It’s about the interface

Yesterday saw the launch of the first phone based on Google’s Android platform – the HTC manufactured Dream G1 with T-Mobile as the carrier.

Like the first version of the iPhone there have been some strange decisions: Carrier-locked, non-standard headphone jack, poor Bluetooth implementation, no tethering, voice dialling, video capture (or playback outside YouTube on the G1), VoIP or Exchange support. Unlike the first generation iPhone there is no desktop synching or multi-touch (John Gruber makes an incisive-as-ever comment on this) but on the plus side there is 3G, a slide-out physical keyboard, MMS and cut-and-paste.

Apple will carry on improving the iPhone. In a couple of years I’m expecting perhaps a graphene-based ultracapacitor instead of a battery or fuel cell (try getting one of those on a plane), an OLED screen with tactile keyboard and integrated camera.

Alongside these patents that have yet to come to market, there are around 200 others on the iPhone and a lot of them are related to the all-important interface. A friend was struggling to find the silent mode due to the lack of the traditional:

Menu → Options → Sounds → Ringer → Silent → On

The moment I flicked the switch at the side of the iPhone to turn the ringer off, a look of burgeoning appreciation of the way Apple does things spread across her face. An annoyance I do have with this is not having an dedicated icon on the screen to indicate that the ringer is off but – like the lack of MMS, A2DP, video capture or SMS forwarding – this is easily solved with a software update.

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