An extremely vocal minority of Android users think they represent the whole, and they express intense, childish entitlement and resentment against developers who choose either not to develop an Android app or to give advantages to their iOS app. This minority demands equality for their platform with the intensity, victimhood, and entitlement you’d expect as if it was a civil rights issue.
Fortunately, it’s not.
I’m building a new app this summer, and no matter how much people badger me, I won’t go near Android this time. Their promised support and demand never panned out. I’ve learned my lesson: no matter what the vocal minority says, the rest of the market won’t back them up. It’s simply not worth it for this iOS developer to waste any time on an Android port. Your mileage may vary.
Why Samsung Androids? Because right now they’re the cheapest phones in their segments. To put it mildly, economy of scale applies to the Android device market — and the absence of any royalty payments for the OS is a nice extra. Operators make more money by selling their clients Androids than on iPhones, BlackBerries, Nokias, and all the rest.
Thus, once consumers arrive in the operator store the clerks efficiently steer them toward the Samsung Androids that make everybody most money. (Unless the consumer demands an iPhone, of course. That short-circuits the plan.)
Many consumers don’t particularly want to surf on their phones, because they don’t see the point and they think it’ll cost them a lot of money (and, especially in the developing world, they are likely right). A friend of mine, who recently got a mid-range Samsung Android with his new contract, explicitly asked me to turn off his Internet access because of the cost.
What I think is happening is that consumers who in the past would have been happy with a mid-range Nokia are now buying mid-range Androids. They don’t really care what kind of phone they have, so they’re willing to take a Galaxy, especially if it’s “free.” But they won’t surf. That’s too expensive.
Use the best tool is probably the best “tech-philosophy” out there. I think a good deal of company managers forget that most people think like that and assume that consumers are some sort of “herd” you possess and that won’t go away, no matter what stupid decisions you make to screw them over.
I do disagree on Guy on his opinions on widgets and the rest of Android all-over-the-wall approach though. But i strongly feel that it’s basically a matter of personal preferences and focus, not exactly what’s better technological wise. I’m a strong minimalist / just want it to work effectively /no fuss kind of guy when it relates to my phone.
I will rather have a simple cheap phone that does what a phone should do really well than have a crappy cheap Android phone that might be a reasonable pocket computer but a lousy phone. I love general purpose “full computers” but for some items i just want them to work really, really well. No fuss! My brief experiences with iOS were perfect on that matter. My experiences with Android were everything but that.
I have no doubt that my “first” smartphone will be an Android, though. iPhone’s current prices are absurdly expensive for my very slim wallet, and even though i had some hopes for WebOS and Windows Phone 7 (and even Blackberry) they all managed to drop the ball one way or another, (( considering my ideal of a phone )) which is a damn shame. However every time i open up my browser on my carrier’s available smartphones, i never find a single phone that i simultaneously really want or can afford. Maybe Blackberry with its recent skydiving prices and it’s new BB10 OS will do that i strongly doubt it.
PS: For any marketing department out there that somehow want to influence “all of the 20 daily readers” this website has, i’m perfectly happy to receive a free sampling of your smartphone line for analysis! (wink wink)
Not sure how to square the disparity here other than to assume that an awful lot of Android smartphones don’t really get used as smartphones.
Jason Grigsby disagrees and says:
The UI for joining a Wi-Fi network on Android is easy to miss. (( about this check this post ))
People at lower income levels are less likely to have access to Wi-Fi networks on a regular basis.
So basically they are both saying the same think but while Grigsby focuses on the reasons, Gruber focuses on the consequences which is that Android phones are not really used as smartphones.
That might be for the reasons that Grigsby elaborated but the end result is that as smartphones they pretty much are only used for the typical on-the-road features of a modern “feature phone”: GPS services and mail. Everything else, the “smartphone” things that an iOS user would do at an available wifi network either at home or work, is pretty much not used in Android phones. Which bring us back to the original point.
You can get an Android phone for little more than 75€. At that price most people don’t even realize what they are actually buying and don’t realize that you can do something else with it. Considering the absolute chaos and unfriendly experience that is Google Play (( with apps that don’t download, apps that download but don’t start, apps that just go missing and a random craziness of chaos )) it’s a miracle that they actually use some sort of app that requires internet connection.
“Starting with iOS 5, the same 58 font families are now installed on both the iPad and iPhone. Hooray for more Gill Sans on the iPhone. (Fonts installed on Android: 3.)”
There’s an educational wifi network in most of the european universities called eduroam. It’s a “enterprise” network, using an 802.1x security certificate, so you need to install your institution certificate file before using the login and password.
I was trying to help a coworker configuring his brand new Android phone. I thought it would be rather simple, as I had previously configured a iPod Touch a year or so ago and it was just finding the file and importing it. Nop. Not a chance.
So, a quick case study of what needs to be corrected by Android in user friendliness before actually announcing to the world that it is the new Master…
This is just an excerpt of the 20 steps or so of the configuration procedure. !? After 20 steps of a tedious process, you still might find that it will or it will not work, and if not maybe try again with these settings…
Some team really needs to go back to the “drawing board”…
So why are so many people fixated on “the true definition” of multitasking on a phone? These are the same people who are constantly closing apps that are running to save battery life. Why should you have to do this anyways? Doesn’t it seem insane that you are manually flipping apps on and off to save battery?
