By Adam Z. Lein | August 6, 2012 9:30 AM
There are many reasons that might cause people to think their phone is boring. It comes from being familiar with it for too long and often from not being able to change it enough to be fresh again or just from a eventual lack of interest. In this article we’re going to take a look at a few different reasons why Apple’s iPhone, Windows Phones, and Android smartphones might be considered boring or not boring. Everybody has different opinions about what is or is not boring, so feel free to agree or disagree and we encourage you to share your opinions in the comments below.
Apple’s iOS interface hasn’t changed much since its first reveal in 2007. It’s basically a grid of program icons with multiple pages that you can flick through. It’s not much different and not much more exciting than the original graphical user interface (Xerox Star). If you get bored with Apple’s interface design, you have two choices for customizing it: change the background image or rearrange the icons. That’s not a lot of choice, and the only things that change by themselves are the little red circles next to certain icons indicating the numbers of notifications as well as the little calendar and weather icons.
However, there’s something else that you can do to your iPhone to make it very personal, very unique, and very not boring… buy a special case. Apple designed the iPhone 4 so that it actually required a case for the antenna to function properly, and the great thing about that is the huge variety of case designs that you can get for iPhones. There are all sorts of bumpers and protective cases in all sorts of colors, shapes, and designs. That’s a huge plus for making your iPhone more unique, and when you get bored with it all you have to do is buy a different case.
Android is the most user-customizable modern smartphone operating system these days, but that doesn’t mean it never gets boring. On the contrary, being extremely customizable only means that when you do get bored with the way your phone looks then you have many options to do something about it. When I’m using Android phones, I often spend a lot of time finding/designing a good background image, arranging widgets/icons, downloading new widgets, learning how to customize new widgets, experimenting with live wallpapers, etc. Sometimes I feel like I want to program my own custom widgets or even a custom launcher when nothing seems to fit just right and that can require some major programming and graphic creation work. After I spend all that time creating a design and layout that I like, I eventually become bored with it and have to repeat the process. If I want to keep the excitement going, I really have to put a lot of effort into creating a wide range of preferred custom designs that I can switch between as I become bored with each one. That’s all well and good, but I’ve been creating custom themes and graphics for my smartphones for about 10 years now and I’m starting to get bored with having to do all that work in order to get something unique.
Of course, the big thing that’s not boring about Android is the fact that there are so many other people and developers out there constantly creating new customizations, new launchers, new widgets, new apps, new wallpapers, and new custom ROMs that you can constantly experiment with to find something new and exciting.
With Windows Phone you don’t have nearly the number of customization options as you do with Android, nor do you have a huge market of colorful accessories like iPhone users do. You can’t even put a background picture on the start screen… only the lock screen wallpaper is customizable. When it comes to the start screen, you can arrange your tiles any way you want, choose a primary color for them and choose either black or white for the background color. Not many options there!
Yet, Windows Phone has actually done something very different when it comes to avoiding the inevitable “I’m bored with this now” feeling. Instead of giving you an excessive number of customization options and making you solely responsible for creating something you should like, Windows Phone customizes itself for you in a way that’s very unique and in many ways very personal.
For example after I start listening to music that I like, beautiful pictures of the artist I was listening to become an integrated part of the user interface both within the music app and on the start screen. After loading some of my favorite pictures onto the phone, they automatically become the basis for the pictures app’s design and Ken Burns style slideshows of my awesome photos are constantly flowing through the live tile on my start screen. My people tile is constantly flipping through pictures of my friends from their social networking profiles and my pinned people groups are constantly loading funny little status updates or photos that my friends have shared. It’s never the same-old same-old. Even ridiculously boring apps like the search engine and application store are freshly designed every day. I actually look forward to seeing a new Bing image in the Bing app every day and learning a little bit about what it is.
It sounds like Windows Phone 8 will bring even more automatic personalization in the form of a 3rd party app interface for refreshing the wallpaper. You could have a completely new and beautifully designed Bing image-of-the-day for your phone’s lock screen image every day. We’ll also see a higher degree of Start screen customization options with the addition of a 3rd live tile size and an interface to resize them to your choosing.
Still each platform has it’s own attributes that could make it more boring or less boring for each person, and of course everybody has their own take on what’s boring. So now it’s you’re turn. What do you suppose are the most boring and least boring aspects of the smartphone platform of your choice?