Google’s Android operating system is used by over 2 billion devices worldwide. But after a decade Android still has countless issues. Security, privacy, and product support are just a few of the reasons users turn to Apple’s iOS instead. Steve Kovach highlights what Android still hasn’t gotten right.
Following is the transcript of the video.
Steve Kovach: Android is the most popular smartphone operating system in the world. It runs on over 80% of all smartphones. That’s two billion people using it per month. But after over a decade Android is still full of a bunch of fundamental flaws that keep you from a world-class experience.
Let’s talk about my biggest beef with Android phones, software updates. Android phone makers are really bad about keeping your phone up-to-date with the latest version of Android from Google. There are a lot of reasons for this. When Google makes a new version of Android it sends it off to phone makers who modify it for their own devices. Then that has to go through a bunch of testing before they send it off to carriers for even more testing. By the time the software update finally hits your phone months have gone by and Google usually has a new version of Android by then. And after about a year or so there’s very little incentive for phone makers to keep pushing updates to your phone. They’re already far behind and you’re likely ready for a new device anyway that’s running the fresh new version of Android. The result, 94% of smartphones out there are running an outdated version of Android. The exception, Google’sown Pixel phones get Android updates as soon as they’re released. Despite many promises over the years Google has done nothing to ensure all its devices get timely updates.
Skins and bloatware are also a huge problem. Android phone makers like coming into the basic version of Android and adding different designs for the user interface and putting in their own apps for basic functions like web browsing, email and calendar. When you open up your brand new Android phone that means you have double the apps that you actually need. Two email apps, two calendar apps, two web browsers, that’s a confusing experience for a lot of people. Meanwhile their skins are almost always worse than the so-called clean version of Android. It’s even worse when carriers get involved. Here in the U.S. carriers like adding their own apps and bloatware to the Android operating system and you can’t delete those apps. You may be able to hide them but they’re still living on your phone. All this leads to a bad experience that can slow down overall performance. Compare that to iOS and the iPhone which has a streamlined experience across all devices with no bloatware.
Then there’s tech support. What do you do when your Android phone breaks down or you have a problem with it. It’s not like you can run off to the Samsung store or the LG store, there’s nowhere to go except back to your carrier. And carriers don’t have the best reputation when it comes to servicing your phone. Android can also be a security nightmare because there are so many different versions of Android out there and phone makers have a hard time getting them updated in a timely manner. If and when a vulnerability is found it can take forever for you to get the patch to update it. The best example is Stagefright which was a severe vulnerability found a few years ago in practically all Android devices. Major manufacturers rushed to put out patches to fix the bug but we still don’t know if all of them got the patch. Today most Android phones might be safe from Stagefright but there’s no guarantee that when the next major flaw is discovered you’ll get the update right away.
Finally, there’s privacy. Android phones run Goggle services by default and Goggle still makes most of its money by tracking your personal data and using that to target ads to you. Android phones give you very little choice to get around this. The same thing happens if you use Google apps on your iPhone of course, but the thing is, iPhones don’t ship with those apps natively, you don’t have to use them.
None of this means Android is bad or that it sucks. People still love Android and Android still stands out when it comes to notifications and syncing better with your Google services. But after a full decade of Android these problems should have been fixed by now.
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