Google's Eric Schmidt: Android has "a much more intuitive interface" than iPhone

Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, may not be as well known as some senior executives at other tech giants - such as Microsoft's Steve Ballmer or Apple's Tim Cook - but when it comes to talking up his company's products and belittling its rivals, he's up there with the best of them. 

In 2011, he berated Microsoft for a lack of innovation and, a few months later, accused it of using scare tactics to bully device manufacturers into patent licensing deals because Microsoft was "scared of the success of Android". Just last month, he claimed that Android is "more secure than the iPhone" - a comment that actually drew some derisory laughter from the assembled audience.

Schmidt has been at it again, this time in a post on Google+ entitled 'Eric's Guide: Converting to Android from iPhone'. In the post, he says that "many of [his] iPhone friends are converting to Android", and includes a step-by-step guide to moving from Apple's mobile platform to Google's. "Like the people who moved from PCs to Macs and never switched back," he says, "you will switch from iPhone to Android and never switch back as everything will be in the cloud, backed up, and there are so many choices for you."

In his guide, he says that for those transferring photos from an iPhone to their new Android handset, "it's probably easiest to backup your iPhone photos to the Mac, but not copy the old photos to the Android phone." But what if you want to have your old photos with you on your new device? Schmidt's suggestion: "If the old photos are important, send them to Gmail and download [them] into the Android phone, or upload them to Google+."

But the most contentious comments are those in which he makes comparisons between Android and iOS. He says that "the latest high-end phones from Samsung (Galaxy S4), Motorola (Verizon Droid Ultra) and the Nexus 5 (for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile) have better screens, are faster, and have a much more intuitive interface" than the iPhone. Bold words indeed. 

He additionally claims that such devices "are a great Christmas present to an iPhone user!", a statement that many iPhone users have already disagreed with, including some commenters on 9to5Mac

He also offers "some general advice", telling users to "be sure to use Chrome, not Safari; its [sic] safer and better in so many ways." 

Source: Google+ via 9to5Mac

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Dunno if Android is more intuitive than iOS, but it's a LOT more fun to use tbh. And I've been using iOS from iOS 2.0 to iOS 6. Still using it sometimes when I use my wife's iPad Mini.


I like OS X a lot though

This is the greatest thing i have ever heard. He must be blind to see how bad the android UI is for the average consumer. When my parents got phones they decided to go with android because of costs. They immediately understood that basics of iOS and when it came to android i had to show them how to do everything. This was on android 4.2.2.

Gaara sama said,
there is lot of Rumor that iphone 6 coming with a bigger screen like android phone, so who is copying who?

Only a troll would think that coming out with a device that has a larger screen is copying.

stevan said,

Only a troll would think that coming out with a device that has a larger screen is copying. But then Apple is a troll, even by your defenition.

Didn't stop apple from crying foul when the competition came out with a product with rounded corners.

All these crazy guys says Android's UI isn't intuitive. So lets see...how do you go back on iOS vs Android. Let's compare. In iOS if I open apps in a row, how do I get back to the very first one? You have t first double tab the home button to bring up the task bar an then you scroll back and pick the app vs on Android I simply hit the back button twice. Which one is faster? Android.

Android has had quick toggles for years. What did iOS users do before then? Go into settings and go through layers of options to make simple changes. Android again is better.

Each Android OEM has their way. But over all they are all the same. Apple Forces all your apps to show on multiple home screen. When you fill all of them, the UI gets really slow. On Android, you only create as many home screens as you need.

On iOS you have to use the home button for everything. That's somehow intuitive?
Windows Phone is a lot like Android. Live Tiles are similar in concept to Android Widgets. Quick glance at things like weather, Facebook/Twitter updates and more. iOS? Well you must open the app in each case.

With Android the notification Bar displays all texts, tweets, FB and more. iOS? Very restrictive. IOS 7 has helped a lot. But its not even close.

Android and Windows are better due to their quick glance philosophy vs Apple's you gotta have an app for that.

Edited by Hi_XPecTa_Chens, Nov 25 2013, 4:58pm :

Yeah no doubt. Android is incredible, especially 4.4.
I'm curious on what the next iPhone will be like,
Apple is gonna have to do something serious to catch up.

