It’s not a stretch to say that the same mobile app on iOS and Android devices don’t always look the same, which is to say that iOS apps tend to look more refined and elegant than their Android counterparts.
This phenomenon isn’t necessarily and solely rooted in the efforts of developers themselves, but is also the result of the coding tools Apple provides as compared to Google.
Design is built into Apple’s DNA. Google’s legacy, on the other hand, is search. So it’s not too difficult to guess which platform places a higher premium on app U.I. and aesthetics — and which platform makes it easier to create beautiful software.
And then, of course, there’s fragmentation. With hundreds of Android devices out on the market, developers on Android have to account for a plethora of different screen sizes, resolutions, processing power etc. You might remember that Rovio a few months back issued an apology for poor Angry Birds performance on a number of Android handsets.
So how does fragmentation play a factor? Well for starters, it forces developers to sometimes code to the lowest common denominator, with one developer Wired spoke to explaining that it effectively “makes development slower.”
Another developer explained that a pixel stroke may look great on a new Android device with a high resolution, but when put onto much older devices, it just doesn’t look great.
Developer tools and documentation are also less robust in the Android space. While Apple has had 20 years to perfect the art of developer support — refining its approach to SDKs and building well-defined human interface guidelines — Google is essentially starting from scratch with Android…
And some detailed design features are easier to implement in iOS because of the wide variety of APIs and libraries available. “It’s harder on Android to do nice design touches such as transitions or rounded corners,” Steven Yarger, mobile product manager at Trulia said.
Google of course stepped up its game with Android 4.0, or Ice Cream Sandwich, but with a tiny minority of Android users actually running ICS, it almost becomes a moot point.
The full Wired article has a number of interesting comparison screenshots that are well worth checking out. Check it out.