Android has a massive lack of quality control
If you’ve ever used an Android phone in the past year or two, there’s one thing that you can immediately notice; it’s slow. Things just don’t move as smoothly as they should, things crash, and just the overall experience is pretty sad. Android has been around since 2008 and is currently at 3.2.1 for tablets and 2.3.7 for phones. Now I want to make one thing absolutely clear, I’m not hating on Android or loving one Operating System over another, this is just purely tech observations about my experiences with one OS and comparing it to another. I have no intention to single out a single OS or make one feel superior in any way. With that said, Android as a whole has a very massive lack of quality control. Why is it ok for manufacturers to think it’s ok to ship phones with buggy ROMs or with things that just don’t work? The sad part of it is that customers just accept it and go about their way. Granted there are ways of fixing things, since you can root your phone and gain access to everything. However, if the issue lies in the drivers, you have no control over these. So what aspects of Android lack in QC?
First and foremost, it’s speed. Android just lacks speed that other OS’ excel at. While I don’t honestly like Windows Phone, it’s an honestly fast OS. Pick up any non-rooted Android phone, play with it for a few minutes and see if you notice the speed difference from say the iPhone or Windows Phone. It’s almost night and day in terms of how things fluidly act. Everything from swiping between the homescreens, to scrolling in the OS or the browser, to even pinch to zoom; everything is just sluggish. To make up for that, manufacturers have simply thrown specs at it. 4.7″ screens, 1.5Ghz dual-core CPUs, 1GB of RAM, and a pretty strong mobile GPU. So take the “fastest” Android phone (the Samsung Galaxy S II) and look at it’s specs. Yes it’s pretty powerful, but if the OS was better optimized, imagine how much faster it would be? Do you really think a modern mobile OS should require 1GB of RAM and a 1.5Ghz (or greater) dual-core CPU to be able to run smoothly? Android is “technically” Linux, but it’s simply the Linux kernel places upon a Java virtual machine and the GNU aspects stripped from it. Linux can easily run on 128MB of RAM or even less, so why does Android have such a difficult ability to run smoothly? That answer lies with the Android developers (Google), and any changes would honestly have to be done by them. You can say, “Why don’t you just root your phone and install a custom ROM instead?” but honestly why should I have to tweak my phone to get it to work correctly?
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve used Android (I owned, and rooted a Nexus One way back when), but something just turns me off about it. All my friends at work have Android phones (or iPhones), and there isn’t a day where I hear one of them complaining that their phone app on the phone crashed and completely froze it. In the 5 years that I’ve owned an iPhone I can honestly say that I’ve never had this problem, at all. Why do people put up with this? Someone calls you, and the phone app crashes? That’s pretty terrible if you ask me. Say what you will about Apple’s walled garden, but I do know that I don’t have to worry about the phone app crashing while I’m trying to make or receive a call. I haven’t honestly come across an Android phone that just works, at all. I’ve gone into AT&T and Verizon to play with the various phones that are available, and not one of them can hold a candle to the iPhone in terms of complete user experience. If you have read any of my articles before, you can easily tell that I know way around a computer and tech in general; but there’s just something about having a device that just works exactly how it should without having to do anything at all to it. It’s not that I don’t know how, or anything like that, I just don’t want to. I’ve jailbroken my phone and it’s way too much of a hassle than I honestly want to deal with.
Don’t even get me started on fragmentation with Android. Ok, please, get me started on it. This essentially means that not every phone will get the latest version of Android. Essentially, if you bought an HTC Hero awhile back, you’re not going to be getting 2.3 Gingerbread. That is, unless you root your phone and install a custom ROM. That isn’t honestly the half of fragmentation, because even brand new phones don’t come with Gingerbread. Some phones are still stuck on 2.2 Froyo. Now Froyo isn’t that old (2010 I think?), but brand new phones are still coming out with this OS. That’s like Apple including iOS 4 on the 4S…it just wouldn’t happen. So why is Google allowing this? Well, Google doesn’t really have much of a say once it’s open sources it’s OS. Once it does that, manufacturers can honestly do what they want with it. They can release any version of the OS that they want, and they can choose to keep upgrading the OS or they can choose to keep at the same versions. Sure, you have the option to upgrade your phone by rooting it and installing a custom ROM, but should we really have to? Granted, iOS 5 isn’t going to be on the iPhone 3G, but that phone is insanely slow (412Mhz processor and 128MB of RAM…I mean come on), so I don’t honestly expect the latest OS to run on it. Another problem with fragmentation is that developers have to develop for all these hundreds of Android devices on the market. Since each and every Android device has different specs, the dev has to compensate for this and include support for every possible device that’s out there. This can not only take more dev time, but also more money.
I don’t honestly get why manufacturers don’t care more about quality, as they simply care about quantity. One thing that going to Apple has shown me, is that quality matters. Quality should be number one over everything else. Android simply just does not have quality written all over it, and that’s sad. The problem honestly lies with Google and them not taking control of the OS that they developed. I’d love to interview Andy Rubin and pick his brain about what he thinks about the lack of quality with Android. Honestly, being too open causes problems. Yes, I wish that Apple could implement certain features in iOS, but I’ll take ease of use and quality every day of the week, over being able to customize everything about my device, but have a lesser quality product. My wish would be that Android manufacturers take a look at what Apple has accomplished under Steve Jobs, and honestly see that quality does matter, and to put a bit more effort into their phones. There isn’t a day when I see a new post on Engadget about a new Android phone that’s in development. Seriously? Give it a break guys. You buy a new Android phone and two months later, it’s already outdated. Hell, I buy an iPhone and I get to keep that for a year and get a much better model next year, knowing that nothing will come out in between to obsolete this model. But this is what makes Apple Apple, and why I will always choose them over any other product. Quality means something, and it should mean more to everyone.Tweet