LUTZIFER said,
Yeah no doubt. Android is incredible, especially 4.4.
I'm curious on what the next iPhone will be like,
Apple is gonna have to do something serious to catch up.

catch up? catch up on? interface? apps? profit? battery? what exactly does android do that is better? I have both, use both, and still find IOS more friendly, easier to use, cleaner layout, more polished apps, and on and on and on....

rippleman said,

catch up? catch up on? interface? apps? profit? battery? what exactly does android do that is better? I have both, use both, and still find IOS more friendly, easier to use, cleaner layout, more polished apps, and on and on and on....


Is not letting you decide what app should be default, not being able to personalize your device after how you use it rather than Apple is telling you how to use it more user friendly than Android that adapts to you as a user on how you use it's devices?

And i wouldn't really call a mess of rainbow heaven colored icons squeezed into your screen for clean and nice to look at to say it that way. This is my layout on my Galaxy S4 right now: https://lh4.googleusercontent....HBQ2sd8n0QvdBH1ld6nScLacILQ

Took me around 10 minutes to set it up to that.

iOS looks clean, HAHA, is that a 2007 joke or what?

rippleman said,

catch up? catch up on? interface? apps? profit? battery? what exactly does android do that is better? I have both, use both, and still find IOS more friendly, easier to use, cleaner layout, more polished apps, and on and on and on....

It's the usual excuses:

Apple are evil.
iOS needs to catch up.
Apple ecosystem is closed.

And when all else fails, then it's just a simple "Apple is doomed"....

Exynos said,

Is not letting you decide what app should be default, not being able to personalize your device after how you use it rather than Apple is telling you how to use it more user friendly than Android that adapts to you as a user on how you use it's devices?

And i wouldn't really call a mess of rainbow heaven colored icons squeezed into your screen for clean and nice to look at to say it that way. This is my layout on my Galaxy S4 right now: https://lh4.googleusercontent....HBQ2sd8n0QvdBH1ld6nScLacILQ

Took me around 10 minutes to set it up to that.

iOS looks clean, HAHA, is that a 2007 joke or what?

some like linux, some like windows... for most, simplicity is key.

now. It has a much more intuitive interface than iphone now.

It sure as hell didn't on the HTC hero. Playing with KitKat/4.4 I will agree, they sewn those seams tight.

I love my Android phone (which replaced my personal iPhone), but love my corporate iPhone too. Android is a lot of very good things, but intuitive (comparatively speaking that is) it isn't. I wouldn't give it to my dad (who is hitting 60), but had no problem with full confidence in him and the device when I gave him my old iPhone.

I have two android phones, nexus 4 and galaxy note 3, i had for a couple of weeks a lumia 920.
In my opinion the start screen in wp8 is a disaster to someone who loves order and for someone who has a big number of apps and can't classify the apps into groups like in android/windows 8/iphone, in my opinion windows 8/8.1 is good in that regard because such grouping into groups exists and it looks good.
In the iphone you can group but if you don't want the icon to appear you can't,because of that android is best in the interface perspective.
maybe if i'll see windows rt on a machine like the lumia 1520 i'll change my mind but until then android is the winner.
i have to say, i love the touch-wiz interface in my note 3,i like it over the nexus 4 interface and it's run smoothly on my machine, wp8 still needs to go a long way in order to match in quality to it.

The Android interface is certainly good for tech enthusiasts who would consider it intuitive. For the masses, I'd argue against. I was a Windows Mobile user for years. I'm nerd through and through and I can appreciate a powerful and flexible UI as much as the next one. But when Windows Phone appeared I had an opportunity to change direction.

Having even taken the time to make my own themes for Windows Mobile (most often, laughably, to emulate Windows XP), I decided I was done with ridiculous customisation and my obsessive compulsive obligation to control and tune everything, and wanted a phone that just worked. I went also from disliking the iPhone because of it's simple *and* clunky interface and blind support of fashion-lovers, to genuinely understanding and appreciating the appeal of a simple, sleek phone that just does what the stuff you want. I still don't like the iPhone, but only because both iOS and Android visually bore me to tears.

But the stars aligned - Windows Phone appeared and by fluke I liked what I saw. Now I have a phone which is simple like an iPhone, more-so even, but not clunky and also beautiful. Some hate it, understandably - visually striking things are often more disliked by some than more bland things, but for that reason rather than accepting that there simply isn't an equally striking alternative, they try to argue that iOS is in some way visually appealing, or that Android isn't even more bland.

