An extremely vocal minority of Android users think they represent the whole, and they express intense, childish entitlement and resentment against developers who choose either not to develop an Android app or to give advantages to their iOS app. This minority demands equality for their platform with the intensity, victimhood, and entitlement you’d expect as if it was a civil rights issue.
Fortunately, it’s not.
I’m building a new app this summer, and no matter how much people badger me, I won’t go near Android this time. Their promised support and demand never panned out. I’ve learned my lesson: no matter what the vocal minority says, the rest of the market won’t back them up. It’s simply not worth it for this iOS developer to waste any time on an Android port. Your mileage may vary.
Use the best tool is probably the best “tech-philosophy” out there. I think a good deal of company managers forget that most people think like that and assume that consumers are some sort of “herd” you possess and that won’t go away, no matter what stupid decisions you make to screw them over.
I do disagree on Guy on his opinions on widgets and the rest of Android all-over-the-wall approach though. But i strongly feel that it’s basically a matter of personal preferences and focus, not exactly what’s better technological wise. I’m a strong minimalist / just want it to work effectively /no fuss kind of guy when it relates to my phone.
I will rather have a simple cheap phone that does what a phone should do really well than have a crappy cheap Android phone that might be a reasonable pocket computer but a lousy phone. I love general purpose “full computers” but for some items i just want them to work really, really well. No fuss! My brief experiences with iOS were perfect on that matter. My experiences with Android were everything but that.
I have no doubt that my “first” smartphone will be an Android, though. iPhone’s current prices are absurdly expensive for my very slim wallet, and even though i had some hopes for WebOS and Windows Phone 7 (and even Blackberry) they all managed to drop the ball one way or another,1 which is a damn shame. However every time i open up my browser on my carrier’s available smartphones, i never find a single phone that i simultaneously really want or can afford. Maybe Blackberry with its recent skydiving prices and it’s new BB10 OS will do that i strongly doubt it.
PS: For any marketing department out there that somehow want to influence “all of the 20 daily readers” this website has, i’m perfectly happy to receive a free sampling of your smartphone line for analysis! (wink wink)
- considering my ideal of a phone [↩]
Now, I’m sure Apple has great things in store for the future.
But I’m also pretty sure that they’ve got an irritatingly high-horse first-world view of how people use maps (as if we all drove around everywhere or wasted time looking at 3D views all day long), and that they botched this one up in what I can only term an epic fashion.
As much as I love their hardware and the rest of their software, this is the kind of thing that seriously annoys people2 — in real life.
Regardless of their parting ways with Google and whatnot, there is an unwritten commandment in technology that roughly states thou shalt not royally fuck up common use cases of your product.
That’s the best quote i’ve seen in a long time. Unfortunately, Apple, Google, Microsoft and a couple more couldn’t find it even if they actually tried to.
One weird thing about iOS 6 is that Apple’s built-in apps are suddenly even more inconsistently designed than ever. Some apps, like Safari and Settings, retain the old blue-gray look and feel, while others are dark gray with black accents (Photos, iTunes, App Store) or just dark gray, light gray with dark gray accents (Music), a new bluer-gray (Videos), or faux-wood (iTunes U and Newsstand, both of which—seriously—feature differently colored wood designs!). I await someone’s impassioned defense of this Crayola strategy.
If you are using an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, iOS 6 is of course a necessary upgrade, even with the Maps silliness. Looked at from the outside, however, there’s not much here that’s worth fretting over. If you’re using Windows Phone or Android, you can at least rest easy knowing that only Apple’s devices are truly lust-worthy, and then only until you bring them out in the real world and scratch them or break the screen, which is especially a problem for iPhones. But the iOS software that runs on these devices is showing its age. And Apple shows no indication that it’s ever going change that from strategy. This is a big opportunity for the competition.
Couldn’t agree more. Apple should really take a break, and decide where it’s going in the interface area. And then do a full house cleaning, both on iOS and Mac OS X. This mess is ridiculous and seriously makes me doubt of what will be Apple’s future. I intend to use my Macbook another couple of years, easily. But when I finally need a replacement, will Mac OS X still be the incredibly usable and clean OS that I “fell in love” with?
