Why Smartphone manufacturers wont be able to beat Apple at Apps.

By on September 11, 2009
submit to reddit

A month or so back, I gave my iPhone a break for a couple of weeks and played around with the HTC Magic. It was quite an awesome experience and I thought to myself that, in due time, Android has potential to rival the iPhone in terms of applications and usability. Unfortunately, some announcements made [...]

A month or so back, I gave my iPhone a break for a couple of weeks and played around with the HTC Magic. It was quite an awesome experience and I thought to myself that, in due time, Android has potential to rival the iPhone in terms of applications and usability. Unfortunately, some announcements made in the last couple of weeks made me lose faith.

I’ll start off by saying how Apple “gets it” and other don’t. During the last two years, there have been three models of the iPhone that Apple has released along with three models of iPod Touch. The thing common among all of them is the screen size, the screen resolution and the form factor.

What this translates into is that a developer knows EXACTLY how his/her application is going to look across all these models. For example, a button that is supposed to be towards the bottom of the device, close your left thumb and measure half an inch in size will ALWAYS be towards the bottom, close to your left thumb and half an inch in size- no matter which version of the iPhone or iPod Touch the application is running on. This makes the developer focus on providing an experience that he/she knows will be repeated for every end-user. This is what makes applications better on the Apple App Store.

If we take Android, we have Motorola, Samsung and HTC at the moment providing phones built on it. These phones have different form factors, different screen sizes and even different resolutions. And if that wasn’t enough, HTC went ahead and replaced the capacitive screen with a resistive screen on their recently revealed low-cost Tattoo. Talk about developer hell- trying to make sure your “Touch Screen” applications working across different resolutions, sizes and now with a stylus instead of your finger.

You could argue that unless there is a closed system like the iPhone, this will be impossible to achieve. Agreed. But look at Palm and their recently released “Pixi.” Suddenly you have fixed keyboard below the screen and an area that was easy to reach on the Touch screen with the Pre is not as easy anymore- spoiling the experience of an application. Maybe not a devastation, but its exactly those little things that make Apple stand out from a crowd. They get it.


About

Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of tbreak.com and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

Comments
  • http://www.tbreak.com Mohammed “aGoGo” Issa

    MS will need to ditch the current WM platform and start from scratch, the goal is to build an open framework for developers, they need a snappy conusmer friendly UI.
    I’m still sticking to my trustworthy HTC Universal for now, may switch to N900 for linux apps ;)

Most Read
Most Commented
Competitions
Win two Toshiba AT200 tablets

This festive season Toshiba has 2 tablets to giveaway.

Win an MSI FM2-A85XA-G65 Motherboard

Thanks to MSI we have an great AMD FM2 motherboard to giveaway.

Win a Nokia Asha 311

Thanks to Nokia we have a great entry-level smartphone to giveaway.