Android

From TheAlmightyGuru
Jump to: navigation, search
Android logo.

Android is an operating system developed by Google primarily for mobile devices, but has also been incorporated into a wide array of general electronic devices. It was first released on 2008-09-23 and, in only two years, became the most popular mobile OS on the market, and currently retains that title by a huge margin. The OS is built on a modified Linux kernel written in C and C++ with its user interface layer written in Java.

I didn't get an Android device until around 2007. I had great expectations for the OS since it was made by Google, whose Web apps I love, but I very quickly found Android to be an obnoxious OS. Although not as bad as Apple's iOS, Google takes a similar approach where they try to force all users into using Android the same way requiring everyone who finds the default way cumbersome or annoying to spend hours trying to find ways to bypass the OS, if they can at all.

Review

Good

  • The OS is written generically enough that it can be used on thousands of different platforms.
  • The swipe-able icon-driven interface is very easy to use, and looks great.
  • By default, the user has a fair amount of control over the many settings on each device (although this control is usually revoked by the OEM).
  • The Google Play store offers a huge variety of additional software to load. Many of which are free.
  • The source code for much of Android is and remains open-source.
  • I like how programs must inform the user which aspects of your device they require access to before installing.

Bad

  • There are a lot of annoying nag messages that, as far as I know, cannot be set in the OS to stop popping up. For example, plugging an Android device into a USB capable device results in a dialog asking if I want to allow the connect. Another one pops when I plug a device into my car saying it can't read MTP (even if I don't grant it access).
  • The stereo-out jack starts too quiet, doesn't remember your previous volume level, and has another annoying nag message that can't be bypassed when you try to raise the volume to a useful level. From what I've read, this is the fault of government interference.
  • The default call blocking list only allows you to store 100 numbers, which is both arbitrary, and too small to stop telemarketers.
  • Google isn't as quick at identifying and stopping malicious software on their Play store as they could be.

Ugly

  • Google allows OEMs to easily and irrevocably alter the OS at the expense of the user's experience. Most devices are sold with loads of useless, dangerous, or unwanted software which wastes space, drains the battery, and often spies on the user. This software cannot be removed or even prevented from running.
  • Android prevents the removal of many Google apps, even if they're are not necessary for the operation of the OS.
  • The Google+ app adds to your contacts list an entry for every person you've ever emailed in GMail. When I first setup my phone it added over 500 contacts, most of whom I didn't recognize because I received one email from them years ago.

Links