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Why iPhone apps outsell Android apps

A recent internal study carried out by Distimo found that the top 200 highest grossing apps in the US generate over three times more revenue in the Apple App Store for iPhone (excluding iPad) than they do in the Google Android Market. And, crucially, this is a trend exaggerated in most other countries outside of the US.

The most recent figures from ComScore revealed that Android phones now account for 44.8 percent market share, compared to 27.4 percent for iPhone, so the fact that the revenue generated by iPhone apps is so much larger than it is for Android is surprising. They have tried to identify some of the reasons why the revenue of Android apps lags behind that of iPhone apps.

App discoverability
One reason lies in app discoverability. It should be easy for smartphone users to find the most relevant content for their phone with just a few clicks, and the most important and easy way for many smartphone customers to find applications is by means of the top overall applications in the app store associated with their mobile device. So, how are the iPhone and Android phones different in this respect? The difference lies in the content refresh rate of the top apps. As per a research done by Distimo, they had a look at the top 100 free and the top 100 paid applications in the US every day during September 2011, as research has shown these applications to be the most relevant when looking at app discoverability. They found that 631 distinct applications had a top 100 free or paid ranking in the Apple App Store for iPhone in September. By contrast, they found that only 313 distinct applications had a top 100 free or paid ranking in the Google Android Market in September. This implies that while the top 100 applications refresh quite fast in the Apple App Store for iPhone, the top apps in Android Market have remained nearly the same for the entire month. This makes it much less compelling for Android users to browse through the top Android Market applications on a regular basis to find new applications and spend their money buying apps.

Content volumes
Another important reason for the lower amount of revenue in the Google Android Market is the available content in its store. There is always a debate between fans and supporters of iPhone and Android phones about which store has the best available content. It is hard to measure quality in an objective way, but they tried to find a way to assess the quality of the apps nevertheless. Researchers analysed the top 100 most downloaded free and paid applications in the US during September in both the Apple App Store for iPhone and the Google Android Market to accomplish this. They looked at whether the top applications on the iPhone were also available for download in the Android Market, and 31% of the top applications on the iPhone were also available in Android Market. However, when looking at the top applications in the Google Android Market, 41% of the top applications were also available in the Apple App Store for iPhone. More top Android content is available in the Apple App Store than vice versa, which leads us to conclude that iPhone is the leader for new unique top content and Android is the follower. This is yet another reason that users may find it more interesting to browse through apps in the Apple App Store for iPhone than in the Google Android Market.

Ease of payment
An important reason why iPhone developers are able to sell more apps than Android developers is the cumbersome payment system associated with the Google Android Market. It is virtually impossible to get an Apple ID without having to enter any payment credentials in the Apple App Store – even when downloading only free apps. This makes buying paid applications later on much easier and accessible in the Apple App Store. Reversely, the Google Android Market makes it easy to download free applications without having to enter any payment options. Without these payment credentials filled in, it is much easier to download a free app the next time a user visits the Android Market than it is to download a paid app. There are rumours that PayPal will be a method of payment for apps in the Android Market in the future. This would make it much easier for many more people to download paid apps, since many people around the world already have a PayPal account.

Content is still king
There are several reasons why the Google Android Market has fewer sales than the Apple App Store for iPhone, but the most important reason is the content itself. Right now, the Google Android Market is the follower and the Apple App Store for iPhone is the content leader. The App Store for iPhone appears to be the most interesting store for users to browse content, but whether this will change in the future largely depends on the monetisation options Google will offer to make developers come on board the Android platform. The available payment methods and ease of payment appear to be important barriers to successful monetisation for developers in this respect, which means that content in the Apple App Store reigns supreme for now.

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Posted by on November 28, 2011 in Mobile Applications, Usability

 

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Designing Applications for Kids…Mobile Apps…

This is an amazing article which talks about ‘Designing Apps for Kids’; a great insight by UX Magazine.

Here are some suggestions for designing and devising apps for children to help ensure the apps are correctly used by preventing some common design issues.

THE SPLASH SCREEN

Kids at preschoolers (ages two to five), do not quite grasp the concept of patience, especially when it comes to digital devices.