In reality, and in spite of what people choose to say, I doubt many people consider any of them to be "ugly", but if you like the look of Windows Phone, and your goggles are tinted by arbitrary MS hatred, it can appear as if a piece of art has sprung from a most unexpected place. Alternatively you might be left with two perfectly 'adequate' alternatives.

In either case, Android is only bought by the masses because it's priced for masses. The iPhone isn't so commands a proportionally smaller segment of the market. But now Windows Phone is cheap, too, and when people wake up to the alternative, anyone for whom Windows Phone will suffice and who is budget constrained and appreciates the design should have a Lumia 520 or better.

Dot Matrix said,
Intuitive? The Android UI is too cluttered. Too many bells and whistles.

It's obvious that you haven't tried Android as you can change the UI your self if you don't like the default UI that comes with the phone.

Sure, the UI might not be good from some brands, but at least you can do something about it. On iOS on the other hand is something you have to adapt to no matter how much you hate the UI.

techbeck said,

huh?

When I set up my roommate's S3, I actually got lost flipping back and forth between homescreens, different windows, etc. Then trying to find apps, and where they went after installing was another horror story. Basically, there's too many bells and whistles in Android's UI. It's further compounded by the fact that you can install different UI shells. There's no unity between anything in the OS.

Dot Matrix said,
When I set up my roommate's S3, I actually got lost flipping back and forth between homescreens, different windows, etc. Then trying to find apps, and where they went after installing was another horror story. Basically, there's too many bells and whistles in Android's UI. It's further compounded by the fact that you can install different UI shells. There's no unity between anything in the OS.

All Android phones have an App icon/drawer where all new apps are shown. So not sure where the problem is there.

All those different home screens are annoying. I limit mine to one as I have no need for more than that. Samsung is terrible about putting crap on their screens.

Being able to change the way Android looks is one of Andriods strong points. It may make things a little harder for some, but I find that it is not hard for most to figure out. Heck, if my mom/dad can work an Android phone, anyone can. And normally if someone is installing a different UI, they should know what they are doing and be able to work the interface. Most, howerver, just use the defualt UI.

There's truth to that, but only the last part I think. There certainly is such a thing as good and bad UI design, measured intangibly as 'intuitiveness'. You can be entirely familiar with a system, yet feel it's not ideal, or intuitive.

But most preference towards a given UI is based in familiarity. I agree that it's an overwhelming issue. I've yet to find a Mac user who can tell me in no uncertain terms why they thing OSx is more 'intuitive' than Windows. I'm a Windows users and I'm entirely familiar with it, and much less familiar with OSx, so naturally I question the opinions of all these OSx users. Unfortunately most OSx users who make that claim are completely computer illiterate and seem simple to repeat what someone else has claimed in their behalf, and are unable to explain to me why they find OSx easier to user than Windows.

The best explanation I have for this phenomenon is similar to that which explains why people still thing Macs are better for DTP: about 15 years ago they actually did compete with Windows rather well, perhaps even pushed some boundaries and presented some UI innovation. Unfortunately now it seems OSx and iOS have stagnated by people hang on to that history.

So now they're just a bunch of people who are familiar with their system and believe it superior as a result. I'm the same, I suppose, except that I can point out some examples of things that make OSx particularly Unintuitive, and I've seen long term Mac users stumble over it consistently without noticing the flaws.

The abstracted menu bar along the top of the screen, for one. The need to select a window, potentially hidden behind others, just so a bar along the top of the screen will change context. That's a fundamental OS difference (I'm told you can customise that with options, but it's not default and nobody seems ever to do that), but I consider it to be unintuitive compared to having a menu bar attached to the top of each app window.

jubbbird said,
There's truth to that, but only the last part I think. There certainly is such a thing as good and bad UI design, measured intangibly as 'intuitiveness'. You can be entirely familiar with a system, yet feel it's not ideal, or intuitive.

I think what you're talking about there is UI efficiency which is easily quantified. You make your list of tasks, order them by how frequently they're used, and then count the number of interactions required to accomplish them. If there's a trade off between two, you push the fewer steps toward the more frequent task. Fewer steps means there's less chance of a mistake and less things to remember if any steps require decisions.

Yeah that's true, but it also doesn't stop there. Making frequently used functions easier to read is certainly step one. Changing how you activate them is another issue, and a lot of the problems people have accepting the new stuff in Windows 8 revolves around the purposeful removing of visual cues on-screen and becoming reliant on touch gestures. You could argue it's unintuitive, but the counter-argument is that it's not unintuitive, it just needs to be learned first. Do things need to be visually obvious to be intuitive? Doesn't intuition refer to natural and uninstructed use of an interface without instruction?

