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.”