Sunday, March 14, 2010

The iPhone, Nexus One, N900 Shootout. Part 3

N900

Part 1

Part 2


Note: I'm not a tech guy. I know what processors and memory are but as a normal user I have no clue what difference they make. GHz doesn't mean anything to me. I measure internet bandwidth not in Kbps but by the time YouTube takes to buffer video. So this review should be taken in that way. I can only talk about things I can see, touch and feel. Not about things inside the phone. I'm pretty dumb in that sense.

Search

iPhone has the Spotlight search which searches for anything in the phone but as we all know to reach there you need to close all the apps. Its also integrated as a part of the home screen. Of course every iPhone app has its own way of search integrated.

Android phones have a dedicated search button which can be called any time to do a search in the phone or on Google. It also acts like a contextual search when I'm inside an app. Something in the lines of Google desktop search. There is voice search too which is great but its not made to understand my English accent. I'm hoping this will be fixed soon. Ah now a days I've started using gesture search using which i can search by writing directly on to the screen. Its a good temp replacement to voice search.

N900 is not very search oriented.

Winner: iPhone for keeping it simple. Android will be the winner soon when they get the voice search right.

Keyboard

Steve Jobs had said to trust the iPhone keyboard and it would work well. Its so true. If we use the iPhone keyboard without being cautious of making mistakes, it will work well. I don't know what they have done to make it work like that. I can "type" faster on iPhone than on Nexus. However the predictive text on iPhone is not very usable. I wouldn't either care as I'm able to type faster.

Android has thinner keys and trusting the keys do work but not as good as iPhone. Most of the times I hit the wrong keys. But interestingly the text prediction on Android works better and is more usable. Even though I cant "type" well on Android most of the times I don't have to. It gives me enough word suggestions that I just tap on them. This works even when I have typed wrong spelling. This indeed makes up for my inability to hit the right keys on Android. However its safe for Indians to switch off the auto complete feature as the phone may suggest a English dictionary word when we type something in Hinglish or Manglish and you may be add it unknowingly by hitting the space button.

And yeah Nexus (Android 2.1) has voice input; ie I can just talk to the phone and get it typed and don't have to really "type" it. This is phenomenal and is something which I had predicted to happen long back. However as i mentioned earlier it doesn't understand my accent. I do us it to type long numbers though and it works.

N900's predictive text can get onto your nerves. I put it off.

Winner: iPhone & Android. Android will be the only winner the day they get the voice input right.

Multi Tasking

iPhone has no multi tasking

Android applications are encouraged to multi task so that they can refer to other apps for specific functionalities, which is actually the real essence of multi tasking. The back button allows you to navigate back smoothly. Android keeps the last 6 apps always open in the memory and doesn't allow me to close it; may be to facilitate seamless navigation. For some reason I feel little uncomfortable of this funda. Why is it only 6? And why is it not allowing me to close? Also you have to long press the home button to see the open apps; not intuitive.

I really like how N900 handle the UX of multi tasking. There is an open apps view on N900 which shows all the open apps as thumbnails and tapping on them will open the apps. I dont think there is a restrcition in the number of apps which can be kept open. There is a close button on all the thumnails which will close them. However I didn't find any app referring to another app or anything like that. I can just browse when i listen to music. Computer ishtyle.

Winner: Android & N900 for the user experience of switching and closing apps; for making me comfortable.

To be continued
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