back to article Ice Cream Sandwich

No new version of the Android mobile operating system has been quite so eagerly awaited as v4.0 or Ice Cream Sandwich as it’s more colourfully known. The reason is not hard to explain: Android has streaked ahead of iOS in the bums-on-seats stakes but there is still the feeling that the user interface lacks the polish and grace …

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  1. bazza Silver badge

    True purpose?

    "Nailed on Google search Widget"

    Nothing demonstrates Google's revenue stream more clearly. You don't use that widget, Google don't make money.

    Not that there's any difference between Google and MS and Apple. Except Apple will take $hundreds of you first and then extract advertising revenue from your data.

    1. sprouty76
      Thumb Down

      Baffling

      Why do they think I want to search from every screen? Especially as it's such a wide widget.

      I could actually understand it more (I wouldn't like it more, but I'd udnerstand it more) if they just stuck a rotating advert on every screen.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Except Apple will take $hundreds of you first and then extract advertising revenue from your data."

      Based on what exactly? I ask because there is absolutely no evidence to support this assertion. We know that Google's business model is based on ad revenue, it the trade off that you make when using their "free" services.

      1. fandom
        FAIL

        Based on reality (what else is there?)

        I guess you haven't heard about Apple's ad network for servings ads in ios:

        http://advertising.apple.com/

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Based on reality...

          Really? Apple do not use iAd in the same way that Google uses advertising. Apple's business model is profit through hardware; everything else exists to sell hardware. The only place that I see ads is if i run some free apps. Google's business model on the other hand is based on the sale of data. Like someone else has already said, with Google your are a product and not a customer. But way to miss the point.

          1. fandom

            So, if I understand you, Apple goes to advertisers and tells them: You see, we don't do any tracking on our users, we have no idea if the ad we serve has any relation to the user tastes, now pay us.

            Is that it?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              @fandom

              Sweet lord! This isn't hard to understand at all. In fact your assertion goes to show how little you understand about how iAd works! Apple simply do not use the data in the same way that Google do.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Apple income stream

      and around 25% of your data plan goes directly to Apple's coffers too.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Apple income stream

        "and around 25% of your data plan goes directly to Apple's coffers too."

        Reference for this?

        Only time I heard it was back when Apple had exclusive agreements with mobile companies like O2 and AT&T, and even then it wasn't anything like 25%

      2. Chris 3

        Really?

        A proportion of my £7 a month for my iPad goes to Apple? Interesting, but not germane to the original point, even if true.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Difference between Google and Apple

      Is that Google runs ads for almost any website you go on the web (even here in El Reg via Doubleclick). You don't really have a choice on most websites.

      On the other hand Apple only runs ads on ad-supported iOS apps. If you don't use ad-supported iOS apps, Apple extracts nothing.

    5. Frank 2
      Black Helicopters

      The difference between Apple, MS & Google

      With Apple and MS you are the customer, with Google you are the product.

    6. Ammaross Danan
      Coat

      Adverts

      "Not that there's any difference between Google and MS and Apple. Except Apple will take $hundreds of you first and then extract advertising revenue from your data."

      Apple doesn't really make much in adverts (yet). However, they do gouge the heck out of developers, which you then must pay for in (semi)inflated prices. Or you do could do what Apple intended all along and just use their sources (iTunes, iBook, The Daily).

  2. Mark.L.P
    Happy

    Of course we need third party customisations

    The last comment about third party overlay's etc. is perhaps a bit presumptuous :) . I for one am not keen on the all-black style of ICS4 and like many other people will prefer to choose my own overlays, themes, styles or whatever we're calling them these days. Customisation is what makes Android so much more fun than iOS or WinMo7.5, which restricts you to working within their own layouts.

    Many of us want the freedom to style our phones to be more like "us" and Android makes that easy. So we'll always want the ability to change how it looks.

    Mark

    Editor - ISPreview.co.uk

    1. Funkstain
      Megaphone

      OEM customisations

      I think the reviewer was talking about manufacturer overlays for Android, like HTC's Sense, Motorola's Blur and Samsung's TouchWiz.

