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June 13, 2012

Ode to ICS

Apple showed that a great interface can change the way you use a mobile phone, but Android's team didn't take this seriously until ICS. Android has never been about multitouch interfaces, intuitive apps, polished and refined user experience. Google spent a lot of time adding new features, powerful APIs, improving Android's performance, but the interface wasn't a priority. OEMs created their own interfaces, but something was missing.

Ice Cream Sandwich changed everything because it finally added the "soul" to the machine. The interface is consistent, there's a coherent design language that connects so many disjointed pieces and makes using an Android phone a pleasant experience. ICS is great because it removed Android's rough edges, it brought hardware acceleration, fluid and responsive interfaces that make you use the device more often.

Matias Duarte and his team certainly deserve the Gold prize for best system experience received at the 2012 User Experience Awards. ICS is not just "a major user experience step in Android's evolution", it's actually Android redefined.

10 comments:

  1. I so really wish that Android makers would realize that there is a genuine demand for smartphones with stock Android experience especially when they can be delivered the latest updates faster.

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  2. And what percentage of Android phones are using ICS?

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    1. About 7% is the latest figure, but everyone waiting for the Galaxy S 3 to arrive, so expect those figures to change radically in the coming weeks.

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    2. Plus a large selection of HTC phones will be receiving ICS upgrade during June and July, sadly not my HTC Wildfire S, it only when they lower phones are updated will we see ICS really take off.

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  3. I must say that I strongly disagree. The ICS is forced design with the notion: "give it some time and you are gonna like it". I personally never have had that feeling with apple products (don't own them thought) they really look nice and appealing.
    I'm all-in for android and agree that the UI has (and still) need some improvements. I think that the designers at Google have been locked in their carves for too long and are living in a dream world where only they understand. Their UI might be "pretty" but it is not at all user-friendly. Its not clear what's a button and what's just some text.

    - making pretty UI is easy, but making user-friendly and pretty UI is a challenge.

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    1. I agree with this. I've used a coworker's phone with ICS on it and it is not very intuitive at all -- in fact it's plain confusing.

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    2. I definitely agree. ICS is an awful OS. Android usability went down big timewiththis "update". Way too many steps to do the most basic things and the colors and buttons are poorly chosen. Google developers should focus on making a mobile phone that just works, something that does what I need when I'm on the go.

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  4. wouldn't it be great if mobile phones actually had ICS?

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  5. My non rooted Galaxy S2 had had it for months now, so your point is?

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  6. ICS removes or will remove the line between telephones and computers for the masses around the world.

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