Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I'm About Done With Android

As the title states, I am quite disillusioned with the Android mobile OS. I'm not sure if I should blame T-Mobile, Samsung or the Android OS itself. Whoever is the culprit, my latest phone the T-Mobile Vibrant (a Samsung Galaxy S variant) is hands down the worst phone I've ever owned. It has a few bright spots like the super AMOLED screen but the faults more than counter any possible advantages a flashy screen might provide.

The problem - reliability. If there's one thing a phone should be it's reliable. For years we've dealt with Microsoft PC operating systems and have grown accustomed to the occasional hang in an application or even sometimes the entire OS freezing up. Where I don't need that happening is on my phone. Since I first got it my Vibrant has had issues with the Google Maps application. Sometimes it simply hangs when loading the app causing me to power cycle the phone. In a similar manner, after the latest OTA update the Gallery application (photo viewer) does the same thing about 1/3 of the time it's loaded. This is totally unacceptable!

Don't even get me started on the GPS performance - or lack thereof. Initially the phone had problems with taking a long time to get a GPS fix. Samsung FINALLY released a fix for this however it didn't help the GPS accuracy. It consistently drifts during navigation and puts me on streets which are nearby but not the one I'm driving on. This makes using it for street navigation a very risky business. Oh, did I mention the lockups? It's done that while navigating too. It's really a pain to have your GPS lock the phone up requiring a hard reset while driving on the freeway in Dallas at night.

As a normal course of daily operation the phone seems to lose the desktop icons periodically (roughly twice a day). This causes it to pause for 10-15 seconds as it restarts it's shell. You Windows users might be familiar with this, it's what happens when the Explorer process dies and the desktop icons go away for a few seconds while it restarts. Same thing on Android - again a desktop feature I do not need mirrored on my phone.

I have serious doubts about the availability of my phone for emergency calls due to the issues above. Am I going to have to wait 90 seconds for the phone to reboot because of one of the issues above before I can dial 911? Could be a scary situation to be in.

One thing I will never do is buy another Samsung phone - they just don't know how to get them right. Not to mention the lag in Android OS updates. Here we are with 2.3 released and we're still waiting for 2.2 which was promised this year but is yet another in the long line of broken promises from Samsung/T-Mobile. I should have known, Samsung has always had a bad reputation for updates after a device is released. Well, once bitten...

I may just admit that Android is too fragmented and go to the iPhone. Is a reliable phone that actually does what it's advertised too much to ask?