Do Android UI guidelines really make sense ?

Today, I was looking at the “Pure Android” section on the Android developers website. Basically, they are telling you that an Android application must not look like an iPhone application or a Windows phone application.

Here are the UI guidelines:

  • Don’t mimic UI elements from other platforms
  • Don’t carry over platform-specific icons
  • Don’t use bottom tab bars
  • Don’t use right-pointing carets on line items

Don’t use right-pointing carets on line items” ???

They then display a screenshot comparing the Android settings menu and the iPhone settings menu. I don’t know about you, but the iPhone menu really looks more clear to me (in fact, it looks more clear to several people to whom I’ve shown the screenshot).

Now, let’s see how popular desktop applications implement this. First Word 2010:

Then Eclipse:

Finally, Firefox (in french, but you get my point):

In fact, you can open anyone of the applications that you have on your computer and I’m sure that menu items will either end with “>” or “…” to indicate that there are more options to come.

BUT for some unkown reason, the Android team is telling you that this is bad bad bad and that on their platform you should not do this. I don’t know about you, but I will certainly not do it: if everyone else is doing this differently, there must be a reason for that !

Now let me ask you a question: let’s say that your UI decisions makes your application easier to use but do not correspond to the official UI guidelines: what do you do ?


What if Android emulator fails to start

Today I launched the AVD manager, selected my Android virtual device, clicked onĀ  “Start” and… nothing !

OK, why don’t you want to start, you son of your father ?

Launching it from the command line showed the error message:

C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk-r16\tools>emulator.exe -avd AVD_for_403

C:\Program Files (x86)\Android\android-sdk-r16\tools>Failed to allocate memory: 8

This application has requested the Runtime to terminate it in an unusual way.
Please contact the application's support team for more information.

I had previously increased the virtual device memory from 256 to 1024, but for some reason the emulator was not happy with it. Lowering it to 512 solved my issue:

What I don’t understand is that I have 16GB of RAM on my laptop… if someone knows why I cannot allocate 1025MB , I’m interested !