Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by Timaphillips, Jan 9, 2010.
Here are some of my thoughts on the negatives that he covered in his review. I was thinking about doing the same for his rant but parts of that sound like the ravings of a lunatic to me, so I think I'll pass. Plus, this post is already too long winded without adding that.
The capacitive display, while excellent, doesn’t have the same response as its largest competitor in the touch screen arena. It’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination, but we feel like the 5% or so difference becomes noticeable with everyday usage.
He doesn’t explain what he means by this. I haven’t really had any issues with the touch screen in the main display area. I have had it glitch a few times where I’d press one icon and an icon 3 rows down would actually get selected, but in each case, it happened while using the callused fingers on my left hand to select the icons. I ran into similar issues with the Droid as well as with the “largest competitor” – everyone who plays the guitar probably runs into this. Switching to the other hand fixed the problem.
One other annoyance is the touch-sensitive buttons below the screen, however. They seem to be the exact same as what’s on the HTC DROID Eris, and we are having the exact same issues. Their contact point seems to sit a little higher than it should, so if you press the button normally from the bottom half, your touch probably will not register.
This is a very valid point. I’ve run into this on my Nexus One and it was quite frustrating at first. I’ve since adjusted to it (for the most part), but still consider it to be a problem. My Droid doesn’t have this issue at all.
And while in our testing Android 2.1 worked reasonably well, we just can’t get over the fact that in addition to software inconsistencies which we’ll touch on below, there are still small slow downs and hiccups even with this 1GHz processor. That’s not good.
No, it’s not good, but hiccups are not unexpected with a brand new phone running a relatively new OS (or even an established one, for that matter). The iPhone has definitely not been immune to slow downs and hiccups over the course of its history. These things happen… and they get fixed. Owners on both sides of the fence rant and rage about the problems… and then they forget about them (until it’s time to point them out on a competitors phone).
There’s also a News and Weather widget/application set which looks great and is pretty customizable. It’s definitely the best implementation we’ve seen on Android in terms of a news/weather widget, but that also speaks to how poorly 3rd party widgets and applications are designed and developed on Android as a whole.
There are indeed plenty of poorly designed 3rd party widgets and applications for the Android OS. From what I’ve seen, it’s a higher percentage of available apps than what we see with the iPhone. Users really have to wade through the chaff to find the gems, but they’re definitely there.
A lot of this has to do with the fact that there’s no screening process for developers – anyone can add apps to the Market… and anyone does! As far as I know, there’s also no standardization for the UI designs, or at least no enforcement of the standards – the method for accessing UI elements in one app may be very different in another. That seems like a pretty big negative for Android, especially in the eyes of the users coming over from the iPhone, where those standards are enforced. I’d personally prefer to see more uniformity between Android apps.
The actual loudspeaker on the phone is decent. It’s definitely loud enough, but it’s not that clear and can get distorted pretty easily if the volume is raised up enough.
The loudspeaker on the Nexus One just plain stinks. The speakers on my Iphone 3GS and Droid are quite a bit better. At first, I thought it was due to the tiny hole on the battery cover above the speaker – how can any decent sound get through that little hole? But even with the battery cover off, the speaker sounds horrible. It’s usable in a pinch, I suppose, but I’m definitely going to avoid using it.
When you think of an AMOLED screen you probably think bright, beautiful colors, crisp, sharp detailing, and you also probably think, “that might not be the best screen to use at the beach.” And, if you thought that last part, you’d be right. The screen on the Nexus One, while gorgeous, is not usable in direct sunlight and it’s rather depressing.
Yup. This screen suffers a LOT more in direct sunlight than the Droid and iPhone screens do. Even in the shade outside on a sunny day, it doesn’t appear to be as bright as the Droid’s screen. When I use the Nexus One in my car during the day, I have to manually set the brightness to 100% and it STILL doesn’t look as bright as the Droid’s screen. It’s definitely still usable in the car – ‘just not quite as pleasant to look at as the Droid’s screen (which I always left on Auto).
Indoors, the opposite is true. My Nexus one looks brighter than the Droid when they’re both set to the same brightness level. ::shrug:: ‘One of the down sides to having an AMOLED screen, I suppose.