A couple of years of ago, even though I seriously hated some of Apple’s idiosyncrasies, I wouldn’t have any doubts that my next computer would be an Apple too. Since Lion, with its unusable Versions and Mission Control and the whole skeumorphism aura and iOSification, joined by iOS own compound of mistakes and silly restrictions, and, of course, the cherry on top was Snow Leopard’s lack of iCloud integration and iOS sync, I’ve started seriously worrying about my next computer.
Now i’m not so sure that it will be a Mac. Whenever i have the option of spending money on some software i wonder if I will still be able to use it on my next computer. The question is, what could it be? And for that, there’s still no good answer. For now, Apple and Mac OS X continue to be the best answers. But i worry about the future, if those diverging currents inside Apple are not resolved and forced to fit together. Apple should figure out what it wants to produce, for whom it is producing it and then clean house. You can’t continue to market a “productivity advanced” OS (as Mac OS) and then just dumb it down to the unusability of versions, or iCloud Sync.
Not sure how to square the disparity here other than to assume that an awful lot of Android smartphones don’t really get used as smartphones.
Jason Grigsby disagrees and says:
The UI for joining a Wi-Fi network on Android is easy to miss.1
People at lower income levels are less likely to have access to Wi-Fi networks on a regular basis.
So basically they are both saying the same think but while Grigsby focuses on the reasons, Gruber focuses on the consequences which is that Android phones are not really used as smartphones.
That might be for the reasons that Grigsby elaborated but the end result is that as smartphones they pretty much are only used for the typical on-the-road features of a modern “feature phone”: GPS services and mail. Everything else, the “smartphone” things that an iOS user would do at an available wifi network either at home or work, is pretty much not used in Android phones. Which bring us back to the original point.
You can get an Android phone for little more than 75€. At that price most people don’t even realize what they are actually buying and don’t realize that you can do something else with it. Considering the absolute chaos and unfriendly experience that is Google Play2 it’s a miracle that they actually use some sort of app that requires internet connection.
- about this check this post [↩]
- with apps that don’t download, apps that download but don’t start, apps that just go missing and a random craziness of chaos [↩]
Meanwhile on the Net, people strongly discuss the behaviour of the iPhone mute switch. Because apparently there can be only one option in a 600€ phone. Pressing for a default or holding the switch for a second and then selecting a profile from a selection or customizing your own seems to be too cumbersome.
“Starting with iOS 5, the same 58 font families are now installed on both the iPad and iPhone. Hooray for more Gill Sans on the iPhone. (Fonts installed on Android: 3.)”
Endless more at “Shit Siri Says”
“And Apple took away that magic, bestowing it solely to iPad 2 owners and leaving my hindbrain and fingers pointlessly swiping every now and then (even as I typed this and tried to switch to Twitter momentarily to gripe about my usual morning headache).
But maybe I’m not getting the full point across here, so I’ll try again: I became so used to switching between apps without using the home button that the iPad is now the most frustrating device I own.”
I guess today is rant at Apple day. Nothing they don’t try real hard to to deserve sometimes.
So let me get this straight. In order to try iCloud i must have Lion OR, in alternative, Windows Vista or 7?! What about Snow Leopard and Leopard? And i won’t even go to the other previous cats… You know, the other OSes that Apple produces!!
And no, currently i don’t have any iOS device. I wanted to try multiple macs sync. But apparently Apple values your use of Windows more than Mac OS X.
And as a cherry on top, because my Apple ID is a MobileMe address, from when i subscribed to Apple’s overpriced service, and because that account is long expired but Apple still recognizes it as a attached to a MobileMe account, i hit a wall of: “please go MobileMe site to upgrade this account” -> “this account is expired and can’t be renewed”.
At least 18 months of planning and testing and this is what you came up with? Jeez… That’s just dumb and disrespectful.
