This morning, when I was reading my RSS feeds I came across a post somewhere, which I have subsequently failed to find again (doh…found it), where an Android developer was bemoaning how hard it is to make apps compared to the iPhone platform. The major reasons for this were cited as the difficulty of having to code for different devices, the fragmentation of the Android market via different phone makers and carriers and is the complete opposite of what you would expect when designing for an “open” as opposed to “closed” platform. I mentioned this before but I can see this becoming a big as issue for the Android platform as it has become for Windows Mobile down the years.
…one of the main reasons why UIs are unequally inferior are not only the way you build apps (open vs. closed hw/sw system) and the SDK itself but also marginal to non-existing UI standards, no ready-made drag & drop UI items, variations in carrier- & device firmware, hard- & software input, screen sizes, international customizations, modded phones, rooted phones and last but not least completely different expectations among users and the linux’ish target group itself. in a nutshell: beautiful mess. obviously, all these reasons eat up a huge pile of time that one could better spend with improving UX and polishing the interface. those who started early with android development have learned and are still learning it the hard way, just like they did with win 3.1 back in the days.
This partly explains what I have been saying about the standard of Android apps to date, they just lack that uniformity that I am used to on the iPhone and you just never know what to expect when you first open them up. Some take advantage of the HTC Hero hardware featurs and others don’t and some just don’t work in the way that you expect and hope. So far, I have found that the Pre apps are better and part of that reason is that they all have the same feel and the developer only has to code for the one device.
Interestingly though, I have found TwitDroid to be one of the best Android apps and it has that professional feel and look to it to the extent that it could be an iPhone app.