers, as they rest almost all control away from users as well. Google has let carriers run roughshod over Android's user experience, writing fringe blog posts about the problem but not withholding Gmail or Android Market from user-hostile handsets. (The way Apple would withhold the entire iPhone for years -- see Verizon.)

If that's the case, can those corporate cultures be transcended? Could Android 3.0 Honeycomb come out with a UI as consistent and delightful as anything from Apple? Could iOS 5 packs as much power and as many features as Google throws at their phones? I think they can, though it requires Keyser Sose (or Steve Jobs) level "single act of will" to achieve. I'm betting there's no C-level drive at Google to go iPhone's last usability mile and Steve Jobs has no interest in being more like Android.

So Android probably won't ever achieve iPhone's level of polish and usability, and that probably doesn't matter to anyone who isn't already using an iPhone for those very reasons. We're left in a world where each platform has its strengths and weaknesses and we have the luxury to move between them as best suits our needs at the time.

[Marco.org]

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 118 comments. Add yours.

frog says:

Android is a mess, when it comes to UI.

johncblandii says:

Polish?
No. Very few can reach Apple's level of polish. HTC Sense is pretty close in some areas but isn't Apple'esque by any means.
Usability?
I argue iOS is lacking more than Android here. iOS just makes less than usable features look better. :) [lipstick on a pig is too harsh but the analogy stands]

thepedigree says:

To put it bluntly, using an Android phone is like watching old people screw. Sure, it technically gets the job done...but it's awkward, takes WAY too much time and effort. :)

mcikato says:

Will Iphone ever achieve Android's level of customization, multitasking, easy set-up, options for keyboard, and on and on????

mlerley says:

Android's UI issues stem from its greatest asset -- its openness. It's easy to control the shape and color of the bolt when you make the only wrench. I agree that it's tough to beat the iPhone's polish. But usability? You can't even upload a file in the web browser. It takes months to get an app approved. I'll take the extra functionality and ingenuity provided by people who feel it insulting to pay $100/year for the privilege of playing in the sandbox and maybe, just maybe, being allowed to construct a small castle.

Rene Ritchie says:

@MC - In the article I said I didn't think so
@mlerley - Android isn't "open" unless you mean for carriers and manufacturers. Google doesn't even release source code until after an OS version is finished. No user contribution is a very different model.
Also, "usability" != features. You can do far more on Android than iPhone but what you can do on iPhone you can generally do more easily than on Android.

Gregz0r says:

Yes, because Giogle recently hired Mathias Duarte, from Palm. He was the guy responsible for WebOS' UI.
He'll bring subtle changes, as you can already seen with Gingerbread's status bar.

durangojim#AC says:

Funny, I agree that iOS is more "polished" but efficient it isn't. @Jared, show me how it takes more time to make a call or text on Android when you can put a shortcut to a favorite contact on your home screen. Show me on iOS where I can see the weather instantly like I can with a weather widget on my Incredible. Android is much more efficient at many daily things like calling, texting, and using maps than iOS. As someone who uses those features daily, it's efficiency is paramount to me. Seconds=minutes=days. That being said iOS is pretty, functional, and simple which is why I'll probably buy an iPhone for my wife.

Cesar says:

Riiiiight... That's why iphone users constantly are switching to android....

birbeck says:

Honeycomb ui is being developed by the same designers that brought you webos, what many believe to be the most beautiful mobile os. Though even if honeycomb reaches the mass idea of a polished ui, its the Apps that will need to be updated. Here you are showing google listen, a useful app, but one of the worst designed on Android.
You could compare other apps on both platforms and make the exact same counter argument.

birbeck says:

the iTunes pic doesn't look good either, and not as usable. Where are the subscribe and other episode links?

1088933 says:

At least they release source code and if I see correctly, Android is available on more networks and platforms than Apple

Paul says:

Is this a joke? I have had android phones then switched to an iphone. I hated it so I switched back. It was a hassle and expensive but I just did not like the iphone. If you are really worried about how other people perceive you then an iphone is for you, but if you want a higher functioning and all around better phone get a droid. peace.

deferom says:

Already has. Look at HTC Sense.
@Cesar We all switch around except for annoying fanboys. I'm an iOS user now, but will probably move to Android soon.

Geo Coldz says:

I still haven't seen or touched an Android device. All I see is Blackberry, iPhones, flip phones. No Androids.
Android just looks retarded anyways.

Ilovegeorgia says:

Great article. Using an android phone is like a kid peeing in their hands to stay warm.

EggoEspada says:

I agree, but disagree with some things in the article. Android has way more usability and features out of the box. I'm no fan of Apples's glossy UI, but it defiantly is polish and it translates that into the apps as well - giving a pleasant experience to the eye. Android can get there, I like the direction Google is trying to take Android's UI since Gingerbread.