Is Android more intuitive?. it depends.

IOS is more minimalist, it has less buttons, it has less options. So, for most users, IOS is pretty easy and intuitive.
However, with more experience, users require more features and do more faster, it is where Android shines. For example, the over-use of the home button for IOS is shocking, it is anything but intuitive.

I owned an iPhone 5 for six months, and a Nexus 4 for 12 months. I'm thinking about going back to iPhone. Not sure yet. Have a see what 4.4 is like, but google being google that could be anytime lol

owning and knowing quite well the nexus 4, galaxy nexus, samsung gs2, iphone 3g, iphone 5s and i can say that the operating systems aligned to each other in most areas. there are differences, but these are more and more minor.

gap is widening in the services they offer but less in functionalities.

android is stronger in the area of notifications (imo) and apple is stronger in the area of a streamlined user experience. the iphone fulfills your expectations more. it offers hardly any surprises, it does what its meant to do. android offers more surprises. it also offers multiple ways of doing a specific task. ios offers always only 1 way and 1 way to remember only. android can be more complicated in that regards. (e.g. open settings, android like 3 diff ways. iphone only 1). this simplicity is comfortable for many. even for me. but its becoming neglectable.

its like it was with pc's. as they grew more and more powerful, even the cheap ones, the discussions about its components etc became more and more unimportant. it matters only to the very minor group of hardcore users. for the rest every pc is just fine for 90% of all tasks.

imo same happens with smartphones. they become so good across the board, it matters only to the enthusiasts. time to stop wasting lots of energy talking about the minor differences between them.

This doesn't make any sense, particularly when vendors add their own UI and none of them are any good.

The default android UI serves a purpose and isn't 'bad' but intuitive is not a word I would associate with Android.

The long press has long been depricated in favour of the Action Bar style. Unfortunately, some older apps are yet to be updated to the new UI paradigm.

Another thing which I find highly frustrating is that when you're viewing settings for example it's not clear when the associated menu with additional options is available - this requires that I check by pressing the "Menu" button. Once you get used to it you know, but...

Crimson Rain said,

Used 920 and now using 1020. Simple to use and manage.

Beyond simple. It looks different to people, so it must be confusing and hard to use. It's by far the best of the big 3 IMO. I struggled to move back to Android, now I'm using a 925, and all is good again.

In saying that, if Apple released a 5" device, I'd be all over it. I like using them all, but Windows Phone is by far the easiest from a regular everyday phone user, not a geek.

Crimson Rain said,
My brain hurts when I see android's interface. Doesn't even come any near to being intuitive.
Funny, because the UI on Android phones looks a lot like iOS does now. So hmmmmm.....care to explain details? Because if Android is so crummy, the why is Apple copying it?

TechieXP said,
Funny, because the UI on Android phones looks a lot like iOS does now. So hmmmmm.....care to explain details? Because if Android is so crummy, the why is Apple copying it?

Depends on which (and whose) phone you are using. Each one comes with their own crap.

Really Android copy apple? let me tell you this do you know apple is now coming with the iphone 6 with bigger screen? so who is copy who again?

Gaara sama said,
Really Android copy apple? let me tell you this do you know apple is now coming with the iphone 6 with bigger screen? so who is copy who again?

lol. Android's birth was thru copying iOS...

And the Mac's birth was through copying Xerox. We could do this all day. In the end, it doesn't really matter who is copying whom.

Sranshaft said,
And the Mac's birth was through copying Xerox. We could do this all day. In the end, it doesn't really matter who is copying whom.

Tell that to the world cause they need to know this. Otherwise apple/Microsoft might start to get money from other companies...oh wai-

There is absolutely no need for CEOs to do this. Why compare? You should make a product that people like without thinking about the rest.

Tell us why it's good, not why it's better than something else.

Unfortunately it's not quite as simple as that, though it would be nice if it were. More often than not, people fail to correctly identify the superior product [for them] in spite of the availability of sufficient information.

This tendency for CEOs to get overly emotionally invested in their products is a result of a history of knowing how hard it is to get people to consider a product other than the one they're currently using. People are fickle. They have their favourites and it takes a smack in the head with something better to change their minds, and even that doesn't work sometimes.

