No new version of the Android mobile operating system has been quite so eagerly awaited as v4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich as it’s more colourfully known. The reason is not hard to explain: Android has streaked ahead of iOS in the bums-on-seats stakes but there is still the feeling that the user interface lacks the polish and grace …
Looks like a video game circa 1990
" but there is still the feeling that the user interface lacks the polish and grace of Apple’s mobile platform"..... from Apple folk.
Normal folk realise it pisses on iOS and iOS looks creaky, tired and as common as ipeople.
"it pisses on iOS and iOS looks creaky"
But it just doesn't. ICS actually looks like Google mashed the UI together from parts they found on deviantART. It's a TRON fanboy's wet dream!. I agree that the faux leather effects in iOS are fugly as sin. I agree that the UI language that seems to have been Adopted at Apple is at odds with the design language employed in the hardware design, but to say that Android "pisses on iOS" is wide of the mark. I'd argue that while elements of iOS are downright fugly, at least it's coherent and cogent. which is better than the UI and UX of ICS. Since the majority of Android users don't actually use the vanilla UI, it's largely irrelevant which in turn adds to the fractured nature of the ecosystem. There is an easy fix, but it'll take away 'choice' so it's a trade off. Seriously, from a design and UX point of view Windows Phone pisses on everything out there!
Re: It's a TRON fanboy's wet dream!
You say that like it's a bad thing. ;-)
"Aesthetically, this will make for much cleaner handset designs with a higher screen-to-phone size ratio but it makes me wonder how ICS will look on existing handsets that already have fascia buttons"
If your device has hardware buttons, the menu bar and soft buttons aren't displayed.
browser can do desktop view in Gingerbread
FYI you can turn off mobile website view in Gingerbread easily enough already. It's in the browser settings.
They'll disappear if your phone has hardware buttons...
Still no home key in the browser
Biggest pain in the butt no home key in the browser. come on google sort it out.
...can I make it look like Gingerbread 2.3 please? My eye couldn't help be caught by the screenshots and they were left really wanting and none of your write up about the graphics appeased any of my concerns. Floating menu button? Really? Why would they do that?
I did like some of additional features and upgrades though, I find my Gallery sometimes just hangs on loading, that's frustrating, so if the upgrade could fix that, great. Also liked the idea of individually wiping all notifications and of course the facial unlock sounds fun but the overall visual redesign looks like it could be disappointing.
One big thing for me is that one of your screenshots states, 'No trace keyboard', I seriously, *seriously* hope that doesn't mean no 'Swype' keyboard, because for me, Swype kicks a$$!
Are we talking about iOS vs Android or iPhone vs AndroidPhone
Because I keep seeing this, people quoting numbers saying iOS is being outsold by Android which is simply not true.
There are certainly more Android phones in total than iPhones, however there is only one HW supplier for iPhone and multiple for Android so even that is a little misleading.
However when it comes to OS, Google & Apples own numbers show that there are significantly less devices that use Android compared to iOS.
250M iOS vs 190M Android in October 2011
Either compare OS or compare Device don't do both in one sentance.
Would like to have known if this has been improved in ICS, as its pretty poor otherwise.
but I guess comments such as "You’d have to be blind not to see that in terms of design" it seems that area isn't going to be even looked at then. So does that means that those of us who are blind, will not notice any changes? ie, has the useless (yes I have tried it) TalkBack app actually be designed to do something useful other than just tick the 'We're Accessible' Box? Can we 'zoom in' on applications, adjust the font size to something that actually makes it readable? I guess I'll have to wait till March to find out, when my Xperia Pro gets its update.
Google has a poor track record in making anything they do accessible:
Probably not the best choice for those in such condition.
"a quantum leap forward"
So, there's not much different then?
And here comes the science bit.
It looks awful, menu layouts look similar to Windows Mobile in the early days!
And the big problem lies with different phones, some offer it as an upgrade, some don't, some have buttons some don't.... i'm sure i'll get nailed for this, but that's where iOS is so good. It's clean and polished, it works well - sure there may be some restrictions (i've never found any that stop me doing anything i want) but for 99% of the people it does everything they want.
it's like running Windows on a PC - is the latest version compatible with the hardware you've got - no idea! Guess you'll have to try....
iOS may look 'antiquiated'....
But it works very very well indeed.
Consistency, and relaiability are two words you can very easily ascociate with the platform.
Apple's control freakery pays dividends in the form of stable, consistant and easy to use apps accross the entire platform.
Android on the other hand is the complete opposite.
