Monday, January 30, 2012

Android - I'm just not feelin it (Yes I'm venting about Android, again)

Maybe it's because I'm getting older and don't feel like screwing around with stuff like I used to.  But when it comes to Android tablet devices, I'm just not getting it.  I've been using them for a couple of months now and they just don't stand up to an iPad.  At least for me. 
At Thanksgiving, I stayed up all night to snag an online deal for a Dell Streak 7.  When it arrived, I was like a kid at Christmas.  Immediately set forth on setting it up with all the cool stuff I could.  Skype, worked great!  I used it to talk with my family up in Michigan.  Google mail and calendar integration worked like a charm.  But when it came to other apps that I enjoy on my iOS devices, they just weren't there.  My biggest complaint is in the audio/video category.  I subscribe to SiriusXM and really do enjoy the service, (for now).  Howard Stern, the classic alternative channel and the big 80's are usually playing when I'm at home working or on the Back Porch of Cigary Solitude.  But when I went to download the app for it in the Google Market, it wouldn't work with my device.  The old Droid X I keep around for support reasons it works on, but not the Streak.  And unlike on the Apple App Store, there are no other apps to use to get access to the stream.  Nitpicky?  Maybe.  But I want what I want.  So, I continued to use the device up until a couple of weeks ago.  That's when I got lucky and won an HTC Jetsream tablet.  I really have to say, hardware-wise, this is a great device.  Very fast and the battery lasts for a good while compared to the Streak.  Oh, and its stylus is also a fantastic tool!  BUT, Android-wise, I'm starting to not like it.  Skype just has a hell of a time running on the tablet.  My iPod Touch works better with Skype then the HTC.  Apps like the SiriusXM streaming app and HBO Go won't run on it either.  Again, does on some Android devices and not others.  Why is it that they even have the apps available if they don't run on all devices?  When I go to the Apple App Store and I see an app I want, I know it's going to work on the iPhone, iTouch and iPad.  Am I being a little too critical?  I don't know.  I mean, I'm extremely thankful that I won the device.  But I really think the Android OS is just shooting itself in the foot here.  Would I trade the HTC for an iPad2?  I probably would.  Because I know what user experience I am going to have from an iOS device.  But when it comes to Android, it's a shot in the dark.
I know, I know.  Shuddup, Andy.  You won a nice toy. 
But if someone from the business side came to me and asked me if they should get an iOS or Android device,  I think I have to be honest and tell them to get an iOS if they want to have better app availability.  Granted, Lotus Traveler works great on either platform.  But I think most people that get tablets are looking for a greater user experience then just PIM data.  They want to be able to use what they want to use, wherever they go.  The fix, in my opinion, is for Google to come up with stricter device standards so that all of the cool shinny apps will work regardless of the device.  Maybe Ice Cream Sandwich will be a game changer?
Ok.  I'm done venting now and lunch is over.  Back to working on planning my Traveler upgrade.
(And please, don't let this post be a reflection on the fine people at HTC. They have a solid device and if you're an Android lover, this should be your tablet!)


Mitch Cohen said...

Andy - you hit the nail on the head, there are 3 big issues holding back Android

1. App availability especially compatibility when it comes to the tablet space

2. OS Upgrades what a mess when a new version of Android comes out will you get it, and if you will WHEN, and what will your carrier throw on top in terms of skinning, and apps you don't want but can't remove

3. Pricing - the Jetstream, XOOM, Galaxy have all tried to come to market at a higher price point than an iPad which as you point out delivers a much more consistent experience.

I will save additional comments for later this week after my Jetstream arrives and I have had a chance to play with it, but I share your frustration because I want an Android tablet to replace my iPad 1 if only someone would deliver the right experience at the right price.

Andy Donaldson said...

Ok, thanks for the validation, Mitch. I know you are MUCH more embedded in the Android world then I am, so now I feel better that I'm not just being whiny.

Jim Brungo said...

I have a XOOM and love it. I was the first to get ICE Cream though. I also blindly walked into a Wal Mart deal that got me the 32 gb wifi version for 399. The price was great and the OS has made a difference. Although I am an app guy I don't need much. What I need is there. It is the perfect device for me. I guess it depends. I will also say my wife has the iPad 2 and for me it doesn't work. Maybe because I am used to Droid now?