      Necessary at first to render early versions of Android more useable and pretty, the article suggests that v4.0 removes the need for them.

      I think this is a potentially huge point: up until now, there have been significant differences in appearance and functionality across Android handsets as a result of these customisations. This allowed the OEMs to set themselves apart, and encouraged investment in UI/UX in an attempt to woo customers. On the negative side, it also often resulted in older handsets not getting the latest version of Android: a real disadvantage, when you consider that 2.5 years later an iPhone 3GS is still getting the latest version of iOS (without some key features though).

      If stock Android 4.0 is wonderful without OEM skins, then how does HTC persuade you to buy its latest £400-£600 phone over Samsung's? Can the OEMs find a way to continue adding value to 4.0 without compromising the design, function, and annoying customers with too much fluff? If they cannot, then what is their motivation in investing $billions in a non-differentiated, commodity market (c/f/: televisions)?

      1. Arctic fox

        @Funkstain RE: "OEM customisations"

        Yes, the OEMS do have a potential problem if Alun's take on ICS is widely shared. Apart from competing even harder on the hardware/physical design side might they not start to compete by, for example, bundling a wider range of apps with the phones? If they do (at least partly) go that route, what effect might that have on independent devs building for Android market? That of course depends on how many and what type of apps the *average* Android customer buys during the lifetime of his/her phone. One could image a scenario where the market became at least partly poisoned from the devs point of view if customers became less interested in buying there because "they have what they need already". We might get a situation similar to that we see in the pc/laptop market where the OEMs "add value" by bundling all sorts of hows-your-father just to attract attention.

      2. Keep Refrigerated
        Go

        How to differentiate

        I can think of a few right off the top of my head...

        -Marketing based on 'not adding guff'

        -Commitment to upgrades

        -Hardware features (hdmi, sd cards, waterproof etc...)

        -Accessories (For all it's charm, Asus failed here)

        -Price

        -Pre-installed (optionally removable) apps - scope here for creating accessories that have a specific app for their device that is not available with competitors e.g. a controller for TV, Helipcopter toy etc...

        There is lots to compete on as an alternative to stamping "Whizzbang Interface" all over it and bundling "Crappy App Portal to our Paltry Content Zone" rwxr-xr-x app.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looks good

    I can't wait for CM9, no way I'm waiting for HTC to decide weather my 8 month old phone deserves it. Even then they'll only slap on the seriously outdated looking sense on top.

    The CM team should provide that little bit of extra polish it needs as well :)

  4. Rosco

    Confused graphic design style

    I'm sure ICS is a leap forward in features and usability but visually it's an incoherent mess. Most of those screenshots show at least two different styles on each: the buttons at the bottom are one-pixel abstract lines; the app icons are 3D pseudo-realistic; the app folder icons are slightly abstract solid blocks with 2.5D depth; the settings screen has flat block icons ... it's like they've all been designed by different people and no-one has checked for consistency before they shipped.

    It may be that only graphic designers would care about the specifics but surely to most people the overall impression is just really messy?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Shades
        Stop

        @Eponymous Cowherd

        Bzzzzzzzzzzzzt - Wrong!

        "With the screen now playing host to a row of virtual system buttons – as well as a five-button dock – you need to get used to the complete absence of fascia controls"

        Did it completely escape your attention that the pics in the article are *screenshots*?

        This *doesn't* mean to say that manufacturers are going to forgo hardware buttons altogether, these new soft-buttons can be removed... the guys over at XDA Developers have already kindly done so for those of us with phones which still have physical buttons as they were just eating up screen real-estate and duplicating functionality that we already had.

        Can't wait for a 100%* working Cyanogenmod ICS ROM for my HD2 :)

    2. Kristian Walsh

      Agreed.

      I like the reduction of visual clutter, but I think they've railed too strongly against Android's previous "junk shop" feel, and so there's a new type of mess here: you just don't know what goes with what, and what you can click.

      The Widget catalogue list does not look like a list. The icons aren't visually related to their captions. I'd have zoomed in and cropped the icons to a constant size, but I guess the graphics aren't scalable, or the original assets were done on photoshop (tip: if you're designing icons, you MUST use a vector-based tool ESPECIALLY if the size will "never change").