“But it goes deeper than this. Many reviewers don’t even realize what the product is. They still believe the iPhone or iPad is mostly a hardware product defined by its specifications. Apple has invested 10 times more R&D resources to create the iOS software and supporting eco system than its hardware. Apple didn’t design the hardware to match some feature checklist, they designed it to make their software amaze and delight customers, to create an emotional connection that effects peoples lives. To compare the iPhone or iPad to other products primarily on their hardware specifications is not representative of the quality of experience users are likely to have with the product. What happens if you lose your phone or tablet or wish to upgrade to a newer model? Will all your applications and data move seamlessly? What if you want to share data with others or between your tablet and phone? Can your tablet be upgraded to the latest OS? Will the software you want be available and work smoothly on your new tablet? What about malware? What if something goes wrong? Is there a store where you can take your tablet to get help? These are important considerations consumers see clearly, but the tech press largely ignores.”
“But it goes deeper than this. Many reviewers don’t even realize what the product is. They still believe the iPhone or iPad is mostly a hardware product defined by its specifications. Apple has invested 10 times more R&D resources to create the iOS software and supporting eco system than its hardware. Apple didn’t design the hardware to match some feature checklist, they designed it to make their software amaze and delight customers, to create an emotional connection that effects peoples lives. To compare the iPhone or iPad to other products primarily on their hardware specifications is not representative of the quality of experience users are likely to have with the product.
What happens if you lose your phone or tablet or wish to upgrade to a newer model? Will all your applications and data move seamlessly? What if you want to share data with others or between your tablet and phone? Can your tablet be upgraded to the latest OS? Will the software you want be available and work smoothly on your new tablet? What about malware? What if something goes wrong? Is there a store where you can take your tablet to get help? These are important considerations consumers see clearly, but the tech press largely ignores.”
“iOS powered devices generate more revenue than all of Microsoft’s products put together”
The charts above, from Horace Dediu at Asymco are amazing and pretty much a paper written proof of what everyone already feels instinctively. Microsoft is in deep trouble, their “evil empire” is crumbling and they haven’t manage to grow any enthusiasm or momentum (upwards i mean) in a long time.1 There is a lot more reflection on Asymcos original post so be sure to check it out.
The obvious joke at Steve Ballmer in the title of this post could have been forgotten or not used at all. But then again it’s just too easy to aim at him. That’s what you get for being a blind arrogant incompetent jerk most of your stage time.
- and no, i’m still playing with Windows 8 but i don’t think that it will save the ship. In fact i’m starting to think it will just sink it even more, because it tries to be everything to everyone while failing at it for every one. But let me play with it a little more… [↩]
Bonkers has a nice set of cartoons regarding tech and business. I specially like “Marketing Styles“.
There’s an educational wifi network in most of the european universities called eduroam. It’s a “enterprise” network, using an 802.1x security certificate, so you need to install your institution certificate file before using the login and password.
I was trying to help a coworker configuring his brand new Android phone. I thought it would be rather simple, as I had previously configured a iPod Touch a year or so ago and it was just finding the file and importing it. Nop. Not a chance.
So, a quick case study of what needs to be corrected by Android in user friendliness before actually announcing to the world that it is the new Master…
This is just an excerpt of the 20 steps or so of the configuration procedure. !? After 20 steps of a tedious process, you still might find that it will or it will not work, and if not maybe try again with these settings…
Some team really needs to go back to the “drawing board”…
To be perfectly clear i would be ok with Apple current proposal of terms of service and the App Store lockdown if:
- Apple would offer the iOS device locked to the Apple Store and with the 30% cut of every in-app purchase for 50% of the “regular” price
- Apple would offer the iOS device unlocked to the App Store and without the greedy in-app purchase cut for the regular price it is now charging.
You know, like a carrier! Either you pay the full price for the phone/device and it is yours to do as you please, or you buy it from us and play in our walled DisneyWorld.
Apple currently wants to own the best of two worlds. You pay full price AND you have to play in their walled AppleWorld where everything you do gets them a piece of the action.
You can’t always get what you want, as Mick would say.
“Rules change when you play in someone else’s backyard — it sucks, but if you are smart you can still be wildly successful. The 30% cut isn’t great (though it does look great from a strict consumers view), but it isn’t the end of the App Store — I bet it only makes the App Store better by ridding it of more junk apps.”
