The Android Hubbub


I wrote a few months back about dumping the iPhone in favor of an Android phone running on Verizon, not because I didn’t like the iPhone but because I despised AT&T.

We hear a lot about how fast the adoption of Android is and how it is taking over as the #1 mobile operating system.  Sure, when carriers are signing up to sell as many Android handsets as possible it’s no wonder Google claims the adoption rate is so high.  One thing the numbers don’t take into account is quality, we need to remember that quantity does not equate to quality.

Since October 2010 I have been using a Droid X and having come from an iPhone 3GS, I think I have a fair amount of experience using both platforms.  Comparing the experience of using both, I arrive at the following conclusions:

  • The Droid X is nice hardware, very comparable to the iPhone
  • The Droid X running Android is quite a bit slower than the 3GS.  Remember, the 3GS hardware is pretty old.  Applications are not nearly as responsive as the iPhone.
  • The Android applications I used crash quite often.  I don’t want to name any but suffice to say, very similar applications with some being from the same company, crash more often than is acceptable.
  • The aesthetics of the iOS applications are far and above any Android application.  I struggle to find an acceptable beauty in any, with the slight exception of the official Twitter application.
  • Applications on Android have an inconsistent user interface, maybe because of the lack of quality control going into the process of putting something in the app store.

After using the Droid X for these months I can safely say it was a suffering experience.  I grew to a real dislike for the device and often times hoped I would lose the phone or have it fall to an untimely death just so I had an excuse to replace it.

I am happy to report that I have come to my last ounce of patients with Android and am returning to the iPhone.  Oh how I have missed you.  I had hoped to wait until the iPhone 5 was available but resolved that life is too short to have to have a sub-par mobile experience.

I ran into an article recently titled, “Android Isn’t About Building a Mobile Platform“, which really explains a lot about Google’s drive behind creating Android:

Google is building Android not so they can make great mobile devices and sell them to consumers. Rather, they are making them for these two simple reasons: (1) to disrupt Apple’s growing dominance of mobile devices, both so Google doesn’t have to rely on Apple for access to their users and to eliminate their paid-for application model; and (2) so Google can control the mobile industry and thus secure advertising from it.

It makes a lot of sense and is brilliantly clear but a shame.  I believe if the goal is not to create a great mobile platform but rather just a conduit for advertising then it will always be sub-par.

So to my readers, I am not writing this post to complain, but to warn.  I write this from the standpoint of someone who has given two popular mobile platforms a fair shake and come to the realization how different they are.  Different can be good but it can also be a step backwards, Android is certainly a step in the backwards direction.  The grass is not greener on the other side of this fence, there are just seeds on this other side.  It’s young and will likely evolve but it has a long way to go.  Appreciate your iPhone as I will, which is out for delivery and will arrive today.

  • bryanl

    It’s a shame that you can’t find a phone platform that suits your tastes. Doesn’t it feel weird to say all those harsh things about iOS and then go back to it?

  • Rob Bazinet

    Actually Brian, I didn’t say harsh things about iOS but for AT&T. I thought I was clear about that, but maybe. For the record, and if you read what I wrote, I love the iPhone but despise AT&T. So, iOS does fit my taste and now with Verizon I can actually make phone calls.

    Make sense?

  • Nicolas Bailly

    The article you quote doesn’t really make sense to me. I mean of course google is developping Android in order to have a mobile advertisement platform, that’s their business model and they’ve never tried to hide it. But if they want people to buy Android phones they have to make sure that the OS (and the phones, but there’s not much Google can do about it except for the Nexus One and Nexus S) is great and works properly so that people will want to buy android devices.
    Apple’s aim is not to make good phones either. Their only goal is to make money by selling phones, but they also have to make sure their phones are actually good if they want people to buy them.

  • Ben Anderton

    I find it difficult to accept Android as a step in a backwards direction. I suppose it comes down to how you use your phone, the iPhone has a more intuitive UI and better hardware but that’s about all as far as I’m concerned. Android holds its advantages in the more technical side of things. For example my band practices in a dingy old warehouse with no WiFi signal or available Internet, within three button presses I’ve created a secure mobile hotspot and can connect my laptop to it.

    Not saying the iPhone is a bad phone, I just think it’s a very Apple phone which isn’t for me.

  • Rob Bazinet

    Ben, well..this is only my opinion. If I had to sum up my labeling of Android as a step backwards is lack of apps. The App Store is so much better with the quality of apps as Android. I used Android for 6 months and never experienced so many broken apps before, running fine then crashing.

    I am sure Android will mature. The fact that Google is not going to open up Gingerbread as fast as other versions which should help with fragmentation. I was really disappointed with Motorola UI over stock Android as well as their pace of releases of updates.

    I had the iPhone to use before I used the Droid X, so comparing the two operating systems was no comparison to me. I saw all the holes in Android after using iOS. This is just a matter of preference I guess.

    Everyone has their preference and what makes them happy. This post is just my hands-on experience with both, which I think is more than most users. I read too many tweets and blog posts that throw stones at one side or the other but they have never visited both sides…as I have.

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