Adieu Android, or bienvenue iPhone!

December 23, 2011
rants android ios

My foray into the world of Android phones is finally at an end, and am now the owner of a shiny iPhone 4S. It was an interesting experiment, and there were a few features that I will miss that I haven’t found a way to do on the iPhone, but the Android experience finally got bad enough (and I hit my 2 year contract anniversary) to push for a phone upgrade at work. There were just too many issues with my Droid and Android in general from a usability standpoint to suffer it any further. Issues with the Android ecosystem (at least as I’ve been able to experience it… maybe 4.0 will really start to address some of their problems):

  • unresponsive UI
    • terrible battery life
    • “bad” apps easily leading to worse battery life or constant “force closes”
    • fragmentation (hard for app devs to write once and get it to work well on all of the different kinds of hardware and OS versions + hacked vendor UIs)
    • short window of hardware vendor support for major OS updates, typically much less than the typical 2 year contract (infographic)

The Motorola phone hardware was pretty robust (only minor dings after 2 years and I dropped it on concrete/asphalt more times than I’d really like to admit), but the software was just too awful. If you want a specific example, once I tried to call Amanda with my Droid. I was able to pull up her entry in my contacts, but then the UI went out to lunch and refused any input when I’d try clicking on the number I wanted to call or anything else for that matter. After a minute or so of poking it, I gave up, hit the power/sleep button, and put it back in my pocket. Ten minutes later, it finally got around to calling her from my pocket. I’m generally a fan of Google, but Android seems to have less polish on it than their usually “beta” web applications. When your solution to unresponsive software and poor battery life is to bump up the hardware specs every month (now with a 2 GHz dual core!), I think you’re missing the mark. Really seems like they need to take some time and work on optimizing the software to better suit mobile use than to just rely on Moore’s law to make up for clunky software.