Hardware is an area of smartphones, tablets, and other devices where similarities between companies isn't that big of a deal. When LG, Motorola, Samsung, and any other company uses a Qualcomm flagship processor in their device, no one says, "You're copying so-and-so!" Hardware seems to be a neutral space.
It's not really the same thing when it comes to features, though.
On a semi-regular basis, I see a headline, or headlines, that go out of their way to point out a feature that we may have seen on another device. And I'm sure you can guess that this is typically between, "This Android feature was on iOS first!" Or, more often than not, "This iOS feature was on Android first!" You can pretty much interchange as freely as you want, and sometimes even include Windows Phone/Mobile and/or BlackBerry, Palm, so on and so forth.
It's a vicious circle, really, and I have no doubt by now that you've seen it more than a few times over the years. And if you're anything like me, it's always been borderline annoying every single time it's popped up. I understand the sentiment in general -- there's nothing wrong with pointing out that a particular feature is also available on another device/platform.
The part that always throws me off is when it's twisted into being perceived as a bad thing. Like it's an awful situation for Apple, Samsung, Google, or whoever else it might be to throw in a new feature for their platform or device, simply because another company had that particular feature already.
This isn't a bad thing. Every company has a different rollout for their products, both on a hardware level and from a software standpoint. And every company has copied another company at some point or another. It's the way things go.
But this isn't a bad thing. Better late than never is how I look at it, because in the end it just means that, hopefully, the user's experience gets better. And I see that as a good thing. I don't even care if it's not a platform that I use. If it means that other people get something that improves their daily routine in some way or another, that's a pretty great end result.
But, there is a caveat here, and a pretty important one. Some companies out there are going to come out with features ahead of others, even if the other companies are working on the same things behind-the-scenes. The only reason why endless copying can be a bad thing is if the companies aren't doing their own thing, too.
It's about recognizing a good idea.
For example: iOS eventually added its own notification shade -- something that Android has had right out of the gate. But Apple put its own twist on it. Some will say it's better, and some will say it's worse -- but it ultimately comes down to the fact that Apple, technically, copied Google with this feature, but they changed it enough to make it its own thing.
And Google saw the inherent benefits of being able to long-press on an app icon and get contextual options that pop up. So Android 7.1, first seen with the Pixel phones, features this ability -- which is what Apple brought to the table with 3D Touch for iOS. Same idea, but different implementations -- but both are meant to improve the user's experience.
As long as the companies keep altering the formula a little bit, they can copy as much as they want as far as I'm concerned. Like I said, better late than never. What do you think?