Ben, and a lot of other bloggers and anonymous commenters, seem to interiorize every new restriction put on the iOS app store with the same basic idea: “It’s Apple’s backyard” “they are the ones who build and maintain the app store…” “A lot of blood sweat and tears (not the song) went into these wonderful devices.12
But the point is that is not Apple’s backyard. It’s my backyard! I paid for the iPad, or the iPhone or other iOS device.3 Apple didn’t subsidised it, didn’t gave it away for free. No! They made the consumer pay for it. And a significant amount of money4 too.
So Apple sells a device to consumers and restricts consumers from installing apps from other sources than her own store. OK. I can live with that. As long as Apple then surrenders any kind of “moral” control or censorship. Because there should only be only two options on the table.
- a) Apple allows other sources in a sub-sub menu hidden in Settings and as such she can restrict and control what she wants in the App Store.
- b) Apple doesn’t allow other sources and as such doesn’t restrict, beside the technical and security issues, what apps can i buy.
Right? No. There is also a third option which shouldn’t exist:
- c) Apple doesn’t allow other sources of apps and heavily restricts what i can or can’t install on my device, including issues of moral (my personal issue not Apple’s), dubious legal issues (wikileaks anyone?) or “where’s my cut?!” issues (the current 30% issue).
And this third option is where we are standing today. Does it make sense that I, the consumer, am not allowed to watch porn5 on my device when i already pay my taxes, live my life alone and am usually considered by everyone else an adult?
Or that I can’t buy magazines and other in-app purchases at the price that the publish or developer believes is right? Hasn’t he already paid an Apple iOS subscription? Is he not selling to me, the consumer who already paid for his iOS device, an extra content, whatever that may be, that doesn’t involve Apple service or servers? So why should Apple get a cut on this? Their cut was the 499€ the ipad costs here.6
Apple is going on a wrong path here. A path that it already had started before when the Single App Store model was implemented but which has been turning for the worse every day. Why should wikileaks app be banished but Le Monde, El Mundo, the NY Times, Der Spiegel and every other major newspaper that publishes and treats the wikileaks data not? And why should it be banished at all if no legal action has been put by the US government on the wikileaks org? And why should i, an european, living in europe, be subject to “abide” by american laws to which i have no contact?
I’m not sure if this is a matter of anti-monopoly regulation but it definitely should be looked upon by the consumer rights regulator authority. Because that’s Apple focus right? The consumers?
I agree with most of the advantages Ben and others indicate. The privacy, the convenience, the quality control of Apple Store. That’s all ok and i would probably prefer it anyway. I just don’t consider the loss of options7 as an advantage.
- yep. someone actually said this. you can check that in the comments section of the current Apple Pravda [↩]
- I actually waste an incredible amount of time reading the comments on most news sites. It gives me insight on the “horde” thinking. Sometimes there is actually a commenter who has something of value to be said, but usually is just a incredible window on what the “real masses” outside of my circle are saying. [↩]
- For the argument sake let’s just assume that i actually have paid for one and possess one ok? [↩]
- which amazingly still is a lot cheaper than all of the iPad killers out there. [↩]
- Freedom from porn they say. I’ll take my liberty with a little of racy flavour thank you so much. [↩]
- A quick guess: is that more or less than 499$? [↩]
- freedom was a too strong word here. [↩]
I’ve been looking around these last two weeks for a new mobile phone, to replace my old one who had a unfortunately screen collapse. And it’s been a very elucidative experience.
For once, i looked on the iPhone obviously, but my previous idea still holds. It’s very nice. Well built. And i wouldn’t mind at all of having one. But no way that i will spend almost 500€ to have one! That’s basically half of my monthly PhD Governmental Scholarship! And if i actually had that much money laying around, do i really need this phone?
It’s always a good idea to clarify what you need, what you want and what you would like to have. It’s also very useful to clarify what you really don’t want or what is a deal breaker. I usually just start looking around, with illusions of grandness until i realize the dark dark world, and reposition my expectations to a better level of adequacy. And this means avoiding 500€ phones and start looking at those under 150€, preferably 100€. I refuse to give more than this for a phone. (My relatives and friends would gladly explain to you that i have serious issues with the omnipresence of phones and their control over our lives…)
So i decided what I really really demanded for my new phone:
- Ability to synchronize contacts and Calendar with my Mac. (iSync or other). I’m tired of loosing contacts, having multiple versions of it on the computer and phone and backups, and copying them by hand when i change phones. (which happened just a couple of times but even so…)
- Ability to charge through a USB port. As i explained before, i find the idea of carrying around a phone charger something completely absurd and anachronistic.
