Home > Computers and Internet > Android doesn’t make for a good device OS

Android doesn’t make for a good device OS

Right now there are two major mobile OS’s in the market today: iOS and Android. iOS is controlled by Apple and Android is developed by Google, but unlike Apple, Google allows for any party involved in the making of a device to modify it in any way they want. Android was written to compete with BlackBerry. The mindset of the consequent design is that devices are just smaller general purpose computers. The result of this mindset is why I don’t think that Android makes for a good end user experience. I read this the other day:

I was aware that my phone was CPU bound.

And so… going further… yes, I see some processes lock both cores up tightly… for seconds at a time. 100% util to (all) cores, is a good sign that adding cores will help, even if partially.

This happens most frequently… when I need to use the phone the most. Such as, turning it on, after not using it for let’s say, over an hour. When I turn it on, all of the apps which have been happily asleep stretch their arms and legs and download everything they missed.

And, I’m obviously turning the phone on cause I need to use it for something, so let’s say that I already hit my unlocker to go to text messages, or docs, or the camera. Now, I’m standing there, looking at my task manager just shoot up to the top 100% util for countless seconds… it’s countless if you REALLY wanted that camera open RIGHT THEN. If it’s an extended update that the apps are doing, then I might as well just give up.


Because Android lets application do whatever they want, they do whatever they want. Every developer believes that the program they’re developing is the most important program in the world and nothing should get in its way. It’s inevitable, we can’t help it. A developer of a single App isn’t worried about the end-to-end experience of the device. When Apple released the iPhone they took a different approach, the device comes first and the apps have to submit to the device. Many developers hate this “lack of choice” and “reduced functionality”, but the result has been overwhelmingly successful.

While iPhone does do this right, they aren’t the only ones who do. Windows Phone 7 does it too and WP7 does it really well. Plus, the Windows Phones also provides a variety of hardware and form factors. I find that to be a plus. In the future more general purpose computers are going to behave this way too.

Windows 8 introduces the WinRT, which is what all Metro Apps run on. Windows 8 has to bridge a chasm of the current computer paradigm and the future one. Have you ever hated waiting for the desktop to become responsive after booting Windows? Do you know why that happens? It’s because every installed program has registered with the OS to run something at startup. Whether it’s some updater process, or some sort of re-scan, or starting a bloated program at boot to make it appear to start faster later (iTunes), a lot happens at boot and the first user sign in. WinRT in Windows 8 changes this. As more and more of a computers’ programs are written against the WinRT, there will be less and less that runs as part of boot, or as part of waking up. The result will be faster and snappier computers. I think it’s a great way to go, even for general purpose computers.

Since Android was written to act like a general purpose computer it allows for the different parts of the device to contend with each other and create a poor user experience. Android was originally pushed by Verizon because they had gone years without an iPhone contender. Android is pushed by other carries right now, because they were able to capitalize on the Verizon Droid push and quickly get 4G into the devices drivers. But as the more well thought out OS’s(iPhone, WP7) get 4G as well, that won’t matter as much. I personally want a great user experience for my device, and until Android changes I couldn’t recommend to anyone I want having a great experience too.

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