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[personal profile] taitai
I hit my head on the way out of the bathroom hard enough to bleed slightly. So, after applying a bandaid, I think it's time to bitch about phone OSes.

I recently was playing with an Android phone while waiting for my brother to pay the bill at the local AT&T store. One thing finally struck me why I really dislike Android. It's -almost- perfect, but where it fails, it fails pretty hard.

First, is the UI. The UI isn't hardware accelerated. Meaning that the fancy 3D chip that powers games could also be speeding up the front end UI. Now, in the past, this used to incur penalties with battery life. However, with modern graphics chips, doing these operations are now so efficient, you wouldn't notice any perceivable drain on the battery or generate any more heat. There's largely no excuse for the EVO to ship with a GPU that can push more graphical operations per second than my old Dreamcast can but not have any of that horsepower being used for the UI.

What does this mean in the real world? Laggy UI. Browser that renders slowly. Dragging elements around is ridiculously jittery.

Second, is the underlying UI API. In addition to the fact that the UI itself isn't hardware accelerated, the UI API sort of sucks. Doing things like transitions, sliding elements around, doing graphical manipulations, etc. all have to be done mostly by hand. UI elements are also sort of bring-your-own. Which kind of sucks. Especially for developers who are used to developing on OSes like Windows Mobile where UI elements could be tiny because you needed a stylus to use the bloody thing. UI elements can go anywhere, and look like anything, so, using it can be really tricky. I don't trust developers to be graphic designers. Largely because they mostly suck at it.

Third is the app ecosystem. Let me bitch about the market place actually. The Android Marketplace is full of nasty malware that want to steal your personal information or otherwise pwn you phone while masquerading as Justin Bieber wall papers, or Kesha ring tone download packs. Not only that, but the Marketplace doesn't support easy check out the same way that other application repositories do. The App Store for instance, does one click tied to your Apple ID. Bills via available balance from gift cards or from your credit card. Easy right? Compare that to using Google Checkout. I really do NOT want to have to be careful on the official app store about what apps I grab, and when I do want to buy one, I want it to be simple and curated. I really don't care that non-official app stores are full of crap, they're third party, not Google's fault. However, when comparing with a default Cydia list of repo-sources, I'd rather download shit through Cydia than the Android market place. When the iPhone's unofficial app repository is better than your official source, you're doing something really wrong.

Finally, it's the amount of control Google has over their own project. While I applaud Google for open sourcing the thing under the GPLv2, when vendors push out hardware, they do so under a different license, and part of their license should require certain requirements. CPUs should be a certain speed, RAM, etc. to ensure some sort of consistent experience. Another thing that should be absolutely required of OEMs that Google isn't forcing, is that all devices shipped in a given time frame should be given timely OS updates when they happen. It's sad to see devices still shipping with 2.1, 2.2, and in some kind of rare cases, 1.6. Why? Why are new phones being announced with old OSes with no chance of upgrade? It's stupid. Yes, the iPhone 3G didn't get 4.3.1 and the first gen iPhone didn't get iOS 4. But the 3G is nearly 3 years old and the first gen iPhone is nearly 4. There are Android phones that are six months old that aren't going to see *FroYo* much less Gingerbread.

Android's a good OS, but so close to being a great OS it sort of leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Google's been cracking down on OEMs shipping lousy hardware with lousy OSs, so hopefully we'll see a better experience coming up soon.

Date: 2011-04-11 05:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mature.livejournal.com
My only concern with a telephone is does it make the damned call I want to make, period.

Date: 2011-04-11 05:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taiki.livejournal.com
having a phone that's a phone is fine.

Don't try to sell me a phone that's also a million other things if the software sucks so bad i can't use any of it.

Date: 2011-04-11 06:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mature.livejournal.com
But what I don't understand is why would you need all that shit in the first place if you want a PHONE.

Date: 2011-04-11 06:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taiki.livejournal.com
Because I like having all that stuff on a thing i carry around with me. Plus phone cellular networks have pretty fast data networks attached to them. I like being able to browse the internet while I'm on a train, or waiting in the doctor's office.

Date: 2011-04-11 06:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mature.livejournal.com
...Am I the only one who reads in situations like that anymore?

Fuck it, I'm just old. Don't mind me.

Date: 2011-04-11 06:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taiki.livejournal.com
I can't carry around a novel in my pocket. o_o

Date: 2011-04-11 07:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pomander.livejournal.com
Word up! And with these phones, you can have programs to store ebooks in .pdf format, etc. I have tons of reading material on my iPod Touch and I'd love to get a good phone eventually and do the same with it.

