I wrote in my review of the XOOM tablet I have some pains with my iPad. I want to discuss a bit more where I'm coming from on this one. This post is not about calling Steve Jobs to get true multi tasking implemented.
Apple vs Google approach to product creation:
Image via CrunchBaseThe iPad is a great device, and it has all the Apple great design and polished look & feel touch. Apple designs Products of Desire, one wants to buy them for the emotions they trigger and their performance. The Motorola XOOM tablet is also a great piece of hardware, and it packs a great mobile OS in Android. What's so different about the two? My take is the two different approaches product creation in a very different way. It ultimately results in a different experience for the end users.
Image via WikipediaApple is all about integrating the offering hardware and software, while Google is about providing the platform and have hardware companies create products on their own. The fundamental difference in those two approaches is ultimately the level of awareness the two platforms have to the outside world. In other words it boils down to openness.
The apple model makes it irrelevant for its engineers, or a second thought to think of other opinions and mindset from hardware and software standpoint. The Android model speaks more to inclusiveness of other players by necessity of getting traction with device manufacturers.
Apple is coming at design with the thinking they know every thing the user wants to do, and they make sure it gets done their way. Google and its platform is coming at it with 'we have a rough idea of what the trends are and we need to build more advertising revenues' here are building blocks and a platform go at it.
I believe Android is open more to integration and allows for more innovative integration. Ultimately the better the integration, the smoother the experience, and the better the innovation. Android gives an opportunity to the market place to innovate and cook better solutions up.
How does this affect the products we buy:
So back to my pain with the iPad, I believe the difference in approach to designing the product is creating my pain. In my case I mainly use my tablet to consume information. The widgets, and the application hooks are clearly places where I benefit from additional integration.
Widgets speed up my information gathering, application hooks speed up my information sharing, categorization, etc... I think they are two aspects where Android is far superior than iOS. They clearly provide useful and meaningful information as well as fit in more naturally in the flow of what I do.
- Android Widgets: they give you access to information right away, no need to look further. With the advent of tablets I strongly believe more innovation around widgets is on the horizon. The additional real estate of tablets, gives widgets more possibilities. iOS doesn't have the widget concept, and it's not possible on a stock iPhone. One could say this is a design decision on Apple's part, and they are right, widgets is not part of the Design language of iOS. I question where the mindset Apple has about widgets, ie, loss of control of the main screen is my guess what is driving Apple.
- Application hooks: This is the ability for an application to hook itself in other applications. This way an application can complement one another. In Android Evernote registers itself so that all other applications on the system can pass on information to it.
It's what I call the small and big differences between the two platforms. Apple's view of product creation is an integrated and internal exercise based on their vision. Android is one where collaboration is required with external partners. I believe the Android model allows for more innovation outside of Google's thinking, and that is a good thing(tm-Martha Stewart)!