      I'm not altogether sure that this is an improvement in UI: the previous Android was thrown-together, but it was familiar: you did know what you could touch. This makes the same questionable decision that Windows Phone has: active areas aren't well delineated, so that text could be text, or it could be a button or a menu, or a tab, but unlike WP7, it doesn't follow its own logic, so styling is no longer a cue: they seem to be using colour to indicate buttons (dialler) as well as selection (tab views).

      The fundamental issue with Android hasn't been addressed: there are still different metaphors used in different screens of the UI. Consistency is important in UI, especially if you go down the minmalist route, but that consistency is still not there. For an example of the kind of refresh that Google *should* have done, have a look at Symbian Belle - its UI will be more familiar to someone coming from Android 2.2 than ICS is.

      And that wandering "Back" button should be filed as a bug, pure and simple. There is absolutely no excuse for this in a UI that uses a page stack.

    3. Paul M 1

      Not a graphic designer...

      but it seems obvious to me that the single line icons at the bottom represent the "physical" buttons at the bottom of other Android phones.

      similarly the 2.5 D icons are the quick launch ones that are so popular these days. The top section is your "desktop" area so why not make it 3D-like?

      Not so much confused - just representing different functional areas in different ways to show the separation. Surely that's what good graphics design is about?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Totally agree. Apples obsession with skeuomorphic elements is jarring to say the least. As someone that is predominantly an Apple desktop user, Windows Phone is currently offering the most original UI with a much more interesting paradigm. This however is stuck in some sort of limbo, which IMHO somehow makes it worse! I guess it's themeable, but then that breaks uniformity across the platform; incidentally one of the many reasons for Windows (not the phone, obviously) success. It is a bit a of a hotchpotch of ideas - some of them very good - that aren't coherent, which is a shame as the underling functionality of the OS is brilliant. Google really should sweat on these kind of details, but being the lowest common denominator seems to be sufficient for them at the moment which is sad, because it 's doing a disservice to consumers that use the OS, retailers and manufacturers that sell devices based on it and the OS itself. It deserves better.

      1. Kristian Walsh

        @AnotherNetNarcissist

        Thank you for introducing "skeuomorph" to my vocabulary.

        1. Old Tom
          Happy

          @Kristian Walsh

          Thank you for introducing "skeuomorph" to my vocabulary.

          (I scanned past the original - it was embedded in a large unattractive paragraph.)

    5. Thomas 4

      It could be worse

      It could look like Mango.

    6. ColonelClaw

      Agree

      I would agree that Android is just not very pretty to look at, and gives the impression many different people designed the look of many different parts without any unifying vision.

      Personally the main reason I don't like the look of Android is that it's just all so black. Cheer up Google!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Boffin

        "Personally the main reason I don't like the look of Android is that it's just all so black. Cheer up Google!"

        Black 'theme' + an OLED screen = increased battery life, since you only need to power the non-black pixels.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmm.

    Android has had folders for ages, Android 1.6 introduced them I believe. So to try and claim it copied them from iOS5 is rather lame.

    If you want to save pages offline, use Opera Mobile, it's had this from the outset (and who on earth is using the default browser or dolphin skin anyway? when Opera is 3x quicker, supports hardware accel and is more compliant in ACID3 and HTML5 tests).

    I knew I should have stopped reading this tripe when I read this garbage: " Taking inspiration from iOS and WinPho 7"

    1. Peter 48

      folders

      Please correct me if I'm wrong, but i think he was refering to being able to organise apps into folders, which i think hasn't been implemented until now.

      What i don't understand is why ios is still considered superior in usage terms. That interface is positivly antiquated and dull, with static icons and virtually no information visible at a glance without having to launch an app. If anything iwould place win phone 7.5 at the top of the pile for user experience with ics a close second.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        You have been able to put apps into folders on Android for AGES.

        Android 1.5 introduced it.

        http://smarterware.org/4424/organize-androids-home-screen-icons-in-folders

        This really highlights how little some people actually know about Android... Like the fact that if they don't like the ICS look, it can be changed entirely into something you do like...

