I loathe Android for many reasons. I can’t help it, and I apologise for that. I have my reasons, and I believe they are valid, so here we go.
I quite often have arguments with people who support Android and do not understand just how bad it actually is compared to Windows Phone and even iOS. The thing that annoys me the most about these arguments is the constant referral to the amount of apps on the Android Market. The amount of apps is completely irrelevant as it is the quality of the apps that actually matters, and to be truthful, from what I have seen, the quality is quite low. The amount of duplicates, rip-offs and utter crap on Android (and iOS) is just amazing. Last time I checked there were at least 50 fart noise sound boards and I don’t want to know how many copies of the Kama Sutra there are.
The other day, an employee at the Carphone Warehouse and I were talking about Windows Phone and the possibility for it to gain a large section of the market. I was shocked, however, when he claimed that the biggest problem with Windows Phone was that Microsoft were just copying Android. How in the world are they copying Andy Rubin’s ‘open-source’ OS? They are completely different. They could hardly be more different in areas such as design. The Metro design language looks sleek and futuristic, while Android, finally beautiful in stock form thanks to Matias Duarte, is vandalised by crappy, bloaty skins that don’t add to the user experience. Retailers don’t really ever know anything, and thus they promote Droids over the other, potentially better alternatives.
Another problem with Android is the fragmentation of updates. They keep bringing out newer versions but not all phones are getting the updates even though they are capable of running the newer versions. The best example of this would be the HTC Nexus One. It was the first ‘pure Google experience’ phone and was the flagship device for the Froyo update. While it was later updated to Gingerbread, Google have said it will not be officially updated to Ice Cream Sandwich even though it is capable of running it. What is the deal with that? Another example of this would be the Samsung Galaxy S. It was the biggest selling Android smartphone ever when it launched in mid-2010 with Froyo and it did get a Gingerbread update, but now Samsung have said that it won’t get the latest and greatest version of Android even though it remains on sale less than 2 years after launch. Even worse was Samsung’s excuse: it would interfere with TouchWiz. In my opinion that is the stupidest excuse I have ever heard from a phone company. Vlad Savov on The Verge vented his frustration at this and, while most technically-minded people will find ways of updating, Samsung should keep software up to date for at least 18 months after launch. Even when companies do update the software, some can’t even do it well. LG launched the Optimus 2X, the first dual-core smartphone, in early 2011, but now they say it will only receive ICS in June. This isn’t good enough, and this chart illustrates my point.
Yet another problem is the copious amount of malware on the Android OS. Being one of the cause of a large proportion of the #DROIDRAGE out there, it is something that Google should do more to prevent. That is the problem with the developer system for android – anybody can pay £25 and then you are free to upload anything you wish to the Market. With both iOS and Windows Phone, your app must go through an almost-infallible approval process, which is a secure and user friendly approach. The way Android works allows the app count to grow much faster, but when a significant amount of those apps are essentially pointless and potentially harmful, it is not a good thing.
Android is not open. Carriers are in control. The underlying beauty isn’t given the chance to shine through. Retailers aren’t knowledgeable about alternatives. You have no guarantee that your phone will be up to date throughout your 2 year contract. You will buy a phone, only to see it replaced in a matter of weeks. While it has good aspects, these reasons are why I could never live with Android.