The problem with Android

Discussion in 'Travel Technology' started by ACMM, Oct 28, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. ACMM
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    ACMM Gold Member

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  2. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    Good article, and big problem for Android devices. For me, the big Android advantage, as once of the comments points out, in in the far greater set of options in terms of hardware, lower priced models, and unlocked, untied phones and devices. Personally, I soured on iTunes proprietary nonsense years ago, and while I recognize the ease-of use, more elegant and integrated design advantages of the iPhone, I still lean towards an Android device, especially since I'm not US-based or tied to a carrier/plan.
     
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  3. Espan

    Espan Silver Member

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    p.s. All that said, everyone I know who has an iPhone or iPad is thrilled w/ it... Can't say the same for folks like me struggling on other platforms...
     
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  4. mowogo
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    mowogo Gold Member

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    I've been on android for a little over a year, and am honestly considering going back to an iPhone for my next phone since it is now on Sprint. The ease of use and better quality of applications available in the app store really have me wanting to go back. And the Sprint setup of unlocking the SIM card for valuable customers works for me. Makes it so I have a good world phone that still works as my US phone without any real problems.
     
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  5. kenbo
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    kenbo Silver Member

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    Agreed with the ease of use for the iPhone. It just works.

    With my Android device, I updated to 2.3 and now my phone can't be recognized by my computer when I plug it in via USB. Weak! I like the customization capabilities of Android but when an OS update takes away basic functionality of a phone, there's definitely something wrong.
     
  6. FlyingBear
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    FlyingBear Silver Member

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    While I hate my current Android phone with a passion (T-mobile Galaxy S 4G, 2.2), thinking of having iTunes on my computer makes me forgive most (not all) its faults. I am sure that overtime, and short time at that, Android will be more stable/usable and will be faster than iOS at implementing new features. For all the cries about Apple innovating and Google copying, we should forget that Apple also copied/followed Android with more than one feature.
     
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  7. Grace
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    Grace Silver Member

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    As someone who was very anti-apple, but recently switched from Android to iPhone here are my 2 cents:
    I agree that fragmentation is a huge problem. Granted, I was on a lower-end handset (which is a + that there are many price points) and before I would download an app I would always read reviews about what phone the app would or wouldn't work on. You constantly had to play the "will this work or will it just force close" game. Also, sometimes an upgrade to an app would totally kill the system.

    I have noticed that iTunes doesn't have the depth of apps to choose from for the things I have looked up, but at least I know that if I download something it will work. Also, many companies seem to offer an iOS app first (for example, MilePoint ;)), then add on Android later.

    Put me in the "it just works" camp for the iPhone 4S. After WinMo 6.x and Android 1.5-2.2 I'm on the iPhone.
     
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  8. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    As a hobbyist app developer this is exactly why I try to stay away from trying to write Android Apps. Because the Android market is so segmented I have to write at least 2 or 3 different versions of any app that I release, or I run the risk of having bad reviews from people running the Android versions that I don't support. And nothing kills your downloads like having a bunch of 1 star ratings.

    I would also like to point out that Windows Phone 7 seems to be a sort of "middle of the road" approach between Android and iPhone in the regards mentioned in the OP's article. Microsoft allows multiple platforms, but has a robust enough set of minimum requirements that the individual hardware devices don't become obsoleted very quickly. Except for the one-month migration time from 7.0 to 7.5 (Mango) everyone is running the exact same OS, so as a developer I only have to target one platform at a time. The same is true for iPhone, but WP7 also targets multiple devices (e.g. Samsung, HTC, LG, and now Nokia), so there is still some degree of customization available.

    Of course I'm plugging WP7 because I'm an app developer - but I do honestly think the platform is great. And it's in a good strategic position between the diversity of Android and the monolithic control of Apple/iTunes. The major drawback so far is the lack of "official" apps (e.g. like there's no milepoint app), but with the ease of developing on the .NET/Silverlight platform they're going to come quickly, esp. if WP7 starts to catch on.
     
  9. Grace
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    Grace Silver Member

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    Just read the article and one of the delays is something that annoys many people anyway. The OS has to go from Google to the device manufacturer to the carrier. The carrier has to put their bloatware crap on the device or they hold back for certain devices (almost intentionally it seems). I had the Samsung Intercept from Virgin Mobile. It shipped as 2.1, but the Sprint version for 2.2 a couple months before Virgin Mobile did. Obviously 2.2 had gone from Google to Samsung, but was delayed from Samsung to VM. Since the VM ROM is very vanilla the only explanation I can think of is holding it back since it's a lower tiered carrier. At that time it was the highest end Android device VM had so it's not like they were trying to encourage a more expensive phone, but I'm sure that may be a reason for delay other times as well. By the time intercept got 2.2, 2.3 was already released. As of last week that was still not on the intercept and I figure it was probably never going to get it.
     
