Posts Tagged google+
Google has finalized their $12.5 billion merger with Motorola, and if Google is smart, they will pull their licensing of the Android operating system and do an Apple. They will release Android 5.0 on a Google-owned and Google-manufactured device like Apple does with the iPhone.
Simplicity. Right now, Android developers have to write software that works on at least 4 versions of Android that span over 300 devices with different specs – from screen-size to processing capability to ports and drives. The Android development world is awful. As a result, many users have wildly varied experiences. My LG Enlighten is a low-end Android phone, barely meeting the minimum requirements for running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but there is also Android 2.2 Froyo, Android 3.0 Honeycomb, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, as well as Nook and Kindle Fire branch OS’s which are based on Android’s kernel but wildly different from the standard releases.
For a developer like Dropbox, writing for all these variants is a pain. It isn’t quite as hard as trying to write a universal app of Mac OS X 10.5-10.7 as my friends at Logos Bible Software are discovering, but it is still a pain of the royal type.
If Google is smart, they will develop a brand new version of Android that runs only on their own device. Let people keep their older devices, but phase out support like Apple did with iOS 3 and iOS 4. Invest heavily in designing an experience rather than just a clunky and sometimes unreliable OS.
You might be surprised to hear me say this, but I think Android has the makings of a far better OS than iOS. Because it is not a scaled down version of a desktop OS but is instead it’s own creature, Android can do things iOS can’t. It integrates with Google’s other services so well that I actually considered getting an Android tablet until I discovered that Google does not have a mobile version of their Documents service (now called Drive).
If Google is smart, they develop Android 5.0 or Android 6.0 to run exclusively on a small group of devices – a compact phone, a larger phone, two tablet sizes (7″ and 9.5″) and at least two docking systems like what they tried to do with the Atrix. The Atrix was actually an ingenious idea, and if Google can monopolize on it, they could have tremendous potential.Design the OS so that your phone or tablet has limited capacity to save battery life, but when you’re home and you plug it into the shell, the capacity doubles or triples. Resource swapping like that reduces the need for multiple devices, but it has to work right EVERY TIME. You have to be able to get a day and a half out of your phone AND have desktop capacity when it is plugged into the larger unit.
Think about it. One unit that is both the iPhone and the Macbook or iMac. Forget the flawed Chromebook idea. Google needs to find a way to have one device that provides two experiences – the portable and the desktop. That is the only way to beat Apple at their own game.
But it has to work. Android phones would be fantastic if they would just do the stuff we want them to do. I paid $700 for my iPad. I would never pay that for an Android tablet. I got my Android phone for free – and that’s about what I’d pay for this multi-device mishmash that Android is right now.
If Google can do it and do it before Apple and Microsoft roll out their ideas for integration (and what are Apple’s OS X 10.8 and Microsoft’s Windows 8 but exactly that?), then Google has all the backend resources and apps to really make it work. But they have to do it right.
Here’s to the potential of Google and Motorola’s merger, which somehow I think they are going to squander.
That’s my techno two-bits for today anyway.
Recently, I upgraded my phone. It was time. My LG enV Touch had run its course, and beside the battery giving me about 2 hours of use, it was dropping calls and not sending text messages. If you’re in the business of people, not connecting with them is a big no-no.
A lot of readers might think that buying an iPhone would be a no-brainer for me, but as suprising as it might seem I went for an Android phone. I made the foray into the world of Google devices for a couple of reasons:
1. At the church, we use Google Apps for everything: our email, our calendars, and many of our records.
2. I already have an iPad.
3. The iPhone is EXPENSIVE.
4. I like physical keyboards on my phones.
So, I got an LG Enlighten, which is an entry level phone running Android 2.3 “Gingerbread”. The phone itself has some quirks. It is not the fastest device you will ever use, but it is not my primary device. My iPad is. (I am writing this post on it.)
I just needed a phone with a physical QWERTY keyboard and the option to use it as a WI-FI hotspot. Since the Enlighten was also FREE with my upgrade, this was a no-brainer. The phone met all my criteria, so it made sense.
Google Apps Integration
Here is what I love so far about the Android phone – everything is integrated. I entered my Google email and password, and presto all my contacts, calendars, YouTube and Documents were available to me. A quick download of the Google+ app and all my pictures automatically go to Picasaweb.
Google does the cloud right. Say what you will, they are way ahead of Apple on the integration of services. (iCloud is an embarrassment thus far.) Need to add a contact? I just enter their info on the phone, and POOF! It is available everywhere – even my Address Books on my Mac at the office and my iPad. That does not happen with iOS without a lot of work.
Add a calendar event? Oh look, it is on my Google Calendar! My wife can see it. My iPad can see it.
The Google Docs integration is full, but editing a document on a 3″ screen is not my idea of productivity. It is convenient to be able to see the documents, but I’d do little work on the phone – even if it was an iPhone.
Social Media Integration
Once I downloaded the Facebook and Twitter apps, they integrated into the OS. It is the kind of “deep integration” that Apple claims to have with Twitter, but for everything. The phone merges all my Address books, so I not only see a person’s contact information but also have a link to their Facebook, Twitter and any other social apps I download.
What’s more, the OS can integrate with Evernote, my favorite app in the world. Just press the menu button and tell the phone to send it to Evernote. POOF! It is in Evernote.
If we’re honest, Evernote’s integration with iOS has lagged a bit. It took forever for them to get full rich text formatting, and just today I tried to use a shopping list on Evernote on a grocery trip. Nichole and I separated in the store, and the idea was to just keep updating the note as we picked up items. What happened was that everytime she edited the note on her iPhone, it would append an entire copy. By the time we were done, there were sixteen versions of the same list in the same note.
1. Android really does not have a solid take on audio integration. The built in music player is bare-bones, and it does not allow convenient use of audiobooks – which are my primary listening. With iOS, I can build .m4b files that include bookmarks and section breaks. Try as I might, Android just does not play well with these files.
2. iOS’s approach to multi-tasking is both efficient and convenient. Android’s is bulky and does not lend itself to any sort of confidence that it is working. Battery life on my phone is about the same as my wife’s iPhone 4S, but I have to constantly be on the watch for apps running in the background. When apps are eating away at my resources (which are limited in this phone), I have to manually kill them or use an app killing software. Even then, I feel like the apps linger in the RAM.
3. The microSD dance gets annoying. My phone is an entry level device, so there is only 120MB of internal storage. That’s not a ton. I have a microSD card, and can move many apps to the card, but they have to leaves some of the app on the internal memory. So, even if I had a 32GB microSD card, I would still be limited to about 50-60 apps at an average of 1.5MB of storage on the internal memory.
But here’s the thing…
I Want My Phone to be a Phone
I have my iPad for mobile computing and note taking. I don’t want to use my phone for things I can do on the iPad. (And I certainly don’t want to pay $300 for a phone that does the exact same thing as my iPad.)
I want my phone to integrate that snapshot I took or to check my email really quickly. I want to be able to send everything everywhere – all at once. My phone isn’t for getting my news or for creating content.
My phone is for making calls, sending texts and quick updates. And when necessary, it is for letting my iPad get online. It does what I want, and it keeps contacts and such up to date.
I don’t expect Android to be as slick as iOS, anymore than I expect Windows to be Mac OS. Windows does different things, and does them very well. Each OS does something well, and we shouldn’t demand they do other things. I wouldn’t want Android on a tablet, and I am happy without using iOS on my phone.