Am I an Apple or a Droid?

Well, neither I hope...

But I have found the recent experience of picking my new primary smartphone to be as much about subscribing to a philosophy as to deciding on a product. Is it to be locked-down minimalism of Apple or overwhelmingly open Android?

Whichever optimisation one chooses, this much is clear: interface design is now centre-stage. It's the ability to access features rather than the availability of the raw feature itself that's so often the limiting factor to its use.

And almost everyone's tuned in---even a technophile like me. I'm irrationally persistent at getting stuff to work that's more-or-less impossible to work. In the past, I so needed the last ounce of raw capability that I'd grudgingly sacrifice clean design (which I've always cared a great deal about) if needs be. Now I won't. Because if I do, I actually lose the practical functionality. Clean workflows no longer offer better access to power, they themselves increasingly manifest it.

For me, 2010 is the year when design met functionality for smartphones--whether the iPhone's new functionality to match its stupendous design or Android phones like the HTC Desire got the design to leverage and build on high-level underlying functionality.

One more thing. Can you tell who's an Apple and who's a Droid before you see their phone? I'm learning.