Getting over the sunlight issue, the screen isn’t as rich as the Motorola DROID’s display, unfortunately. We didn’t miss the actual resolution in terms of having more room, but the DROID’s display doesn’t show pixelation like the Nexus One does, and just honestly seems like a better product.
My initial reaction to this was, “WTF!? The Nexus One’s screen looks richer than the Droid’s screen to my eyes!” But then he goes on to talk about the resolution so I think his definition of “rich” is not quite the same as mine.
For the most part, those extra pixels on the droid screen don’t buy much. The only place I notice it is on really small print, such as the smallest text on the WeatherBug Elite widget. On Nexus One, that small print looks blurry from a distance and pixilated up close – on the Droid, it’s very sharp. I can see a similar difference in the fine lines on the gStrings icon and on all icon text if I really examine them closely. Score one for the Droid! That same text on the iPhone would be completely illegible, though…
Android’s default camera application is mediocre at best, slightly frustrating, and mildly confusing.
Indeed. The camera app doesn’t even blend well with the rest of the native apps – it feels more like a 3rd party app! It gets the job done, but it really does need some work.
One of many issues is that there isn’t a single amazing application on the Android platform.
I must be a complete simpleton, then. I was fairly amazed when I took Google Sky Maps outside to look at the stars for the first time. My neighbor thought I was high until he looked at the screen. He’s now a Droid owner, btw…
He does make a lot of valid points in his review & I hope I'm not the only one who thinks that (else I'm about to be torn a new one). There was obviously some bias in the review but nothing really unexpected, especially from a site such as his. If he'd left that rant off the site, I think many of us probably would have agreed with most of what he wrote, frowned at his bias, and just moved on.
In case anyone asks... yes, I do own all three: http://www.scottallyn.com/images/phones.jpg
BGR did make some great points. I bet a vast majority of the issues can be solved with a software update.
We all know that early adopters are basically beta testers. Let's give HTC a little time to make these minor corrections.
Sounds like someone is scared that Android will beat the iPhone.
God do I hate iPhones more and more. How did we ever get by before the iPhone?
No matter what you think of BGR and his iPhone fanaticism, he is 100% correct in everything he says in the blog. For us Android users to believe anything otherwise is to be as delusional as we're accusing him of being. The simple fact of the matter is: Even at 2.1, Android is still in its infancy. If we compared Android to iPhone 2.0, then, yeah, maybe it's acceptable.
Unfortunately, we live in 2010 and the N1 has been preceded by the benchmark iPhone 3Gs. Anything less than that mark would be considered, well, less. Advancing technology beyond the benchmark is the point of innovation. When the DROID came out, it was sort of acceptable that it wouldn't be an iPhone-killer. It was after all, N1's best attempt at dethroning the iPhone from its perch, bringing new user experiences to the Android platform. In that way, there is literally no excuse for the "next big" iteration of Android to be as un-revolutionary as it is now with the N1. Google failed to innovate. In the words of "Office Space," they did just enough not to get fired.
I guess what I am most frustrated with (and ultimately why I empathize with BGR) is that Google didn't allow 2.0 to gain a foothold in order to listen to the community about ways in which to improve it and improve the UI and therefore the UX. Instead, 3 months after the release of the DROID, they release 2.1 as the "next big thing," and what BGR is getting at is: It was NOT the next big thing. The music player is a joke... STILL. The gallery application is a joke. The camera application... still a joke. For a Google staple, you'd think the Gmail interface would be nicer.
In fact, 2.1 was just a small step, but somehow it necessitated whole new hardware?!?
Nothing so far about the UI/UX is improved over 2.0. In fact, many users are still experiencing the same problems they had with the DROID. There was no game changer. It's as if Google hadn't learned anything from 2.0 and DROID. Today, I can't recommend either phone to even my closest friends and I own a DROID! The Android platform is fragmented. The apps are frequently on par or sub-par. So many of them are poor that even the best of them will cause the OS to crash or force close.