A splash screen that takes more than ten seconds to load will give rise to comments from kids such as, “Mommy, it doesn’t work.” They will get frustrated and lose their patience the first time they use the app.

Splash screen

The Splash Screen for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Even though The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is an amazing app for young audiences, it takes between 24 and 28 seconds to load. But the soothing splash screen music keeps kids calm while the app finishes loading.

A splash screen is certainly necessary, as the app content needs to load before it can launch. But we should offer alternatives to this loading process to entertain kids while the app is loading; a puzzle or perhaps an animation could fill out this “waiting” process.

THE HOME SCREEN

An app’s home screen is generally not useful for children between one and three years of age (this changes from age four onwards). These children cannot read or write and do not yet know how to make the best decision when presented with several options.

In a usability tests we have noticed, for instance, that if a child wants to restart or resume a game, story, or activity, the child will not tap on the back button, which is designed to resume the game or revert back to the home screen. The majority of children press on the iPad’s or iPhone’s home button, causing the app to exit, and then look for its icon and launch it all over again.

This means that apps aimed at children between one and three years of age should immediately launch when they are opened, with no home screen or any other interstitial screens.

Kids Song Machine

Kids Song Machine: A clear example of a simple and straightforward start screen.

For an app aimed at children aged three and above with different options to choose from, a plain and simple start screen can be used.

It is best to use very few buttons (three or four at most), maximize the size of the target tappable areas, and create the sensation of clicking so it feels like they are physically clicking on the buttons, which can help prevent possible mis-taps.

Alpha Writer

AlphaWriter by Montessorium home screen only has two large tappable areas with clear, concise, and meaningful drawings for children from ages four and over.

The Settings

This is recommended settings buttons, as children often tap them accidentally. If an app has settings that require frequent configuration, they should be designed to be so simple that if the child accidentally changes them, it will not greatly affect the app’s performance.

The Wheels on the Bus app features a button on all screens to change the language or the song, or for kids to record their own voice. Even though children constantly touch them, these types of settings do not affect or determine the overall performance of the app. It is a good example of a non-intrusive setting.

Wheels on the Bus Settings

Settings of the Wheels on the Bus

From our perspective, settings are a function for parents, not for kids, so this is recommended to put them in the device settings panel. Configurations can be made according to each child’s needs in the Applications Installed section. The frequency of and room for error can thus be reduced.

Interaction Design for Kids

Think big! Think enormous!

Look at any child’s toy truck. It’s enormous. And look at jumbo construction sets for preschoolers for instance; there isn’t a single small piece. Between 18 months and three years of age, children develop fine motor skills, so bigger is always better, particularly when it comes to designing apps.

Kids are drawn to large objects, especially if they are simple and easy to recognize.

Abeja on ABCKit

The “A” from “Abeja” (on Spanish) feature in the Know section of ABCKit for iPad

It is also observed a two and a half year old boy call the ABCKit app for iPad, “A de Abeja,” because the first thing he would always see and select on the screen is the first letter of the alphabet in the “Know” section of the app.

Easy tasks

Creating and developing easy tasks is the key to a successful app for kids.

Audio-visual enhancements that kids need in order to interact with the app should be obvious in the majority of cases, although, the sudden discovery of hidden features prompts kids to play and arouses curiosity in older children. This sudden discovery enhances the joy that preschooler kids need once in a while to delight their curiosity in fun ways and make them notice that there still some hidden areas waiting for be discovered.

Toy Story for iPad

Toy Story for iPad

In Toy Story for iPad, small details such as the glowing light in the middle of the image give kids a clue that they can tap on the image and release new actions, such as hearing the voices of the characters or watching a short clip from the movie.

And even though designing to make tasks easy is nothing new to UX designers, in the case of children using tactile devices, ease-of-use rules and practices must be simplified and re-interpreted. When it comes to develop an app, not all of the patterns defined in guides like Touch Gesture Reference Guide can be followed. For instance, when a child holds an iPad with both hands, usually his fingers are touching one of the corners. When the child tries to tap another part of the screen to activate an action in the app (e.g., move an object, turn the page, etc) the application may ignore the action. This happens because the device interprets child’s hand holding the screen as a long tap, and does not execute the action being requested with the other hand.

