A friend posted a link to a rather trollish “article” about how the Android UI is a copy of the iPhone UI, this is probably sparked by the recent Apple lawsuit against Samsung, I’ll agree that Samsung’s custom UI is similar to Apple’s but to be honest there is only so much you can do with a mobile interface. Here is the image that forms the main content of the article:
They both have a grid layout, that seems to be the main similarity in the UI, I’m not sure what the issue is here… A grid UI is a fairly common layout for icons in both mobile and desktop operating systems.
The original Apple Newton used one:
The Palm Pilot used one:
There is a reason for this, people have fingers and a natural method of arranging things that people are going to interact with with those fingers is a grid, even pre-PDA we were using grid layouts for things that people had to touch:
So yeah, grid layouts, they are fairly old, get over it. The mobile UI design industry is also very incestuous, for example Palm has poached designers from Apple who have subsequently been re-poached back to Apple, Google have also poached Palm employees and I’m sure more of that happens all the time.
As for the Spring board at the bottom, that’s a Samsung thing not an Android feature, it’s not in stock Android though it does feature in a few of the custom skins available for Android, but to be honest it’s not dissimilar from any other shortcut bar/menu out there, it’s hardly innovative. In fact it’s very similar to a task bar with shortcut icons in it which apparently dates back to Arthur on the Acorn released in 1989.
The Springboard is just a shiner version of the the shortcut bar at the bottom of that page, so unless apple has a patent on making things shiny, I’m not entirely sure where they are going with this…
As an addendum here is an article which compares the Symbian UI to a whole bunch of other UI’s all of which use a grid layout…