Windows Phone is a classic example. Fundamentally there's no real reason anyone who buys a cheap and crap Android device couldn't get a better and easier experience on a Windows Phone for the same price. The 520 is probably the most bang for buck, and it's prices rock-bottom. The way I see it, the majority of smartphone users should probably now have a Windows Phone, while geeks, [fashion] snops and enthusiasts (a minority) should have their pick of iPhone and Android devices to suit.

But people won't choose Windows Phone because of silly things like arbitrary resistance from sales clerks in phone shops. Or because they've had an iPhone for so long, why change now? Or because Android is also cheap and seems to do the job, so why switch to a potentially simpler competitor?

Ultimately you're right - all three of these major phone OSs are indeed great. They all have their pros and cons. I like Windows Phone not only because it's wonderfully slick and simple, but because I consider it to be the prettiest of the bunch by a huge degree. If you don't like the look, that'll pretty much make the decision for you, and if you're already overly familiar with iOS you're unlikely to decide to give something else a shot and spend the time re-familiarising yourself.

So CEOs have to come out and stage and give you a push in their direct using whatever means they have. It's not their fault (although sometimes they do it stupidly) - it's *our* fault.

FloatingFatMan said,
Why is the truth "controversial" all of a sudden? Top end Android phones ARE far superior to iPhone's, in every measurable way.

Maybe it is for you, but not for me. I've tried Android and don't like it. I had the phone for 5 months and then got an iPhone. Sold the Android. I'm now on my second iPhone, a 5S. iOS just offers a better experience to me.

He's right about interface. But not so much, as new versions of Android are more complicated than previous.
My first contact with android was at version 1.6 - a chinese tablet wich was set in chinese. It took me about 1 minute to change the language in english and use it. And I don't know chinese.

Well, if my Windows Phone ever gets set to chinese, I just walk downstairs to the chinese take-away restaurant and have them set it to my language again. Takes about 5 minutes.

I believe that the "Big Three", Android, Windows, and Apple, are all excellent. It all comes down to our preference. For me, the iPhone works best at this particular point in my life. Who knows, next year I may switch to Android. The great thing is that I have a choice.

JHBrown said,
I believe that the "Big Three", Android, Windows, and Apple, are all excellent. It all comes down to our preference. For me, the iPhone works best at this particular point in my life. Who knows, next year I may switch to Android. The great thing is that I have a choice.

Pretty much

WP and iOS are both pretty good; both feel polished and clean. Android is just a clunky mess, like driving a car put together using parts from 15 different models.

Lord Method Man said,
WP and iOS are both pretty good; both feel polished and clean. Android is just a clunky mess, like driving a car put together using parts from 15 different models.

haha, ummm ok then....

Lord Method Man said,
WP and iOS are both pretty good; both feel polished and clean. Android is just a clunky mess, like driving a car put together using parts from 15 different models.
Seriously? Because I've been using it since 2009 and its certainly not clunky.
Fact - iOS has less versions vs Android, yet iOS leads in apps crashes - http://www.forbes.com/sites/to...e-than-android-a-data-dive/

My phone now the Galaxy Note 3is a month old now and how many updates has it had for issues? NONE! iOS 7 has had 3 already and is looking at another.

Android is a mess? Compared to what? Obviously you're looking at it wrong.
Funny how my Note 3 cost the same as an iPhone 5S, but yet does significantly more. Its all arranged in a nice neat package where the UI I easy to use, Even though it does 30+ the iPhone can't.

It sounds like you've been using a dumb down phone so much, you can't handle something better. Stick with the toys then.

recursive said,
Chromebooks are better than Windows for 80% of PC users, which would be anyone who is a media / content consumer.

Looks like you forgot to take an anti-troll pill today.

80%? More like .08%. Maybe an iPad or Android tablet (even a Surface) is better for lots of people than a full blown PC (or Mac), but a Chromebook, get real. They don't have the apps to compete. They are good for education because they are so locked down and secure; but for a consumer they are far too limiting.

I wonder if he'll claim that Android is more secure than Windows Phone. Just kidding. I'm not surprised by his comments. It's not like he'd publicly badmouth the company he works for. His words may be bold but the way I see it, all the major operating systems have their pros and cons. Just use what you think is best for you.

Personally, I use a Windows Phone 8 device (HTC 8S) but I like Android and iOS too. If I had money to burn, I'd buy the latest high-end devices for each major smartphone OS.