Monday, 21 November 2011

Android vs. iOS apps: it's a matter of status

So my mission has been to research a category of smartphone apps. I've been to the iPhone App Store, the Android Market, the Windows Phone Marketplace, and the BlackBerry App World.

And I've seen a lot of apps, and a lot of screenshots. A hell of a lot of screenshots.

iPhone screen shots normally have the status bar included. The time, the battery and the connectivity status. Or 'iPod' if they were taken on an iPod Touch. You can level many criticisms at Apple, but you can't fault their design.

Microsoft and BlackBerry screenshots don't have a status bar. Their designs don't need one.

But Android? Oh dear. Fine, Android has a status bar. But for some reason developers uploading screenshots think it's perfectly OK to tell the world they've got mail. Or voicemail. Or missed calls, Advanced Task Manager, or a hundred other icons in their status bars.

Here's the thing, I'm an Android Market customer. As such I have the attention span of a goldfish, I'm not paying you any money for your app and I owe developers no loyalty. Therefore if your app fails to grab my attention in the first couple of seconds after page load, it's history. So if the screenshot looks a little crap, the developer loses a download.

Amazingly it seems the majority of Android developers don't get this and fail to clear their status bars and turn off their connectivity before taking a screenshot. Just for fun I pasted a few status bars together in the image alongside this article.

I downloaded them because I had to to complete my task. But would you?