  10. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    It's certainly true that there are multiple companies involved while Apple is just one, which isn't necessarily helpful when it comes to getting new versions out to the end users.

    Or maybe they are not willing or able to spend as much of their effort on updating their existing customers as their competitors because they sold you a (comparably) cheap device with a (comparably) cheap no-contract plan? Kind of like when I buy a Mercedes and take it in for service, they give me a free loaner for the day while Toyota makes me rent one.

    And yes, I'd much prefer if the various device manufacturers didn't spend so much effort customizing their version of Android... but on the flip side I like the diversity of the Android eco system. If I don't like the iPhone 4S, I have to wait another year and hope the next one is matching my needs/tastes. With Android there will be something new/better/different next month :)
     
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  11. Grace
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    Grace Silver Member

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    Another downside to Android is if you are a bleeding edge person there is a new top-of-the-line device every other month or so. With the iPhone there is just 1 per year. Ironically, my ex has had every single iPhone released (including the verizon and at&t version of the 4), but I have the 4S and he doesn't.

    I like Android, but I feel like with the iPhone I can use it for over 18 months where as with low end Androids I was replacing them every 8 months.
     
  12. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    I think we're seeing Windows vs. MacOS played out all over again. By having essentially one current and one (sometimes two) 'still supported' iPhone models Apple guarantees itself a sizable, but ultimately finite market share; it's silly to assume that everyone in the world will settle to having the same phone as everyone else.

    The article pretty much nails it. The unfortunate part about Google's approach is that they don't see themselves as being in business of developing complete, finished, working phones together with OEM partners. They are in business of making a 'generic' OS that works on some reference hardware. It's easier, because they aren't responsible for the actual devices used by their users, but it creates the problem described in the article where a new OS version is all over the news, but phones don't get updated until 6 months later, if ever. Instead, Google could (should?) work with all willing OEMs to make sure new devices and updates for older devices are ready at the same time new Android versions are released.

    To be fair, aside from having a much wider variety of hardware (like physical keyboard) at various price points, Android is quicker to adopt new technologies like multi-core processors for faster performance and better battery life, NFC chips, better cameras, etc. iPhone 4S is the first iOS model with dual-core chips, so performance gap between iPhone 4S and 3GS is going to be huge - much higher than the gap between 4 and 3GS. Applications developed for single-code devices seem to work fine 4 and 3GS, but I wonder if games developed to take advantage of 4S super-fast CPU will have trouble providing adequate user experience on 3GS. There is a reason Siri is not available for 4 and 3GS users.

    Maybe you should not have settled for a low-end Android? Getting one is much like picking up a free (with contract) 3GS today - those devices are unlikely to get iOS 6 upgrade, and won't be supported by Apple for the next 18 months. Nexus One (just ditched by Google and mentioned in the article) is almost 2 years old, so I think 18-month active life is rather common among Android phones, at least at the higher end of the market.
     
  13. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

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    By distancing from the user, yes, you often get to do last-minute technically cool things, but at the cost of user experience. The unfortunate part about the fragmentation combined with the Google distant OS stance is a lot very basic functionality is up to the OEM (e.g. something as fundamental as a keyboard driver). This often translates to something nice done by HTC not being available on say Samsung, or vice versa. Plus, of course that also adds a huge update delay.

    Dual core is really just a marketing differentiator - "my phone is quad core, surely it must be faster than single core phone made *gasp* a few months ago?". From an end-user perspective, there's minimal (if any; speed difference and a very noticeable battery drop. That's not to say we will never get a useful return on those; however, for the next year or two that's just marketing tagline. (very much same as "4g" - in most cases what you notice is reduced battery life, while in general MO networks can't maintain good 3g speed at least in USA. If you're unsure, compare your 3g experience anywhere outside of north america to a "4g" experience in any major US city.)

    * - the above are entirely personal ramblings/viewpoints, not affiliated nor endorsed by anyone.
     
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  14. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Might be changing a bit with the Motorola acquisition.



    Kind of like iOS5 getting announced/introduced with great fanfare on June 6 and released Oct 4?

    I think of the recent introduction of ICS as the equivalent of the iOS5 launch at WWDC in June. Developers and partners get seeded with the OS and SDK and can start adapting their products. And (un?)like Apple they can release when they are ready.