Brian Tufo says:

I like how commenters prove Engadget's Nilay Patel right on a daily basis...Android users are the angriest people alive lol. You guys take opinions WAY too seriously. If you don't agree that's fine but why get all mad and start bashing other stuff? Is it really worth getting that upset over a mobile phones operating system? If so enjoy the heart burn. :-)

Chris Gonzales says:

No, but like said above HTC sense does come close. The new Sense that should hit other HTC phones in the next few months polishes things up.
and yes android does do more right out of the box and you really have to take a step out from your Apple world and test drive one to truly know what I mean. Don't judge pictures.
and notifcations, please android blows Apples right out of the water.
I'm happy with my EVO. I know I can do a lot more with it then I could with an iPhone. Plus I like how my contact list can be tired with my social networks, and I take take a picture or video and share it instantly with multiple services, including e-mail, dropbox and social networks right from the photo app. No need to dig though multiuple apps just to share something.

Chris Gonzales says:

@Brian Tufo. You could say the same for some iPhone users.

TuxDude says:

When you dont give any freedom to the developers, and make the process of developing an app for a platform so strict you do have control over the UI and if you call that polished UI - well I'd say polished but not comparable to Android...
I do agree that developers are not directly able to contribute to the Android OS development and Google releases the code only while releasing a new device with that platform. But it is at least way better than Apple's software development strategy.
Calling an iphone more usable compared to Android - can you describe how did you evaluate this and reach the conclusion ? I've used both an iphone and an Android, and I honestly felt the Android way high in usability compared to the iphone for the everyday tasks I perform at least.

Steve woz says:

Itnalready has. Both use just icons, android has better notification and multitasking UI. The rest of the UI is just lists. Which I think Android also handles better. Only thing iOS has over android is maybe the music player which won't be for long. You can see in the Google IO video what the new music app looks like that is coming in honeycomb. iOS isn't as advanced as you think. It's just a grid of icons eith no widgets and no notification Ui.

Brian Tufo says:

@Chris that is true lol. I like the debate and the competition I just don't get some peoples anger. You gave your opinion in a non angry fashion which seems rare especially here lol.

usmc says:

I thought I could be happy with Android after owning all iPhones. I had it for one week and hated EVERY minute of it. Switched back to iPhone 4 and LOVE it.

Expert says:

@Brian Tufo iPhone users are just as bad and sometimes are worse. How about taking a look at some of the other comments on other threads. All you see is 'how bad Android is and how good the iPhone is' and when you head on over to AndroidCentral, all you see is 'how good android is and how bad iPhone is.' Everyone thinks their phone is the best. Even so, one could say your bashing Android by saying "Android users are the angriest people alive lol. You guys take opinions WAY too seriously." Well Brian, I think YOU are taking your phone way too seriously.... hypocrite..

Expert says:

And yes I did get a little heated in my comment, but honestly I think the "bashing" of other phone OS's is good, and no one is at fault for having pride in their phone.

Chris Gonzales says:

@ Brian Tufo. Yeah I know lol
The way I see it, there are some iPhone users who are just causal. and then there are some who get really upset when someone puts down the iPhone, even for something so minor. Same could be said with android. It just depends on what you want out of your phone. Do you want to go where all the "cool kids" are going and get an iPhone, or do you want more choice and freedom?

pcdsim says:

I want both: Apple's polish, consistent, easy-to-use, fluid interface + Android's features, widgets, & customization. To add to that, require 3rd party apps to be scalable so they all will be resolution proof. Also, add Blackberry's security and you'll have the perfect OS.

Joseph says:

People have essentially taken the "Windows vs Mac" arguments of the 20th century and put them in their pockets. At the end of the day, who cares what phone someone else is using as long as yours does what you want it to do?

EagleyeSmith says:

They market to a different bread of consumer that's all. You can do just as much on an iPhone then you can w/Android, and vice versa.
Apple does win when it comes to Polish, and when you talk about usability. I think it's meant in the sense of how a random non-tech type person can pick up either OS and be able to use it. Apple wins there. However, in terms of functionality. Now both are the same, they really are. Only difference w/iOS is that you have to jailbreak, rooting is the same thing on Android. I love Apples ecosystem. Close it off, good, preserve the user experience because as we all know. Hardcore iOS user find a way around that. iOS + Jailbreak = Best of Both Worlds.
That's the important part that people don't understand. That's what puts Apple over the hump and makes them that much better then Android. It's the users experience. Couple that w/the freedom of jailbreakig and you can't beat that.

Wes says:

I think they each have their strengths and weaknesses - but to answer, no I don't think you can have have the strengths Google offers, with the strengths Apple offers in - the same phone.

Paul says:

I didn't know iphones were from Poland.

entwined82 says:

@EagleyeSmith rooting and jailbreaking are not the same. My Android phone could have any apk file installed even before I rooted. Yes there are some apps which require root access but for the most part if people are rooting its to install a custom rom, not just apps. For iOS to install non-authorized apps you HAVE TO jailbreak an iphone/ipod/ipad. They do accomplish similar things but the reasoning is a bit different.

Ray says:

Wow, this one really brought out the Androidites, in shining armor. And it funny, I know some regular people who have said this to some extent, how ugly Android UI is. And while people may argue how "functional" Android is, they usually have no taste. Some will understand why you buy an Aston Martin and not a Honda Civic and some will not. That's probably Steve Jobs drives a Mercedes at his company's peak, while Bill Gates (admittedly, not google) was driving a Honda Accord at his.

