The Andriod Headaches Most Users Suffer

The Android Headaches & Heartburn

Google has; like many companies acquired a software product (Android OS) and took a different approach to distribution than the founders of Android originally envisioned. Apple has managed to maintain control of all OS aspects from the carriers globally and needs not consider a manufacture because they are the maker. Owning all aspects of the iPhone for Apple assures a reliable user experience and is the biggest reason iPhone’s have done so well in the global market and slowly continue to erode the market share away from Google. Apple welcomes those disenfranchised users of the other major smartphone manufactures to what Apple has in their superior user experience.

It’s certainly not the looks of the iPhone which compel people more over an Android counterpart but must be evidently what many of today’s Android manufactures think as they are all moving toward designs this year that incorporate a physical button at the bottom of the device and round out their bodies and strive to make phones thinner to the point everything starts looking like an iPhone.

The iPhone seriously has a very dated look at this point and Apple has done nothing seriously to the styling of it, maybe out of fear of being called a copycat? Who knows why?

The smartphone market operates much like the automobile market when it comes to quality issues and there is no government body to issue recalls on defects as they occur frequently with the Android experience most of the time leaving a bad taste in the mouth of the customer as manufactures almost never offer a remedy to the garden variety list of issues.

These manufactures seriously leave the support of their high end expensive devices to the support communities online who make no money helping their customers. I can appreciate the loyalty of those generous and charitable users out there who give their valuable time to help us all but why should they? Does anyone pay them to do this? No and it’s not right at all to be alive in a world today where we’re living paycheck to paycheck and some big company is making all the money and saving above it all for this charity and assumption of liability when things don’t work..

In fact these days the one size fits all approach never works and never will. No single manufacture makes a flagship product with different styles to appeal to the differing opinions of each class of user.  Yes there are many users who won’t buy a phone regardless of spec just because it looks bad, I’m one of them and know many others who feel the same. It’s not too much to ask for a classy looking button less phone with all the latest bells and whistles if I have to pay near 1K for it I just can’t compromise, now if we’re talking 45.00 then who cares.

But these same manufactures sell tons of differing models and offer an array of attractive styles to the mid and small budget consumers with differing looks, class and elegance so what is preventing them from taking the inner components of the flagship product and inserting it into other form factors?, something no OEM has done to date. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I’m not saying one size fits all but rather saying more choice and options with flagship specs is where it’s at and I’ve changed brands so many times simply due to form factor and ergonomic comfort it makes me sick.

In the last 10 years I’ve owned 18 different smartphones and have spent in cash and hidden fee’s close to 13K in phones not to mention the devices I’ve paid for my 5 children and wife.

Apple has always taken hardware and software under their jurisdiction taking exception to a short period of time where Open Apple systems were offered to the public via third party OEM’s but this has never occurred with their smartphones only in personal computing.

Being an Android user I can appreciate (envy) all of the little things Apple has done to make the most rock solid consistent lag free utility like experience available on a smartphone. Lag and overheating is the main heartburn all Android phones suffer and for whatever reason Android phones didn’t ship with more RAM from the beginning given the different design, sloppy code full of memory leaks and management approaches is unknown to me.

Google has taken steps to address the lag with project butter but it has not done enough in my opinion to eliminate lag on the core experience forever or to assure whatever manufactures do can’t affect the core experience they build in AOSP sources.

Memory leaks in applications for example can cause the entire phone to lag and overheat creating a common perception that Google or a 3rd Party Manufacture is to blame for this and there has to be a loss somewhere from this mistake everyone in the food chain is taking a hit on.  Why has Google not partitioned the OS from the app space to lock all core functions into dedicated RAM space and pursued the faster UFS 2.0 storage for its modern devices?

Androids need 8Gb of ram to keep lag, jitter, stutter, hesitation, and jank at bay because of all the leaking app code that the platform has to manage over the top of the OS.

All of the big companies have been flamed for overheating issues which are mostly due to software defects (bugs) with rare exception to poor phone design or even worse the recent debacle of Qualcomm SOC (System On Chip) on the promising Snap Dragon 810 of 2015.

