what sucks about android

Had this post binned for a while so thought I’d publish.  Back to new baby stuff ASAP.

While I love my new HTC Evo (which is running Android v2.1 as of writing), some features are really lacking.  Coming from the iPhone perhaps I’m spoiled, but the list below is what bugs me most about the OS on the new phone.  Now, there may be some apps that I haven’t found yet which might address and/or fix some of the below, but this entry was meant to be more of a rant anyway.  Here’s my list:

  • Browser bookmarking sucks

Why it sucks #1: Browser bookmarking could be vastly improved; the stock browser  just has one long flat list of bookmarks, offering no way to organize via folders or item-ordering.  People have suggested making folders on one of the desktop screens but this also sucks, and is not a real solution.  iPhone had this down.

Why it sucks #2: No bookmark-sync back to other machines.  This is Google’s OS, right?, I love Chrome’s bookmark-sync feature and have my favorite sites sync’d across my several PCs – why can’t I sync my Android device’s browser too?

  • Contact management sucks

Why it sucks #1: Contact sorting sucks.  May seem like a small thing but I hate that I can’t order my contacts by last name.  Furthermore, I hate that I can’t sort contacts within a sub-group.  I like the idea of having a “Favorites” folder with my starred contacts for easy-dialing, but not being able to arrange contacts in an order of my preference is annoying.  iPhone did this.

Why it sucks #2: Syncing contacts with Google ends up compressing the crap out of your contact images, ruining them and making them look like dookey.  This is a known, Google-acknowledged issue and it makes my phone look stupid when someone see this blocky pixelated image pop up when a contact calls.

  • Using media sucks

Why it sucks #1: Videos don’t resume playback where you last left-off (in the stock player, and most 3rd party media player applications too).  What?!  This is a ridiculous problem to have in my opinion.  How this was not implemented baffles me.  Makes continuity while watching a movie or TV program near impossible.  Just stupid.

Why it sucks #2: No “marketplace” where a user can purchase and download content to the device.  When I had iTunes on my iPhone, I could easily purchase and download a few episodes of Scooby Doo from the airport just before boarding a cross-country flight with my four year old.  Not having this easy-access to for-purchase content is crappy.

Why it sucks #3: Getting media on the device is less than intuitive.  There’s no dead-simple synchronization mechanism (DoubleTwist is OK… but 3rd party and not native) and while dragging-and-dropping content is nice for tech-heads it’s not entirely obvious where anything should go on the SD card or internal storage.

  • The app store sucks

Why it sucks #1: It’s full of spam apps, crap apps, it’s disorganized and it’s confusing.  I mean, there are multiple versions of the same application compiled or optimized for specific phones, CPU instruction sets, etc.  There are font packs for apps listed as apps.  There are tons of apps that do illegal things (download MP3s from shady sources, etc.).  There are apps that slow-down or crash devices, don’t run on certain devices, etc.  I know part of this is owed to the multitude of Android hardware and software versions that are in the wild… but a lot of it is just poor housekeeping and policing.

Why it sucks #2: There’s no way to browse and install apps from a web-based storefront (again, iTunes gets this right).  Luckily, AppBrain has this down – but there still needs to be a native solution.

  • Gaming sucks

Why it sucks #1: Compared to the iPhone, gaming on Android blows. The graphics suck.  Comparing the exact same games from the same developer, the graphics on Android are noticably worse.  You can verify this yourself with games like Doodle Jump or Zenonia.  Why this is the case, I don’t know – but it’s a noticeable deficiency coming from the better-looking platform.

Why it sucks #2: The selection of games sucks.  Now, I do have to give Android points here for allowing emulators in the app store, because if it weren’t for my NES/SNES emulators and ROMs this device would suck completely at gaming (instead of mostly sucking, as it does now).  Again, however, even the presence of emulators speaks to the above bullet about the proliferation of shady and grey-area software on the application marketplace…

  • Random small things suck

You can’t arrange/re-order application icons within a folder.  Yep, folder support is great for organizing and being frugal on screen real estate – but having app icons ordered as they were dropped into a folder is dumb.

There’s no concept of regular or centralized backup and restore.  With an iPhone, if your device died or you bought a new one you could plug it into iTunes and 30min later you’d have a carbon-copy of your previous phone.  With my Evo, if it breaks or I lose it I have to start from zero.  You lose all applications (unless you’re synchronizing with AppBrain), all customizations, and unless you’re syncing contacts with Google or Facebook or Exchange or something else – you’d lose them too.

Landscape mode only works on one “edge.”  At least on the Evo, I only get landscape mode in a “turn it left” horizontal position.  This may seem dumb, but if you’re using the phone while plugged into power and you’re right-handed, it’d be nice to have the option to turn the phone to the right and have the cable on the short-edge you’re not holding.  iPhone does landscape regardless of which “edge” you point down.

The funny thing is, reading this back it almost seems like I’m bagging on Android for not having a native client-side “management” and “content” application ala iTunes.  Odd indeed because I hate iTunes.  But I do have to admit that having iTunes for things like purchasing/renting content and backing-up/restoring/upgrading a device is a real plus for Apple hardware.  So c’mon Google, do iTunes but do it right.


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