Before I start complaining, I would like to offer a little praise for Android. I have been an Android user since I decided to switch from an iPhone 3G to a Nexus 1. It was a true feeling of freedom, no more Jailbreaking in order to get the functionalities I wanted, which Cupertino refused to give, and no more waiting on the talented people building the Jailbreaks to enable me to update to the latest iOS with jailbreak intact. Basically, I had a phone that I purchased and I could do with it what was possible, not just what a fat cat (they are all skinny but you get my point) in California decided I could do with my device.
Sure, the iPhone had great hardware and software, but Android was catching up, and they were doing so quickly. I didn’t have to wait long for Android to pass iOS in terms of functionality, and now we see Apple running desperately after Google trying to catch up. All this open vision and freedom came with some issues. Hardware manufacturers wanted to distinguish themselves from one another, which is perfectly fine, but they were implemented with an old mentality, the firmware mentality not the GUI and app mentality.
Value Added Bloat
It makes me cringe when I hear a manufacturer “add” value to their software by installing things that are unnecessary. At least for some users they are useless. Here they are:
Or Crapps (crap apps) as our very own Ash baptised it. Someone over at Samsung, LG, HTC and even Google themselves decided that some apps are valuable to me. They are so valuable that I cannot uninstall them. “No M, you cannot remove Evernote. It’s for your own good, don’t worry that they have access to all the data on your phone” (more on this later). I decide what I want on my phone and I decide what they can access.
Google is not free from this either. I love all the Google apps, but if I wanted to remove some of them I would not be able to.
Offer the Crapps as exclusive for your customers and let them choose what they want.
Emoticon roulette, send it and hope for the best.
Touchwiz, Sense, Nonsense, Kindasense… Why? They are not better, you are not offering anything good to your customers, you are punishing them. If you want to peddle your horrible UI to users, give the users the chance to not use it if they so choose. Vanilla and your under par UI, give them options. After all Android is about options and freedom, if we just wanted good hardware we would own an iPhone, Windows phone or even Blackberry.
Manufacturers also decided to place the bloody buttons wherever they wanted. Some on the right, some on the left, the menu buttons also suffer with this. Tanim wrote a good article on why we need a fixed menu button.
Same as the Crapps, offer these as exclusive for customers on the Play Store, don’t shove them down our throat.
A lot of the companies are getting better at this, but they are not good enough in some cases. I blame the delay on the arrival of updates on the UI and bloatware implementation. Fix it.
Privacy and Lack of Control
This is the most important one of them all to me. Google introduced an option to block what certain apps can access on your phone a while ago. This didn’t last long, as they removed it shortly after. This option can currently be achieved with Cyanogenmod, but none of the other manufacturers distributions. Give this control back to the customers.
Controlling detailed features of the OS is something sorely missed. I look at that messaging banner popping up like a bloody commercial when I am doing something else and I just mentally bitch slap the person who created that every time.
Lately manufacturers have been removing some hardware options. These are not deal breakers but it is good to have.
Battery, We Need Juice
Some users do want a removable battery, so until manufacturers can figure out a way for a battery to last a week and charge in 10 minutes, we need removable batteries.
SD cards. We are connected most of the time but not 100% of the time, sometimes there are no Clouds. Some of us like to have a local backup while not connected, either to work, watch a movie or in cases that the hardware goes bad.
Yes, I know
Some of you will be saying that most of my complaints can be solved by rooting or flashing a different ROM, but I don’t think I should need to do that just to fix a poor implementation of something. When I pay 500 plus pounds for a phone, I want it working the way I want it to work. This is not an iPhone, freedom to choose brought me and many others to Android, and I hope Google doesn’t forget about this.
Who thought this would be a good idea? “Yes, everyone loves a good pop-up ad. Let’s splash their messages right on top of the video!!!”