Last night at the Academy Awards, John Travolta mispronounced Broadway star Idina Menzel’s name just as she was about to perform “Let It Go” from the nominated film Frozen. (In case you missed it, check out his “oops” moment here.)
What started as an innocent mistake has created a superstar…
Lately it seems as if the airlines are trying to out-do each other with their safety videos.
I am OK with this. Why not make the mundane a little less, well, mundane?
I can’t help it, I just love videos about how things are manufactured.
Day one of Android: #FAIL
My Samsung Galaxy Nexus is a lemon—the charging port is loose, which makes it really hard to juice the thing up without putting it at a very specific angle. Please note, this thing is brand new.
Which brings me to what I consider to be biggest pitfall of the Android ecosystem: customer service. There’s no place for me to take it to get it fixed, apart from sending it off for weeks to the manufacturer. Luckily, I still have my iPhone to fall back on while I sort this mess out, but if you don’t have a spare phone on hand, you’re just totally out of luck for weeks while the manufacturer repairs it. I’m just returning it for a refund.
I need to learn Android, so I’ll order another model. Maybe I’ll get a Galaxy 3 and root it (that will be an entire post unto itself).
There are a lot of things I’m really very enamored with: I love the big screen, I really like the home screen widgets and the gesture keyboard is great. All of these things I really wish existed in the iOS world. I like how customizable Android is too, and it’s been pretty easy to pick up how to navigate it.
All that power comes with a downside: namely, well, power. Android has a very liberal sandboxing and multitasking scheme, and it’s total murder on both battery and app performance in my experience so far. I’ve never encountered the kind of lagging and stuttering I’ve had on my Galaxy on any model of iPhone. Not even close—Facebook totally locked up on me multiple times while I was trying to write a status update because a background app was doing a sync, and the battery plummeted 5% over the span of a couple minutes while the background task was executing.
It’s nice to have apps in the background doing their thing, but if you don’t watch your processes in Android, a haywire app can eat your battery really, really fast.
So a mixed bag to say the least. I’m disappointed, because I was really enjoying it until I discovered I couldn’t charge the thing. Kind of a big problem, though.
Switching to Android
By trade, I’m both a computer scientist and a product designer.
Generally, though, the design side of me wins over my geek side (which is, admittedly, still strong), because I happen to think that UX is incredibly important.
I’ve played with a lot of Android phones and tablets, but overall, I’ve never been impressed by the software. I strongly dislike the manufacturer theming, I find the interface weirdly inconsistent, getting support (which is inevitable) for the devices seems too difficult, I dislike that software updates are controlled by the networks and manufacturers, and in general I find that too many things are hidden in obscure places. It all just seems a little haphazard to me.
But, I’m a geek, and I love gadgets. I got a reputation at Columbia for having a different phone every month. I had a range of oddly-shaped Nokia Symbian phones, some truly bizarre Sony Ericsson models, a couple Blackberries, some Palm Treos, a Handspring (remember those?) and even a few Windows Mobile devices. None of them provided a very compelling experience, and while my friends laughed whenever I pulled out a new phone, none of them were excited to try one themselves.
I knew that smartphones were going to be a big deal, but they were unilaterally terribly frustrating to use. To me, the biggest problems were finding and installing apps, synchronization in general, and the horrible web browsers they came equipped with.
It’s hard to claim that smartphones have anything but matured. Synchronization happens in the cloud. Centralized app stores boast hundreds of thousands of apps with quality reviews and mature development environments. Web browsers are as nearly good as their desktop counterparts. And yes, the iPhone is to thank for all of this.
Since I got my first iPhone, I haven’t strayed. I’ve considered Android every time my contract is up for renewal, but never wanted to through the hassle of figuring out how to sync my contacts, calendars, and media, all of which I heavily rely upon these days. There are some really cool Android devices out there, even if I remain skeptical about the OS.
But I’m back in the development world, and Android, while its customers tend to be less engaged, can’t exactly be ignored—it is, after all, outselling iOS devices now.
So before I finishing designing the Android version of TodayTix, I’m switching over my primary device for a few months to get a deeper understanding of how the platform works and how things are expected to look and behave, and will report back on my experience as a switcher. I’m getting the Samsung Galaxy Nexus because I want a “pure” version of Android, and that’s the best Nexus model available for Verizon (from 2011, which boggles my mind, but whatever.)
Who knows, maybe I’ll even stay with Android when it’s all said and done.