Take a look at this Android OS update chart for comparison — the iPhone 3G was released just over 3 years ago, and now has been dropped for OS updates and support. They’re still functional, just not with the new iOS. By comparison, the Google Nexus One is no longer supported for the OS updates, and it was released just last year! The full chart is a sad story, I for one own an use an android handset, it’s a paltry UX with fragmented app store, little or no documentation for what my version of android (and flavour, for that matter) offers and how I might upgrade should I choose to. I recall an old line from Steve Jobs on Android (a little off topic now), about how Android forced the user to solve these small problems themselves, and that Apple felt the best user experience would be reached by Apple taking the role of systems integrator.
I’m all for it. As a user — I want to forget more and focus on the things I care about. Getting my work done, getting in contact with loved ones, keeping my things in order — the usual things. Which mix of hardware/software am I on? With Android I have no idea! The tools at my disposal are so poorly designed it almost doesn’t even matter.
I came across this post on Binary Bonsai earlier today, mainly focussing on Microsoft Office’s new Vision video (see below). Michael’s response is fairly gentle, nudging MS and noting how far from reality the future visioning tends to be
The latest is the Productivity Future Vision from the Office division, which like all their videos, looks great (and probably would interact horrible in a real-world scenario):
I suspect these videos are made not only by outside agencies (if you know different, let me know), but entirely by graphic designers who dream about interaction design, but never had to realize their ideas in the real world.
I’m feeling much less generous when looking at this finely crafted, shiny vision piece. It’s clear that MS has an eye to the future potential of technologies like touch, tablets and the ‘big data’, but it’s so far removed from the reality of what they’re actually producing. Frank mentioned to me the other day something that’s worth noting here — Apple doesn’t create concept videos for future products. They don’t make ambitious future vision style images of the future — they just make great products that people can use today. The magic of it is that these products push us a great deal towards a different future, but they don’t bother trying to impress us with their vision, rather they do everything possible to impress us with what their vision has lead them to create.
It’s a world apart, the two approaches. Shut up and ship, Microsoft. If this is the future, create it. We’ll love you for it, but not if you never bother following through with this vision.
On another note, I have to say the similarities between this vision and the amazing work BERG London have been producing in the last few years is striking. Here’s a few BERG visioning pieces that have, in my view, been quite influential in shaping the future of products and interaction. Well done, lads.