I’m basically an Apple guy, but for the past few months I’d been using a Motorola Atrix running Android, and then just on Friday switched back and got an iPhone 4S and I want to unleash some fanboy time.
At the end of the day, I think the comparison illustrates that Apple’s theory of vertically integrated systems creates superior results. You can see this in the fact that there’s actually quite a lot to like about Android. Its notification system is better, even after iOS 5′s upgrades to this aspect. The basic organization of the desktop so that your default screen is “in the middle” rather than “on the far left” like in iOS is better. The Google-branded aps in Android are fantastic, and that’s no trivial thing given how central email and maps are to the smartphone experience. Widgets are very cool. Swype keyboard is very cool. Lots of cool stuff. But. But. But. But.
When the iPhone first came out, a lot of people were skeptical about an all-touch product. Seemed hard to use. And it was a bit hard to type on it for the first couple of days or so. But you quickly got the hand of it and it actually turned out to work amazingly well. This wasn’t like fiddling with some nonsense ATM touchscreen. You could touch, grab, swipe, flick, pinch, whatever with extraordinary responsiveness. If Apple couldn’t have made the screen work so well, they presumably wouldn’t have made the damn phone. Or, alternatively, people had been talking about an “iPhone” for years but we didn’t get one until Apple figured out how to make the screen work. Then the iPhone, by succeeding, created this whole new category of all-touch smartphones. And yet for all its virtues, Android can’t consistently deliver that basic original iPhone experience of a really good really responsive touchscreen. They’re years behind. And I think it may just not be possible to do unless you’re writing specific code for specific hardware and working closely with suppliers all up and down the chain. I tweeted that I didn’t like Android’s screen responsiveness and a bunch of folks tweeted back “that’s a hardware issue, don’t blame Android.” But who cares?
At any rate, I hope the Kindle Fire turns into a huge success. We need gadget competition and this “the screen doesn’t really work” thing is a really fatal flaw in a platform with so many other good attributes.