I hope for goodness sake that Rubin is right and the N1 brings more development to the platform. And I hope that he knows how to damage control, because manufacturers NOT HTC are furious that Google released this phone. They feel betrayed and placed on a lower rung (a situation that WinMo was careful to avoid). At the moment, Android has a lot of momentum but I feel like it's in a precipitous place, unstable as it were.
I don't normally agree with BGR, but he is 100%, completely correct. The unveiling of the N1 was what opened my eyes, because for a while I was drinking a lot of the Android kool-aid. I wanted to discount WebOS, but until I lived with Android, I didn't realize just how good WebOS was, if only it had better hardware (which the Pre Plus seems to deliver). It's like if Android could take it's openness, combine it with the UI/UX of WebOS and the native mailing/exchange applications of the BB, improve the overall quality of apps by demanding more polish... man, THAT would be a SUPER phone!
You realize the same people who were calling it a game changer and the "next big thing" WERE Engadget , BGR , TechCrunch etc.
Google wasnt the one calling it anything. So nice way to hype up expectations yourself then blame the other guy for not filling your own hype.
WebOS is great. Hardware is doo doo thus far. Hopefully that changes.
This is the second piece of legit Android hardware and first clearly superior hardware phone than anything currently out.
Why do people continually expect beauty from google ??
What in your history of Google make you think theyre capable of it ??
I agree theres alot of issues with Android. But most of them are cosmetic not functional. I want Android to be prettier and have more eye catching UI but thats up to 3rd parties because I know Google aint doing it.
The app store and apps in general need more talent and again NEED TO BE MORE ATTRACTIVE VISUALLY.
Function wise they do the job. Google needs to open up things so that Devs can make better and prettier apps.
HTC shutting down beautiful widgets...CorePlayer guys quitting because theres no access to codecs/EQ bands.
CnD to Cyanogen...
But is that what BGR is talking about . NO. Hes ranting like a little baby with clear bias.
I wont even waste my time reading the article. Besides some stupid comments in general thru Twitter he made such a big deal when he got the Droid somehow before anyone else and made it seem like a gift from god (which it is close to imo) and then he writes a less than great review. He is full of crap and just tries to get more hype for his site.
First of all, your condescending attitude is terrible.
Second, your choice to put two schools (that you went to?) in your signature is inappropriate and borders on conceited.
Third, you are right, the original author of the BGR article did have some pertinent points. But the others are right...the article is unnecessarily inflammatory and unnecessarily condemns the Android platform. It exaggerates, oversimplifies and in general ignores the facts to perpetuate an opinion.
I will agree that the Android OS is far from perfect. So is Apple's OS, and it's been out longer, a fact that he blindly ignores. Nor does he acknowledge that the objectives of each, the target audience of each, and the methods used to capture are as different as the Mac vs. PC debate that raged (and still does, although less so now that Windows is such a blatant Mac Clone).
Moreover, the vile blatering about the emotional connection to the phone is irrelevant and ridiculous, not to mention highly suspect. Try posting that about a Droid...you'd probably get a letter bomb, or the electronic mail equivalent from a fervent Droid fan.
Any rational person would agree that the original article is quite over the top.
No OS is perfect. My work just opened a ticket with Microsoft on windows server 2008 clustering and after a day found a fix ourselves by accident and Microsoft asked for the details so they could document it, how many OS versions have they gone though?
If you start thinking your perfect then you stop improving. Examples could be GM, Ford, IBM in the 70's and 80's and other companies came by and changed the face of their respective industries forever.
The Android OS, by nature of being open source has the most potential. Look at Firefox. A few years back when Netscape owned the internet then was AOL'ed and MSIE took over. Then the Mozilla foundation was created and the faster moving open source movement surpassed all the competition in every way.
Here is the part I don't understand... Keep in mind, I'm a former Apple user/abuser. I loved my iPod (touch).
With Android, you can customize your phone to your liking; its your, make it look like its yours. I love that. The iPhone's idea of customization is changing your lock screens background. That's it (unless you jailbreak).
With Android, the possibilities are almost endless. Widgets, pictures, whatever. You want it, do it. Even jailbroken, I've never been able to do that with any iDevice.