There is a high probability that kids will unintentionally constantly touch the screen to hold the device, or will simply put their hands on it. Apps for kids should be much more forgiving with these types of gestures in order to function properly.

Challenge and reward

Kids respond to being praised and rewarded; positive words give them self-esteem and let them know that they are doing something well.

Games and challenges should offer positive feedback to let kids know they are moving forward. A clap, a word of appreciation, or just a smiling face indicating success will make the child happy.

Alphabet Phonics

In the ABC Alphabet Phonics for iPad app, every time kids tap on the correct letter, the app encourages them with phrases of positive reinforcement such as “Good Job” or “Awesome.”

Kids get bored with apps very quickly. Unless they feel entertained or are challenged to win a game, they just switch from one app to another.

It is very difficult for children between two and three years of age to follow a game. They expect to be guided by the app, and expect that every time they touch the screen something will happen and, in general, they have no interest in competition. Children between four and five years of age enjoy challenges, are focused, and can have a lot of patience if an activity is stimulating enough. They like the feeling of being challenged.

Children six years onward strive for perfection; their idea of fun is winning. They do not simply want to achieve the goal, they want to achieve it first, make no mistakes, and do it better than their peers—they want to be number one.

Perfect F on ABCKit

During our tests with ABCKit, kids aged five and a half and over would trace the letters again and again if they were not happy with the result.

Educational or Recreational?

As per opinion, apps for kids should be both educational and recreational; one does not exclude the other.

It is long-proven that learning should be fun for children. Fun develops the child’s innate ability to comprehend while learning because the fun enhances the natural curiosity that all kids are born with.

When children (and grownups, too!) do something for fun, they will do it a thousand times just for the joy of it, and that’s when learning happens. This is learnt and comprehend when we’re repeatedly exposed to specific stimuli and information.

Fun and learn should be always in the same context; if not, learning stops being natural (and fun), and it becomes merely teaching.

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2011 in iPhone, Mobile Applications, UX and Usability

 

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Marketing Strategy : Mobile Applications

Developing a mobile app? Cutting edge social media marketing techniques can be combined with classic marketing tactics to ensure your success in the App Store.

After scoring millions of downloads and millions of revenue, popular mobile apps like “Angry Birds” or “Tap Tap Revenge” have become the gold standard for independent mobile application developers everywhere, as every new app strives to reach the weekly top downloaded app ranking or to become featured in the App Store. Clearly, besides being superlative products, both in their ease of use and their entertainment value, these apps also owe their commercial success in no small way to successful marketing, especially through viral marketing and word of mouth.

However, what should mobile developers consider if they were to emulate those experiencing success with their own applications? Is there a surefire secret sauce of mobile application developments that only a few savvy companies know and utilize to their great benefit?

A successful mobile application marketing is all about a good combination of tried and true software/technology marketing techniques and creative, innovative marketing tactics that rely on the unique mobile application distribution model.

Here are some key takeaways:

Pre-launch: To ensure launch success, mobile application developers should use a number of tactics to generate interest in their upcoming apps. These include word of mouth marketing, allowing  sneak/exclusive preview,  developing an attractive app website or landing page, distributing an app video, etc. Social Media place an important role, you get to advertise your app to wider genre of people.

– Just after Launch: Mobile application developers should focus intensely on user feedback gathering, lead generation (through paid advertisement), continuation of word of mouth campaigns, and immediate submission of the app to various mobile apps review websites. Websites like GetSatisfaction make your life so very easy during this time frame.

– Post Launch: Important tactics include app store listing optimization, submission to popular mobile app blogs, user generated content, creating user videos to maintain the marketing momentum and ensuring that the app continues to raise interests.

– On-going maintenance: Continue to grow the app’s presence online and in the app store by encouraging user generated content, considering the creation of a user community, pushing automatic updates, and maintaining blogs.

-Web marketing strategies can be used to help gain momentum for the application in the beginning. Paid advertisements, a launch website, and PR 2.0 efforts are all important in getting the app out of the gate.

