5 Reasons Android is Not There Yet

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By: Hillel Fuld

A few days ago, I decided to open up a Samsung Galaxy I was given by Samsung as part of a blogger’s campaign. As you probably know, I was not looking to begin using it as my primary device, since I love my Berry, but I figured I would see what all the hype was about. Well, after a few days, I can say that Google did a pretty decent job on their debut into the mobile world. The interface is attractive and relatively intuitive. The App Market is impressive, and the entire platform’s openness is praise worthy.


The Galaxy itself in also an impressive device with a 5mp camera, Wifi, GPS, a thin 11 mm body, a nice 3.2′ capacitive touch screen, and 8GB of onboard storage. However, the phone’s 528 MHz processor does not do the OS justice with common lagging and general sluggishness.  Another issue I have with the device is the lack of a second camera for video calling, but all this is dwarfed by the problems I have with the Android OS.


As much as I wanted to love the device and its OS, in its current state, I could not see myself using it as my primary mobile phone. Like I said, I am more than satisfied with my BlackBerry Bold, but if I was in the market for a new phone, I would not be looking in the direction of Android, at least not Android 1.0. The problems I had with the usability are too fundamental, and no app can solve them, no matter how hard they try.


The following is a list of the issues I had with the Android OS, and the reasons I would get another BlackBerry or an iPhone over Android any day:

  • Keyboard: One of the reasons I love RIM’s devices so much is because of the keyboards. In fact, it is for this reason primarily that I do not use an iPhone. I need to be able to input text quickly and accurately. Whether I am emailing, IMing, tweeting, or texting, I need my phone’s keyboard to be comfortable to use. The iPhone keyboard, although virtual, at least has unprecedented corrective software to prevent writing mistakes. Nothing beats the Bold’s keyboard in terms of ease of use.The Android keyboard took the worst of both worlds. It is virtual, so you do not get the sensation of actually pressing a physical key and it is also small and lacks good corrective software. I was unable to get out one sentence without numerous errors, something that I almost never experienced on the BlackBerry or my iPod Touch.  They keys are way too small and no matter how much I tried, I could not figure out how to change the device’s default keyboard. I was told that there are apps that fix this, but even after searching for hours, I could not find one that worked well. However, even if such an app exists, this is something Google should have designed as part of the actual OS, a good keyboard. For me, this is the biggest problem I have with Android, I cannot benefit from its advanced features if I am unable to input text efficiently.
  • Background Apps: I know what you are thinking: “What now? Android supports background apps, so where is he going with this?” Well, let me tell you that if this is the way Android runs background apps, I prefer the iPhone with its lack of ability to run multiple apps simultaneously. Let me explain. It is true that the iPhone can only run one app at a time, and it is this, along with the lack of a physical keyboard that keeps me and my BlackBerry together, but Android does something even worse than the iPhone. You can run as many apps as you want on the Android platform (depending on the phone’s processor of course), but you cannot choose which apps to run and which apps to close.Naturally, when I first turned the Galaxy on, I began to download apps. Once I got the hang of the phone, I started to test out the various apps I had heard about. The first thing I noticed was a missing Exit option. Android apps cannot be exited? After some quick research (that consisted of 3 or 4 tweets), it became apparent to me that Google’s concept with Android’s task management is “Leave everything running and let the phone decide what to close”. There is of course an indirect way to close apps, but besides that, you need to download a 3rd party app to exit apps on Android.I hate this about Android. The philosophy of taking the decision away from the user is not new to Google, but with not having the ability to exit an app, Google has taken it too far. I have to say that as important as background apps are to me, my phone’s overall performance and battery life are more important. To force the user to download an app in order to perform the most basic operation on their phone is unacceptable and a major flaw in the Android platform. Of course, on this front, BlackBerry and other similar platforms has iPhone and Android beat with the ability to run background apps, and choose with apps are running and when.
  • Synchronization or Lack Thereof: In my opinion, there is no current match in the mobile world for the iPhone/iTunes tag team, but most other platforms have come up with their own solution to syncing your phone’s information. As far as I know, and I might be wrong about this since I am new to Android, there is no iTunes-like application for the Android platform. If you are not interested in syncing your Google contacts, or if you are one of the two people in the world who do not use Gmail, you are in trouble. Now, the truth be told, most Android users are also utilizing other Google products, so their syncing experience is actually top notch. However, to not offer an alternate solution for those of us who do not want Google to have access to everything we do, is amateurish and not professional on the part of Google. This is just a sign of lack of maturity on the part of the Android platform.