    Yes, more 4S upgrade sales for Apple :) . Or why is there no Siri for the iPad 2, which I believe has the same CPU as the 4S? I suspect the next iPad will have it. Maybe Apple should offer features like Siri for older devices as an optional paid sofware download? (they already have their own paid iOS apps, eg their office suite)

    Bingo! But when I just looked at the plans of Virgin Mobile, they did look quite tempting. Might have to downgrade my wife ;)
     
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  15. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    We can agree to disagree, as politicians fond of saying. :)

    I believe multi-core chips do have advantages over single-core chips, and a dual-core 1GHz chip is certainly faster than a single-core 1GHz one. How that difference in speed affects end users depends heavily on the OS and applications, but better multi-tasking is one of major benefits. Multi-core chips also consume less power than higher-clocked single-core chips while providing similar performance, as desktop and laptop users have discovered several years ago.

    4G in the US unfortunately is indeed a marketing ploy, at least until LTE is widely available. I blame T-Mobile for labeling their HSPA+ network '4G' when it is 3.5G at best and when no devices capable of coming close to theoretical max speeds are available. Everyone followed suit. FWIW, I was quite impressed by early LTE devices, though perhaps it's a function of the low number of people using LTE towers these days.
     
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  16. legalalien
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    legalalien Gold Member

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    Dunno about that. I don't believe they will be able to run Motorola phone division and keep Samsung, HTC, and other Tier-1 OEMs on board Android train. It never happened before, and I don't see how this time is any different.

    By the way, MSFT will have the same problem if they decide to get too close with Nokia.

    Yes...but...CDMA/EVDO is even slower than HSPA.

    And you did mean, "downgrade my wife's phone", right? :)
     
  17. FlyingBear
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    FlyingBear Silver Member

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    That is quite untrue on the smartphone market and there are plenty of benchmarks proving just that, both for the iPhone and for the Android phones. You might be thinking about desktop computers of 6 years ago?
     
  18. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    My wife is on Sprint anyway, so no network change. And yes, downgrade her phone :)
     
  19. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

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    Agree on all counts with this. With that said, the multi-core same clock vs one-core higher clock is irrelevant since the choice is made due to heat constraints.

    Similarly my point isn't of theoretical speed difference - if you run a benchmark, you will get faster numbers. But merely the end-user experience (hence the year or two for something useful to come from the os/application sphere). I just don't see anything a typical user would notice now other than lower battery life.
     
  20. yaychemistry

    yaychemistry Silver Member

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    This is especially true from a developer stand-point. It's often difficult to write an app that takes advantage of multicore architectures. It's much much easier to write an app that uses only a single core. So from an end-user standpoint often times their apps only use half of the phone's processing power.
     
  21. Travel2Food
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    Travel2Food Silver Member

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    I'm not. Too many limitations on the iPad. It won't (due to the way the software developers have limited things) do any number of things that I want/need it to.

    Examples:
    1) Can't read CF camera cards, not even with the Camera Kit and a card adapter. "Too much power" error messages.
    2) Once I get photos into the iPad using the camera's USB jack, I can't write them out to an SD card or external memory.
    3) I have found a way to transfer (some) of the photos to my NAS box without using iTunes, but it's a kluge of apps.
    4) Can't use my network laser printer. I either have to tether/print through a full computer on the network, or spend the $$$ to get a new (and unnecessary) printer that supports Apple protocol
    5) Problems with filtering/sorting/folders on email
    6) Needed to spend several hundred $$ for an adapter to allow use of XM Weather on the iPad. Works with just USB on a Windows tablet.

    and some other stuff that's annoying but I've found a work-around.

    So, it's OK, but Apple has designed it to be so limited that it really impedes efficient use for me.
     
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  22. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    Add me as another Ipad user who is less than thrilled. Lack of flash is a problem, ug's that take away features I used with no warning, etc.
     
  23. ACMM
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    Which features did you have that you no longer have?

     
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  24. dmel

    dmel Gold Member

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    Can you say more about this? What works for you?

    I don't have NAS currently but am curious.

    Sent from my iPhone using milepoint
     
  25. FlyingBear
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    FlyingBear Silver Member

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    I am still not sure where you are getting your information from. Everything I've read, the new families of dual core processors for smartphones improved not only synthetic benchmarks, but user experiences as well. That's both for Android and Apple phones. The benefits ranged from faster UI overall to faster gaming and app performance. You are also neglecting the fact that dual cores already have to feed higher definition displays so even if you personally saw no difference in performance, the processor has to work that much better to feed all those pixels.
     

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