KitKat is pretty solid. I’m definitely taking Android and it’s place in the future of computing seriously.
KitKat is amazing, esp considering the under the hood changes. I think this release, along with Google's agreement with Samsung to ship native Android, will put them in a solid position in a few years, once all of the ICS devices are put to rest.
Android isn't taken seriously because Android owners don't buy apps.
That doesn't explain why free apps like Secret, Pages, Medium, etc, are still often iOS-only.
There are a couple of reasons:
- Android users tend to lag iOS users in terms of app adoption, tendency to purchase (including on ecommerce sites).
- Writing a iOS app is significantly easier than Android. For instance, a parallax tracking feature that might take 5 lines of code in iOS would take a week or more to write for Android.
Given those two realities, proving out a market (which is what startups are trying to do) is both faster and more likely on iOS. Thus it's the safest platform for testing new ideas.
I disagree — this past January Android had 74% of app downloads. Even accounting for free apps that push in-app purchases, it's safe to say that more free apps are downloaded for Android than there are for iOS.
I think the second point is also exaggerated — Android may have more device permutations than iOS, but the "five lines vs. a week" comparison seems drastic.
If I had to guess at the reason, I would say the amount of press coverage that iOS gets in proportion to Android makes it more likely that apps on iOS will be written about.
but the "five lines vs. a week" comparison seems drastic.
This exact example came from an engineer from Google who is in charge of a prominent product on both OSs. The other things I stated are easily verified by a search.
Apps doesn't need to have a price to be good. There's so many examples of successful apps out there that are free.
I might write a reply post but the quick answers (for me) are:
1) When I freelanced I very rarely got requests for Android apps, whatever startup, agency, etc was hiring me always put their budget into Android first. So typically I would just go where the money was
2) When I was full-time at agencies, brands typically have a fixed budget for mobile per quarter/year and although it's increasing, it's never normally enough for more than one or two platforms. iOS will always come first, with Android being a 'nice to have'
3) I've worked on mobile sites and apps for 3 large UK retailers - New Look, M&S and Kiddicare - I can tell you that Android makes such a small portion of their mobile sales compared to iOS that it becomes a easy business decision to delay shipping a version.
Whether you're in a agency, startup, brand, freelance, full-time etc you can only really do what's in front of you, and when it comes to mobile, more often than not that's iOS design.
The spin-off from this is that as I spend more time working on iOS projects, i naturally grow my expertise on that platform and know less about Android.
You'll find it interesting to know that in India, it's the opposite. I'm consulting for one of India's largest e-commerce retailers at the moment, and their focus is Android purely because of business reasons.
Fragmentation on Android makes it much easier to launch quickly and evaluate user interest on iOS.
In my opinion, Android lacks polish. It has improved over time. Since iOS' inception, Apple has obsessed over the details which I think earned more designers' respect.
Most designers already use Apple products. It keeps our lives simple.
The second point is an important one for me. Your app just doesn't feel as polished as it does on iOS.
I sure take Android seriously, I just don't like the outcome as much. Basic design decisions on Android bother me: Scroll behavior seems off, scrolling to top and/or bottom just results in a strange light that disperses from the corner...
Don't get me wrong, I could easily switch to Android and my life would be pretty much the same. I just like my apps on iOS better.
The fragmentation thing isn't true.
In theory there are 18 sub-versions of Android. In reality 6 different versions cover 98% of the Android user base. There are over 10,000 Android devices on the market, but only 3 different screen sizes for smartphones.
You could do what Facebook did with Home and only support 6 or 8 devices initially and cover 90% of your userbase.
This is a good point in practice, until you start to get angry comments and death threats because you have bugs on/untested issues/don't support a vocal user's specific device, your page/site quickly flooded with petitions and 1-star reviews.
Out of pure ignorance.
Many designers are simply set in their ways. Perhaps unknowingly so.
There used to be a clear winner, so many designers flocked to iOS.
The problem is, they've been on iOS for so long that they think/speak ignorantly about the Android experience. They lack deep firsthand experience and intimate knowledge of its offerings, simply regurgitating a few lines from a once-read article.
Perhaps they never even experienced it to begin with, an egregious offense.
admits to not reading the article, claims the problem is ignorance. fascinating comment.
I agree that the tl;dr was unnecessary but he has a bit of a point.