  • Errors, Errors, and More Errors: I cannot speak for all Android users, but my Android device, pretty much right out of the box, began giving me errors about this process or that one terminating unexpectedly. Pretty much every time I turn the phone on, I am met with one error or another, sometimes about the keyboard process, and sometimes even the Android process, ie the operating system of the phone fails.This is not the biggest deal in the world since with one click the error goes away, but when these error messages keep popping up, it can start to get pretty annoying. As I have written on many occasions, while Apple is known for releasing products only after all the bugs and errors have been worked out, Google, generally speaking takes the other side of the spectrum. They have been known to release products at an early beta stage, and to depend on user feedback to work out all the quirks. These might be an acceptable strategy with products like Gmail or Google Wave, but when we are talking about a mobile device that people are using all day every day, this concept can be problematic.


  • Too Open? I am going to go out on a limb here and say something some folks might strongly disagree with. While Apple’s famous app approval policy might be taking it a bit too far, there has to be a point in between Apple and Google, that will not reject 5 out of 6 apps but will maintain a basic level of quality among the apps being offered to consumers. Let me explain. As much as I despise Apple’s philosophy of “This is our phone and our App Store, we will decide what gets approved”, Google’s lack of any philosophy can also become a problem.Android_Market_1
    For example, I was looking for a replacement keyboard for the phone, and when typing the words keyboard or better keyboard into the App Market’s search engine, I was surprised to see over 100 results.So I had 100 apps from which to choose, what’s wrong with that? Well, if they were apps, I would have been a happy man. They weren’t, they were all skins for an app that I could not even find buried among all the skins. Any developer can create pretty much anything that works on Android, and it will be approved for the App Market. Where does this leave the consumer? I have to admit, after trying out Android for a few days, I am really beginning to miss Apple’s App Store, its high standards, and amazing user experience.

    When downloading an app for the iPhone OS, you can be sure it will be a good app that works, and works well.Out of the 20 or so apps I downloaded on my first day with Android, 10 of them were quickly deleted since they caused problems with the phone, did not work well, or just generally offered a sub par user experience. I appreciate Google’s concept of openness with the Android platform, I really do, but there has to be some sort of red line about what makes into the Android App Market and what does not.

In conclusion, I have not heard any complaints about the Droid and Android 2.0, so I will give Google the benefit of the doubt and assume they fixed the above issues. However, if they did not and besides the physical keyboard on the Droid, all the other problems are still present, it will just strengthen my belief that Android will never produce the iPhone killer so many people believed that it would.

Please let me know what your experiences with Android have been in the comments.

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Hillel Fuld is a global speaker, entrepreneur, journalist, vlogger, and leading startup advisor. He brings over a decade of marketing experience with leading Israeli and Silicon Valley startups, and currently collaborates with many global brands in an official marketing capacity including Google, Oracle, Microsoft, Huawei, and others.      Hillel covers the dynamic local tech scene for many leading publications including Entrepreneur magazine, Inc, TechCrunch, Mashable, The Next Web, Business Insider, The Huffington Post, Venturebeat, and others. Additionally, Hillel mentors startups across Israel in different accelerators including The Google Launchpad, the Microsoft Ventures accelerator, Techstars, The Junction, and more.    Hillel has been named Israel’s top marketer, 7th top tech blogger worldwide, has been featured on CNBC, Inc, and was dubbed by Forbes as “The Man Transforming Startup Nation into Scale-up Nation”.       Hillel has hundreds of thousands of followers across the social web and can be found on Twitter at @Hilzfuld. You can learn more about him on his website: www.hilzfuld.com


17 thoughts on “5 Reasons Android is Not There Yet

  1. I was a long time Blackberry user and very hesitant to make the switch to an Android Device. I was very comfortable with my BB and though the iPhone was tempting, the lack of physical keyboard, having to switch to AT&T (I’m a Verizon fan all the way), and the closedness of Apple kept me from making that switch. But about a month ago I bought a Motorola Droid, and it was a terriffic decision. Sure, my Blackberry specific contacts can’t use the BB Messenger to contact me, but I’ve been trying to get them to download the GTalk app so we can stay in touch.

    Your review was disappointing. You’ve got a mixture of issues… some with the OS and some with the phone.

    Keyboard (phone issue)- The Droid has a physical keyboard and the on screen keyboard is huge when you hold the phone sideways. I can type the same, if not better on my Droid then I could on my BB.

    Background Apps (OS issue)- There’s an app called TasKiller that takes care of that issue. I can choose which apps I want running and which I don’t. Score for Android over RIM and iPhone.

