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Android Pros and Cons

A Conversation About Android

With the love of the Infuse 4G still swirling in my head, I struck up an IM conversation with a friend of mine about the Android operating system yesterday. I didn't know exactly what I was getting into when I asked, but my friend brought up some really good points about Android that even I didn't consider.

Recently there was a debate as to why more women aren't using Android devices. Some say there's no "emotional attachment" between the female geek population and Android like there is on Apple, but these points my friend and I discussed could be more reason why women (or a large population as a whole) don't "get" Android: it's totally confusing! I've compressed our conversation into three points below. Read through, and tell me what you think in the comments.

It's Insanely Fragmented
Right now, you can find four different versions of Android floating around on several different devices. There's no regulation given that the hardware and software are from different origins. Android 2.2 is on most phones, while only the newer phones can support 2.3. Obviously, 3.0 is for tablets.

Read the rest of our discussion after the break.

Manufacturers Have Their Own "Flavor"
If that's not confusing enough, every manufacturer has its own "flavor," or skin added to the device. For example HTC has HTC Sense, Samsung has TouchWiz, so on and so forth, so depending on which phone you get, it will look and feel slightly different. To make matters worse, the skins themselves have different versions within the phones, which can have different Android versions (like HTC Sense 1.2 on Android 2.1). Phew!

Variations in Apps and App Stores
There are two major app stores available for the Android OS — the Android Marketplace and the Amazon App Store. You can buy apps from either, but they do not necessarily have the same apps in them. What's more, knowing which apps will work on your phone is another problem. Say I want to watch Netflix movies on my Android device. While there's no official Netflix app out yet (supposedly it's coming), only people with "certain devices" (those supporting a Snapdragon version 3 processor and Android 2.3) will have access to it first. Further, app navigation controls are inconsistent — the "back" button on some apps means go back a screen, and on other apps it means go back to the last screen literally, which means go back to the Android home screen you were just on! Got that?

Do these fragmentation issues keep you from owning an Android device? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Kristy-Ellington Kristy-Ellington 4 years
If you click through to the link I provided, you'll see the previous argument thrown out by INQ's CEO about how women aren't emotionally attached to Android like they are Apple. I'm simply posing another argument — that Android is fragmented and confusing for the average person, not just women.
Kristy-Ellington Kristy-Ellington 4 years
Sorry if you got that impression digitaltempest, but I'm definitely not saying women or "non-geeks" are stupid. I just find it interesting how difficult it is to really know what you're getting in an Android phone vs. an Apple or RIM device, for example. Apparently Google heard my cries, since one of the big points at the Google I/O conference today was standardizing the OS across multiple manufacturers!
digitaltempest digitaltempest 4 years
Wow, really? I think everyone should own what they love and what works for them. I own Apple devices and I own Android devices. Each device does exactly what I need it to do. This article seems to imply that women are too stupid to "get it." Most of the stuff listed is not something the average layperson cares about as long as the device is doing what it wants. My boss who isn't very techsavvy at all owns and loves her Android. Do you think she cares about "this" version of touch sense on "that" version of Android? She doesn't even notice that. I don't dispute that some of the points are valid like OS fragmention, but it's followed up with condescending "women are stupid" subtext, in my opinion.
Kristy-Ellington Kristy-Ellington 4 years
I love the comments, but keep in mind: It's not just women I'm talking about here. I have male friends that are confused about Android as well. Like what version OS and skin they'd be running, and then trying to figure out what kind of apps will work on those versions. Maybe it's just harder for people to "break in" to Android than other platforms?
LKopel LKopel 4 years
I had the same thought, JosephaHaden! It's the same with Ubuntu - it has so many options that I may become disoriented if I use it so I should just use Windows? I use Linux only... I have a Blackberry because i prefer the phone, but I have experimented with Android and it can be figured out with little effort.
JosephaHaden JosephaHaden 4 years
I'm seriously offended at the idea that women are too confused by options to use a phone. Perhaps it's just a matter of trend? Everything takes some time top catch on.
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