People are going gargar over the Droid font – which is part of the Google’s Android release. They never border to explain “Why” Google come up with their own font in the first place. Maybe it’s so obvious that they didn’t border to explain, but here’s why:
To have complete control of the UI when you are dealing with multiple handset manufactures, you’ll need your own font. Take a look at the Samsung, LG or even a Motorola phone and you’ll notice all the handset manufactures tends to use their own propietary font – and they all look different.
Funny enough, at Yahoo! we did the same thing with Yahoo! Go. When we develop the Yahoo! Go client last year, we commissioned Meta Design to create a set of bit map font that would look nice on 128, 176, and QVGA screens.
We needed the font since we want to make sure the user experience (of the software client) is identical no matter what handset you are using Yahoo! Go on. We never name the font officially, but it’s always called the Yahoo! Go font or YGo16 as an example (Yahoo! Go 16 pixel). I once proposed to name the font family Hamburg, but no one took me seriously. 😛
I suggested that since it’s a tradition (in the tech world anyway) to name bitmap font after city names (think Chicago, Cairo) plus the good majority of the development team of Yahoo! Go’s based out of Hamburg, Germany.
Back to the Droid font. It’s a very nice looking font, but one has to wonder how the font will hold up on a 128×160 tiny screen when you are trying to read a big chuck of text. But maybe we won’t if there’s no 126×160 screen size devices.
Droid font doesn’t seems too compress to me and I am not sure about that. I am not saying all mobile font has to be a compressed font, but compressed fonts tends to work better when you are dealing with the portrait mobile screens. The Series 60 San (Nokia) fonts family is a classic case of good mobile optimized font – and clearly the Droid font took a different direction. Things you took for granted working on the Web has to be re-fector. Isn’t mobile fun?