Date: 2011-04-11 09:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mature.livejournal.com
No, but wouldn't you carry it in your purse? :P

Date: 2011-04-11 09:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taiki.livejournal.com
if i'm carrying a purse I might as well carry around my laptop,my psp, my ds, my neogeo pocket color, my pog collection and the latest copy of the New York Post.

Date: 2011-04-12 03:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mature.livejournal.com
Fine, I give up. I don't understand all this electronics e-peen waving, having to have everything in one tiny thing with text so small you need a damned magnifying glass to read it.

I'll just be over here watching liver spots form on my hands.

Date: 2011-04-12 04:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taiki.livejournal.com
this isn't about epeen waving, this is about having an opinion on a technical subject.

I really don't care what anyone buys, I just think Android as a phone OS has serious problems. It's not like I'm calling Android users baby killers or that iPhone owners are God's chosen people.

Date: 2011-04-12 04:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mature.livejournal.com
And I'm saying why the fuck does all that shit need to be on a phone, that's all. I don't get it, so I'll just take my Luddite ass out of this now.

Date: 2011-04-12 04:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taiki.livejournal.com
Cellular voice networks have more in common with WiFi than they do with land line telephone services. Voice is just another set of data. If I can get work outage notifications or directions to a gang bang on a little thing I have in my pocket, I want it to do that.

Date: 2011-04-11 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] animeangel.livejournal.com
You know what's awesome? Having a touch phone that is compatible with flash.

*deal with it sunglasses*

Date: 2011-04-11 05:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taiki.livejournal.com
Really? Having an infection vector on your phone is cool?

Date: 2011-04-11 06:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] animeangel.livejournal.com
That's like saying you aren't going to wear Tampons because you could get toxic shock syndrome when there is less than a handful of cases in the U.S. of women getting it in the history of tampons. Probably even less cases of someone getting a virus on their phone through Flash.

Date: 2011-04-11 06:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taiki.livejournal.com
The difference here is that not many people actually get toxic shock from tampons.

Flash on the other hand is responsible for many browser drive-by exploits(Next to Acrobat Reader, then Java then general browser bugs) and is also responsible for a majority of browser crashes. Even if that metric isn't good enough, flash generally sucks for battery life. FlashBlock is a sorry excuse for a work around for Adobe's lousy software.

Flash also isn't hardware accelerated on Mobile(or Mac or Linux for that matter). Flash video doesn't play very well on most Android devices despite having enough GPU to do video decoding. CPU based video decoding is another battery killer.

Flash absolutely sucks. They've had the better part of half a decade to get Flash right on mobile and haven't. They've had the better part of a decade to get Flash right on the desktop and they still haven't.

Flash also isn't an open standard. So we're all beholden to Adobe to make this damn thing work. I'm with Steve Jobs on this(Surprise, I know), Flash. Sucks.

Date: 2011-04-11 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pomander.livejournal.com
Thing is, though, why not have the option to block Flash? It's better to have the option there than not. That's the single thing that drives me nuts about my iPod Touch, but it was a gift, so not like I paid to be told what I can and can't use!

Date: 2011-04-11 07:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taiki.livejournal.com
Why bother having a feature there if another big selling point is being able to turn off that feature?

Flash has serious technical problems.

Date: 2011-04-11 09:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pomander.livejournal.com
Because freedom of choice for those of us that WANT to be able to use Flash until the web moves away from it completely? If I have a trusted site that uses Flash, I want to be able to view it. If I want to browse more safely, I'll disable this or that. Knocking on wood here, but I've never had an issue with my computer. I pick and choose, and it's worked great for me. Not being able to access a site simply because Apple is all pish-posh about Flash is obnoxious; let me be responsible for my browsing choices.

Just because something has the potential to be abused or it isn't the best option doesn't mean it should be completely barred, IMO.

Date: 2011-04-11 09:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taiki.livejournal.com
it goes beyond not being the best option, it goes more into makes the whole browsing experience completely awful and crash prone.

Flash has enabled developers to develop some really lazy habits, like flash for drop down navigation menus, or such. That's more obnoxious to me than Apple being negative on Adobe's crapware.

Date: 2011-04-11 06:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bludstone.livejournal.com
As the owner of an Android, all I can say is "Wat? ok."

Date: 2011-04-11 07:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taiki.livejournal.com
Android's a pretty good platform, but it could be much much better. It's better than WinMo, it's way better than Symbian, but, it's got serious problems Google needs to address.


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