I’ve been working on an installation that involves an 80″ Sharp Aquos TV. The TV isn’t particularly accessible to manipulate, so we decided to check out the mobile apps to control it.
My teammate has an Android device; I’m on iOS. We got his working first:
At this point, our expectations were low. It’s a nice TV… but apparently no one paid attention to the app. Still, it beat our previous system, which involved someone on a ladder behind the TV and someone else yelling out which buttons to press.
We set up the iOS version too, thinking it would be good if both of us could control the TV. It looks a little different…
It’s “tastefully skeuomorphic,” if that’s possible.
The Android version, however, immediately autodiscovered the TV and was working right away. The iOS one wouldn’t discover the TV, and required me to punch in the IP address. This took us down a friendly trip through the TV’s interface. It’s pretty clear that yet another design team worked on that interface. And still another one worked on the SmartTV features.
There’s a lesson in all of this—even your hardware is all about the software today. There’s a huge inconsistency in what you’d think about Sharp’s television depending on your platform and how you configure it. Having an IP based remote system sounds progressive, and while the iOS version has some technical flaws and a few very weird design quirks, it’s a pretty good experience—I’d say better than the hardware remote.
On the other hand, the Android app looks like it was put out because someone said they had to have an Android app. I haven’t looked up the release dates; maybe it is much more immature than the iOS version. But it’s hardly emphasizing the quality of that television.
The experience of your output—be that your brand, your products, your service, whatever it is you make or do—needs to be ruthlessly consistent, and show that you care and believe in what you do.