Despite cynicism, each platform has their good partsAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
Every day I sit down at my desk and brainstorm three topics that I could write an article about for the website for that day. Often times my articles are directed towards the more negative side of things regarding phones or mobile platforms that I have a particular vendetta against for one reason or another at the time; today was no different as I wrote down three different article ideas that, for the most part, circulated around something I didn't like about this platform, that phone, or those features. However, even the most negative of people need a positive light shed upon them every once in a while.
Whether it was because I made a particularly tasty coffee this morning or perhaps it was the extra hour of sleep I got, today I decided to take a spin on my own stance and look at the more positive side of things. I've decided to take the time to point out my favorite parts of each platform, because I believe each one does have a "star" feature that keeps the platform alive.
Since we're already going against the grain of things here, let's start with what's good about BlackBerry. Reflecting upon recent posts I've made, I've been very up-and-down about the changes BlackBerry has made to their platform. First I had hoped that the change would be a good thing - after all, they completely refreshed the platform and turned it into something that could at least be considered competitive. How many companies are willing to do that? Most of the time in this industry if you're done, you're done. Not BlackBerry, though. They saw that the way BlackBerry OS had been operating was no longer relevant to how the rest of the smartphone world was working so they took the time to make some necessary changes. Another good thing about BlackBerry is they didn't lose sight of their values. Their primary market was those looking for something secure and professional, both of which are emphasized in BlackBerry 10. To me, that's an admirable trait.
BlackBerry goes hand-in-hand with another platform, Windows Phone. While the pair would seem unlikely, they actually share a lot of the same struggles while being each other's main competition. Both platforms had to make drastic changes to their platforms in order to stay in the game. Windows Mobile had its hay day around the same time BlackBerry did, so it's interesting to see how they've both changed and managed to stay modern throughout all this time.
Windows Phone is probably one of my favorite made over platforms as it went from being one of the most complicated platforms I've ever experienced to something completely minimalistic - and made it work. At first I thought that Live Tiles were too simple and didn't interest me at all, but in its own right even minimalistic can be seen as beautiful. Also, Windows Phone seems to put its emphasis on the features of the device and not so much the overall design - something that most platforms disperse emphasis on equally. Also, Windows Phone gave Nokia another chance to shine and has so far proven to be a fruitful partnership that has produced strong, solid, attractive hardware with good software and nice cameras - great combination.
Speaking of minimalist (although not nearly as minimalist as Windows Phone) we can take from that and move on to iOS. Not to say that the platform is not complex - but it's certainly not as complex as its top competitor, Android. For many people this is a good thing. There needs to be a middle ground between Windows Phone and Android, and while iOS never intended on being that middle ground they have inevitably become so by keeping almost the exact same interface for almost 6 years now. The good in iOS comes from different angles. While I can spend a long time saying what I hate about the fact that they haven't changed, it's still impressive how long they've stayed at the top without needing much change. Familiarity and reliability are two things that we depend upon in our human nature, and although this industry is one of the most fast-paced industries we have there's still something strangely calming about knowing exactly what to expect from at least one platform. Not only that, but Apple can produce a beautiful piece of hardware - one of my favorite things! And all the while they're the only company that's been able to bank their success in the mobile phone world on one device with the iconic name - iPhone. That's impressive.
And then you have the final platform, Android. The once-mocked competitor that was said to be the iPhone killer, which eventually sort of did (except it was more of throwing sand in its eyes instead of killing it) is the epitome of table-napkin-turned-table-cloth. Android is the most versatile mobile operating system that we have available to us today. An endless app market, room for developers both new and experienced, customization options out the wazoo, and tons of different manufacturers that provide so many different varieties of Android through skins and hardware it’s hard to decide which one is the best. Android is like the Baskin Robbins of mobile platforms. Lots of flavors, but in the end it still boils down to being ice cream. It's still crazy to me to see just far Android has come, and I look forward to seeing where it continues to go from this point on.
So you see, even though I have my reservations about each platform, there's still something nice to say about each one too. It's one of those instances where you feel like if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. Although I am partial to some platforms over others, I could honestly say I could never hate any of them. While they all have pros and cons, sometimes it's nice just to point out the pros.
With that being said, it's your turn readers. What are your favorite parts of different platforms? Share your favorites with me in the comments!