The Apple vs Samsung debate is one that’s as old as time. Well, maybe not that long but, it has been going on for years and you’re bound to find some passionate advocates on either side.
In a bid to give iPhone users a taste of what they’re missing out on, DDB Tribal Aotearoa created iTest, a web application that mimics the operating system of an Android device, allowing consumers to experience navigation, app interaction, settings, texting/calling, and even the camera features. Designed to replicate Samsung’s intuitive ‘OneUI’ user experience for Android, Tribal went through the challenge of developing such an application that would convert even the most ardent of Apple fans.
In the short time since the app’s launch over 5.5million downloads from over 230 countries have taken place. For the team who originally planned a soft launch just in New Zealand, the response from the tech world was outstanding and lead them to run campaigns in-store and on social to get even more iPhone fans to download iTest.
DDB Tribal Aotearoa senior account director Max Burt shares more about narrowing down the ‘real problem’ to one of fear, the development of and reception to the app.
WHAT WE MADE
iTest, a web app that appears to transform your iPhone into a Samsung and mimics the operating system of an Android device, allowing consumers to experience navigation, app interaction, settings, texting/calling, and even the camera features. We didn’t want the experience to feel like visiting a page through a browser with the address bar showing so our lead developer figured out we could create full screen web apps through adding the app to the home screen.
Convincing people to switch from iPhone is incredibly difficult so Samsung was looking for a way to combat that and get more iPhone users considering Samsung. After digging around we came across the real problem: fear. People are afraid of what they don’t know.
One of the preconceptions many iPhone users have about Samsung and Android in general is that it will be too different from what they’re used to, too complicated and unintuitive. These misconceptions are not easily dispelled and can be found in online articles, consumer research and were even held by some of the team working on this brief.
We knew we were not going to argue people out of these misconceptions. It is so much easier not to act than it is to act. So, we have to make it as easy as humanly possible to experience Samsung first hand. There are always other ideas, lots of them. But as soon as we saw the Samsung OneUI interface on an iPhone, we knew it was something we needed to create.
Obviously, we couldn’t create our experience on the app store. This would have to be a web app that could convincingly mimic Samsung’s OneUI. Our developers have always told us that anything is possible, it just requires time. They’ve been looking for a challenge like this for a long time. There were almost innumerable hurdles, but our dev team just kept jumping them. We didn’t need to look more further than the The Samsung OneUI for inspiration.
Our developers were constantly referencing how things looked and functioned. It seems simple and intuitive but building something that functions like that requires incredible attention to detail.
PROTOTYPE & DESIGN
The developers and creatives worked in tandem, challenging each other, the developers never said no but each new part of the experience they brought to life required creative writing and visuals that would make that entertaining for the user. iOS and Android have literally hundreds of developers working on the operating system at any given time.
For a New Zealand marketing campaign, we had one developer on the tools. With limited resources, we wanted to make the experience as close to the real thing as possible. We mapped out the key functionality and then caught up with the creative and development team each day discussing, prioritising and planning each feature with daily check ins. We believe we hit the sweet spot of functionality of what can be achieved with limited time.
One of the only reasons this was possible is that everyone required from a build and creative point of view were in the building. It’s the advantage of having a digital and creative agency under the same roof and the teams have a long relationship of working together.
Apple would have never allowed us to create an app through the App Store. It would have been rejected straight away. So, we always knew it needed to be a web app. At the same time, we didn’t want the experience to feel like visiting a page through a browser with the address bar showing. Luckily our lead developer figured out we could create full screen web apps through adding the app to the home screen. This made the experience feel like an app without having to download from the App Store.
We caught up daily with the developers and creatives. Our lead developer would demo the progress for the day. Then we’d test together and discuss what worked and what didn’t. We’d then often iterate functionality until it felt right. The rivalry between Apple and Samsung is long and well documented. The idea of this experience was not to denigrate Apple in any way but to simply serve up an entertaining Samsung UI experience in a way that iPhone users could compare. Is it a bit cheeky? Sure.
With the response we’ve had data has been in no short supply. We do have plans for further improvements and the experience being a web app means that when we want to make updates it can be done without being blocked by App Store realities.
It doesn’t matter where you are in the world you can build something the whole world can experience. Global companies like Samsung can look to innovative places like New Zealand not just for ideas and products for the antipodean market, but for the whole world. In only a month 5.5 million iPhone users tried out a Samsung.