I’m going to take a break from my regular blogging about educational technology to discuss something that really irks me. Android.
I was young, in love, and naive. I should have coughed up the money and went with an Iphone but no… I was lured in by the promise of open-source and Google and freedom from Steve Jobs. At first the relationship was great, we were a perfect fit – I use Google every day so the ability to search right from my homescreen, connect everything on my phone to my Google Account, and customize the background and apps were wonderful.
But then the relationship turned sour. My first phone was a mytouch – which was incredibly slow and glitchy and had to be sent back in to T-Mobile no less than 3 times until I accidently dropped it and cracked the screen – forever ending my ability to have the thing replaced. I sent it in so many times because it was SO SLOW and took forever to load things, frequently force closed applications, dropped calls, and would even call the wrong person on a regular basis (and this was before I dropped it). Finally I traded in my first phone for a newer, shinier version which promised great things.
When I bought the Samsung Vibrant, T-mobile promised an upgrade to Android 2.2 before the end of the year. Stupid me to actually believe them. It’s now January and there is no sign of an upgrade, and I read the most disturbing rumor mill story recently that Samsung was actually delaying the upgrade because they are about to release a newer, shinier version of the Vibrant. This rumor went on to say that the “new” Vibrant is really just the old Vibrant, same guts and all, with a plus at the end of it’s name.
If I could sum up the problems facing the Android platform as a whole it would be this (and I hope the Google and the carriers are reading this):
- fragmentation – there are currently phones with operating systems dating back to 1.6 (or earlier!) all the way to 2.3 (if you’re a developer) which causes irritation for the consumers *who care* and the App developers – imagine trying to create an app that works on
- carrier modifications/set-backs – before each version of the OS is pushed out to the lucky few phones that get it, first the hardware companies and then the carriers tweak and add their own doo-dads on. This results in a several month lag between when Google releases it and when it actually starts arriving at handsets.
- Android Market – I almost wish I could say “enough said” but unfortunately there are probably those out there who aren’t aware. The Market is unreliable and if there is a way to sort your results then I haven’t found it yet. Plus I don’t know if the apps are vetted at all (doubtful) but there is a lot of junk mixed in with the gems if you know what I mean. Oh and did you know there are other Markets springing up that aren’t run by google? (Ex. Amazon App Store)
- No Flash – SERIOUSLY – unless you have 2.2 there is no flash support. This is the thing that Iphones were lambasted about not having and yet Android has not had flash support until very recently and again only for the lucky few with the newest phone.
Now to be fair there are things that I do like about the Android platform – I like the idea of open source (although not the execution), I like the customization that you can get on an Android phone that Steve Jobs wont allow, and I like not being tied to AT&T (although that is obviously less of an issue now that Verizon has picked up the slack). But you can’t argue that the simplicity of the Iphone is a huge plus. You may not be able to customize it, but this also means that it is easy to use. Steve Jobs may rule the app market with an iron fist but you also know that you get what you pay (or don’t) for. I can’t say that I will jump ship any time soon from my contract with T-mobile (I still have another year and a half technically) but I am vociferously discontent.
So if you too have been burned by your love of Android – don’t be shy, don’t stay quiet. Maybe if we all keep talking about it they will fix something… maybe. It’s worth a shot anyways. I even propose a new hashtag #WhyAndroidWhy for the discussion.
In the meantime, will someone please ask Samsung to send me my Froyo!
P.S. I am aware that you can root the android phones and upgrade them and all that jazz, but I’m hesitant to do so and void my warranty. As stated earlier I do have a tendency to drop my phone on a semi-regular basis and really need to be able to send it in when I do!