Experience Trumps Features
Steve Jobs was quoted saying the following at the launch of iPad2 earlier this week:
Apple’s pushing it as a giant leap forward. That’s it for the video. Again, this is the intersection between technology and liberal arts. It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology is not enough. Hardware and software need to work together. Nowhere more true than in the post-PC market. Competitors describe tablets like PCs, with specs and the like, but the iPad shows that it’s all about the intertwined software and hardware. They need to be easier to use and more intuitive than PCs. Jobs thinks that they’re going to be competitive.
This really goes to the heart of how different Apple is from Google. Let me give you some evidence, Google on its GoogleTV effort announced an interesting set of features in the September/October 2010 timeframe – you can read about them here. Of specific interest is the one about “Fling”:
Fling a video to your television
Find a great website on your phone and want to show it to everyone? Now you can. “Fling” what you’re watching, listening to, or doing on your phone by sending it to your TV with the press of a button.
It received feedback and coverage, and NPD’s Ross Rubin tweeted about it as well:
Looks like Google TV’s ‘Fling’ feature will be its counterpart to Apple TV’s AirPlay.
The reality is far from it – and not because the feature does NOT exist but because the experience is tedious. A great consumer experience removes the challenge, removes the complication… In order to “Fling” a page or a video to the TV from an Android phone – you have to “Share”. Yes “Share” – there is no simple press of a button. On the Browser bring up the “Menu” (1), select “Share” (2), and then select “Google TV Application” (and that’s 3). The idea that it can ‘flung’ is not intuitive, you don’t know anything about it.
Contrast that with Apple’s Airplay, a nice icon shows up in a Media Player (with IOS 4.3 supposedly AirPlay will become available to third party apps as well) – tap the Icon, and select the TV/Device to ‘airplay’ to. The context is within the application and it is not being called share.
Now, purely technically, can Google implementation improve – absolutely yes. The key difference is that they release features with plenty room for consumer experience optimization.
1. Snapstick with meager resources gets it (check out how they “snap” the video to the large TV) BUT to be fair – you need to use their app, and their box connected to the TV
2. Business Insider’s Dan Frommer in a blog post today shows that GoogleTV-based Logitech Revue is ranked #563 compared to AppleTV at #10 on Amazon’s Best Selling Electronics.