Where Android blows itself away, for me.

This is a follow-up to my Why Android blows away the iOS, for me. post. It covered my basic loves for the things I first saw in Android and loved! All of those points are still valid and honestly I still think Android beats iOS, IMO. (Don’t worry iOS fanboys fans…I’ll briefly explain what I mean shortly.)

After almost a year of use on an HTC Evo, I have come to learn a few things about the Android life. Many of them I love…some I loathe! This post focuses on the loathing part. ;-)

iOS

iOS is an amazing OS. It has a ton of sweet features and is smooth as silk. With all that glitz and glam…how could it possibly still not beat Android? Great question. Here’s a short answer: integration, Flash [like it or not, you would use it if it was an option and done right in iOS (which means Adobe and Apple doing it right…not just Adobe)], customization, and usability. See my other post for more details but yeah…iOS is far from perfect and is behind the curve by a ton in numerous areas (hint: still tethering to upgrade/sync your device? yeah…behind the curve).

Why are we talking iOS in this post? Simple: Android blows itself out of the water because there is a big fish in the sea and it is cleaner, swims in safer waters, and is predictable. What I mean is iOS does these things better than Android and these reasons could cause someone to leave Android, sigh a big sigh of relief, and never look back.

Cleaner (Memory Management)

iOS users don’t even know what this means unless they have gobs of videos and music on their device. Trust me…I was once an iPhone user and never hit my 16 GB until I tried to put a few full length movies on it along with my 7+ gigs of music. That didn’t work too well but I knew to just remove some “optional” content [one of the movies (didn’t like the experience anyway), some songs I didn’t listen to, etc] and I was good to go, if I so desired.

Some Android users [pending the device] know this oh too well. Sure…pretty much every single Android device has an SD slot but what does that matter if you can’t install every app on the SD? That’s right…some apps can only go in internal memory [Adobe Flash and Adobe AIR are the two biggest on my Evo and both are stuck on internal memory]. So even though I have 5 GB of free SD space I find myself regularly having to decide which app to delete on my phone just so my abismal internal memory can increase. How annoying is that?

This, honestly, isn’t Google’s fault. I blame the manufacturers [looking at you HTC!!] for choosing SD storage “only” knowing, at the time of the Evo release, apps were mostly installed on SD cards. Heck, the Evo didn’t even come with Froyo so EVERY app at the Evo release was in-memory!! Move to SD was a Froyo feature. Huh? Who at HTC thought this was a good idea?

Now, I also blame developers. Why in the world are you not updating your apps to allow SD card storage? Set android:installLocation to “preferExternal” and let me do what I do! I’m simply sick of having to delete sweet apps because of lazy, uninformed, or careless developers. Now, my banking app…I’m coo w/ that saying in-memory. My settings are remembered, etc so I don’t want that on an SD card. Apps that should not be “removed” [Adobe Flash and AIR] are cool staying internal as well but games/misc apps should be SD card by default.

My points are 1) Android manufacturers who do not provide at least 16 GB of internal memory cripple their customers, 2) Developers are some lazy folks at times, 3) I loathe managing memory, and 4) SD storage should be globally available [to “all” apps, where appropriate] but only if I want to [not because of lacking internal memory]. Remember…choice is why “we” love Android anyway, right?

Safer (Malware)

I really do find it sad to know Android has viruses and not just any virus but a trojan! Yes…true viruses. I need virus protection for my phone. To me this is the last straw in the “Android is to iOS as Windows is to OSX” argument. I loathe virus protection. I didn’t like or use it when I used Windows and LOATHE it on Android. The virus protection apps aren’t bad but seriously…I need one? For the record, I have never “contracted” an Android virus but I’m a power user and probably never will. My wife on the other hand [general user] probably will.

I don’t think I need to expand on this one beyond that, do I? I will say this is one of the only areas where I applaud Apple for their “curated garden”. You can’t get junk through the walls.

Predictable (Fragmentation)

Whatever you iOS lovers think I’m about to say…you’re probably wrong. Fragmentation is rampant in iOS and Android. If everyone is super, no one is super. Same goes w/ fragmentation. It is the nature of the beast [software dev against different hardware] and is understandable [at least to me]. If you don’t believe me, tell me why Verizon isn’t getting iOS 4.3 on 3/11/11? There are many other instances [just ask iPhone 3G users] as well but…that’s not my point.

Apple is predictable. You know every year there is a full version software upgrade and new hardware. Each year they all get thinner,  more magical, etc, etc. You may not know the details but you know it is coming and when your device will or will not get the upgrade. The hardware will also be impeccable, even if it isn’t the best on the market [yep…other phones are more powerful than the iPhone 4]. Of course, there was Antennagate, Glassgate, etc but the phone is still of sexy and of sturdy quality. You can also guarantee iPhone 5 will nix the ‘gate issues.