Anyways, this guy is allowed his opinion, but I believe he is wrong.
After seeing these so-called tech reviewers speak from both sides of their mouths with regards to Android and the latest phones, I don't believe any of them are truly sincere. I think they play both sides of the fence to get hits, but eventually their true colors come out - that they are nothing but a bunch of Apple nut-swingers (with the exception of Techcrunch).
I agree with that main point I bolded. The people complaining the loudest are former iPhone users who expect the same look and feel which isn't going to happen, this is a different OS. The BGR opinion piece was more about personal preference than actual flaws. And its comical how the important aspects of Android are brushed aside. It's his opinion but it misses the mark in many areas and the overall tone was that of someone who's bitter. It is rumored that he (BGR) was rejected for first dibs at the N1 and so was pissed. Maybe so but somehow under the veil of fairness and objectivity, I believe his true colors shined through in that last piece.
I disagree about Google not wanting to make the OS beautiful though. 2.1 is some proof they are indeed willing to make visual changes. Maybe not enough to satisfy some but it's probably more than they've done with any previous version of Android. And I don't see why that trend should stop.
I expect to see visual improvements in every version and I hope they continue to develop the card style view similar to WebOS. All in all, I'd rather them steal and incorporate every idea from WebOS than that of iPhone OS. The only advantage I see that iPhone OS has is it's smooth UI. And to me that isn't much of an advantage.
Google didn't even make it "prettier." The Gallery App was NOT even their idea. It was CoolIris. So the swipe to see the next photo, CoolIris. So, if Google gets hammered by Apple for using swipe in the Gallery 2.1, guess who gets the brunt? CoolIris. Not Google. I think we have to be careful and guard ourselves from drinking the Android kool-aid. There are some very valid points that BGR made in between the lines of his iPhone fanboy-ism. No OS is going to be perfect, but it's important that any OS that comes out from now on, understand what is working and what is wanted by users. I can name just a few that don't even violate Apple's patent for MT/pinch:
1) A better virtual keyboard. Don't try to argue it. It's acceptable, but it's not good.
2) A better Music Player. Yeah, the current one is functional, but really? This is the best they could come up with? Sometimes, I think they did that to keep the OS as light as possible, but really?!
3) A better Gallery app. 3D Tilt, really?!? What is the function of that? Get CoolIris back on the phone and get your money back Google!
4) A better Camera function... tap to focus, tap to zoom, some more editing functionality on-board?
5) Better handling of graphics... c'mon Google, let Android take full advantage of these ridiculous GPUs that are on-board the top Android phones.
I don't care that the App Tray rolls into the distance like Star Wars. You (GOOG) want to rip off the zoom-in, fly-in of the iPhone app tray, but you won't give it the same icon handling? There's a reason why people love Sense UI. And they're not doing any thing that special at HTC. GOOG can easily do better than that! Surely!
The tech media is getting impatient with Android. That was a pretty unhinged rant from BGR, but some of the points are valid. I think the gallery app shows were Google is trying to go with the OS. I'd like to see 2.5 out in a couple of months with a big UI refresh, new media player, and a better contacts app. I'll be really annoyed though if we get to 3.0 and the music player still looks like it was designed in '96. One of the reasons I bought an N1 was the idea that I could sell it (it's unlocked) and pay the ETF as soon as HTC made something with comparable hardware running Sense. Having had a Hero in the past, I can say almost all of BGR's gripes are addressed by the Sense UI.
What would have actually been groundbreaking? HTC partners with Google to do all UI for Android in the future.
Sometimes though, I think Google just doesn't believe in making things pretty. I mean look at Gmail and Google.com.
That's why BGR said, "To a lesser extent, Sense UI equipped HTC phones..." Honestly, I believe a lot of this is to make the OS light. As if, because it's free, it doesn't have to offer much, since it'll spur developers to do other things, like Sense, like Blur.
Yeah it's just a shame though. I really don't see what the advantage is of all the options open source provides if only one of them (Sense) is really good. The N1 is awesome because of the hardware, but once that is dated, it won't look so hot.