    Synchronization or Lack Thereof: ( OS issue)- There’s an app for that.

    Errors, Errors, and More Errors: (Phone/OS Issue) My Droid is super fast and has fewer issues then my BB. I don’t like Samsung phones… not one bit. With a Motorola Droid and TaskKiller, this shouldn’t be an issue. In fact, I have fewer restarts needed on my Droid then I did on my BB.

    Too Open (OS issue)- There are rating systems to flesh out the bad apps. If there’s a bad app, then it will be found out quickly and people will stop downloading it. I definitely prefer the openness of Android.

    This article sounds RIM fanboy-ish and the understanding of Android OS, Android Marketplace and Android Devices is severely lacking. Android is FAR from perfect. I really miss the Select, Copy and Paste feature on RIM devices. But most of theses issues really aren’t issues at all.

  2. Jake, thanks for the comment, but you seem to have skimmed through the review and not read it carefully, since I addressed most of your comments. I specifically said this is NOT a review about the Droid and Android 2.0 and that I think and hope that these issues were fixed in 2.0. As for your “there’s an app for that”, I addressed that too and said that there is something wrong with a mobile OS that needs a 3rd party app to exit applications. I know there is an app for that, but it should have been part of the OS. Besides, what app is there for syncing that works well? I could not find one. As for the errors, yes, I know the Droid does not have these, but once again, READ my friend, I said I am not talking about Android 2.0.
    As for the system to find the bad apps, as per my example, it is still hard to find the good apps in the market, unless off course that changed since this afternoon.
    In any case, as I said, I am a BB fanboy, I love my Bold, and the bottom line is, to me, a user, these ARE all issues, so if users are not happy, than that is what counts, and that means the OS is a failure. Anyway, appreciate your feedback, but perhaps, next time, before attacking, read the post a little better…

  3. Hillel,

    I would have appreciated more specificity in your article. It appears to me that you conflate Android 1.0, the Samsung device, and Android as a whole. Perhaps a more fitting title for the article would be, “5 Reasons Android 1.0 is Not There Yet”, which sounds silly because there’s Android 2.0, or “Review of the Samsung Galaxy.”

    You wrote,
    “…there is something wrong with a mobile OS that needs a 3rd party app to exit applications.”

    Android 2.0 has addressed this and automatically closes apps if the system is running low on resources. I’m dissatisfied with this so I still use TasKiller. Secondly, I’m less demanding from my OS and I think we all are. We don’t expect our OS to be a one stop shop for all our mobile needs which is why there is software, apps, hacks, scripts, etc. for each user to customize to his or her wants and desires.

    You asked,
    “Besides, what app is there for syncing that works well?”

    It’s actually a PC software called doubletwist and I use the standard Android Music app. Apologies for mis-wording.

    You wrote,
    “…it is still hard to find the good apps in the market…”

    This has not been my experience. I simply check the ratings, the number of ratings, andread a few comments if I have any other questions. If I’m still in doubt, I’ll try it out.

    You wrote,
    “to me, a user, these ARE all issues, so if users are not happy, than that is what counts, and that means the OS is a failure.”

    I agree that users count. However, I simply wanted to point out that Android OS and Android Marketplace etc. have addressed your issues, and emphasize your cursory knowledge of Android as a whole. As to your issues with the phone, well, I agree with you.

  4. Hillel: I honestly don’t know what you are talking about!
    I have been a HTC Magic User for around 3-6 weeks, and it has been the best phone I have ever tried (windows mobile and palm experience).
    In detail:
    1. Keyboard. The on screen keyboard for the android phones is fabulous. After a day or two, I was just whizzing around. Furthermore, it does have all sorts of predicitive text, and corrective stuff. This is a great strength, not weakness. I don’t have any idea which keyboard you are talking about!
    2. exit from apps – i use that third pary app – works, no issues.
    3. synchronization – this was the greatest strength of the entire phone!!!!
    I wasn’t a real gmail user until I got this phone. I then moved all of my contacts and calendar over (in a day or two). The synchronization is the best thing about this phone!!!! (I still use yahoo mail, but I find the google suite to be so all encompassing, that I don’t need to use any other email). I use Lotus Notes at work, so I send those calendar and email entries to google for synchronization.

    4. errors – I never get them. I think that you downloaded some crappy program, and it caused many errors on your machine.

    5. too open? Maybe. That’s what caused your errors in the first place. However, if you want, you can reset his phone to factory defaults with the touch of a button.

    In summary, I think that you pre-judged the operating system, and didn’t approach it with an open mind!

