[Crossposted from HERE
Google Android. What a step in the right direction. An inconsistent user interface, slow-loading applications, and a thirst for battery power. Android is touted as a ground breaking mobile OS thatís going to change the game. Again. The open sourcey goodness is attracting developers by the flock to create some of the most useful, and novel, applications weíve ever seen. Overall, the platform is absolutely astonishing. Letís make like Vanilla Ice and break it down, shall we?
Right out of the gate, I just want to say that the interface isnít that bad. Itís inconsistent, sure, but thatís really the beauty of it. Before we branch off into the dissection of the animal, I just want to stress how much of a stepping stone this operating system is. The interface being less than stellar somewhat conveys the emotion that youíre on a living, breathing project rather than a completely polished phone manufactured by a corporate giant. This is something for the people. One mans complaint is another mans opportunity to plug the hole. Every time I find something to bitch about, I canít help but think ďHey! Someone could do something really cool with this!Ē And thatís what the user interface really comes down to in my eyes. Itís an empty canvas. Continue reading after the break.
Out of the box, youíre actually more limited than you might think. You canít save photos from an SMS, set a song you bought as a ringtone, or have separate volumes for alerts vs. ringtones. One of the things that really made Android shine on day one was a little app called Rings Extended
. This bypasses first party options and allows you to send any music file as an alert or ringtone. I was frustrated that I couldnít set the song I bought on Amazon as a ringtone (Rick Astley, for those wondering) so I took a little trip to the app store. Rings Extended allowed me to do exactly what I wanted. Quite a plus!
The browser was described as choppy by many early review sites, but I would disagree entirely. The only time itís choppy is when the page is still loading. Unlike the iPhone, you can scroll through the page while it loads. You can have multiple windows, bookmarks, the works. Pretty standard, really, but we canít help but pray that Fennec is ported
by some divine miracle.
The Market is quite run of the mill, to be honest with you. You have the option to choose to browse applications, games, or things youíve already downloaded. Once you select an application, you can read other userís reviews and a brief explanation of what youíre downloading. If youíve made it this far, you know that itís the apps that are going to push this platform where it needs to go. Thereís quite a few handy apps out already, but not enough (as expected) to compete with the iPhone just yet.
Really, there isnít much else to talk about aside from how firm we believe in the project. This is a platform for the geeks, not the common man. If youíre Joe the Plumber (irresistible), a soccer mom, or John McCain, thereís no reason for you to have the slightest interest in this phone. People that can appreciate the guts of it all are the ones who are going to push this past the iPhone. Weíre on the brink of a mobile OS war as average Joe developers are brought into the limelight. At this point, thereís no point in developing for a close minded platform when Android is right around the corner with open arms and a warm smile.
We like to think that Google is fully committed to this project, ultimately, making it impossible to fail. If the community doesnít adopt it, Google will gladly step in. The investment of their Android Developer Challenge
shows their pledge to pushing Android until the end. Theyíre putting the power in the hands of the people, for now. Weíll see how the whole thing plays out, but weíre excited to be a part of it. Hats off, Open Handset Alliance.
Overall, Android is off to a great start. We have no qualms about its current state and canít wait until the community turns it into something even more spectacular.