The N1's hardware was outdated the moment they announced it would be used. The Snap @ 1GHz is marginally better than the OMAP3430, and as CES2010 began, it was announced devices that'll be running OMAP4xxx which are dual-cores, ARM CortexA9. Tegra2 out already is based on this architecture and with the new nVidia GPU is just plain sick. Marvell announced a quad-core chipset. All going into the next Smartphone applications. Already at CES2010!
Ok, what phone runs Tegra1 let alone Tegra2? And when something with a tegra chip comes to a phone, the N1 won't be "outdated" just because it's now the second fastest phone on the market. "Outdated" is the chip in the Hero.
But yeah, chips are about to get crazy in phones, which is cool.
The Tegra 6xx isn't a very good chip based on the ARM11 so you won't find that in any device other than media players because the GPU is very good. Tegra 2xx will run an A9 architecture which will make it a viable option for smartphones competing in today's market. When I say "outdated," when HTC is already talking about dropping the Snap dual core into their next phone, that tells me they're done with the mono-core Snap. That's what I mean, but yes, the Hero or any phone running Qualcomm's M7xxx are done and buried. Can't compete with that processor anymore.
Yep, Tegra2, 4.3 inch AMOLED, Sense UI and the N1 is up on ebay. Until then, I love my new fastest-on-the-market phone.
Ok, thread hijacking done.
Forget the gallery, the UI on 2.1 is definitely smoother and more visually appealing than 2.01 on the Droid.
And with every post you're proving my point even more. I'll say it again: if you want Android to be like the iPhone, get an iPhone. It's not going to happen. If that's a deal breaker you might as well sell your Droid now.
Smoother UI? Yes, I'll take that. Iphone's icon handling? NO! Iphone's music player? NO! I listen to music and don't stare at the player like some of you apparently do. I could care less how it looks, as long as it functions. Can it improved functionally? Hell yes..... I'd like to see an EQ for starters.
Can the virtual keyboard be tweaked to be a little more responsive? Maybe and I'd sure welcome it. Do I want to look and feel like the iPhone's?NO!
As for the camera, there are tons of camera apps. Try Pro zoom, it gives you easy 5x zoom and editing functions right on board. And it's only $2.
This I agree with and is one of the main reasons I didn't go nuts over the N1. The smartphone market is ever changing and even more so now.
Precisely my point. You know Google isnt capable of prettifying anything. So why do you expect it ??
Sense UI 3D gallery being other peoples work isnt wrong or bad. Its just they arent opening up there full insides to other 3rd parties. All this screaming about "open" yet to many key factors to making a dramatic visual improvement remain locked down.
1. 3rdparty KBs. Simple answer. Swype/Betterkeyboard/Touchpal/HTC Ime.
You see how something thats left open can be vastly improved and made attractive by someone other than Google ?
2. As above. Open up the APIs for codecs and audio bands and you will instantly attract the best media player coders who have been shunned out by Apple.
WinMo lets these guys run wild but not google ??
3. I have several BIG issues with the Gallery app. Ill list them. Im just curious as to what yours are specifically.
4. People need to start carrying point and shoot cams. Celphone pics will always be shitty no matter what you try. Iphone pics are just as craptacular as Pre,nexus or G1. They all suck and will always suck so long as size matters. All these options are just putting whipped cream on horse manure. SLR>Point and Shoot>>>>>>>>>>>>>Phone pics. Its not gonna change until the laws of physics do. Long as its fast,fairly accurate and has flash thats all you can ask for.
5.This is the only thing you list that Google should be able to control and fix and do much much better in.
Absolutely no excuse for GFX handling to be anything less than stellar. Both Palm and Apple have shown you just how smooth things can be with less resources.
If Google is going to be open then they need to stick by it. Give the talent access since they lack it and refuse to hire it. It would solve a MAJOR hurdle.
But again...none of that is what BGR was talking about.
Everything is. 360 was out dated the instant it hit the market. Iphone has always been outdated.
Its what you do with it. If you need quadra core processors to have a smooth beautiful OS to go with functionality youre in the wrong game.
Google needs to work on optimizing this OS and making it as easy as possible for Devs to prettify the UI.