DavidSights says:

My dad owns an android phone which I've played around with a little. Everything seems to check out on his phone except for two things. The fraction of a second of lag/choppiness really gets on my nerve, iPhones don't feel laggy at all. And the feel of the phone, the screen feels cheaper, more sensitive to breaking and all over it feels more like a toy than a mature device for an adult.
That's my rant for the day.

fastlane says:

Google can't even achieve Yahoo!'s level of polish... how are they gonna achieve Apple's level? :lol:

Bluecanary says:

@Expert wow dude, Brian didn't say anything bad about the android, you need to think about what you say before you say it

(Copy of) Dev says:

Only for very specific definitions of "polish" -- off the top of my head, notifications, voice control, and quite a bit about the maps app, Android is more polished than iOS.
Overall, though, no. It is really, really hard to polish what you do not control completely, because you have to make some compromises for others you otherwise would not have to make. Google employs some pretty good designers, and is overall doing a pretty good job of it, but they are not going to be able to go toe-to-toe on polish with Apple, who employs great designers and who rarely has to compromise for others.
Apple is always going to be a bit more polished, and Android is always going to be more flexible -- that is the nature of Apple and Google's respective choices. The challenge will be to stay far ahead in their own speciality, and approach/stay "good enough" in the other camp.

James says:

I love iOS and Android isn't too bad, I was even planning on getting a HTC Desire but iOS looks so much better and feels like it works so much better. For me Android's problem is fragmentation, if you have the more popular devices then you're fine, if you don't have fun. My younger brother has a HTC Wildfire, when Angry Birds came out on Android he was ranting and raving about how it's free, but it wouldn't work on his device due to the smaller screen, now it works but it's laggy due the poor specs inside.
This is were Apples strategy is better, bring out one new device, Market that, keep the old model at a cheaper rate and write them off in 3 years time when the devices specs are reaching end point.
Besides everyone talks about Android having more functionality, why is it I can connect my iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch to my college wi-fi which uses search domains and proxy's very simply, but my friends Desire can't connect due to Android not supporting Search Domains and Proxy Settings?

Ken says:

@ James.. Good point!

Chris Gonzales says:

@ James. Your brother must have an older phone. Even apple's older iPhones don't support iOs 4
as for the last part. Its your phone.

SockRolid says:

Don't forget Google's business model. They are giving away Android for free so it can be used to deliver AdMob ads.
I could go on about how Google's software looks like the generic aisle at the supermarket, but that would be mean. Or would it?

JNGold says:

@chris,
What are you talking about? I have an old 3G that's running 4.2 just fine. It doesn't have the feature set of my ip4 or even my wife's 3GS, but it does run the OS and btw, it runs Angry Birds just fine.

SockRolid says:

@ ChrisGonzales (aka Mr. Google Fanboy) - "Do you want to go where all the “cool kids” are going and get an iPhone, or do you want more choice and freedom?"
Yup. Call us casual, call us fanbois, whatever. We don't care.
As for choice and freedom, hey, we're all for it. Just as long as we don't need to suffer through the horrendous mess Google calls Android. Just. Not. Worth. It.

SockRolid says:

Oh, I forgot to say, Chris: yeah, we're the "cool kids." What's your excuse?

Chris Gonzales says:

Yeah 4.2 runs but not it its pointatal. I don't care if a silly game runs fine or not. The point is, the Os does not run like it should. Perhaps re read what I said.
and you can call me a google fanboy all you want. Just shows how mature you are. (and how people view iPhone users)

SockRolid says:

"Smartphone platforms as reflections of the corporate cultures is an interesting idea that doesn’t stop with consistent UI or tightly integrated hardware."
Let's not forget what Android's original target was. It was Microsoft's Windows Mobile, Android was created to destroy Windows Mobile, and to do that Google copied BlackBerry almost exactly because BlackBerry was the market leader at the time. Two things changed that. First, Windows Mobile did poorly all on its own. No need to waste any effort killing it through external means. Second, Apple released iPhone and caught Google completely by surprise.
Google went straight back to the drawing board and mashed up a quick and dirty hack that kind of resembled the original iPhone OS. And the rest is history. The fragmentation, the permanent crapware loaded onto Android phones by carriers and manufacturers alike, the weedpatch of an app marketplace, and now Chrome OS that was intended at one time to be Google's tablet OS.
Here's a link to a photo of the original BlackBerry-copy Android: http://bit.ly/cQzgRY
What does that tell you about Google's corporate culture?