        Launcher Go with Transparent Theme for example:

        https://market.android.com/details?id=com.gau.go.launcherex.theme.gowidget.transparency&hl=en

        Or if you prefer, plenty of others

        http://lifehacker.com/5836578/the-best-application-launcher-for-android

        1. Peter 48
          Thumb Up

          and so it does

          Just shows how shit google's marketing is if it takes them this long to point out a feature that has existed for a while. Same goes with voice commands and actions. Google implements it and you get a crappy you tube video on an obscure google dev site, then apple implements it a year or so later, adds a few bells and whistles and markets the hell out of it with international TV commercials and suddenly it's the next best thing.

          Anyway, rant over - off to organize my apps into folders and drop them onto home page :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Boffin

      Re: Hmm.

      I don't think the author was claiming that the idea of folders was 'copied' from iOS. He was just pointing out that the method for creating folders is now the same as iOS (by dragging one icon onto another). Previously on Android you had to create an empty folder icon first, then drag the apps into it.

  6. Citizen Kaned

    but it still....

    looks shite.

    from a design perspective android still has a lot to do in terms of aesthetics.

    i like android and think my next phone will be android (currently have an iphone 4 and find it annoyingly locked down and restrictive, itunes is one of the worst bits of s/w ive ever used) but to truly compete with apple on the design side of things android needs a lot of work. it still looks very dated and cluttered in places with lots of 'white space' in other areas. the stacked icons look like they are 'getting jiggy' (as will smith might say)

    i think HTC will still need their overlay for some time to come. i quite like their design.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Do it now!

      Best move I made was jumping ship to Android, 3GS to Samsung S2. Bigger screen and smoother displays, more choice of software, faster apps. I know some of that is simply down to better hardware but something as simple as flipping a toggle to set my phone as WiFi hotspot is just one of those little things that feels like a big lungful of fresh, clean air after being locked in by Apple all those months.

  7. Richard Wharram

    Wonder if...

    ...CM will port this to Orange San Francisco ? :)

    1. MrWibble

      Yes

      TomG (CM dev for Blade) has already started on it...

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDmcdPUVnbc

    2. The Original Ash

      Maybe. CM7 is on the San Francisco (Rebranded ZTE Blade), so if the phone is capable they should be able to port it. Best thing you can do is show interest on their forums, maybe throw a little $$$ their way.

      It can't hurt!

      1. Richard Wharram

        I have CM7 on my blade already :)

        Although I don't use it at the minute since my Giffgaff SIM currently resides in a 4S.

        (The downvotes are gonna kill me now :()

  8. Avatar of They
    WTF?

    Screens management?

    How does it look moving between screens? I assume it has them. I don't want to hear that ICS has also copied Apple and WinPho with one screen. I like breaking my apps into work and home, keeping them uncluttered.

    1. Sean Baggaley 1

      Eh?

      iOS has supported multiple screens for ages: just swipe sideways to move to the next / previous screen. This was certainly possible in iOS v2.

      WinPho7.5 uses a very different UI paradigm, so your criticism isn't really applicable.

      1. Avatar of They

        Wasn't a criticism but winpho is one screen that goes up and down, no picture as background and the icons or tiles or whatever are quite locked to being large square icons etc.

        iOS isn;'t the same experience when I have used it, there is one screen filled with little boxes and another screen filled with little boxes. It doesn't have the "place them where you want and move them how you want and put the picture you want" type feel to it that Android has.

        Maybe it does in some menu somewhere but I couldn't find it and have never seen it on an iphone, aybe everyone I know just likes boring screens that look like the android menu?

  9. tytus.suski
    Holmes

    Question: which CURRENT android phones will get ice cream sandwich and when?

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/243008/what_phones_get_googles_ice_cream_sandwich_mobile_os_first.html

    If I have to buy a new android phone each time I want an upgrade ...

    1. shooi

      All current (2011) Sony [Ericsson] Xperia phones are getting ICS. I'm not a die hard SE fan by any means, but since the farce with the X10, they actually seem to have listened to customers and are now producing (IMHO) some great phones with a decent upgrade path.

