Android sw stability vs "that other phone"


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  1. kb58

    kb58 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Okay, I don't like "A vs. B" threads but hopefully this one's slightly different because it's not about nebulous and subjective issues.

    I'm a sw/hw engineering so I know about the different phones, hardware, and marketing spin. I've had a BB Bold for two years and it's coming up time to consider another. I really like the larger screens of recent phones, the fast processors, and all the apps, so have been checking them out at the various phone stores. Very impressive... but...

    It isn't what I see in the stores that concerns me - it's what I read here, the many reports of unstable Android software. I haven't even looked at an iPhone yet, but while there are issues with it, unstable buggy sw isn't one of them. On this forum, there seems to be thread after thread about how to fix problems, even fixing issues on right-out-of-the-box phones.

    I love gadgets and always have, and the Android phones have awesome hardware, much better than the iPhone, BUT, the make-it-however-you-want-it versitility of the Android code (which could be an awesome thing) seems to be coming up short. It's as though since people/developers have been given free access to the code, they've lowered their standards for what constitutes good stable functioning code. It's as though apps are being fielded that work about 80% of the time.

    Summed up, while the Android phone hardware is very kick-ass, the software concerns me a great deal - enough that the iPhone cannot be discounted as a choice, simply because it doesn't crash all the time. To be fair, in the two years I've had my Bold, it's frozen a few times... like 4. Nothing's perfect, and four times is acceptable for what it is, but if I have to reboot an Android phone every week, it's going to be a very bad relationship.

    I realize coming into the 'Droid Church and saying this could cause an uproar, but my purpose is to hear from actual users about how flakey Android sw really is. I realise only unhappy people complain so it gives a very biased view of how bad things really are - or aren't. If 1% of Android buyers are making 90% of the complaints, that's one thing, but if the poor code really is that poor, that makes Android a no-go.

    What say you?
     

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  2. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum Moderator

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    Forums cam be a little misleading. Many people come here only when they have problems, so any common issues appear to be universal. Take that and multiply it by the internet echo chamber where ... and you'll pardon the stereotyping ... fanboys look for issues to wave as a banner of superiority and you get a less than spectacular impression of the platform.

    I can only give you my personal experiences so take it for what it's worth. I've had my Nexus One for about six months. It has frozen on me a total of three times, requiring a restart. Only once did it require me to pull the battery, and there has never been an issue with corruption or loss of data. I have seen an app force-close from time to time (perform an illegal operation or fail to make an expected connection). Frankly it's not that common.

    The common recurring issues that I have seen are usually about battery life, misconceptions about task killers, and customizations about crapware, rooting or mfg. UI's. There are complaints about apps not being able to do what a user wants, but for the most part they work as programmed and behave themselves. There have been some hardware specific issues like the GPS radio in the Galaxy S phones, but I don't know how much of a real problem it is as my son has had a Captivate now for several months and not once complained about the GPS not working ... and believe me, if there was an issue, I'd hear about it ... loudly.

    I think Apples app store policies will prevent most buggy, poorly coded or otherwise faulty apps from ever reaching the consumer, but I haven't really run into any in the Market. Of course I don't download hundreds of wallpaper apps or other novelty stuff.

    Just so you know, I've got an unrooted Nexus, running FroYo 2.2.1, about 80 apps installed, 10 widgets on 5 home screens and a custom Launcher (currently ADW.Launcher). Gmail and Facebook sync'ing and three POP3 email accounts.
     
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  3. Demache

    Demache Well-Known Member

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    As far as OS stability is concerned, its remarkably stable. It only has had a major crash (which required a restart) once in 7 months, even on my old Eris. App quality is really up to the developer, and you'll always have those exceptions.

    On the other hand, my iPod Touch 2G running 4.0, has actually made the entire phone crash several times just by using Safari in a few months.
     
  4. dan330

    dan330 Well-Known Member

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    you sound like a reasonable person...
    if android is as buggy with apps...

    would so many carriers sell android
    sell so many .. so fast.. the general public will not tolerate.
    so many recommendations from tech shows
    so many huge companies make android phones
    iphone so scared of android market eating machine

    there are too many market clues to the growth of android to think that it is as bad as you think.

    that said... there are some issues.. but i would not make a mountain out of a mole hill.
     
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  5. kb58

    kb58 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Oh now come on, no reason to go there. But if you want to play this game:

    1. Why would so many carriers sell android: to make money of course.

    2. sell so many .. so fast.. the general public will not tolerate. They aren't and are complaining - here.