The year or two that I owned an Android device (DEsire, Magic) were fraught with frustration. Yes, I was able to customise to the Nth degree, I could even root it and add my own custom version of Android - but I never got a 'stable' platform. In fact, it was most stable when I had hardly any apps on it, and no widgets!
That's besides the point really. Why does one really need widgets on your home screen? When you remove your phone from your pocket - it's the lock screen that you need to see - that;s where the notifications and reminders should reside.
Not al Android phones offer decent lock screen notifications, and until IOS5 neither did IOS. Apple have done a great job with that.For me, I cant see much point in having 5+ different 'Home screens' of widgets that contain stuff that really just needs a quick summary on 1 screen and then easy acess t read in more detail. One home screen is all you need in reality.
To me, Android offers functionality for the sake of it, for the sake of having a tick point to compare against the competition.
It's not innovating, it's just copying -and poorly.
It's actually Windows Phone 7 that is offering a truly different take on Phone OSs - and the tiled home screen is the most useful way to get 'At a glance' info. It's not for everyone, but it works better than Android or IOS in that respect.
It is funny that so many people say that Android is copying and they can't give at least 3 examples of what Android has copied from other mobile systems. It should be easy, right?
3 (or more) things it copied...
Let me see:
Pinch to zoom (Apple invented this)
Predictive text entry using a software multitouch keyboard with little letters that pop up to show what you are typing (apple innovated this, though Stylus driven keyboards have been around since the Plam and Newton)
Double Tapp to zoom in and out .(again, Apple)
Kinetic Scrolling (apple invented this)
Application tray (Symbian, Palm had this waaaay before they did)
a curated App store (Apple innovated this idea long before Android or anyone else)
That's just off the top of my head.
it's funny when the naysayers try and deny that Android copied large portions of other OSs look and feel, and when it's shown that it did, they cry foul!
Until Apple came along, smartphones used styluses, resistive screens and scrollbars and so forth to control functionality.
Apple re-thought that experience and did away with the Stylus, and used gestures and pinching and tapping etc and were hugely succesful because of this.
Android was originally pitched as a Blackberry style OS, and it wasnt until IOs was debut that they changed direction. Suddenly it was much more like an iphone and it's been getting more so like that since.
Microsoft have been bold enough to completely eschew the widgety desktop like experience that Apple, Android and Symbian use and have IMHO a fresher more original approach.
Therefore, if Microsoft can spend the R&D dollars to come up with somthing new, why cant Google?
Answer: Because it's cheaper - and since they give away the OS in return for advertising revenue, they have little or no incentive to spend $$$ doing somthing truly ground breaking or new.
PS: Dont forget Apple also had a patent portfolio left over from it's R&D on the Newton Messagepad, let alone the iphone.
"a curated App store"
Oh, is the Android market curated now? I thought the official iFan FUD was that it was just a wild free-for-all tat-bazaar filled with malware? Make your fucking minds up!
RE: 3 (or more) things it copied...
I agree with everything you say, just one little note. Apple didn't re-think the stylus experience, a company called Fingerworks did. But Apple were sharp enough to see the promise of their technology and buy them before anyone else did.
Looks like Apple invented even an apple itself ;-)
But seriously I have checked only the first item from your list and it turns out that there was a demo of pinch to zoom on TED in 2006 BEFORE Apple released iPhone. So your point is rather missed.
Of course you forgot to mention that Apple ripped off Android notification system, as I understand this is fine because it was actually Apple that invented it, right? ;)
as was pointed out before:
Apple purchased the company that developed and owns much of the multitouch and finger based UI in 2005., a year before the TED demo - and needless to say, releasing a product in mid 2007 requires a bit more than a spit and polish to get to the market before.
Also Apple were the first to implemeent this on a phone in the way that it has been used.
As for the notification centre, Apple applied for a patent for this in 2007, before the first Android phone was released.
So far from 'copying' - they've been waiting to implement it long before they saw Android become a success!
It always makes me laugh when phandroids turn to the old 'Yeah, but Apple aint so angelic tho' arguments.
it looks like it’s been thrown together by a 6 yr old it if fugly! As many a comment has said Win7.5 is the only OS that is doing something different. Love it or hate it (and I love it) it is totally different to android or iOS
Yipe. Half the screenshots appeared to be missing as well?
First gut feel? Like the punters who will buy the things? Confused. Messy. BLACK with coloured lines.
When is Android going to feel "finished"? I know it's all open and loveliness like that, but when is it going to SETTLE DOWN?
It looks uber fugly.It's like someone trying to recreate iOS with just HTML 1
"the UI is now replete with visually pleasing animations...