      My neo had 2.3.3, now has 2.3.4 and will have 4.0 some time in the near(ish) future.

      http://blogs.sonyericsson.com/products/2011/11/15/ice-cream-sandwich-for-sony-ericsson-2011-xperia%E2%84%A2-portfolio/

    2. Matthew 3
      Go

      Samsung Galaxy S2

      Samsung have tweeted that the Galaxy S2 will get ICS.

      https://twitter.com/#!/samsunguk/status/136838488954912768

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A tweet and a blog post

      That's nice, but do you know what would be nicer?

      A download link.

      1. Craigness
        Happy

        ICS G1

        Not exactly current, but it's available for the G1 if you're a patient user.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ym4A82ft5pw

        The S2 download will be available when it's available. Even Apple don't post download links before they release the upgrade ffs!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Even Apple don't post download links before they release the upgrade ffs!"

          But they generally give a good indication of *when* it's going to be available.

  10. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Third party overlays have never been needed really, but they will still continue since OEMs want to sell their handset and merely producing a good hardware design is not seen as enough.

  11. spider from mars
    FAIL

    Yuck

    Looks like a video game circa 1990

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    " but there is still the feeling that the user interface lacks the polish and grace of Apple’s mobile platform"..... from Apple folk.

    Normal folk realise it pisses on iOS and iOS looks creaky, tired and as common as ipeople.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "it pisses on iOS and iOS looks creaky"

      But it just doesn't. ICS actually looks like Google mashed the UI together from parts they found on deviantART. It's a TRON fanboy's wet dream!. I agree that the faux leather effects in iOS are fugly as sin. I agree that the UI language that seems to have been Adopted at Apple is at odds with the design language employed in the hardware design, but to say that Android "pisses on iOS" is wide of the mark. I'd argue that while elements of iOS are downright fugly, at least it's coherent and cogent. which is better than the UI and UX of ICS. Since the majority of Android users don't actually use the vanilla UI, it's largely irrelevant which in turn adds to the fractured nature of the ecosystem. There is an easy fix, but it'll take away 'choice' so it's a trade off. Seriously, from a design and UX point of view Windows Phone pisses on everything out there!

      1. Bit Brain
        Gimp

        Re: It's a TRON fanboy's wet dream!

        You say that like it's a bad thing. ;-)

  13. dotdavid
    Gimp

    Fascia buttons

    "Aesthetically, this will make for much cleaner handset designs with a higher screen-to-phone size ratio but it makes me wonder how ICS will look on existing handsets that already have fascia buttons"

    If your device has hardware buttons, the menu bar and soft buttons aren't displayed.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    browser can do desktop view in Gingerbread

    FYI you can turn off mobile website view in Gingerbread easily enough already. It's in the browser settings.

  15. censored

    Menu Buttons

    They'll disappear if your phone has hardware buttons...

  16. darklord
    FAIL

    Still no home key in the browser

    Biggest pain in the butt no home key in the browser. come on google sort it out.

  17. MrJP
    IT Angle

    One question...

    ...can I make it look like Gingerbread 2.3 please? My eye couldn't help be caught by the screenshots and they were left really wanting and none of your write up about the graphics appeased any of my concerns. Floating menu button? Really? Why would they do that?

    I did like some of additional features and upgrades though, I find my Gallery sometimes just hangs on loading, that's frustrating, so if the upgrade could fix that, great. Also liked the idea of individually wiping all notifications and of course the facial unlock sounds fun but the overall visual redesign looks like it could be disappointing.

    One big thing for me is that one of your screenshots states, 'No trace keyboard', I seriously, *seriously* hope that doesn't mean no 'Swype' keyboard, because for me, Swype kicks a$$!

  18. GeoffDeGeoff
    Facepalm

    Are we talking about iOS vs Android or iPhone vs AndroidPhone

    Because I keep seeing this, people quoting numbers saying iOS is being outsold by Android which is simply not true.

    There are certainly more Android phones in total than iPhones, however there is only one HW supplier for iPhone and multiple for Android so even that is a little misleading.

    However when it comes to OS, Google & Apples own numbers show that there are significantly less devices that use Android compared to iOS.

