I am as platform agnostic as anyone can be. I use what works for me per time and have no allegiance to any platform, as many do. Over the years, I have used devices based on as many as six (6) mobile OSes. So far, I have used:
- 10 Symbian OS smartphones
- 6 Windows Mobile OS smartphones
- 2 Android OS smartphones
- 1 Palm OS smartphone
- 1 Maemo OS smartphone
- 1 BlackBerry OS smartphone
While it may look like I have a preference for Symbian,that is not exactly true. I have used Symbian devices more because they have been more available in my environment. In addition, Symbian has offered more options than any other platform – QWERTY candybar, QWERTY slider, touchscreen, and regular keypad. The whole works.
I am currently on my second Android device, the Xperia X10 Mini pro from Sony Ericsson. It is a solid device and a fantastic adaptation and miniaturisation by Sony Ericsson.
Having used the device for a while, here are my thoughts about the Android OS. While the X10 Mini Pro is on version 1.6, nothing that I mention here is strange to the whole range of Android OS versions.
Android OS is an internet addict
The OS was designed ground up to crave an internet connection. To activate an Android phone requires internet access. After its up and running, it keeps you online for as long as there is a connection available. Installed freeware demand internet access, many of them being adware.
The results are too glaring – shorter battery life. And those shorter battery life is much shorter than on competitive platforms like Symbian and Windows Mobile.
Of course another consequence of this internet addiction is that your pocket is likely to be affected one way or the other. A 30-day 100MB or 150MB bundle internet plan may just not last 30 days on an Android device. If you are on a budget, you may want to think about it.
I remember that while i had the N900, I kept exhausting my data plan waaaay before its expiry date.
The browser has poor cache implementation
In a similar thread to the internet addiction is the fact that the built-in Android browser’s cache implementation is awful. Hit the back icon or button while browsing and the browser reloads the previous page afresh via the internet. For those who do not know, this is a general problem with Webkit-based browsers (at least those that I know of).
What does this translate to? More data guzzling and shorter battery life.
Is it so difficult to develop an Android screen shot app?
For all the noise about the Android market now having hundreds of thousands of apps, till today I have not come across something as basic and as useful as a screenshot application.
Screenshot apps are a kobo a dozen on Symbian and Windows Mobile, for example. Even newbie Maemo has a screenshot app – and for free too. Sigh.
Update: Belushi pointed out a screenshot app, Shootme. Typing in the name in the Market search box, I found it quickly, inspite of the fact that searching for terms like “screenshot”, “screensnap” etc didn’t yield any results.
Android is by and large a Geek platform (updated)
Just like the other Linux-based mobile OS Maemo, Android is by and large a geek platform. Many applications require the user to root his device. Rooting is not for the faint-hearted or the uninitiated. Things can go wrong easilly.
To use the screenshot app, Shootme, for example, I had to root my X10 Mini Pro. Tell that to the average Segun on the street. “Rooting”, “Permissions” et al mean nothing to them.
Honestly, many of the Market apps are crapware
I am sorry, but I am not impressed with the hullaballoo about the size of the android Market. My experience is that too many of them are crap. And believe me, it takes days to hunt through all that crap installing one problematic app after another and replacing it with another problematic alternative before finally finding one that really works well.
The rating system is there, but it doesn’t work well.
Poor Battery Life
It looks like Linux-based OSes guzzle more power than their counterparts. Think Maemo. Think Android. The entire pond is full of poor battery life tales. Yes; the touchscreens do contribute (as a matter of fact as much as 50% of battery consumption is from the touchscreen on the average Android device).
Consider that while Blackberry devices have been reputed for good battery life, the new 9800 Torch has been reported as having less than stellar battery life. The touchscreen is the primary suspect here again.
I wonder what it would be like were some manufacturer to experiment with a non-touchscreen Android device.
Does this mean that Android OS is crap and should be thrown out the windows? Not by a long shot.
I enjoyed the Android G1 while I had it, and I have enjoyed the X10 Mini Pro so far. But do bear in mind that, just like every other mobile OS, the Android OS has its quirks and disadvantages.