...that give the impression that the UI is alive to your touch"
Which to me is pointless (regardless of platform, before anyone accuses me of anything). If I want to start an app, I want it to start immediately - and not have to wait for the CPU to catch up with the pretty animations beforehand...
"If I want to start an app, I want it to start immediately - and not have to wait for the CPU to catch up with the pretty animations beforehand..."
Er, then just turn off the animations!
That isn't the point though... it's the obsession with style over substance that irks me.
Alive to your touch
If you want alive to your touch, sod the battery-sapping animations as you're not going to see them with your finger over the screen. Just use haptic feedback (see Symbian).
Is Android developed by goths or what?
I know, I know, it's the only way they would get any useful battery life out of that OLED screen.
Good for the machine, but poor for users (except goths and lovers of Tron)
Yet another UI going the way of CPU-cycle-burning eye candy instead of real usefulness. Even when you are using an app, the UI continues to run in the background so it is still burning CPU cycles for eye-candy you are not using.
I am perfectly satisfied with Gingerbread on my LG Optimus. I have desktop shortcuts for my most-used applications and web-sites and can use the Android icon interface (the one you get by touching the many-box icon between the phone icon and the Sprint "ID" icon. If you do not use Sprint, your mileage will certainly vary but there is undoubtedly something similar on other carriers' phones. Use "Manage Apps" from the Menu button if you have to.
Desktop-activated search? A shortcut to google.com works quite nicely thank-you-very-much. Improvements to the browser are welcome and it would be very nice if the new browser were backported to Gingerbread and available through the Market the way the Gingerbread keyboard was for Froyo.
I could go on but you get the idea: prettier (if that is your definition of "pretty") but otherwise unremarkable.
I LIKE the idea of face-recognition unlocking, but does the lock screen still have the gesture grid or password entry or whatever, as well as FR?
...Because I wouldn't want to get permanently locked out of my phone if I should ever shave off my beard...
You can unlock using a photo of yourself when you had beard:
A quantum leap of difference?
At least you just pay up front with Apple - with Google you give your data / life to them to market to the highest bidder. Search is not about relevancy these days - it's about who will pay the most to get put first. Worrying.
"But Apple were sharp enough to see the promise of their technology and buy them before anyone else did."
At least they bought them rather than others ripping them off.
A hell of a lot of black screens in there1
Is that l33t wanna be crap or the fact that Android phone come with OLED screens whose ultimate weakness is the display of white where the phone rios through your battery like a rat on cheese!
As a gigantic asshole..
.. I completely disagree with fandroids in whichever way pisses them off the most.
As a completely different giant asshole...
I completely agree with what the previous giant asshole said.
It looks like a cat vomited on a mobile phone screen. It is truly horrible.
As I have said many times before, the only people who actually choose Android are techies. The rest of the people who end up with Android are poor people. What the poor people REALLY want is an iphone. But they are too poor to own one, so they go with an Android as it is the closest looking thing to an iphone that they can afford.
The poor people then end up with a low end phone that does not have the oomph to really run the OS. So as well as a nasty UI, they get a laggy/crashy/frustrating UX.
I have been using smartphones for years. I have tried phones from all the major players. But at the end of the day, I use a smartphone to make calls, send/receive SMS, surf the web, check emails and calendar, read/update Facebook, and navigate. That is really all I need and want. The ability to ‘root the phone’ and ‘install cynogen mod’ or whatever it is called is laughably irrelevant to me and 99% percent of the mobile phone owning populace. Right now, I prefer WindowsPhone. It does all of the activities I require and has a simple, pleasant and fluid UX.
I haven't be able to eat any ice-cream sandwich without a mess there is always some ice-cream leaking from some end, specially when you reach the end of it, may be that's why they choose the name ICS?
mmmmm ... dribbly
Seems like a hit
Just look at the number of scared fanbois and softies spewing fud and downvoting any positive commentary!
Seriously, it looks very nice, the hardware acceleration was due (should stop the last remaining myth, android lag, from being taken seriously even by fanbois), and I wonder what will iOS copy next, so that the fanbois can claim apple invented it. Of course baristas won't be moved by android, but as for anyone with a little more critical thinking capabilities, android is even more the only show in town.
Finding it hard to like this
It looks like different parts were farmed out to different teams who never talked to each other.
Even Nokia can manage a more coherent UI these days, and that's saying something.
Except there's no support for the NFC on that phone here. Presumably meaning no drivers or something, I should go ask in the shop. It goes on sale tomorrow.
The lack of working NFC (Felica/osaifu keitai call it what you will) has been the big failing for smart phones for years. It still makes iphone losers need to carry a second phone!
So it's not really that smart is it. My _SIX_ year old phone has it and I use it several times a day.
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