Android? Nope. Unless you go native Android [Nexus phones mainly] you have to wait until your manufacturer and carrier release the next OS update. Yes Samsung, I’m looking at you specifically. Don’t think I’m leaving you out HTC. Oh and Moto…you too. Heck…all of you! Gingerbread is out…Samsung still couldn’t push Froyo successfully to the Captivate or the Epic! Huh? HTC, when can I expect Gingerbread on my Evo? Actually…when will the Evo 2 release? Same time this year as last? [No, the Slide doesn’t count]

Why are manufacturers not releasing their updates within days or weeks of Google releasing their bits? Google: if you’re holding up manufacturers, you’re destroying your ecosystem. Manufacturers: if you’re just slow, dealing w/ politics, or _________ [fill in that blank], you’re destroying your customer base and Google’s ecosystem.

Either way…consumers lose here. We get allllllll excited about the latest and greatest Gingerbread features only to realize we have absolutely no idea when we will get them. It’s sad. Now rumors of Honeycomb for Android phones! We’re tech junkies. We’d rather not know about new stuff than know and not know when we’re getting it. It is like being told what you’re getting for your birthday but you don’t know when your birthday is so you sit around watching YouTube videos of your new gift, dreaming about the day you’ll play w/ it.

Nutshell

In a nutshell:

  • I love Android and have no plans of going back to iOS, at all.
  • I loathe the slow implementations by manufacturers.
    • They should release the day of Google’s official release or within a few weeks, no more than a month.
    • Manufacturers are destroying the Android ecosystem
    • Google should put out more of their own phones: Nexus S for all carriers.
  • Google should consider curation only in the sense of blocking malware/viruses. The process should never be as bad as Apple’s. [that’s a whole other post]
  • Google should hold their manufacturers to a higher standard.
    • Require higher minimum specs [especially a healthy amount of internal memory]
    • Require tighter release cycles of OS updates

What do you think? Am I just ranting in the wind or do you feel the same way? Let me know in the comments.

  • SeyelentEco

    @johncblandii I switched because while it was a good for a techy like me, it was annoying too. Slow response, crashes, and bugs ruined it.

  • http://twitoaster.com/country-us/johncblandii/ johncblandii

    @SeyelentEco No, they do. Manufacturers are required to do a few things: release source code, etc.

    • http://twitoaster.com/country-us/johncblandii/ johncblandii

      @SeyelentEco Oh, that’s just wishful thinking. Haha. :-D I just want them to release sooner.

  • http://twitoaster.com/country-us/johncblandii/ johncblandii

    @SeyelentEco To be fair, iOS has its fair share of app crashes. It just looks better because the app simply zooms out [closes]. :)

    • SeyelentEco

      @johncblandii yeah, I’m not talking about app crashing. That’s just bad app code, I’m talking about other apps taking resources from my app

  • Andrew

    Hi John, nice site. Found you from a comment on TIPB. Really well thought out post here. As far as fragmentation being an issue, I think the carriers are more of a hold up than the manufacturers are. Thats the only reason I can think of that would explain why Samsung (the most loathed manufacturer as far as updates to Android go) was able to successfully release Froyo to the Galaxy S series around the world while the USA lagged behind. Its seriously considering driving me towards the Nexus S (although I run custom ROMs so I’m not too concerned, I’d still like to have the latest and greatest). I cant wait to see what Google pushes out as a Nexus tablet device. I think when developers have a Nexus device as a benchmark as to what to work on for apps, the whole Android ecosystem benefits as a whole.

    • http://www.johncblandii.com johncblandii

      Thanks!

      Sorry about the delay in response but I agree. The manufacturers are the hold up and Google answered this w/ announcements at IO. Manufacturers gotta step up their game now! WOOT! :-D

  • Vinsci

    My iPad is getting bloated, but, I dbl-click delete running apps, pretty often. Once you feel slow on idevice, delete tasks as described in last sentence.
    I will get the new ipad2 tomorrow, and have 2 offers on my iPad 1 low end , for 400 bux . I am throwing in a 99.00 extra battery case with kickstand. For 20 hours runtime usingnwifi.
    I Checked out more sdk’s for android, Phoenix or eclipse I think. Yikes.
    What is the most Xcode like tool for osx, or Linux, or ugh, windows if I must.
    What is the best wat to port to android from objective C or IOS native cocoa – java. Etc.?

    • http://www.johncblandii.com johncblandii

      You\’ll be in Eclipse for Android dev. :) I\’m sure there are other tools out there since the command line tools can compile the apk for you.

      I have no clue on porting from Objective-C to Java.

      You might check out Adobe AIR. Unless you\’re using some cutting edge stuff [unsupported by AIR 2.7] you can build some pretty sweet mobile apps across multiple platforms with it.

  • Pingback: TiPB, Why So Serious? | John C. Bland II