– There are some tactics that are unique to the mobile application market such as App Store listing management and optimization (so that the apps can be found in as many relevant searches as possible).

Cross-selling and up-selling are important since the mobile app, once in use, has a captive audience that is perfect for these techniques.

Developing a great mobile application is just half of the battle to App Store domination. Savvy marketing techniques and judicious combinations of traditional and new age marketing tools are important to the ultimate success of your application and your revenue from the app.

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2011 in Mobile Applications

 

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Playboy Interview: Steven Jobs (1985)

This is an interview given by legendary Steve Jobs for Playboy…the entire text is from http://www.txtpost.com/playboy-interview-steven-jobs/, and thanks to http://longform.org/ for this.

Playboy: We survived 1984, and computers did not take over the world, though some people might find that hard to believe. If there’s any one individual who can be either blamed or praised for the proliferation of computers, you, the 29-year-old father of the computer revolution, are the prime contender. It has also made you wealthy beyond dreams‐‑your stock was worth almost a half billion dollars at one point, wasn’t it?

Steven Jobs: I actually lost $250,000,000 in one year when the stock went down. [Laughs]

Playboy: You can laugh about it?

Jobs: I’m not going to let it ruin my life. Isn’t it kind of funny? You know, my main reaction to this money thing is that it’s humorous, all the attention to it, because it’s hardly the most insightful or valuable thing that’s happened to me in the past ten years. But it makes me feel old, sometimes, when I speak at a campus and I find that what students are most in awe of is the fact that I’m a millionaire. When I went to school, it was right after the Sixties and before this general wave of practical purposefulness had set in. Now students aren’t even thinking in idealistic terms, or at least nowhere near as much. They certainly are not letting any of the philosophical issues of the day take up too much of their time as they study their business majors. The idealistic wind of the Sixties was still at our backs, though, and most of the people I know who are my age have that ingrained in them forever.

Playboy: It’s interesting that the computer field has made millionaires of‐‑

Jobs: Young maniacs, I know.

Playboy: We were going to say guys like you and Steve Wozniak, working out of a garage only ten years ago. Just what is this revolution you two seem to have started? Jobs: We’re living in the wake of the petrochemical revolution of 100 years ago. The petrochemical revolution gave us free energy‐‑free mechanical energy, in this case. It changed the texture of society in most ways. This revolution, the information revolution, is a revolution of free energy as well, but of another kind: free intellectual energy. It’s very crude today, yet our Macintosh computer takes less power than a 100-watt light bulb to run and it can save you hours a day. What will it be able to do ten or 20 years from now, or 50 years from now? This revolution will dwarf the petrochemical revolution. We’re on the forefront.

Playboy: Maybe we should pause and get your definition of what a computer is. How do they work?

Jobs: Computers are actually pretty simple. We’re sitting here on a bench in this cafe [for this part of the Interview]. Let’s assume that you understood only the most rudimentary of directions and you asked how to find the rest room. I would have to describe it to you in very specific and precise instructions. I might say, “Scoot sideways two meters off the bench. Stand erect. Lift left foot. Bend left knee until it is horizontal. Extend left foot and shift weight 300 centimeters forward .” and on and on. If you could interpret all those instructions 100 times faster than any other person in this cafe, you would appear to be a magician: You could run over and grab a milk shake and bring it back and set it on the table and snap your fingers, and I’d think you made the milk shake appear, because it was so fast relative to my perception. That’s exactly what a computer does. It takes these very, very simple-minded instructions‐-”Go fetch a number, add it to this number, put the result there, perceive if it’s greater than this other number”‐‑but executes them at a rate of, let’s say, 1,000,000 per second. At 1,000,000 per second, the results appear to be magic. That’s a simple explanation, and the point is that people really don’t have to understand how computers work. Most people have no concept of how an automatic transmission works, yet they know how to drive a car. You don’t have to study physics to understand the laws of motion to drive a car. You don’t have to understand any of this stuff to use Macintosh‐‑but you asked [laughs].

 
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Posted by on October 12, 2011 in Interview

 

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Swype – Coming to iPhones?