SockRolid says:

@ ChrisGonzales - " (and how people view iPhone users)"
But wait a minute there. You said we were the "cool kids." Did you do a flip-flop there? The way Google flip-flopped Android from a BlackBerry clone to an iPhone clone?

entwined82 says:

@SockRolid you know who else was making phones that looked like that? HTC, Samsung and Motorola...in fact I THINK that was an HTC prototype but I can't say for sure. That original design wasn't just a google copycat in any event. RIM hit a homerun with that design, everybody copied it.
Oh and the "permanent crapware" is on every smart phone on the market besides the iphone. Hardly a shot you can take on Android when even RIM lets the carriers do whatever the hell they want once the item ships. I can't tell you how many days I saw a new app pushed to my Blackberry that I did NOT want. Apple just got AT&T by the short hairs and AT&T say "Yes sir Mr. Jobs," to everything. No other phone producer calls the shots.
I love my Droid but I also love my ipod touch. The bias by both pro Android and pro iOS users is disgusting. Do any of you really have any interest in this platform war? Do you own stock in either company? I sure don't.
Also remember just because its more polished doesn't mean its better. Android may not be as pretty but for my purposes its way more flexible than anything Apple has ever shipped. You know what I like best about my Droid? Nobody else has the exact same phone I have. You call it fragmentation, I call it customization.
I also love my Ipod Touch. Great games in the App Store, unparalleled music/video features, and a very pretty looking OS. I will never choose one or the other. I have and enjoy both. Not sure why everybody is so hung up on hating on one or the other.

NaNo says:

I can't say that I know much about Android, but the few people that I know who own Android handsets, always end up telling me how much they enjoy the "feel" of my iPhone. I can't say the same about their devices. After all, anything that sounds like hemorrhoid, must be a pain in the @$$. Literally.

JNGold says:

@Chris,
What do you mean "doesn't run like it should"? It runs just fine. Do you have a 3G? Like I mentioned, it is missing features due to the lack of memory and processing power, but it does run. Maybe you should re-read your own statement.
"Even Apple's older phones don't support iOS4" = Wrong

Pimp Lucious says:

As many have already stated, and its kinda perplexing how Rene didn't already realize, Android/Google apps already beat iOS in usability. Really Rene, were you serious? The polish is coming with the webOS designer now in house, but honestly HTC does a great job with Sense.

Chris Gonzales says:

The first generation doesn't. The second one barly gets by.
Just give it up already

SockRolid says:

@ Rick - Thank you for being The Voice Of Reason. Oh, and thank you for not contradicting any of the points I made. I might have sounded a little harsh, but hey, we're all adults here.
Aren't we?

EagleyeSmith says:

@Rick
Regardless, the point I was trying to make is that. The closed system that is in place w/Apple can be bypassed and you have complete and total control over your device just like Android. Plus, you don't jailbreak just for apps, it's more to it then just that. ...

iDavey says:

It's a dead horse being beaten...but I'll state it anyways.
Polish...eh. It's subjective to each and every consumer. Reviewers can put iOS above everybody all day, but it all comes down to what consumers like. To me...I prefer Android simply because buttons (the things that are soooo bad) allow for more screen space. They can take the back button, menu, etc etc off the screen and give me more viewing space. That's not to say iOS is not beautiful, I do like it and some apps from Android devs could do to learn to put a lil spit shine on theirs.
As far as usability...I really don't get where you're coming from. Seriously. Calling, texting, checking weather/RSS/Twitter/FB/etc is WAY simpler on Android thanks to widgets and shortcuts provided on the home screen. If something doesn't suit you in Android, 9 to 10 there is an alternative to it in the market. I mean...you'll praise iOS for all the apps, but then not include that in the factor of making Android more usable. I thought that apps are the future? Why not include that within the factoring of usability.
I will always state, Android is as hard or easy as you make it. You can make it as simple as an iPhone by using nothing but your app drawer and leaving your home screens blank. Or you can litter the screens with widgets and icons galore!
Apps will get prettier, saying that they want is pure silliness. Devs choose to make them look good or crappy. Will they be as nice as iOS' apps...who knows. I don't see the point of comparing them when all that matters is they look nice period. The Android stock UI will get nicer, as evidenced in the subtle fixes in Gingerbread, and the upheaval of the UI in Honeycomb.
As long as both OSes keep pushing each other, I really don't care.

JNGold says:

@Chris,
You made an inaccurate quote and I need to "give it up"? The first gen iPhone equates to the TMobile G1 which cannot even run something like Gingerbread, let alone Froyo. Big frackin deal. It is what it is. But don't come here posting inaccuracies and then attempt to backtrack your steatement by saying "it barely gets by."
Your comment was innacurrate and your were proven wrong. Give it up already.
Oh btw, do you own a 3G?

brandon says:

Rene, it's obviously you've never used an Android when you ask will an iPhone ever reach the usability of an iPhone. Let me educate you. I'll start by saying I own an Evo.
To Dl apps, the usability on an Android wins. Not only can I DL android apps from QR codes, I can 'bump' an app or bluetooth is to another Android phone. Apple makes you have an account to dl an ap, what a hassle and lame, Android doesn't.
Android now has near field technology, Apple? nope.
I can customize my UI to the usability that works best for me, you can't.
With widgets, the usability of evernote, mint, the weather, etc.. is faster and easier. One more usability factor that dominates the iPhone.
What you can talk to your phone to send a text or mao a location? Android can. iPhone fails at this. Awesome usability iPhone. (sarcasm) Texting, takes less time and what, no Swype? lol
I could go on. Next time when you write an article try using examples. It seems Apple fanboys always say, we're the best, but never give examples.
Apple fans are always confined to what their leader (uncle Steve) allows or does not. Android fans are free to choose. Good or bad we get to choose. Reminds me of N. Korea and the USA. - Yeah maybe there are bad things about choice here in the US that the N Koreans can't choose their own, but at least I have that freedom.
The reality is open markets win (look at the US) closed markets lose (look at N Korea) - Apple has the head start I agree, but even the co-founder of Apple the Woz agrees that Apple will lose the race. But this is not rocket science to those who understand an open market vs a walled garden system.
"We’re left in a world where each platform has its strengths and weaknesses and we have the luxury to move between them as best suits our needs at the time." - Sick of iPhone fans saying this... it's cop out cause they know they're getting their butt's kicked. I'd would love to see your next post listing the strengths iPhone has over my Evo.
I am sick of the iphone arrogance and is nice to see them getting owned. Which I know, ironically, makes me now the arrogant punk ass now. ;)

SockRolid says:

@ NaNo - "the few people that I know who own Android handsets, always end up telling me how much they enjoy the “feel” of my iPhone. I can’t say the same about their devices."
The HTCs of the world are still using plastic or easily-dented thin-guage aluminum. They're all about cutting corners to lower their costs. The same thing happened in the PC market. The race to the bottom. Generic manufacturers all trying to push each other off the low-margin cliff. And it shows.
The hardware is just an empty shell. The box the software comes in. The first baby step toward the ultimate goal of a great user experience. And they can't even get it right.

LzarEus says:

Seriously, I've considered cruising on over to Android for quite a while now. Every single FF'in time I try different Android phones, the experience is damn painful. I really like the UI on these phones but I go to swipe my fine azz finger across these beautiful screens...L A G! I really do want to like latest and greatest Android handset but damn!

SockRolid says:

@ brandon - "I am sick of the iphone arrogance and is nice to see them getting owned."
Get ready for some serious ownage in the near future, bro. iPhone is coming to Verizon. Android will be kissing some major market share goodbye. Forever.
How's that for arrogance?

SockRolid says:

@ brandon - "Android now has near field technology, Apple? nope."
Android also had front- and rear-facing cameras before iPhone 4 was released. And was there any software that used those cameras?
Nope.

Myria says:

Why the past tense? Android phones achieved, and in many ways surpassed iPhone's level of polish quite some time back.
If you want to ask a meaningful usability question, instead of yet again showing a shocking lack of knowledge where Android is concerned and an unfortunately not-so-shockingly laughable amount of blind arrogance where iOS is concerned, ask if Android or iOS will ever reach the level of polish of WebOS. Because, honestly as much as I love Android and tolerate iOS (and I use both daily), WebOS easily beats either from a usability standpoint -- albeit with hardware so painfully bad it keeps the WebOS forever in the also-ran category.

entwined82 says:

@EagleyeSmith I understand your point but at the same time for any freedom with an iphone/ipod/ipad you must jailbreak. For Android users rooting isn't a necessity if you want some freedom. Only if you want to get into overclocking/custom roms/messing with system files do you need to root.
@Sock Rolid I thought so but it wouldn't seem that way from most of the posts would it? It just seems dumb to me. We're all nerds for arguing/discussing this stuff. Neither OS is better, it just matters whats best for the guy or girl whose hand is attached to the device..but I do believe Rene sees what topics cause this sort of debate and posts as many of them as possible. Its a shame Rene isn't more critical of people (besides competitors) as he is in a position of power with so many people listening yet he just seems to want to throw fuel onto several different fires. Just my take.

entwined82 says:

also FYI, Evo had Qik at launch. It had kinks to work out..but it was there.

JNGold says:

@Brandon,
1.You do realize that Rene owns a Nexus One, right?
2. You do realize that the original comments were made by a DEVELOPER of some pretty well known software applications?
3. You do realize that EVEN Google understands that it's own operating system is lacking in terms of a consumer-friendly UI as it has hired interface experts to build changes into the OS? Honeycomb put in some minor changes in the UI (which by the way was hyped to be the BIG UI change).
Hey, how's that 4g and battery life working for ya? If you tell me you get anywhere near a full day charge with 4g on, I call BS. My brother has an EVO here in NYC and can barely get thru 3/4 of a day with 4g on.
.

iDavey says:

@SockRolid
Didn't Apple just RECENTLY stop using plastic after 2 models.
I mean it's all good to boast about the beautiful (and I do seriously mean that) design of iPhone 4, but lets keep reality within our grasps shall we?
Also...software was available to use the FFC...Qik/Fring. I think what you wanted to say was first party software. Which is true, but kinda a moot point seeing as the end result is still the same. You being able to video chat with another person.
As far as market share being taken...eh. I'm not saying it won't. Not saying it will. But looking at the grand scheme of things...meaning worldwide...you can pretty much gauge it. And it looks pretty even to me.
I really don't get why people are so damn sensitive and dramatic over an operating system and phone. And this is coming from a man that will choose a phone over a few new outfits and shoes. If they're not needed of course, lol.
Both OSes are nice and functional no matter what Rene and commenters like to believe in their heads. If one or the other wasn't...they wouldn't sell. People aren't FORCED to buy these things you know.

