Top 10 things I hate about Android
I admire Apple, and love their story. They are a wildly successful, highly innovative company, founded by one of America’s great visionaries, Steve Jobs. Apple’s story encompasses birth to boom to near-death to re-birth to conquering the world. Yet their best days lie ahead.
I believe that mobile computing is the central computing paradigm for this generation and Apple, simply put, makes the best; the best smartphone, the best tablet, the best laptop. I believe they will be valued at well over $1 trillion before this decade is out.
But, I do not love Apple. I am not swayed by their marketing or history or their coolness factor. I simply admire them. Android, however, I hate. At least, as much as any person can hate a smartphone platform.
Android just isn’t that good. Worse, it’s just not that good when the potential to be good is easily within reach. Whereas iOS, Apple’s operating system, is a thing of beauty, I view Android as a copy of a copy, one whose primary purpose is to capture more of my digital footprint.
This is not an emotional view. It is fully rational. Here are my ten reasons for admiring Apple iPhone and hating Google Android:
1. It just works
iOS is more functional and more intuitive – by far. It works seamlessly across all my iOS devices, including my old iPhone 4 and my second-gen iPad, and integrates well with my four-year-old MacBook. iTunes is easier to navigate and use than Google Play, payments are a snap, finding the right music and video works simply and efficiently. I’ve even found that oftentimes the exact same app works better on iPhone than Android. This is not by chance. Everything about iOS is simpler than Android. Simple is always better. If you are harder, more complex, difficult, than you better offer some valid reason for this. Android does not.
The majority of Android users are using an outdated version of the OS. This is anti-user nonsense. As an iPhone user, I do not have to rely on Samsung or HTC or Verizon or Google for my updates. Apple makes sure I get every single update, without fail.
If there is a problem with my device, I go straight to Apple. There is no confusion, no uncertainty, no multiple points of culpability.
Every app I purchase, every movie I rent or song I buy I do so through Apple’s iTunes. I do not ever concern myself about carrier billing versus Google Checkout, for example. Better, simpler, and with a single point of contact for support.
To the best of my knowledge, I have never had my identity stolen via my Android phone. I have never been the victim of malware nor has any Android device I’ve used been hit with a virus. But, facts are facts. Android is more vulnerable to malware and viruses and other security threats than iPhone. This is well documented. I would simply rather not take the chance.
4. Original and Best
I never understand why Android users deny this. Obviously, Android is a copy of iPhone. Android started as a copy of Blackberry. When iPhone revealed the future of mobile communications, Android switched paths. Smart move. But, let’s not deny it. The problem, of course, is that the entire Android experience strikes me as a rather pale copy of iOS. Full touchscreen, swiping, slide to unlock, square app icons, an app store – all taken directly from Apple, but not as well. It’s no wonder Apple was forced to launch patent and copyright infringement suits against so many Android makers. I want to support innovation, not copying.
I have no illusions that low-end Android devices are made of cheap hardware, out of necessity. The problem is that even high-end Android devices feel cheap to me. The Samsung Galaxy, for example, feels like cheap plastic. Why is this? Nokia devices are solid. Blackberry makes quality devices. It’s not just Apple that shines here. Android, however, seems not to care about quality – at least on the outside. This always makes me think they don’t care about quality on the inside. I don’t have enough money to buy devices of suspect quality.
Is Google committed to Android? Probably, but how can I be sure? The fact is, Google makes more money from iOS than their own Android. Google is even working with their Motorola division on an “xPhone”. Will this be Android or not? What about HTC? Sony? LG? They adopted Android but can’t seem to make any real money off the platform. I would not be surprised if they all transition over to Windows Phone. Samsung rules the Android landscape. Yet they continue to fund alternatives to Android. This gives me pause. I am confident that Apple is 100% committed to iOS. More than this, however, I am confident that Apple will improve its product every single year. They have a multi-decade history of continuous improvement: each year the same device becomes more powerful, faster, lighter, and/or longer-lasting at the same (or lower) price point. I simply can’t yet trust that the maker of my Android product will do the same, year after year after year, especially with such a suspect business model.
Google already has too much of our personal data. I am hesitant to adopt their smartphone platform, handing over to them my real-time location, a history of all my purchases, everyone of my personal contacts, and so much more. Google makes its money off me by capturing, recording and selling my personal data. Frankly, I would rather keep them at bay.
8. Offensive Marketing
Despite all the money they spend on marketing – far more than Apple – Android makers seem to do everything they can to not talk about their actual product. This always bothers me. Notice ads for the iPhone. Nearly every single one has focused exclusively on what the device can do. Not so with Android. Almost never, in fact. Their big budget ads mock Apple users, or feature women in leather, or have lasers or ninjas. Cute, but I want to buy a mobile personal computer. Tell me why I should buy yours. If you can’t, end of discussion.
I like the idea of multiple app stores. I like the idea of widgets. I like the idea of altering settings from the home screen and/or within the app. These aren’t possible (or practical) with iPhone. But with Android, the idea fails in execution. The Android interface is cluttered and ugly. There are numerous studies that reveal that iPhone users use their device far more than their Android counterparts. I suspect it’s because Android is, frankly, cluttered and less intuitive.
Apple is like the American cowboy – ready and able to go it alone. Don’t like them? Fine, don’t buy their product. They aren’t offering something free at the start – like Google – then trying to make money off me while I’m not looking. It’s a straightforward transaction. The entire Android ecosystem, however, unnerves me. Google seems more than willing to abandon long-standing principals, such as net neutrality, if carriers work with them. They control the “open handset alliance” yet seem ready to pick one – and only one – handset company to get the first new release. How does this work, exactly? Backroom deals? Despite claims of “open”, Google bought Motorola, one of the largest (closed) handset makers in the world.
That’s not the only concerning aspect of Android. Smartphones and smartphone apps (from all platforms) can access our private data. Google seems to have no qualms, however, over spending big bucks to lobby the government so they can go unchecked. It’s their business model, after all. All of this bothers me. I do not believe Google is on my side.
Life is too short to hate
These are my reasons for choosing iPhone over Android. Don’t agree with them, fine. You have a choice. Perhaps choice is something I should embrace. Maybe hate is too strong a word for how I feel about Android. Without Android, there would probably not be anywhere near a billion or more people around the world using smartphones. The more people we connect across the planet, the better, I think. If there was only iPhone, for example, and those lesser platforms, such as Windows Phone and Blackberry, this innovative, rapidly iterating multi-trillion-dollar market might be of far less consequence to our lives. Probably, the investments in apps and services – like mapping and Twitter and Instagram – might never have fully taken root. There would certainly not be as many games, possibly no Angry Birds. Just as importantly, if not for Android, I am not sure the newest iPhone would be as thin and light and powerful. It cannot be denied that Android, Google and Samsung, in particular, have spurred Apple to greater heights. Nonetheless, after considering all the evidence, I simply don’t like Android nor can I recommend the platform because there are better options available.
Editor’s Note: This is an opinion piece. In the interest of promoting openness and to help expose unnecessary biases by our contributors, before publishing this post we asked Brian to write a follow-up post, entitled “Top 10 things I hate about iPhone”. That is scheduled to run next week.