Personally, besides its Gmail client, the feature I love most about Android that the iPhone doesn’t come close to is Android’s pull-down “window shade” notification area, that lists multiple alerts. So if you’ve gotten an SMS, new email, a Twitter reply, a missed call, you can drag and drop the window shade down to see them all. The iPhone still pops up a box you have to dismiss to do anything else (include hang up a call!), which is simply an inferior way to handle alerts.
I still don’t really get Android, so I’m always fascinated by the opinion of people like Gina (and Merlin Mann), who’ve actually used both for extended periods. One thing that seems clear to me is that the iPhone and Android are good at very different things. And iPhone OS 3.0 is about making the iPhone even better in the ways that the iPhone was already good.
The message notification issue is a good example. “Messaging”, in general — SMS, IM, email (or at least Gmail) — is definitely richer on Android. It just doesn’t seem like the iPhone’s single, modal alert panel is going to scale well once push notification opens up to third party developers. I think it’s questionable whether it’s scaling well now, really.
★ Wednesday, 18 March 2009