The verge has an informative article on How Android has evolved while steering clear of Apple’s designs. The Verge’s observations reinforce the points that I made in my earlier articles, Aping Apple – Stupid, stupid mobile manufacturers and The Apple patent win will enhance innovation, not stifle it. Here is an excerpt from The Verge:
With the lawsuit, I think it was pretty obvious that Samsung was heavily inspired by Apple and went through a lot of effort to straight up copy them in some areas (look and feel of hardware, completely redoing Android’s homescreen to include colorful rounded rectangles, etc.)
That’s not innovation. But then, The Verge went on to demonstrate how Google has been smart enough to avoid Samsung’s gaffes in this matter.
Take a look at Google’s own Nexus devices (note that Nexus devices are designed and built to Google’s very specific dictates, though manufactured by someone else). With all the Nexus smartphones and tablets, Google “successfully sidestepped Apple’s claims of uniformly rounded corners, a solid neutral front, unornamented front, etc. And it was still a well-designed piece of hardware”.
That’s being innovative and creative. Google guided HTC, Samsung, Motorola and Asus in the design process to produce very appealing devices that didn’t ape someone else’s patented designs. Smart guys. But Samsung apparently were not paying attention to the lessons. Perhaps until now.
The Verge article also points out how Google has been “relatively careful to avoid straight-up copying Apple with it [Android UI], and there are some pretty important ways they’ve continued to innovate rather than infringe”. From how the lock screen, icons, scrolling lists, homescreen and search on successive iterations of Android worked, it is clear that Google made deliberate efforts to steer clear of Apple’s patents.
That’s what I am talking about. You see, patents are patents. There is no use griping over them. You either steer clear and innovate, or go pay to use them.
Google has been smarter than Samsung.
The Verge also have this to say about the future:
Now that Google has a significantly different yet equally polished look and feel of its own for Android, it should be easier for them to keep innovating without infringing or copying preexisting work. In addition, Manufacturers should start changing Android less and less on their devices.
Yes; manufacturers should stop messing up with stock Android. Samsung and HTC in particular. Please give us more of stock Android.
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Still, despite this ruling and all the analyses, I am told that Samsung’s sales has soared since the ruling. Am I surprised? Not at all. That’s what PR people mean when they say that any publicity is good publicity.