Mea Culpa on Android Notifications

A few months ago, when I was getting acclimated to my shiny new Droid and Android generally, I penned a note about the annoyance of Android’s notifications.

Now, it’s time to admit I failed, or in the words of Happy Gilmore:

I’m stupid. You’re smart. I was wrong. You were right. You’re the best. I’m the worst. You’re very good-looking. I’m not attractive.

I’m reminded of why by my new toy, an iPad, and yes, I’m fine with this one and don’t really care if they’re refreshing the line soon.

Sure, the iPad (un-jailbroken anyway) can only run iOS 3.2, which has no multi-tasking outside the normal, Apple-only apps, and even though it will likely get Apple’s version of task-switching later this week when it’s rumored to be on the 4.2 upgrade list, from what I’m hearing, it’s just not close to what Android provides.

For all the fanbois, yes, I did find it annoying initially, and yes, I did have to tweak the settings of some apps to throttle the noise appropriately.

But I was lost and now I’m found.

Photo by laihiu on Flickr used under Creative Commons

Once you have notifications the way you want them on Android, the single focus approach of iOS feels clunky. The notifications bar is actually quite helpful, although it tends to get a bit cluttered, again, depending on how you set things.

And while we’re on clunky, having only one button and navigating through Home for most tasks also feels roundabout compared to Android. I honestly never thought I’d miss that back button Android sports, regardless of where it is.

It’s quite an eye-opening experience to go back to iOS from Android, just as it was to go from iOS to Android. Both systems have their good points, and you really appreciate the subtleties of design aspects and choices.

This is oddly dissimilar to moving between desk/laptop OSes, where I still feel that OS X holds all the cards, even in the face of improvements from Linux and Windows.

Anyway, find the comments to have a laugh at me and share your experiences.




  1. Interesting. I have to say I like the concept of the Android notification center. From our research it would seem users like that too – in comparison with other devices. Personalization is where it is at on mobile devices. I think iOS is almost toylike in comparison.

    Really what you want is a single notifications center with ability to filter on different criteria I think. We must invite you to our next round of usability testing…:)

  2. The notifications can get a bit noisy and crowded, depending on what you have installed. My initial point was the iOS is good enough, and there weren’t enough real use cases to warrant the performance/architecture costs of real multi-tasking.

    Since I’ve been back using iOS regularly, I’ve found several instances of real use cases, hence the mea culpa. IOS’ navigation also feels a bit wonky now too. Happy to assist if I can with usability testing.

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