I must admit, when a friend and I decided to take up app coding as a hobby to see if we could make a game, I thought mobile app coding was the same across the board. Guess what? It is not the same. Surprise I know, don’t get me wrong I didn’t think it was identical but I did think it would be more cross-platform than it is. Specifically, we’ll look at the differences of aesthetics between iOS and Android in this article.
In a nutshell, it’s easier to make good looking apps in iOS than in Android. Hipmunk UI/UX designer and iOS developer Danilo Campos explains: “The very simple short answer is it’s easier to make a good-looking, attractive iOS app compared to making an Android app.”
It’s no surprise that when you look at an Apple product vs. a Google product that the Apple product is going to most likely be more polished and sleek, also more expensive. This should give you a hint as to which one cares more about these qualities when it comes to software as well. Now that I sit down and think about it, it makes perfect sense, I just hadn’t thought about it.
Though many things that Apple product users such as myself see as issues with Android many Android users see as benefits. This might be true but some of these are the very reason for the apps not appearing as polished. One thing is for sure, it is is not for lack of talent in the Android development scene.
Let’s look at the reasoning before I am strung up by the Android users:
- Fragmentation: iOS devs have fewer resolutions and hardware profiles to worry about. The Android market is saturated with devices with different resolutions and hardware specs.
“Android devices come in different shapes and sizes, different screen resolutions, different device speeds – and that’s actually a huge hurdle,” Karma app co-founder Lee Linden told Wired.
- Images: Hipmunk generates its Android assets in three resolutions: 1x for older devices, 2x for high-resolution devices and 1.5x for other devices. Campos states that this is a must to avoid artifacting in some apps. The issue with this is that you’re spending more times on things like images and not on ground-breaking and cutting edge technology development. Even if you are, that’s added time and expense that iOS devs don’t have to worrry about.
- Tools & Documentation: Surprisingly, tools and documentation is less robust when it comes to Android. I say surprising as Android is more open than iOS. Part of that is that Apple has had a 20 year head start in developer support. That’s when you have to ask yourself, how old is Android really? That’s how long Google has been at developer support and it doesn’t come without some growing pains.
Campos states, “It feels like you’ve got more documentation, both officially sanctioned and thirdparty, so that makes things smoother.” He adds, “One of the hangups [with Android] is so much of the stuff doesn’t feel fully documented.” “Ryan, our Android guy, has to go digging around in the source code to figure out some XML formatting piece that isn’t made clear. That’s been painful for him.”
Overall, Google is learning from their developers and fixing many of the issues. Adding developer support pages to Google+ and also adding a much more robust Android training regiment. With these improvements, some issues still persist. The fragmentation remains as a major issue as less than 3 percent of Android devices currently run Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0). I’ll continue to monitor the progress as my company utilizes Google Apps for Business and I am a fan of all things Google, except Android. Sorry Android fans, it just hasn’t lured me away from iOS… yet.