  5. I find it curious that Google does not seem to be pushing the OEMs or users towards the latest Android OS. Droid comes out with Android 2.0, but then a week later, Eris comes out with Android 1.6 and then Sony announces their flagship phone Xperia X10 is coming out in 2010, also with Android 1.6.
    This type of haphazard strategy is no way to push the platform forwards for consumers, developers, telcos or the OEMs, especially the ones trying to compete with iPhone. I’m still not convinced that Google knows how to shepherd a hardware/software platform in the consumer space.

  6. There are plenty of issues with the Motorola Droid and Android 2.0. Hopefully most of the the Android issues will be fixed in the next few days when the 2.0 update is released. It is supposed to be released on Dec 11–I don’t know if Google is still on schedule though.

    For a pretty thorough list of Motorola Droid issues you can find them at Moto’s support forums:


  7. Synthmeister,

    You asked, ” find it curious that Google does not seem to be pushing the OEMs or users towards the latest Android OS” it’s imply because they can’t! This, to me, is the most challenging aspect of the Android platform for Google, it’s OEMs, and especially developers. The iPhone IS the iPhone and as a developer I know what my target is. When looking at Android all bets are off! Not only do you need to deal with multiple versions of the OS, but multiple different hardware iterations, and then add any cell carrier changes, and you don’t know what you’re in store for (no pun intended).

    Since the phones are different, hardware wise, and the carrier’s changes in software so varied, it’s VERY VERY difficult for anyone to be ready when Google launches an update. It will be like the PC market all over again on the phone and other than us geeks, I really don’t think the general public is going to accept it.

    People complain about Apple, most seem to me to be from just the other side of the Apple fanboy coin, and that’s too bad because there is much for Apple to improve upon. But I agree with the author that for a phone, a general purpose, small computing device, the iPhone and it’s ecosystem are perfect! I usually call it my “Mom Test” if my mom can use it without any issues, it will have broad market appeal.

    I laughed as I read Jake’s comments. I mean please you are not a large enough market my friend. My “mom” is not going to download TasKiller or even understand what it is or why she needs it. The phone just needs to work and can’t allow some crazy CPU sucking app to sit in the background killing the battery. It doesn’t pass the “Mom Test” and THAT, along with potential PC like plethora of hardware OEMs will be what will limit Android to people like us and as I said we’re not even close in numbers to the 10 million and counting iPhone Moms.

  8. This review, although posted about a week ago is several months if not a year out of date. Reviewing the first generation of the OS when the third is in the market and the fourth is on the horizon and then claiming the OS “is not there yet” makes the reviewer seem hopelessly out of date with his subject matter.

  9. Sean, you would be right, if new phones were not being released even today with Android 1.5, but they are, and so, sorry, but I do not agree with your comment at all. Thanks for reading though.

  10. Simply a review by someone that did not want to really spend time and learn the device before publishing a review.

  11. Hillel,
    I actually agree with Sean’s comment, and with the general spirit of all comments.

    Android is a great OS, and it’s a great great thing happening to the mobile world.

    All existing Android phones (including the G1 and Magic) are going to get OTA upgrades to Android 2.0 (or above), and insisting to continuously complain about Android 1.5 when Android 2.0 is already out there makes no sense at all and doubts your professionalism.

    (It’s as if you were complaining on Windows Vista, now that Windows 7 is out…)

    No “moms” need to download any task killer.

    Android OS will automatically kill background tasks whenever the current task visible to the user, needs more memory. Did you ever get a “not enough memory to run application” message? I don’t think so…

    There are excellent keyboard replacements on the market with predictive text.

    Synchronization is simply excellent, my e-mail, my calendar, and all other Google services, are available on my mobile and PC without any effort on my side. Not even a “synchronize now” button, nothing. Synchronization happens behind the scenes and is done automatically.
    Same goes to my Facebook and Twitter with some free apps from the market.

    The market has some great apps. Want good apps? Download the ones that have high ratings.

    Unless you change the title of this article to “5 reasons why Samsung Galaxy with Android 1.5 is not there yet”. This article is uselss, obsolete and most of all, biased.


  12. I have all of the above issues with my Android and am not happy with it. I’d previously had a BB and when upgrading phone I was swayed to Android by the person in the Orange store. They said it was better than the iPhone – I believed them. In short the 3G coverage that my phone picks up is so intermittent that I have to turn on wifi – wiping out the battery and I can’t always get access to wifi. I’m deeply diappointed with my android and will not be purchasing again. Unfortunately I’ve got until October 2011 to wait for further upgrade.

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