A mind of metal and wheels: why it took so long for Cal to come to Android
Any.do released its first product on Android months before it brought the app to the iPhone. The company figured that the relative dearth of quality software available for the operating system would allow its first app to attract attention it might not have received on Apple’s platform. It was right — the app was downloaded more than 500,000 times in the first 30 days after its launch.
Yet when it came time for the company to release its next product, a not-so-smart calendar app released in July, the company decided to launch on the iPhone. The operating system on which Any.do built its platform had to wait until today, almost six months later, for the app to debut. So what happened?
Omer Perchik, the company's founder and chief executive, says that development for the two platforms actually began at around the same time. The only problem was that it was easier to develop the iOS version, release it, then port its design and features to Android than it was to release the apps in tandem. The result is a product that looks very much like an iPhone app but works like an app made to take advantage of the many tools available to Android developers.
“It’s very easy to develop smart things on Android, but it’s really hard to develop beautiful animations on Android. It’s easy to create beautiful apps on iPhone -- it’s harder to create smarter apps on the iPhone,” Perchik says. “Every platform focuses on something over everything else in terms of development tools. That’s why Apple makes it really easy to make slick animations and beautiful apps, but Android makes it easier to create smarter apps.”
The choices Apple has made with iOS development also better align with Any.do's approach to creating new products. The company doesn't simply scribble on a whiteboard until it comes up with a list of features worthy of a new app -- it figures out how the app should behave and what emotions it should evoke in users, then begins development around those principles.
"We focus a lot on emotion, and not just on logic," Perchik says. “We put a lot of emphasis in our design and product philosophy into how we make the things that we do each and everyday, which have for many years been considered mundane and boring, into something better.”
That process lends itself to iOS, where Perchik says it is easier to design visual interfaces than it is on Android. (Which isn't much of a surprise -- the iPhone's display comes in two sizes, whereas an Android smartphone's display can be any number of sizes.) It's only after the company feels comfortable with an app's design that it can begin focusing on the more robust, logical features to which Android lends itself.