How to design touchscreen devices that don't look and act like the iPhone

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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”.

Nexus range

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.

Nexus 7

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.

Onwards
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.

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7 comments

  1. Sales won’t stop except for those in the US and on affected devices. That is because Samsung makes good devices. Mr Mo made. Statement in one of his recent articles, “if ii wanted an Iphone, I will get one”, against the Samsung imitations. Well, I will say this, those galaxy s buyers bought them and not the Iphone because they don’t like the Iphone. They love the galaxy s.

  2. If the figures are anything to go by, it’s obvious that people who bought the Samsung Galaxy S or S2 didn’t confuse it with the iPhone 4 or 4S. Consumers are not as dumb as Apple likes to think (and it shows in their bank balance!)

  3. In my opinion, the beating Samsung is getting now is for phones it produced mostly in early Android days, the devices been produced by Samsung now are not in any way like and iPhone is design or functionality.

    As much as I support creativity and awarding great thinkers, I also believe that Apple is doing this because they know that Samsung is the next emerging super company.

    Apple should reach on an agreement with Samsung the same way it has done with the likes of Nokia and Microsoft.

  4. I will always pick a Samsung mobile devices over apple. Apple have been so conservative with features on their product keeping it for future device release.
    Consumers are no fools and we have all seen more enhanced features in other mobile devices at lower cost.
    Apple can continue to sue other mobile devices manufacturer for infringement of patent, but they should no that somebody invented phone.
    Apple is gradually loosing the mobile market and they have not seen anything yet.
    I can afford apple product any day but i will rather go for other better devices that prices are commensurate with the features included in their design.
    Era of hyping and fooling customers are over, apple should wake up.

  5. Looks like some people’re really piqued at Apple. Too bad i can’t say the same, concerning laptops atleast. If choiced, i’d chose a Macbook any day over all those Lenovos, HPs and Acers…

  6. apple has run out of ideas since steve jobs died. sorry apple.
    apple should keep sueing for all i dont care, it cant stop me from getting my samsung galaxy s dous when it hit the market.
    what the price of iphone 5
    what the price of sgs3 the king of andriod.
    why are apple not putting some feature in their iphone like sdcard slot etc can it be that they dont want to copy in 2012 no mass storage usb,no bluetooth,no sdcard
    then why am i get a phone:,,

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