Yes, Nuance is powering the new Siri Assistant in Apple’s upcoming iPhone 4S with its voice recognition technology. So does that mean that Swype could be coming to the iPHone as well? BTW, what is the relation among these two?

Last night, Michael broke the news that TechCrunch50 alum Swype was acquired for $100 million by speech technology company Nuance. The exact number was $102.5 million.

How does that make life different for you?

Nuance, which is known primarily for its speech recognition software engine and Swype is a gesture-based text entry technology? (Instead of tapping in letters on a touch keyboard, you swipe between them without lifting your finger).In words of Swype CEO Mike McSherry, who explained the thinking behind the deal. “The broadest vision,” says McSherry, “is we want to be the input for every single stream. You talk to your refrigerator and in-car navigation, you want your language models to follow you around.”

Nuance will “share language models on the backend” and personalize each experience to an individual’s frequency of use and language patterns. So if your mobile phone learns how you spell your friend Sergey’s name and later you use voice recognition to send Sergey a text message, it will have a better chance of knowing that you mean Sergey and not Sergei.

This sounds interesting, but how about this coming to iPhone?

“I’d love to be able to see that,” says McSherry, adding, “There are certainly lots of requests to see Swype on the iPhone.” Maybe Nuance can help with the negotiations. As of now, Swype is on 19 million phones overall, including 9 of the top 11 phone manufacturers. It is especially big on Android. Bringing it to the iPhone would be a very popular move all around.

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2011 in Product Reviews

 

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What’s So Great About Siri?

What’s So Great About Siri?

Apple announced speech recognition for the next iPhone. Big deal. Android’s had it for more than a year. Apple is just playing “catch-up” and the feature’s not really earth-shattering anyway. Right?

Wrong. Everything in that opening paragraph is wrong, except the sentence that reads “big deal.” Siri is a very big deal, the biggest of deals.

In fact, Siri is the most important thing to happen to mobile in this decade so far.

Siri naysayers fall into two camps: 1) those who say it’s no big deal; and 2) those who say Android has had it since August. Both classes of naysayers are wrong.

Siri is a Very Big Deal

Siri traces its lineage directly back to the largest artificial intelligence project in history, the Pentagon’s CALO project. CALO stands for “Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes,” and the project involved over 300 of the world’s top researchers in various aspects of A.I.

The entire Pentagon project was headed by Adam Cheyer, who is now director of engineering for Apple’s iPhone group.

Speaking to MIT Technology Review, Adam Cheyer said that CALO sought to integrate “dialog and natural-language understanding, vision, speech, machine learning, planning, reasoning, service delegation and integrate them all into a… human-like assistant that can help you get things done.”

He described the Siri project as seeking to do the same thing in a consumer product. In fact, for the past four years, Cheyer and his team have been focused on optimizing the parts of CALO technology that can execute from a powerful cell phone and be usable by millions of everyday consumers. For the past year and a half, they’ve been working hard to integrate Siri technology into the iPhone OS and application set.

It’s not “voice recognition.” It’s artificial intelligence. And A.I. in your cell phone is a very big deal.

Siri Is Not Like Android Voice Actions

Android Voice Actions is great technology, and is widely used by many Android fans. But it’s not really in the same class as Siri.

Android Voice Actions offers a very solid and capable voice recognition engine that’s on the high-quality end of the spectrum among the wide range of similar products and services that have been around for awhile.

Like all existing voice-command and dictation products, it requires you to say a relatively narrow range of commands or it won’t understand you.

Siri, on the other hand, will be unlike anything anyone has used before. You can say things that technically or literally have nothing to do with what you mean, but Siri will in many cases figure out what you mean based on context, history and artificial intelligence designed to understand regular human speech.

For example, if you want to set an alarm for your nap, just say “wake me up in 20 minutes.” If you want to know what meetings you have scheduled for later, you can say, “how does the rest of my day look?”

These inputs specifically reference neither the application to be used nor the information desired. Yet Siri understands.

As humans, we take the understanding of such comments for granted. But getting machines to understand such tricky phrases is the Holy Grail of artificial intelligence.