Ted says:

SockRolid obviously you have no idea what you are talking about the EVO 4g was first with the front camera in the USA. And yes the quik chat was there from day 1, and you could and still can use it without wifi. The notification system and several key elements are downright superior on the android OS. I hate see a popup that gets in the way every time I get an email. Its actually very easy to use android. Its anoying the whole ios is easier to use is now downright bologna. Get over it android is growing faster, and has the biggest potential.

iDavey says:

@JNGold
I think you mean Gingerbread, not Honeycomb. Because Honeycomb (from quick peaks) is a DRASTIC change.
But sticking on Gingerbread, they never 'officially' stated FULL upheaval of UI with Gingerbread. The official statement was UI changes. Which that is what they did. They stated Honeycomb to be tablet optimized. And seeing as Martias was hired right in the middle of Gingerbread 'baking' it would only be common sense that the full changes wouldn't come in Gingerbread with the timing of his arrival at Google.
But I think what the other commenter was trying to get at (in my eyes) is that Rene really isn't talking about anything in a fair, unbiased sense. Seeing as more and more devs are bringing their iOS apps over to Android...and the end result is a similar looking app albeit tweaks to fit it to the Android hardware difference of course.

Chris says:

I absolutley love it! Truth is the i phone is more of a girl phone. Yes you read that right. More concerned with finesse and perception...while the android community is more focused on manlier things...ie creation and control.....perfect example. ...while my girlfriend was at work one night she called me and was complaining because she wanted to be home watching sons of anarchy....she has an iphone....i told her i had to go because i was WATCHING sons on a live stream on my galaxy s captivate with froyo...so ya...it is what it is.

craig b says:

I think that the iPhone is so much better then the androids phones, also it is so much more smooth then that phone is, and I think that the galaxy is also a generic iphone either, I just keep selling my phones to www.swapngreen.com because I wanted the extra cash to buy the nexus because I think the nexus is nice.

JNGold says:

@Chris,
If your girlfriend had any smarts, she would get herself a Slingbox or any of the other myriad solutions available on the iphone so she could watch as well. If she has an iPhone 4, she could watch in even higher resolution and picture quality than your Captivate.
Oh btw, how's that GPS lock workin' for ya?

Glenn#IM says:

Great discussion. Android was smart to be an operating system. It's like windows 7. Dell will be more polished than Acer. Smart phones are all about need, and use. Way before smart phones, a little company called Palm started making cool little devices based on webos

Chris says:

No probs with gps.....all it takes is an update....and i woldnt wanna get a headache watching on that little retina....im sure u dobt wanna get into a retina vs superamoled debate....but being ab iphone fan u already think yours is better....love the defensive reply btw...its all so common nowadays :)

Tony says:

@ JNGold - Again, you do need to 'let it go' The G1 may not officially support Gingerbread or Froyo, but you can bet that sooner or later you'll see Gingerbread on there, as Froyo has been on the G1 for quite some time now with Cyanogen, and a whole slew of other custom baked roms with the JIT compiler in full functioning form.

Glenn#IM says:

Opps hit publish too soon. Back to palm web os. They finally had a great company with the T3 as a flagship product. I guess the point I am trying to make, it would be nice to see iOSxxx on other smartphones. We saw what happened to Palm. Could the iPhone fail in the future? If you like the android system, but do not like motorola, you have other choices. If you like iOS but do not like the iPhone, you do not have a choice.

Chris says:

O and lets try something you DONT have to pay for. :)

Chris Gonzales says:

NOTHING in life is free..
But I do find it amusing when iPhone users get offended when someone puts down their device. Itsa like the end of the world to them.

JNGold says:

@Tony,
Stop making "excuses".
@Chris,
I owned a Samsung Focus for about 2 weeks so I had the chance to use a SuperAmoled. You know what? It's nowhere as sharp as the Retina Display. Retina is higher resolution (FACT) and it is clearer than the SuperAmoled.
Oh and btw, what "Free" option were you using to stream? Yeah, waiting for this one. And even if she did "pay" for the Sling, she would have access to her cable, DVR, a pretty good solution, if you ask me.
@Chris,
"But I do find it amusing when iPhone users get offended when someone puts down their device. Itsa like the end of the world to them."
Like the Android folk that come here to post, right? ROFL!

