What do you guys think of Roboto, Android 4.0 new font which will overtake Droid Sans’ role?

On first impression I find that it is a very refreshing font compare to Droid. Droid comes across as very edgy, very strong.

Fonts really determine the overall user experience. Steve Jobs told everyone how much his course on Typography helped create this overall successful user experience for the iPhone.

Without Helvetica on Mac and IPhone and Segoe UI for Windows 7 and Vista, users would not like using these electronic devices so much.  For me, Droid always make the original Android Cupcake and Donut look funny.

Where Roboto works best is that it looks much like Helvetica or Gill Sans. These are the set of highly readable font that you cannot go wrong, along with Frutiger and Segoe UI.

Roboto is meant more for 720p screen not on Desktop

One thing I did was to see how well Roboto look on Windows desktop. It turns out that it looks rather bad! There were much mentioned that Roboto released is much optimized for high definition display so that’s why there are glyph that makes it look very bad on desktop. (Top part is Roboto bottom is Helvetica)

Roboto a rip off of iOS’s Helvetica?

There are many that says Roboto is a copy cat of Helvetica, but I think it just prove that the kind of font used in Apple and iPhone is a very readable, presentable and at the same time make a good headline.

Why are we talking about it being a rip-off?

John Gruber have a point:

No one — no one — is criticizing Roboto because it isn’t Helvetica. If anything, the complaint is that it’s too similar to Helvetica. Nor is anyone suggesting that Android should use Helvetica as its system font. In fact, if they did use Helvetica as their system font, the criticism would be louder, insofar as they’d be seen as copying from Apple. (Of course, they couldn’t use Helvetica, because Helvetica can’t be included in an open source OS, but that’s beside the point.)

On Segoe, we agree. But note that everyone agrees. No one from Holwerda’s imaginary Apple-defending Helvetica-loving cabal has anything but praise for Segoe, as Metro’s system font. It’s attractive, readable, friendly, and distinctive.

Honestly, I’m just selfish. I want Android to have an attractive system font, if for no other reason than that the system font is going to be used to render Daring Fireball for anyone reading it on an Android device. This idea that designers who favor iOS criticize Android for being poorly designed just because it’s from an Apple competitor is nonsense — a bogeyman construct dreamed up by open source zealots who refuse to believe over a decade of evidence that open source UIs tend to be ugly, and that ugly UIs tend to be unpopular. We criticize Android for being poorly designed because it’s poorly designed. We favor iOS because it’s better designed. That’s it.

How to change your rooted smartphone

  1. Download and install the app Font Changer from the market (requires your device to be rooted)
  2. Download the zip file containing the Roboto font and unzip it (XDA Forum link, Mediafire, Or here)
  3. Open System > Fonts and copy all the three .ttf files from the unzipped folder and paste them into your phone’s SDcard (inside the folder “.fontchanger“)
  4. Open the app in your device and select the font
  5. Reboot
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