    3. so many recommendations from tech shows. Of an unknown quality new product, by reviewers who have a vested interesting in positive comments, of course.

    4. so many huge companies make android phones. To make money.

    5. iphone so scared of android market eating machine: This is opinion.

    I'm just trying to get a sense of how stable Android sw is. Granted, the issue is made worse by people rooting them and possibly corrupting the code, but it's hard to ignore posts about people getting fed up with their unstable phone. OTOH, if people with unmolested phones say they're stable, that counts for a lot, too.
     
  6. dan330

    dan330 Well-Known Member

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    then.. i would have to say...

    you made up your mind.. which is OK and fine for you!
    get an iphone.. be happy :D
     
  7. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum Moderator

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    Now wait a minute. I almost NEVER molest my phone ... at least when the camera is on ;)
     
  8. kb58

    kb58 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    What I decide depends how many here say their phone's sw is stable and not flakey.
     
  9. djclark

    djclark Well-Known Member

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    In study after study, android users come out in high percentages wanting to switch. The reverse is not true. As an apple guy who bought/rooted (latest froyo) an android phone - i'd go iphone if I had to do it over again. It pisses me off to think of all the time/energy that has been spent dicking with this phone. I figured google wouldn't pull a m$. I was wrong. Android == good enough ( sometimes barely ). iPhone == quality. It's even more glaring when I sit down and use my iPad or my brothers iphone. the UI/refinement etc... is light years better on the iOS devices. My next phone will definitely be an iphone ( on verizon hopefully ).

    As far as the numbers game. Its not hard to outsell 1 device when you have 20 manufactures making 200 variations. Not to mention the BOGO offers... If apple ever releases the iphone on verizon - that will be a bad day for google. I'll be sure to see the reaction here from the leghumpers when androids numbers drop like a lead balloon...
     
  10. 010Twitch010

    010Twitch010 Member

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    Won't happen for one simple reason. The people want open source and the people have spoken.
     
  11. djclark

    djclark Well-Known Member

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    Hate to burst your bubble. 99% of the public doesn't give too shits about open source. They want a phone that works. Open source, removable batteries etc... are all things techs use to make up for an inferior user experience. I won't even get into how the carriers are doing their best to marginalize any openness that android provides. It's laughable that people think being able to compile android from source is a replacement for half rate media, games, ui etc... If that were the case - linux on the desktop would be the norm. Android has its numbers because the phones are cheap, plentiful ( BOGO ) and the iphone is only on one network stateside. Once that changes, I'm betting the sales numbers will change. Time will tell who is right.
     
  12. Demache

    Demache Well-Known Member

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    I'd rather have a Nokia Symbian phone than an iPhone to be quite honest....
     
  13. kb58

    kb58 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    I agree with this 100%. While I like being able to customize the OS, that doesn't mean I want a phone that - dead stock - hangs or crashes. And as was said, I own neither type of phone so there's nothing fanboy either way about my comments; I'm just wanting to get a better idea on how stable the Android OS is.
     
  14. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum Moderator

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    Provide these studies. Simply claiming they exist is not proof. Theses "studies" you speak of are surveys of phone users asking if they'd buy the same phone. The problem with the survey, as any statistician will explain, is that to stay with the iPhone, you have no choice but to buy the same phone. However, most people not using iPhones rarely buy the same phone twice as they prefer to buy current, and usually higher spec'ed models. The response that they'd buy a different phone does not mean they are unhappy with their current phone, nor does it mean they would not choose another Android phone.

    What does it say about a person who is dissatisfied with a product and prefers the moan and whine about it rather than correcting the situation?

    Except, Androids numbers continue to rise worldwide where the iPhone is available without network restriction. And, Adnroids number could drop considerably and still be ahead of Apple in both U.S. and Global markets. As for your anger and insecurity, perhaps a visit to a professional might be advisable.
     
  15. Bnice

    Bnice Guest

    If you want to get an idea of how stable Android is,don't you as an individual have to go experience for your self.
     
  16. OfTheDamned

    OfTheDamned The Friendly Undead VIP Member

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    Ok boys, you know you're supposed to remain civil. Let's not get kb58's thread closed because we can't act nice, ok?

    With regard to the OP, there are a few different variations with Android that can cause problems. With some of the custom UIs that are available (HTC Sense, Moto Blur, Samsung's TouchWiz, etc.) you will see people talking about things that don't work quite right. This is either with an app on the phone or a 3rd party download. Sometimes this is just after an OS update (we've have 3 in the last year) and that can cause problems if an app has not been updated properly or in a timely manner. Sometimes it is due to someone trying to do something that was not really intended for the phone to do. One difference you will find is that these errors or problems are typically corrected fairly fast. The manufacturer will send out an update patch soon after the problem is discovered or an application developer will send out an update the same day in some cases. Another difference with Android that I have seen is the level of communication that occurs between Google, App developers and the end user.