Chris Gonzales says:

I'm not offended.
but this song fits you guys just right.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qgcy-V6YIuI

Rene Ritchie says:

At least read the article before flaming me, okay? It's pretty hugely positive about Android and asks a very legitimate question, which is quoted from a fairly serious developer.
@Myria, are you using a "couldn't be more wrong" app? Because you couldn't be even if you were :)
No device is perfect. Neither iPhone nor Android is better at everything than the other. iPhone is absolutely more polished and easier to use than Android. Android is more customizable and usually offers more features than iPhone (unless a carrier blocks them).
Don't fight over iPhone or Android. Make Apple and Google fight to make the best phone.

iDavey says:

@Rene
Could you please give legitimate examples of how iPhone is inherently easier to use?
I'm not trying to flame or bash, but I just really don't see it.
I can agree with the current state of app polish and OS UI...but ease of use just doesn't seem right.
From the set up to the usage (speaking only of OS, not apps) how is iOS easier?

Chris says:

Myp2p.eu anything else? ;)

Chris says:

Not trying to be an arse jngold....but there are things that the android crowd can do that i fone cant. Its a fact

Chris says:

Like live streaming from that gem of a site

toast says:

Wow, chris gonzales. What a failure. Instead of hanging out on blogs where Nobody likes you, you should concentrate on things like.. getting a job, moving out of your parents house... you know get a life basically

Rene Ritchie says:

@iDavey
We can start with the old albatross of consistency. iOS copy/paste is broadly consistent system-wide. Android copy/paste even with Gingerbread is a hodge-podge.
Memory management is another one. iOS will never throw up a system out-of-memory error. That's the developer and OS' job to handle. Not the user's.
I've been using Android fairly consistently since G1, through Droid/Milestone and mostly N1 (waiting on my Gingerbread update!). If you're experienced with Android it's not a problem, though device-to-device the inconsistencies (even button layout!) aren't a huge problem. If you're new, mainstream user who just wants a better phone, iOS is just in another class.
I notice it most when I go back and forth. It's a lot of subtle things and a lot of core things. Even the way the screens animate are designed to re-enfoce orientation.
I frankly can't believe anyone is even debating this. It's like trying to say "prove Google has a less curated app marketplace". They absolutely do.
A 2 year old can use an iPhone well. About all a 2 year old could do with my N1 was throw it. (And trolls, spare me your "iPhone is for 2 year olds" retorts -- that shows good usability, be upset Google hasn't striven for that yet the way I am Apple hasn't put in Android-style voice control yet).

Rene Ritchie says:

@Ted Nokia has front facing cameras before Android. Apple rarely if ever does anything first, they just do better mainstream implementations than have come before.
Until Google makes a GoogleTalk video app standard in Android, and makes it "just work" out of the box, saying EVO had a front-facing camera before iPhone 4 is meaningless to the single largest market segment in the world -- casual users.

JNGold says:

Chris,
Be a good boyfriend and get your Girlfriend a Slingbox. That Myp2p.eu solution is garbage. VERY limited channels. And, if that's not a good solution for your GF, tell her not to fret as there is PLENTY of streaming solutions available. Here is a list to start from:
http://blog.alltechrelated.com/iphone-ipod-touch/list-free-tvshows-strea...
So instead of blowing off your GF and telling her "sorry I can't talk to you because I am watching TV on my Craptivate", why don't you be a hero (in her eyes) and show her that she can watch her TV on her iPhone.
And btw, I am not denying that Android phones do things that iPhones cant. Likewise, there are things that the iPhone can do that Google phones can't. Things like AirPlay and AirPrint. There is of course more, but I don't need to really go-tit-for-tat about features because it's not really the point.

Chris says:

That site is a sportslovers dream come true

JNGold says:

@Rene,
You forgot to mention the fact that stock Google supports dual mailboxes (one for Gmail and one for "other" accounts). If you then apply a UI Shell like HTC Sense, you get a consolidated inbox for all accounts. If you move to another Android device, you may get another experience.

Chris says:

My point has been made and communicated....your rantsk a cos are an attempt to mask a HUGE gaff in the i phone which is the lack of flash spportrt..lets just sit back n watch where te fone vs android

dloveprod says:

Dang android, guess you'll never be good enough

Chris says:
  • the ifone vs android wars end....
thebizz says:

I don't think it will while I love android the iphone is looking tempting just because of the Polish no matter how much power of they put into these phones with the skins wide variety of chipsets and bloat I doubt it

entwined82 says:

Rene just because it doesnt throw up an out of memory error doesnt mean that this doesn't happen. I can't count the number of times my Ipod has become slow and unuseable because of lack of memory free. The only reason I know it is because of SBSettings which tells me how much memory each program uses. Android has this built in. I'm so tired of this "The user should never have to think about it" talking point. Its an attempt to justify ignorance. The user SHOULD have to think sometimes.

Anthony says:

At the speed that Android is changing I think 'polish' would be something extremely difficult to accomplish. I think Google will eventually slow down the rate at which they introduce new versions of Android to take the time to add polish.
But this is the classic form versus function argument. Sure iOS is so easy a caveman could use it - but some people would prefer to take their devices a step further.

Ilovegeorgia says:

@idavey I got your example, forwarding a message on the droid is so hard many of my friends started asking each other how to do it. It didn't come up when they pressed the menu key. They still haven't found out. While on the iPhone you just press edit. Tap the message you want. Then send. Simple and easy.