    250M iOS vs 190M Android in October 2011

    Either compare OS or compare Device don't do both in one sentance.

  19. Leona A
    Flame

    Accessibility?

    Would like to have known if this has been improved in ICS, as its pretty poor otherwise.

    but I guess comments such as "You’d have to be blind not to see that in terms of design" it seems that area isn't going to be even looked at then. So does that means that those of us who are blind, will not notice any changes? ie, has the useless (yes I have tried it) TalkBack app actually be designed to do something useful other than just tick the 'We're Accessible' Box? Can we 'zoom in' on applications, adjust the font size to something that actually makes it readable? I guess I'll have to wait till March to find out, when my Xperia Pro gets its update.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Google has a poor track record in making anything they do accessible:

      http://www.cio.com/article/677040/Google_Apps_Slammed_By_Advocacy_Group_for_the_Blind

      Probably not the best choice for those in such condition.

  20. Ian Yates
    Headmaster

    "a quantum leap forward"

    So, there's not much different then?

  21. Scott Mckenzie

    And here comes the science bit.

    Or something...

    It looks awful, menu layouts look similar to Windows Mobile in the early days!

    And the big problem lies with different phones, some offer it as an upgrade, some don't, some have buttons some don't.... i'm sure i'll get nailed for this, but that's where iOS is so good. It's clean and polished, it works well - sure there may be some restrictions (i've never found any that stop me doing anything i want) but for 99% of the people it does everything they want.

    it's like running Windows on a PC - is the latest version compatible with the hardware you've got - no idea! Guess you'll have to try....

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iOS may look 'antiquiated'....

    But it works very very well indeed.

    Consistency, and relaiability are two words you can very easily ascociate with the platform.

    Apple's control freakery pays dividends in the form of stable, consistant and easy to use apps accross the entire platform.

    Android on the other hand is the complete opposite.

    The year or two that I owned an Android device (DEsire, Magic) were fraught with frustration. Yes, I was able to customise to the Nth degree, I could even root it and add my own custom version of Android - but I never got a 'stable' platform. In fact, it was most stable when I had hardly any apps on it, and no widgets!

    That's besides the point really. Why does one really need widgets on your home screen? When you remove your phone from your pocket - it's the lock screen that you need to see - that;s where the notifications and reminders should reside.

    Not al Android phones offer decent lock screen notifications, and until IOS5 neither did IOS. Apple have done a great job with that.For me, I cant see much point in having 5+ different 'Home screens' of widgets that contain stuff that really just needs a quick summary on 1 screen and then easy acess t read in more detail. One home screen is all you need in reality.

    To me, Android offers functionality for the sake of it, for the sake of having a tick point to compare against the competition.

    It's not innovating, it's just copying -and poorly.

    It's actually Windows Phone 7 that is offering a truly different take on Phone OSs - and the tiled home screen is the most useful way to get 'At a glance' info. It's not for everyone, but it works better than Android or IOS in that respect.

    1. karolbe
      WTF?

      Funny

      It is funny that so many people say that Android is copying and they can't give at least 3 examples of what Android has copied from other mobile systems. It should be easy, right?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        3 (or more) things it copied...

        Let me see:

        Pinch to zoom (Apple invented this)

        Predictive text entry using a software multitouch keyboard with little letters that pop up to show what you are typing (apple innovated this, though Stylus driven keyboards have been around since the Plam and Newton)

        Double Tapp to zoom in and out .(again, Apple)

        Kinetic Scrolling (apple invented this)

        Application tray (Symbian, Palm had this waaaay before they did)

        a curated App store (Apple innovated this idea long before Android or anyone else)

        That's just off the top of my head.

        it's funny when the naysayers try and deny that Android copied large portions of other OSs look and feel, and when it's shown that it did, they cry foul!

        Until Apple came along, smartphones used styluses, resistive screens and scrollbars and so forth to control functionality.

        Apple re-thought that experience and did away with the Stylus, and used gestures and pinching and tapping etc and were hugely succesful because of this.

        Android was originally pitched as a Blackberry style OS, and it wasnt until IOs was debut that they changed direction. Suddenly it was much more like an iphone and it's been getting more so like that since.