    As far as my experience goes, it has been a joy. I'm on my second Android phone and I love the OS as well as all the apps developed for it. I've yet to have a phone crash on me and the one phone that I rooted only improved the user experience for me when I loaded a custom ROM. BTW, the ROM developers are great and you can talk with them about bugs and problems up close and personal which is really nice.

    Am I biased? Yes, I'm a Mod on an Android forum for crying out loud.;) Am I a fangirl? To a certain extent, but I do know how to admit flaws when it comes to Android and even its users.

    The iPhone has been said to be pretty stable and the ones I've had to use here at work have been for the most part. I've seen them freeze and I've seen them crash. As I said, it happens on all phones with maybe the exception of non-touchscreen BlackBerries. Do I see one being more stable than the other? Not really, they both have apps that won't work and they both have their bugs.

    The key difference to me is that with Android you get so much choice and with the iPhone you get a one size, style, spec phone that is supposed to fit all. I don't know about you, but the one size fits all stuff that I've bought in the past rarely fits me the way I really want it to.

    No matter what you decide, I wish you good luck and I hope you find the phone that fits you right.
     
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  17. kb58

    kb58 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Thank you very much for such a useful and helpful post. This is much better than just saying "go try them"... ugh. I like what's out there as far as Android hw goes, that's a no-brainer, and if the sw is good, great.

    (oh and to be fair, I did say that my BB Bold has hung up about four times in two years, so it isn't perfect either. I don't expect perfect, just not having any phone - regardless of make - hanging up every week. Thanks to your post and others, things are looking brighter! Keep the comments coming.
     
  18. OfTheDamned

    OfTheDamned The Friendly Undead VIP Member

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    As far as going to try them, most carriers will let you do a 30 day test drive now. So you could actually get a full user experience with the phone to make your own decision as it is the only one that really counts.

    I have a feeling you are on At&t, but Verizon will give you a full 30 days and you can even return the phone and cancel you contract if you don't like the phone or them. I think you would only be a $35 restocking fee.
     
  19. Thefoodman52

    Thefoodman52 Well-Known Member

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    From my personal experience, using a rooted, and stock for quite some time, Evo, I can vouch for it's stability.

    I will say I've had to restart more often after rooting than with it stock (never restarted when it was stock), but it's still very stable. I often go three or four weeks before I restart even after rooting.

    I know why I've had to restart while being rooted as well... I love testing new stuff... ;D
    New stuff can be unstable, and well, one thing leads to another... yada yada, bla bla.
     
  20. Guamguy

    Guamguy Well-Known Member

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    Stability needs a little defining on Android. Battery pulls very rarely. About two thirds of the times i did have my OS literally freeze, it was hit by a system update. When I pulled the battery out, put it back in, the moment the OS rebooted there was a message indicating a system update was available.

    Android does a lot of UI reboots. In which case, the UI crashes, then restarts, literally not affecting everything else on the phone even open apps.

    Flakiest official Android build I got so far is whatever Android 2.2 they got on the Droid Incredible.

    Most solid official Android build I got is the Android 2.2.1 on the Nexus One right now. The Android 2.1 that first came with that phone didn't exactly make me happy.

    The last update of Android 2.1 on the Droid Eris was very solid for me. I was sorry to deactivate the phone for my new Droid Incredible.

    Both Eclair and Froyo on the HTC Desire is also very solid for me. The Desire's take on Eclair was heads up better on the Nexus One in terms of smoothness and stability.

    Android 1.6 on the MyTouch 3G is a very solid OS for me. That's how I started liking Android.

    Whatever they put on into the Samsung Galaxy S on the other hand, they should take the managers and quarter them like in the movie Braveheart.
     
  21. kb58

    kb58 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Your female intuition is correct!
     
  22. grainysand

    grainysand Well-Known Member

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    Android's got a Linux core. Linux is known to be fairly stable, in general.

    But apart from that, what are you looking for, really? You seem very biased against Android and are looking for people to convince you to not get it--for people to convince you that the iPhone is the right choice, in fact. I'm not sure what use it would be to discuss anything with you in that case. Stock hangs and crashes all the time? Rubbish. No actual Android user would tell you that, because it doesn't do any such thing--stock Android is absolutely rock-stable; it's when you start to tinker with experimental firmware that it might start acting weird. Where have you been getting your information, iluviphone.com?