Even more human-like is that once you’ve got a conversation started with Siri, it can understand requests that are even more cryptic. For example, you might ask: “Are there any top-rated Italian restaurants within walking distance?” If Siri replies, “no,” you can say, “how about Mexican?” Siri interprets your input in the context of a conversation about top-rated restaurants within walking distance.

Android Voice Actions can’t do anything like this because it’s voice command software, not artificial intelligence.

Siri sometimes gives you web search results, sometimes takes actions for you and sometimes controls the applications on your iPhone.

But Siri also answers questions, thanks to brilliant Wolfram-Alpha integrations. You can ask random questions like “how many kilometers in 30 miles?,” “What time is it in Paris?,” “how many octaves on a piano,” or “why is the sky blue?” and Siri will just give you the answer. Not a web page. An answer to your question.

What’s the Greatest Great Thing About Siri

But the greatest thing about Siri from a historical and cultural perspective is not that it’s artificial intelligence. It’s that Apple via Siri will make A.I. a mainstream, everyday reality.

The reason is that Apple is baked Siri right into the core experience of using the iPhone. And also Siri is designed for mainstream, everyday use in a way that just about everyone will find compelling.

By mainstreaming, we mean the process of taking something that’s on the fringe of human culture, and making it an everyday part of life for a vast number of people.

Edison didn’t invent the lightbulb. He mainstreamed it through product design and marketing.

Ford didn’t invent the automobile. He mainstreamed it through cost reductions and marketing.

We remember the mainstreamers because these are the people and companies that put technologies into every day use for everybody.

Google Voice Actions isn’t artificial intelligence. But it is an effective way for users to use voice to do things they would otherwise have to do with typing and touching and navigating through a visual interface.

However, the Android tool isn’t taking voice command mainstream. A lot of power users use it. But your mom will use Siri.

And One More Thing

iPhone 4s may be the first-ever phone to support Bluetooth 4.0, an ultra low-power technology that does a neat trick: It can wake devices up.

Combine this wireless capability with Siri, and you’ve got some interesting uses. For example, you can imagine a super long battery life wristwatch that stays asleep unless you touch it for the time, or when Siri wakes it up with some incoming information. And, of course, you’d talk to Siri by talking to the watch, while the phone is in your phone or purse.

You could also imagine a special-purpose desktop microphone that wakes up your iPhone when you talk, enabling a Star Trek experience of just talking without pushing a button, and getting responses back from the Enterprise’s, I mean iPhone’s, A.I.

So let’s be very clear about what Siri means for the human race. Siri represents the dawn of a new era in human-machine interfacing, real artificial intelligence for the masses.

No, it’s not perfect. Apple took the rare step of calling it “beta.” And no, it’s not the super advanced kind of A.I. you see in science fiction.

But it’s also not finished. The iPhone 4s’s Siri is just the beginning. Future versions will become ever more sophisticated. Google, Microsoft and others will come out with their own A.I (in that order).

So when you get the chance to finally talk to Siri, be nice. Siri is a very, very big deal, and unlike anything that has come before. It represents a new era in computing. And it will definitely get everyone talking.

Source Cult of Mac.

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2011 in iPhone

 

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Apple Vs Android: Apple wins hands down on Predictability

Implement standards & guidelines

Ever tired to call HDFC Customer care…phew!, guys you are in for a huge trouble. The worst is most of their services do not work if you call them after 8 PM, why? Hard to understand this. And they give just 3 click solution for their Credit card customers than with Debit card. This differentiation hardly wins customer.

Bottom line is: Implementation of standards and/or guidelines in services or products will help ensure predictable customer experience as they limit the number of different ways an interaction can work.

There’s less for customers to learn and they can predict the interaction more readily. Apple products clearly demonstrate that standards and guidelines create predictable experiences. All iPhones, iPods and Apple computers have an almost identical look, feel, and interaction model, as do their stores.

Contrast this with the Android phone experience. Clearly, balancing consistency and customisation is a challenge for them, as the user experience from one Andriod phone to another can be quite different. Google allows hardware vendors to heavily brand the Android experience through look, feel, and function. As a result, some devices differ dramatically. This impedes customer satisfaction when switching to different models of Android phone and prevents customers predicting whether any given Android phone will be a good one.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in UX and Usability

 

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