Yep. Exactly. And exactly why i gave up the idea of acquiring an Android Phone. I’ll just get a cheap “feature phone” until I can buy a cheaper iPhone or the new Hp WebOS phones are available and I can try one out.
I’ve been looking around these last two weeks for a new mobile phone, to replace my old one who had a unfortunately screen collapse. And it’s been a very elucidative experience.
For once, i looked on the iPhone obviously, but my previous idea still holds. It’s very nice. Well built. And i wouldn’t mind at all of having one. But no way that i will spend almost 500€ to have one! That’s basically half of my monthly PhD Governmental Scholarship! And if i actually had that much money laying around, do i really need this phone?
It’s always a good idea to clarify what you need, what you want and what you would like to have. It’s also very useful to clarify what you really don’t want or what is a deal breaker. I usually just start looking around, with illusions of grandness until i realize the dark dark world, and reposition my expectations to a better level of adequacy. And this means avoiding 500€ phones and start looking at those under 150€, preferably 100€. I refuse to give more than this for a phone. (My relatives and friends would gladly explain to you that i have serious issues with the omnipresence of phones and their control over our lives…)
So i decided what I really really demanded for my new phone:
- Ability to synchronize contacts and Calendar with my Mac. (iSync or other). I’m tired of loosing contacts, having multiple versions of it on the computer and phone and backups, and copying them by hand when i change phones. (which happened just a couple of times but even so…)
- Ability to charge through a USB port. As i explained before, i find the idea of carrying around a phone charger something completely absurd and anachronistic.
Then i found out what i would like to have from a phone:
- Easy, functional email ability, a la Blackberry.
- Wifi, for the email functionality. I don’t want to spend money on a data plan when i have wifi all around me.
- Some Application ability, so that i can install some sort of WordPress blogging application and blog ideas and photos from my phone. (Granted this can be done from email, but i would prefer a isolated application).
And, then what i would like to have but wouldn’t spent more than and additional 25€ to get:
- Some useful browsing ability, that isn’t terribly handicapped like the blackberry, or the regular “feature phones”.
Armed with these solid, thought up requirements, i started looking the online stores of my carrier and other specialized sellers. And it’s been a blast…
First: As i stated before, Nokia have stranded themselves in the XX Century. Their phones are now subpar on OS technology, subpar on hardware features and I won’t even begin to mention the decline in build quality that’s been noticed in the last years.
Second: Blackberrys are a no go also. I’ve looked them again and discovered that you actually don’t need a Blackberry data plan to use them as smart phones, but just the alternative email application on the Blackberry App Store is another 25€, adding to the phone price. Just turned red on my book.
Third: Android phones, although much inline with the pricing i want, seem to combine the mess of the non-polished non-user friendly Linux Distros (which are unfortunately the vast majority of the Linux distros out there) with the “crapware experience” you get when you buy a Windows laptop utterly messed up by its maker with “free software demos”. (kind of a Sony Vaio, but even worse)
The phone that first caught my eye, a rebranded ZTE Blade ((Also known as Orange San Francisco)) as Sapo A5, has an Android market & a Carrier Market. A Gmail Maps & a carrier maps & a GPS program with some more maps. An animated background screen showing battery info, which i’m sure will help allot the battery life, in conjunction with a animated weather widgets. At least, this is what i’ve seen on its pictures , as the first batch sold was quickly withdrawn from the market with several manufacturer defects. I’ve also seen other phones but they are the same stuff, but with different carrier apps. They have so many duplicate apps and other random stuff i can’t identify in the app screen, that it is perfectly possible that a brand new phone on the shop has 3 “screens” full of app icons. It took me a couple of minutes just to find the SMS app.
Then i started looking around in forums, always a good source of “Common Joe” experience, and went to my favorite portuguese speaking forum. And then i really really noticed the difference between iOS and Android. In the iOS sub-forum, you have a couple of active threads, with topic subjects on some slight user difficulties, useful tips, and some discussions regarding pricing and purchasing options. On the Android sub-forum, you have topic threads of over 200 pages just for each single cell phone model and brand, discussions on tens of modified roms as the carrier or maker never updates soon enough, modified applications, several ways of installing and several third parties applications that do something as simple 3G data measure, tons of “rooting your android phone” tutorials, background screen and widget customization and “let’s turn your cell phone in a carnival fair” contests, and above all else, endless errors and app crash complaints. Oh, and battery consumption in less than a day too. Just what i wanted. A phone that would make me be his servant.
So, I’m back at square one. Need to buy a cell phone and feel “orphan”. What i want seemed simple for me. A not very pricey phone, which would let me play around a bit, and install some apps of my choosing (you heard that Steve? MY CHOOSING!) and worked without any hiccups. It didn’t have to be a top of the line phone, neither having tons of disk space and processing power. Just enough to browse a couple of simple websites, consult my email and consult some news sites apps. In a way, a slightly evolved and “liberated” Blackberry.
If nothing else appears i will eventually end up with an Android phone, even if only convinced by its price. But i long to hear what HP has done with it’s WebOS system and can’t wait for the 9th. Maybe they have a significant third way for the market.
Oh, and i also looked up Windows Phone 7, as i actually liked the metro user interface i’ve seen on pictures, but they cost the same or more than an iPhone. And an iPhone can sync properly with a Mac without extra applications or cost.