There is never enough testing taking place on Android to mitigate these issues as Google is not active enough on the publishing side like Apple is to reject apps that can potentially degrade your whole device performance. Nor does Google impose any quality standards on 3rd Party manufactures for using its OS which could potentially save its name and reputation in this space.

What Apple can do with 1Gb of RAM is amazing and that is why they can get nearly all of their devices on the latest IOS version but for Android due to leaky app code and poor core design can’t push for example Android N to the older hardware not even counting really old hardware without major concern over user experience. There are so many devices only two years old that can’t run Marshmallow or N because of this so we’re not talking Honeycomb HTC One phones here in our comparison.

It appears Google is happy to have no liability in that space as it would be the manufacture taking all of the blame when things don’t work the way users think they should. With consumers taking their complaints to the mainstream blog thread comments the manufactures provide no easy way for consumers to complain/suggest what they’d like to see change if those manufactures expect to get their annual business from next year’s model.

If there were less secrecy in next year’s models these very manufactures might know more about what their target market is after this coming year and may not pursue a certain design planned only to tank and lose tons of money for its stockholders. But I thinking that might make too much sense.

3rd party hardware companies are going to see major pain soon if they don’t address the updates and other problems. Everyone feels $700 – $1000 a year is obscene now that non-flagship phones are offering similar user experiences with acceptable performance on less hardware. In the average consumer mind if they don’t get something premium aside from spec like maybe great support to feel justified when spending more, the flagship will lose it luster and appeal we see today. The manufactures should start charging as the industry is in desperate need to move away from free everything in exchange for faster innovation, quality assurance, reliability and support entitlements.

Apple seems to have no problem with an annual timeline to deliver free new branch and version releases. While they ship bugs like the rest of software companies they have yet to ship an OS release that degrades the core user experience much less a bug which might cause their devices to overheat.

Next up we have issues which Google calls fragmentation where a billion plus devices are running a wide array of different OS versions and the fix to this is out of their hands due to the arrangements made with the 3rd party manufactures and global carriers. The myriad of different manufactures appear to put all of their focus on hardware specs and forsake the software side just enough to further complicate the issue.

Many of them create overlay/skinned experiences with intent to add value but are falling short and losing the battle on user experience. This has been tolerated so long by consumers the lock ups and the lag / jank / stutter / hesitation and crashing it’s only going to take one company solving those issues to win the hearts of the world.

Apple may be that company; but unless Apple can do more to provide options in important areas of choice it will never happen. In my opinion if Apple wanted to steal more market share they would offer different form factors in their chassis design with the same hardware only alternate layouts which appeal to differing tastes because one size will never fit all..

The entire smartphone software industry appears to put more emphasis on getting recognized for new features which perform poorly and aim for awards from the syndicated press and earn only surface feature perceptions where reporters and users judge and rate after only a few minutes of out of box use. This creates an illusion which can’t hold weight compared to long term reality in daily use cases. Users then wait for bug fixes which nearly never show and hear excuses from manufactures and the carriers justifying their delays in updates due to security issues or concerns. Brand religious users of said hardware and software feel they need to defend this irresponsibility on behalf of the companies they follow and fail to see the value which only honest feedback or complaints can deliver in way of remedy.

While security is important, and the carrier has reason to invest in that aspect we really need an OS from Google that just works on all devices. Plug and Play would be ideal and Google like Apple manages the security and updates OTA but that pie in the sky thinking most likely will never manifest in a way the consumer expects.

Any manufacture or carrier add-on should be delivered as apps over the core Google experience. If the user finds value in it they will download and install it but the user has ultimate say and since the customer is the reason any company even exists why take choice away from the most valuable part of any company?

In more realistic terms if these companies don’t address the sticky issues Apple is going to be the benefactor because they’re going to realize Android doesn’t offer the choice they once thought as the Android market moves closer and closer to making decision they feel are best for the user and if Apple has played that way all along with more and more manufactures showing devices that look more and more like Apple’s product why should the users not just jump ship and buy the real deal.

Google needs to either step up and take more responsibility and ownership of the problems or sell Android to a company that is prepared and expects to manage this platform the way Apple has done so the industry will finally be equalized where customer choice is renewed and preserved.

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