I remember going computer shopping in the late 90s / early 2000s. I had a boring, assembled, white box at home, so it was exciting to see the colorful new desktops and laptops available out there. The retail staff would proudly explain the newest features which included intel pentium 4 processor, new graphics card, lighter weight (for laptops), pcmcia card slot & so on. But the moment you lifted the lid, the whole excitement died away. Because under the hood was the all too familiar Windows 98! (or 95 or NT or XP). It was like having old wine from a new bottle. Old wine is supposed to be good, but this was the same boring old, bland, distasteful, lackadaisical windows. It simply didn’t have any life in it. That’s why I switched to Mac. It was zippy, it was zingy, it was sexy… It had a wow factor to it!
But this post isn’t about computers, this post is about mobile. Right? So why have I ranted on about & against windows & windows based machines? Because I had a deja vu of my antiquated computer shopping experience the other day, when I decided to check out the samsung galaxy s3. I picked up the device & it had a slew of features, quad core processor, improved display, improved expandable memory card slot, s talk, s beam, touchwiz interface & so on. But powering all of these improvements was the all too familiar android operating system, with its pasty, chalky, laggy, rough-around-the edges user experience. It was the same experience which I got on my primitive motorola milestone, or which you would get on a LG Optimus, or HTC One or even the samsung galaxy s2 for that matter. The look and feel of the device was all too familiar.
Speaking of improvements, how many of us reallty use the fancy features on our devices, android, iOS or even blackberry? Samsung galaxy s2 has a feature where you can drag and drop items from one screen to another by long pressing it and changing the direction of the phone. And you can apply all kinds of themes and customize your home UI. But not even 10% of the people who own these devices would be regularly using such features. We all like to play around with them while they’re new & once the we’re past the excitement, we go back to the regular features of the phone, like calling, email, social networking (that’s a big one). So if most of my usage is to happen around these basic functionalities, wouldn’t I stick to a device (and OS) which offered me a fantastic, zippy, zingy & sexy interface for using them?
Coming to the “open system” benefits of android which people tout about, how many people actually load stuff on their phones outside of google play? There would probably be a group of top 20% tech savvy people who do it. I owned an android device once and I never did it. I know several people who own samsung galaxy s2s and they’ve never done it. Neither do they intend to do it. In fact, one of my friends once tried to sideload an OS update to his sgs2 device and it kept giving him errors until he decided to abandon the update. Ironically, I got an OS 5 update the same day & applied it flawlessly over the air.
Also coming back to features, the cameras on android devices are absolutely the worst. The galaxy s3 is no exception. I mean, it’s not bad, but the camera on the iPhone 4s is better, far far better. You’ll immediately know the difference in image quality when you snap from both devices. Camera is one of the most used features on a mobile device and is a big turnoff it isn’t up to the best standards in the industry.
Also, android being “open world” is more prone to hacks & malware. As all these thoughts filled my head, I put down the sgs3, ignored the pleas of the sales rep & walked away. I definitely didn’t want an android. I’d rather stick to my iPhone. Anybody who’s used an iPhone, will stick to one.