    As a N1 user who's owned the phone since February, when my phone was stock it was as stable as could be. I got bored, rooted and installed custom ROMs, flashed custom kernels and newer radios; even then unless I'm trying out themes that were built for other devices, or pre-pre-alpha-grade ROMs, I don't run into issues. Badly coded apps have caused problems, but that's the fault of third-party developers, and if you believe that iDevices never experience such problems ever, then I'd be hard-pressed to believe your credentials. Software engineers know that nothing "just works" perfectly 100% of the time.
     
  23. kb58

    kb58 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Sigh... sorry I can't get this across, though others seem to get what I'm saying. My "bias" against Android comes from threads on Android forums just like this one, comments from actual Android owners and users. When I read of unhappy users, that means something. It's just a data point, but when there are many data points then it starts to paint a picture. And like I said... I also know that only complainers make a big noise about problems, possibly skewing the data since happy owners tend to not post. Is the iPhone the "right" choice? Don't know, but I guess if you say it is then maybe it is :rolleyes:

    As far as claiming I'm a troll, I was afraid of this happening, that a civil conversation can't be held here. It's like someone telling you their religion, and everything's fine until you start asking questions, whereupon you're labeled as a devil, a witch, or an infidel because you dare to think different - or just think. What's the weather like there in the Middle East... :confused: I can do without the attempts at armchair psychology 101, thanks, but thank you very much to the other actually helpful people for enlightening me. Contrary to Captain Falafel's comments, I'm beginning to think that an Android phone will suit me just fine.
     
  24. OfTheDamned

    OfTheDamned The Friendly Undead VIP Member

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    While I don't condone the name calling (hence it being removed), I don't think it was directed at you, but the other person quoted in the reply.

    You do have to understand that forums such as ours, for whatever reason, do get a fair share of people that simply come here to start trouble. We've had plenty of Android vs iPhone threads started in the past that only have the purpose of starting a "My dad can beat up your dad" sort of argument. There will always be that mentality that what "you" purchased has to be the best and everything else must be flawed. Why? No idea. It should really be up to the individual.

    My office currently has 12 Android users, 15 BlackBerry users, 5 iPhone users and 1 Palm Pre user. 3 of the current Android users are former iPhone users and the rest are all former BlackBerry users. Of the 5 current iPhone users 2 plan to make the jump to Android when their contract is up. At this point 6 of the current BlackBerry users plan to switch as well although 1 of them plans on getting an iPhone. That means that instead of being 12, 15, 5 and 1 it will soon be 19, 9, 4 and 1 in my office. The rest of the office are still using flip phones, but a few have told me they plan to upgrade later. My office is not filled with fanboys or tech geeks in anyway. I've had to teach most of the people here how to actually use their phones most of the time. The reason I say any of this is that even with this group of technology declined individuals we still have the 'my phone is better than your phone" arguments. Some of the iPhone users will tell others how many apps they have and the BlackBerry users will talk about how stable their phones are and the Android folks will talk about having the best of both. I've even seen Android users argue about which of their phones are better. Each and everyone of them also bemoans their phone privately to me as well. :rolleyes: So, it isn't just here it is everywhere. lol

    On another note and more along the lines of your original question I forgot to tell you something yesterday. I went into an At&t store about a month ago to ask about smartphones for my parents who are in their 70s. They had both already purchased the Captivate at this point (both love the phone, BTW), but I just wanted to see what an At&t CSR had to say. I explained that my mother had been a Palm Treo user and that my father had never owned a smartphone before. I then asked what would be the best phone they could recommend. I did this in 3 stores over the course of a week. With only one exception each and every rep told me they should get the Captivate and that it was a much better choice over the BlackBerry Torch or the iPhone 4. The only exception came from one rep that suggested my mother get the Torch since her previous phone had a physical keyboard too. After explaining that the keyboard wasn't an issue he immediately turned to the Android display. When I asked about the iPhone, they each told me that it had had too many problems and that they hardly recommend them anymore. One rep said that they don't even stock them now. While it is an extremely small sample, I still find it interesting that someone would pass up an exclusive in order to sell a phone that they believe to have fewer problems.
     
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  25. kb58

    kb58 Well-Known Member This Topic's Starter

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    Outstanding post, thank you very much for all the info, especially your informal survey of your office-mates. Good stuff, and you've all be convinced me which way I'll be going! Thanks again.
     

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