Dec 16 2011

Android Lacks Polish

I’ve been an Android user since the HTC G1 first came out. Since then, I’ve had and used the Google Nexus, HTC G2, and the Dell Streak 7. I’ve tried to like my Android devices but they lack polish or frustrate me in several other ways. The first annoying lack to details is noticed immediately as soon as you un-box the device. Just turn over the device and you’ll see three or more logos, the maker logo (such as Dell, HTC, or Samsung), the carriers logo (T-Mobile or Verizon), and the product name or other insignia. Apple products just have the Apple logo. On Android devices, you’ll have different logos each placed on the back plate separately, the vendor’s logo will be etched into the back while the carrier’s logo will be some cheap vinyl sticker placed afterward.

My personal pet peeve with Android devices is the craziness with moving apps from the internal device’s memory to the external SD card. Even relatively recent Android devices such as the Google Nexus and Dell Streak 7 have less than 1GB internal memory so if you download a lot of apps you’ll soon need to move apps around to the SD card. But some apps you can’t move to the SD card so that presents a different issue.

Who cares if the phone’s memory can be extended by using higher capacity SD cards if a one year old device can’t even be upgraded to the latest Android version. So the whole thing with extensible SD cards and moving installed apps from the internal memory to the SD card I find completely and frustratingly useless. The whole concept of an Operating Systems is that best manages the resources of the device, the Android OS should best manage installed applications in either the internal memory or SD based on some intelligence. Why am I doing Android’s job?

Another concern I have with Android devices is that they usually come with a lot of pre-installed apps. For example, my Dell Streak 7 came with Kongregate Arcade app which I can’t remove and reclaim the wasted internal memory. Similarly, carriers and vendors add and customize Android so that no two devices have the same user experience.

My last concern with Android’s lack of polish is its dark goth color scheme. Most application’s menu and option screens are as if they were designed by a goth listening to The Cure. The Android UI design is not “Just Like Heaven.”


Aug 15 2011

Google Make Its Largest Acquisition

Google announced that it was buying Motorola for a staggering $12.5 billion. This is the largest acquisition made by the online search and advertising giant to date. I was talking about this with a friend who said the following. “If I’m a typical Motorola employee I’m worried, if I’m HTC I’m pissed, if I’m Microsoft I’m making a bid for Nokia, if I’m Apple, I’m laughing it up.” I’m not entirely sure about my friend’s statement but I am positive that Google has changed it’s strategy and decided to fight fire with fire, patents with patents, lawyers with lawyers, and mind share with truck loads of hard cold cash.

Google went at great lengths on this deal, it not only paid top dollar for Motorola but it even created a special “Facts about Google’s acquisition of Motorola” SEO-rich webpage which includes choice quotes from Android partners and a message from Larry Page.

Larry, CEO of Google, wrote about the purchase…

Motorola has a history of over 80 years of innovation in communications technology and products, and in the development of intellectual property, which have helped drive the remarkable revolution in mobile computing we are all enjoying today.

The last Motorola phone I thought was ground breaking was the first generation RAZR. Since then I have not been impressed with their phone offering, including their Android versions. In the press release, Larry made several references of the StarTAC, which Motorola originally released in 1996.

To appease other Android partners and licensees, the press release stated that Motorola will e a independent business unit.

This acquisition will not change our commitment to run Android as an open platform. Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. We will run Motorola as a separate business

For me, the key and most revealing sentence in the whole press release was the following.

Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.

What struck me about the above quote is how hard Google is spinning this. When competitors buy up patents, it’s anti-competitive but when Google itself pays top dollar for a turkey stuffed with patents it will “increase competition.”

It has been reported that Google is paying $40/share, over 50% on top of the price at the time of the announcement. The reason Google is paying this price is clearly for the over 14,000 granted patents and over 6,500 pending patents Motorola has acquired over time. These patents will add to patents Google has added to it’s patent portfolio.