ICS wins the Gold Prize for “best platform experience”

by: LucianJune 13, 2012

I wish the Android team had good designers from day one, but Google as a company has never really focused on beautiful design that goes along with smart engineering. This is why even the first version of Android had to have its UI designed by TAT, the design company that RIM bought 2 years ago for BB10. Android 2.0 looked significantly better, and Android 2.3 seemed to get ever closer to iOS with more polished icons.

But it wasn’t until they got Matias Duarte, the Chief Designer for webOS, which most reviewers agreed was the most beautiful mobile OS when it was launched, that Android really started to shine as a well-designed mobile operating system, with some saying it now even surpasses iOS. It seems the Parsons School of Design agrees with this, and they have awarded Google the Gold Prize for “best platform experience”. It’s a prize that gets handed out every 2 years.

This is a welcome endorsement for the direction Matias is taking with the Android UI, and I’m sure we’ll see further refinements of the Android UI with each major release. It’s possible that even JellyBean will get a bit of a refresh for Google’s tablet, and we can probably expect more with Android 5.0 this fall. I wouldn’t expect another “overhaul” of the UI until Android 6.0, though. Google seems to want to do that every 2 years.

However, I would like to see more dramatic improvements for the tablet UI, because I think it could be a lot better. The Chameleon UI has made me realize that, even if it isn’t the best possible UI Android tablets could get (maybe a bit too cluttered). But I would like to see Matias Duarte explore an UI that is similar to that – one that takes greater advantage of Android’s advanced widgets, and one that allows for much better multi-tasking than what we have right now on any tablet.

In the meantime, I hope developers will take full advantage of the Holo theme for their apps, by following the ICS style guidelines and making them as beautiful as these apps at HoloEverywhere.com.

  • AppleFUD

    I expect Android JellyBean to focus on performance and UI and I’m sure they will have a couple big features just to garner some hype. I don’t think Matias got all he wanted into ICS thus we’ll see more refinement in the UI from him.

    The other thing we ought to remember is, the Android team was split for a while working on Gingerbread and Honeycomb, essentially two OSes at the same time, and now they only have one to focus on. Therefore, we might see a lot more in JellyBean than we’ve seen in previous upgrades.

    • stonesavage

      yup, and htc should focus on the one like apple focuses on the iphone and put all the features on one phone…best speaker, battery, audio, video, etc. instead of mixing and matching with all the different confusing models for different phone carriers etc. – you can’t confuse consumers if you want them to consume, you have to cater to them, I think apple understands that and htc doesn’t, not sure about samsung or nokia

      • AppleFUD

        I don’t know if it is the confusion for consumer or more that their marketing would be focused on making a name for one main device that is high quality that people would actually like, but having tons of different devices every year clearly hasn’t worked for anyone.

        apple spends a ton of building brand recognition — you know what the iP is. So I totally agree, HTC and others really need to pick a good name for a single device and stick with one killer device and leverage manufacturing costs to bring the price down and their profits up. Sure, I can see them making more than one — say a slider in addition — however it should be built off the same design reference and look very similar and carry the same name.

  • tBs_Battousai

    Am shocked! While I love Android I do think that iOS looks more polished…

    • AppleFUD

      I can understand when people say iOS looks/feels smoother, which is due to how iOS and Android choose to handle the UI, however, “polished” not so much. The reason is, iOS is pretty much just an app launcher so how polished can it really be? When you take the entirety of the two platform with all they have available including the abilities to customize them iOS isn’t polished at all in many ways, imo — it just doesn’t have a lot of things that Android can do.

      Consider the ‘multi-tasking’ access. Android ICS has a clearly defined icon and ios has a hidden double push home button, then ICS has great icons, at least as good as iOS if not better, swipe to clear an app, etc. . . It just looks a lot better, feels easier to access, and has an over all better feel imo. Not saying iOS doesn’t have Android beat in some areas but I can see how ICS can be considered ‘more polished’ in many ways.

      • Rick

        Come on. IOS is definitely more polished and fluid. You can’t deny that. I admit ICS is a very good product but not as user friendly as IOS. IOS does start to look old

        • AppleFUD

          uh. . .you contradict yourself — “ios does start to look old” but you argue it’s “definitely more polished”. . . . and that’s my whole point. There is so much iOS doesn’t have or can’t do that ICS does have and can do and is rather polished pretty well in those areas (remember we are not talking 3rd party apps) thus, it’s hard to say iOS is *overall* more polished — sure, if you are only looking at the app launcher but then again there isn’t much difference there ;)

          Honestly much of iOS looks very cartoonish to me. . . and I don’t really consider that a *polished* look. And that’s maybe why it got the award. . . that and iOS looks the same as it did when it first came out lol

          • I agree that it does look slightly cartoonish, and well boring. Don’t get me wrong apple lovers, it works great. It is ok on the iphone, but on the ipad it is really boring, screen space could be optimized better with widgets, but instead just rows of apps. I mean really what is beautiful with rows of apps?

    • When I see iOS it reminds me on websites and how they looked like 10 years ago.
      Big and monstrous buttons with a bevel or 50% glare glass look. Until Android 4.0 it was also very ugly, but since 4.0 it’s the most beautiful att he moment to me. Okay, WebOS was wonderful too. But even WP looks better than iOS to me – except their ugly directory listing style of apps.

      And to make it sure, I’m talking about the OS, not third party Apps. iOS has some beautiful apps, but the OS itself looks very old – especially the dialogues, text buttons and such things.

  • I don’t expect much with 4.1. Eric said once they want to focus this year on the store and I hope that’s true. Yesterday finally Google Play Books started here in Germany. I hope we’ll see music and movies soon too. Another thing I would liked to see are giftcards, like the itunes gift cards.

    What I would hope to see with 5.0 or 6.0 is the option to run at least two apps side by side on tablets. The big advantage of Android is that most of the apps already run fine on different resoltuions and scale without any problems so it should be possible to run them in some kind of window.

    • yes I agree with the giftcards, because that is the only reason I bought apps on my ipod touch before my android, but now I don’t pay for anything

  • i find a award for a sumsung