        Microsoft have been bold enough to completely eschew the widgety desktop like experience that Apple, Android and Symbian use and have IMHO a fresher more original approach.

        Therefore, if Microsoft can spend the R&D dollars to come up with somthing new, why cant Google?

        Answer: Because it's cheaper - and since they give away the OS in return for advertising revenue, they have little or no incentive to spend $$$ doing somthing truly ground breaking or new.

        PS: Dont forget Apple also had a patent portfolio left over from it's R&D on the Newton Messagepad, let alone the iphone.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "a curated App store"

          Oh, is the Android market curated now? I thought the official iFan FUD was that it was just a wild free-for-all tat-bazaar filled with malware? Make your fucking minds up!

        2. Rosco

          RE: 3 (or more) things it copied...

          I agree with everything you say, just one little note. Apple didn't re-think the stylus experience, a company called Fingerworks did. But Apple were sharp enough to see the promise of their technology and buy them before anyone else did.

        3. karolbe
          WTF?

          Really?

          Looks like Apple invented even an apple itself ;-)

          But seriously I have checked only the first item from your list and it turns out that there was a demo of pinch to zoom on TED in 2006 BEFORE Apple released iPhone. So your point is rather missed.

          Of course you forgot to mention that Apple ripped off Android notification system, as I understand this is fine because it was actually Apple that invented it, right? ;)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            as was pointed out before:

            Apple purchased the company that developed and owns much of the multitouch and finger based UI in 2005., a year before the TED demo - and needless to say, releasing a product in mid 2007 requires a bit more than a spit and polish to get to the market before.

            Also Apple were the first to implemeent this on a phone in the way that it has been used.

            As for the notification centre, Apple applied for a patent for this in 2007, before the first Android phone was released.

            http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/08/09/18/potential_iphone_usability_and_interface_improvements.html

            So far from 'copying' - they've been waiting to implement it long before they saw Android become a success!

            It always makes me laugh when phandroids turn to the old 'Yeah, but Apple aint so angelic tho' arguments.

  23. Kerry Hoskin
    FAIL

    fugly

    it looks like it’s been thrown together by a 6 yr old it if fugly! As many a comment has said Win7.5 is the only OS that is doing something different. Love it or hate it (and I love it) it is totally different to android or iOS

  24. Andy Watt
    WTF?

    Yipe. Half the screenshots appeared to be missing as well?

    First gut feel? Like the punters who will buy the things? Confused. Messy. BLACK with coloured lines.

    When is Android going to feel "finished"? I know it's all open and loveliness like that, but when is it going to SETTLE DOWN?

  25. Stephen 2

    uber fugly

    It looks uber fugly.It's like someone trying to recreate iOS with just HTML 1

  26. Gio Ciampa
    Facepalm

    "the UI is now replete with visually pleasing animations...

    ...that give the impression that the UI is alive to your touch"

    Which to me is pointless (regardless of platform, before anyone accuses me of anything). If I want to start an app, I want it to start immediately - and not have to wait for the CPU to catch up with the pretty animations beforehand...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If I want to start an app, I want it to start immediately - and not have to wait for the CPU to catch up with the pretty animations beforehand..."

      Er, then just turn off the animations!

      1. Gio Ciampa

        I did!

        That isn't the point though... it's the obsession with style over substance that irks me.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Alive to your touch

      If you want alive to your touch, sod the battery-sapping animations as you're not going to see them with your finger over the screen. Just use haptic feedback (see Symbian).

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Darkness

    Is Android developed by goths or what?

    I know, I know, it's the only way they would get any useful battery life out of that OLED screen.

    Good for the machine, but poor for users (except goths and lovers of Tron)

  28. Wile E. Veteran
    Unhappy

    meh!

    Yet another UI going the way of CPU-cycle-burning eye candy instead of real usefulness. Even when you are using an app, the UI continues to run in the background so it is still burning CPU cycles for eye-candy you are not using.