Ilovegeorgia says:

Polish is hard to achieve. Features are easy. You can try in features into a phone like crazy and you'll end up with a mess like original android. Then it got better but still is badly implemented features. While apple pushed for smoothness and polish. Then features came.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

@Brandon
You apparently missed the entire point of this post, or didn't read the same post I did.
The point was not to argue features and functionality, but polish and usability from the user experience aspect.
Android may have great feature sets but the user experience is nowhere near as simple and well thought out as iPhone. That was the point. Not who's feature list is larger.

cardfan says:

To answer the OP, nope.
This is Apple's advantage in controlling the OS and hardware.
Android features don't mean much to me if hardly anyone else can figure them out that requires a 3rd party app.

SillyBear says:

A jailbroken iPhone will achieve all of the above and then some.

Pimp Lucious says:

@Rene
I have never seen a out of memory message on my Evo. Ironically, I have gotten a low memory message from an app on my iPad and I'm constantly opening up the TASK MANAGER to kill apps because iOS gets sluggish from the poor app memory management.
Also, it is commonly accepted that iOS notifications are painful and severely lacking, yet that's the feature many use more than any other on their smartphone. Why is it that everyone but Apple has figured that critical function out, and years ago? That right there kills any usability argument you have.

paul says:

Polish, no, because the OS and the devices using it will never be unified, especially with every phone having its own GUI.
Usability, yes and no. Functionally, Android is smoking the iPhone as far as available features and customizations. Making things super easy for simple people will probably never happen though.

Macboy74 says:

Polish? No and I don't think it will get better anytime soon. The os is to slow and laggy. It's been out long enough to fix. Ive had every iphone and loved them all. I tried a evo out and returned it after 9 days. Horrible battery life, lag, slow and there was a problem with the screen coming off the the phone. Usability? All android os phones are different so usability is in the hands on the maker of the phone IMO.

west3man says:

I think the distinction between feature set and polish is too subtle for some to see. Apple's products ARE polished, even when their shortcomings are deal breakers for me. They could polish a bit more, since the shine is pretty dull in some areas, but polish may be what Apple does best.
I'd say polish qualifies as an extension of marketing and marketing is what Apple does best.

soooooookie says:

Do the angry people on both sides realize that this article is about phones? Not, famine, not rape but phones? Sheeesh!

mcikato says:

I agree with West, many distinctions between feature set and polish are hard to see, especially for guys like me that are simple users of smartphones.
I used to own an Iphone, unfortunately I lost it. I was very happy with it. I then decided to go for a Android phone, HTC Desire, because I like testing new things.
My experience, again just as a simple user and not as a developer or nothing like that, is that Iphone is nicer, easier to navigate, consistent in features, menues, cut and paste, etc. I think there is no doubt about that. Iphone is nicer in all sense.
Nevertheless, I can do more things with my Android, and I can customize it to my will. Maybe that makes Andorid loose consistency, but the degree of customization is amazing. Shortcuts to contacts, to call or to send sms, shortcuts to bookmarks (not sure if iOS 4 has that feature as I only used the previous system), great notifications system, etc.
Anyway, there are people that prefer consistency and ease to use, others prefer customization features. It is something subjective, and we can fight forever, and never reach an agreement. Let's just accept some basic facts...

cycling56#CB says:

@mc
Well said I think you make a very good point.
I have both a iPhone4 and a Nokia N8 both with me at all times, from the use I have had with a friends android phone I can truly say that at this time I would not get one.

Jebadoa says:

I love how android disciples hang around the iPhone site. They claim to hate iPhones and Apple yet can't stop reading about them and talking about them. Haha

Brian says:

@Harry seaward
Android Central rarely has articles about the iPhone and Apple products. Almost every page on TiPb has stuff on Android. Not trying to troll but I'm just saying. I like Android and iOS but I feel like iOS for more for the average user and Android is for people who want the most out of their phone, and know how to get it.

Ron says:

Google is all about beta release it in beta and work on it as you go 1.0.1, 1.1.1, etc, etc. Will never change. It would also help if they haad a plan and worked out the kinks from there. It seems they still don't know where they want to go with th UI or had no clear path from the beginning. That is what is different about Apple, they stayed in the backgrouind for years getting a gameplan together then designed a UI and tested it, then once they were satisfied released it. Google and everyone else has been forced to play the catch up game at the expense of "useability".

JasonG says:

Iphone's polish? moronically simple UI I have no control over, UX is simple enough but often I need functionality. Droid X and Ipad owner. The simple UI/UX is fine on the Ipad but I expect more from my phone. As for the folks who mentioned the multiple companies interfaces, this has created some very significant improvements but they can always be removed or altered and I do not even have to root! I have owned 3 Iphones and since moving to Android have never looked back, always being disappointed with Apple's phones updates has assured me i made the right decision.

jbgrace says:

Apple has made the smartphone an appliance(as they have done with Osx) An appliance will never be as powerfull as the tools used to build it. Ios is an appliance- Android is a tool(no pun intended).
If you wnat to invest the time and effort into android it is more "powerfull" than an iphone. The majority of people want an appliance not a tool.