Then i found out what i would like to have from a phone:
- Easy, functional email ability, a la Blackberry.
- Wifi, for the email functionality. I don’t want to spend money on a data plan when i have wifi all around me.
- Some Application ability, so that i can install some sort of WordPress blogging application and blog ideas and photos from my phone. (Granted this can be done from email, but i would prefer a isolated application).
And, then what i would like to have but wouldn’t spent more than and additional 25€ to get:
- Some useful browsing ability, that isn’t terribly handicapped like the blackberry, or the regular “feature phones”.
Armed with these solid, thought up requirements, i started looking the online stores of my carrier and other specialized sellers. And it’s been a blast…
First: As i stated before, Nokia have stranded themselves in the XX Century. Their phones are now subpar on OS technology, subpar on hardware features and I won’t even begin to mention the decline in build quality that’s been noticed in the last years.
Second: Blackberrys are a no go also. I’ve looked them again and discovered that you actually don’t need a Blackberry data plan to use them as smart phones, but just the alternative email application on the Blackberry App Store is another 25€, adding to the phone price. Just turned red on my book.
Third: Android phones, although much inline with the pricing i want, seem to combine the mess of the non-polished non-user friendly Linux Distros (which are unfortunately the vast majority of the Linux distros out there) with the “crapware experience” you get when you buy a Windows laptop utterly messed up by its maker with “free software demos”. (kind of a Sony Vaio, but even worse)
The phone that first caught my eye, a rebranded ZTE Blade1 as Sapo A5, has an Android market & a Carrier Market. A Gmail Maps & a carrier maps & a GPS program with some more maps. An animated background screen showing battery info, which i’m sure will help allot the battery life, in conjunction with a animated weather widgets. At least, this is what i’ve seen on its pictures , as the first batch sold was quickly withdrawn from the market with several manufacturer defects. I’ve also seen other phones but they are the same stuff, but with different carrier apps. They have so many duplicate apps and other random stuff i can’t identify in the app screen, that it is perfectly possible that a brand new phone on the shop has 3 “screens” full of app icons. It took me a couple of minutes just to find the SMS app.
Then i started looking around in forums, always a good source of “Common Joe” experience, and went to my favorite portuguese speaking forum. And then i really really noticed the difference between iOS and Android. In the iOS sub-forum, you have a couple of active threads, with topic subjects on some slight user difficulties, useful tips, and some discussions regarding pricing and purchasing options. On the Android sub-forum, you have topic threads of over 200 pages just for each single cell phone model and brand, discussions on tens of modified roms as the carrier or maker never updates soon enough, modified applications, several ways of installing and several third parties applications that do something as simple 3G data measure, tons of “rooting your android phone” tutorials, background screen and widget customization and “let’s turn your cell phone in a carnival fair” contests, and above all else, endless errors and app crash complaints. Oh, and battery consumption in less than a day too. Just what i wanted. A phone that would make me be his servant.
So, I’m back at square one. Need to buy a cell phone and feel “orphan”. What i want seemed simple for me. A not very pricey phone, which would let me play around a bit, and install some apps of my choosing (you heard that Steve? MY CHOOSING!) and worked without any hiccups. It didn’t have to be a top of the line phone, neither having tons of disk space and processing power. Just enough to browse a couple of simple websites, consult my email and consult some news sites apps. In a way, a slightly evolved and “liberated” Blackberry.
If nothing else appears i will eventually end up with an Android phone, even if only convinced by its price. But i long to hear what HP has done with it’s WebOS system and can’t wait for the 9th. Maybe they have a significant third way for the market.
Oh, and i also looked up Windows Phone 7, as i actually liked the metro user interface i’ve seen on pictures, but they cost the same or more than an iPhone. And an iPhone can sync properly with a Mac without extra applications or cost.
- Also known as Orange San Francisco [↩]