Most people are fanboys/girls whether consciously or on a subconscious level. It happens on the windows/mac front as well. I'm not saying anything new, I think, though.
Designers especially tend to gravitate toward apple products. So much so that that it's basically sacrilege to have a workspace photo without an imac in it. Every list related to design seems to have the default assumption that you're a mac user.
Again, nothing new but it seems to create, I don't want to say culture, but an odd worship state in some minds that leads back to that gravitation thing. And those minds will probably end up disparaging something that isn't Apple without thought or proper experience with another platform.
Reads tl;dr and makes ignorant comment without reading the whole comment. Likely you didn't read the article either. Such value!
sorry, your comment was tl;dr.
Designing for Android is a good exercise for designers. Here’s why:
- Different guidelines, which give you a new and refreshing attitude about aesthetics and user interactions.
- Design and deploy for numerous devices and screen sizes with just one app, which gives you a great constrain challenge. As the screen size gets smaller, you have to choose what to hide and what to prioritise.
- A fairly unexplored terrain, where good design is missing but is much appreciated and needed.
Probably because Google never took the design of Android seriously till very recently.
I think it's mostly this. iOS human interface design guide, incredibly well thought out, polished, easy to use. Hell the first tutorial for making ios apps talks about design before it even talks about code.
I'd love a good interface guideline for android, but I haven't really seen one yet.
I hadn't found these, these are nice! I take it all back
The Android Developer guidelines are well done.
Some interesting statistics here: http://techcrunch.com/2014/03/23/mixpanel-ios-7-adoption-at-90-while-android-kit-kat-remains-at-under-10/
Interesting, but not very useful.
A fair comparison would be active users on Google branded devices. It would probably be similar to Apple branded devices on iOS.
I've designed a few android apps. The vast array of screen densities, performance and OS install disparity makes designing on the platform more of an annoyance than a challenge.
You have to make so many sacrifices for cheap ass phones, it becomes almost discouraging. Market share is only a tip of the android iceberg, the hardware/software fragmentation is the real trick
I wish he applies this to Twitter client for Android. It clearly lacks the good Kitkat features and order.
Some blatant self-promotion: I started a vector UI kit for Android not so long time ago. It's pretty accurate and it will help you to define a good basement for your design. It's totally free (public domain licenced) and it's also on Github, you're welcome to contribute.
They certainly do! As a long time iOS user who had a replacement Android phone for a couple of months I can confirm that design wise most current Android apps look very decent.
Some look and work even better because of the superior functionality Android offers such as inter-app communication.
Nonetheless pre-"holo UI" apps look ugly as shit, but so do outdated iOS 4/5 apps.
The stereotype of tasteless ports and ugly Android counterparts are kind of obsolete nowadays.
Android's biggest concern is piracy.
I've worked on a couple and it actually was smooth sailing for the most part until it got to development. By the time they were finished with working out all the kinks and implementing it to work as it should, we had maybe a sprint left to get the UI right. It was half assed to say the least. I've seen it too many times to believe it's a one-time accident.
So yeah, I don't take it seriously. KitKat is nice though.
I think one factor is market interest. It seems like most designers are focused on building apps that would naturally launch first in iOS.
I am a product designer for a company building apps for manufacturing, and even in that space, iOS dominates the conversation when it comes to mobile applications.
Once people realize there's little money to be made ripping off games and social platforms no one cares about, they'll start looking to industry, where the real money is for most of us, and where platforms are perceived differently.
I also heard this from a group of developer friends on the subject: "whatever it takes to build on iOS, multiply it by 1.5 for Android."
Context matters, and pain points really matter.
Let me answer quickly with two missing points for me:
Every designer and some clients know what iOS looks like: so when we look at an interface we don't focus much on the OS particularity but more on the real details of the designer's work.
Early adopters are commonly on iPhone. AppStore helps beautiful and well-thought out interfaces to be on the first page and iOS can be the perfect launchpad before an Android port.
The second point doesn't really make sense to me. Second time I saw it in this thread.
Could it be that early adoption usually occurs because quite a few apps tend to be launched on ios first?
And, I mean, if you're gonna have a beautiful and well thought out interface it shouldn't really matter what platform you start with. I assume you'll have to iterate either way. I've never done either so I'm curious.
I think the problem is the brand itself => Android