    I am perfectly satisfied with Gingerbread on my LG Optimus. I have desktop shortcuts for my most-used applications and web-sites and can use the Android icon interface (the one you get by touching the many-box icon between the phone icon and the Sprint "ID" icon. If you do not use Sprint, your mileage will certainly vary but there is undoubtedly something similar on other carriers' phones. Use "Manage Apps" from the Menu button if you have to.

    Desktop-activated search? A shortcut to google.com works quite nicely thank-you-very-much. Improvements to the browser are welcome and it would be very nice if the new browser were backported to Gingerbread and available through the Market the way the Gingerbread keyboard was for Froyo.

    I could go on but you get the idea: prettier (if that is your definition of "pretty") but otherwise unremarkable.

  29. Mike Moyle
    WTF?

    Face recognition

    I LIKE the idea of face-recognition unlocking, but does the lock screen still have the gesture grid or password entry or whatever, as well as FR?

    ...Because I wouldn't want to get permanently locked out of my phone if I should ever shave off my beard...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't worry

      You can unlock using a photo of yourself when you had beard:

      http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2011/11/video-ice-cream-sandwich-face-unlock-defeated-with-photo/

  30. Cunningly Linguistic
    Coat

    A quantum leap of difference?

    Oh boy!

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At least you just pay up front with Apple - with Google you give your data / life to them to market to the highest bidder. Search is not about relevancy these days - it's about who will pay the most to get put first. Worrying.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "But Apple were sharp enough to see the promise of their technology and buy them before anyone else did."

    At least they bought them rather than others ripping them off.

  33. Patrick 8

    A hell of a lot of black screens in there1

    Is that l33t wanna be crap or the fact that Android phone come with OLED screens whose ultimate weakness is the display of white where the phone rios through your battery like a rat on cheese!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As a gigantic asshole..

    .. I completely disagree with fandroids in whichever way pisses them off the most.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As a completely different giant asshole...

      I completely agree with what the previous giant asshole said.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Uurrghhhh,

    It looks like a cat vomited on a mobile phone screen. It is truly horrible.

    As I have said many times before, the only people who actually choose Android are techies. The rest of the people who end up with Android are poor people. What the poor people REALLY want is an iphone. But they are too poor to own one, so they go with an Android as it is the closest looking thing to an iphone that they can afford.

    The poor people then end up with a low end phone that does not have the oomph to really run the OS. So as well as a nasty UI, they get a laggy/crashy/frustrating UX.

    I have been using smartphones for years. I have tried phones from all the major players. But at the end of the day, I use a smartphone to make calls, send/receive SMS, surf the web, check emails and calendar, read/update Facebook, and navigate. That is really all I need and want. The ability to ‘root the phone’ and ‘install cynogen mod’ or whatever it is called is laughably irrelevant to me and 99% percent of the mobile phone owning populace. Right now, I prefer WindowsPhone. It does all of the activities I require and has a simple, pleasant and fluid UX.

  36. rvt

    Rosco,

    I haven't be able to eat any ice-cream sandwich without a mess there is always some ice-cream leaking from some end, specially when you reach the end of it, may be that's why they choose the name ICS?

    1. Rosco

      mmmmm ... dribbly

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Seems like a hit

    Just look at the number of scared fanbois and softies spewing fud and downvoting any positive commentary!

    Seriously, it looks very nice, the hardware acceleration was due (should stop the last remaining myth, android lag, from being taken seriously even by fanbois), and I wonder what will iOS copy next, so that the fanbois can claim apple invented it. Of course baristas won't be moved by android, but as for anyone with a little more critical thinking capabilities, android is even more the only show in town.

  38. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Finding it hard to like this

    It looks like different parts were farmed out to different teams who never talked to each other.

    Even Nokia can manage a more coherent UI these days, and that's saying something.

  39. bunny evans
    Unhappy

    NFC

    Except there's no support for the NFC on that phone here. Presumably meaning no drivers or something, I should go ask in the shop. It goes on sale tomorrow.

    The lack of working NFC (Felica/osaifu keitai call it what you will) has been the big failing for smart phones for years. It still makes iphone losers need to carry a second phone!

    So it's not really that smart is it. My _SIX_ year old phone has it and I use it several times a day.

    Think "train ticket"

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