Android have always been unappealing or mundane in looks. Many tried to improve things with custom UI like sense & touchwiz and was successful in some cases. However this issue was never a focus area for Google.
Thankfully, this is going to change with Android getting a major Makeover with 3.0 Honeycomb. Looking at the screenshots of Android 3.0 honeycomb, its evident that Google has realised the importance of aesthetics and that UI should be more than utilarian.
With a 3D environment being central to the Honeycomb UI design, it brings in a feeling of 'vast' '/ roomy' / 'spacious' on small screen sizes of 5" to 10.1"inches.
A noteable aspect of this UI is its focus on content / activity. By removing the Froyo-isque white notification bar (wherever possible) and subdued navigation icons, Google has minimized distractions while immensely improving the overall 'likability' which is critical to making a device engaging.
Google have also made efforts to keep the UI screens continuous and in harmony with each other. Unlike current versions, you wont feel like entering a new world while jumping from gmail to email app or from gtalk to gallery.
While many devices are far superior in specs compared to similar Apple devices, they mostly have mediocre sales because the UI doesn't entice the user. Some even have UI that is outright repelling.
The ways a UI layout affects the user remains subtle and at a subconscious level. while all of us have likes and dislikes, many of us don't realize why, and it remains critical to our cognition and ultimately purchase decisions.
Apple knows it while others are learning it the hard way.
Google has enabled the Samsungs and Motorolas to match Apple's advances in OS capabilities, Apps, cloud services and meaningful and free OS updates.
Let's see how much damage can Honeycomb do to Apple's lead on the UI design and Media fronts.
Pics: via TechCrunch. Check their post for honeycomb UI screenshots.
*And I wish honeycomb will have real copypaste the way iphone does. Its a pain to copy text or even links on android, forget images and formatting