Give me back my iPhone! I tried Android, but went back to my iPhone because most Android phones are crap

“Android is now the world’s most popular mobile operating system. It’s unclear if Google makes much money from Android directly—by some estimates Google makes as much from ads on Apple’s iOS devices as it does on Android machines,” Farhad Manjoo writes for Slate. “But there’s no question that Android has helped lower the prices of smartphones across the globe, which can only help Google’s ad business. It’s hard to call Android anything other than a resounding success.”

“Well, except for one small thing: Most Android phones are crap,” Manjoo writes. “As part of a New Year’s resolution, I promised to trade in my beloved iPhone 5 for an Android phone sometime in 2013. I reasoned that, as a tech writer, I should spend more time with the world’s most popular operating system… I’ve been testing two of the most expensive, most advanced Android phones on the market, the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the HTC One. Actually, I’ve been doing more than that. I’ve been using two versions of each of these phones—the standard phone that you get for $199 when you sign a two-year cellular contract, and a second ‘Google Play edition,’ which is a special, full-priced version that features only the essential software you need on a smartphone. (The Play edition HTC one is $599, and the S4 is $649.) I’ve been switching between these four devices, using one or the other as my primary phone at all times. Except for the brief period during which I tested out Apple’s new version of iOS, my iPhone hasn’t been charged in weeks, poor guy.”

Manjoo writes, “Altogether I experienced the best and worst of Android — and I saw, up close, Android’s basic problem. I’d sum it up as follows. Google makes a fine mobile operating system. Some phone manufacturers make attractive, powerful Android handsets. These phones have the potential to be really wonderful machines, even as great as Apple’s flagship phone. But then, at the last second, the phone makers and the world’s cellular carriers snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They ruin the phones’ potential with unnecessary features and apps that lower the devices’ battery life, uglify their home screens, and make everything you want to do extra annoying.”

“The worst thing about Android phones isn’t the crapware, though. It’s the ‘skins’ — the modifications that phone companies make to Android’s most basic features, including the dialing app, contacts, email, the calendar, the notification system, and the layout of the home screen. If you get the Play edition of these phones, you’ll see Google’s version of each of these apps, and you’ll come away impressed by Google’s tasteful, restrained, utilitarian design sense. But if, like most people, you get your phone for $199 from a carrier, you’ll find everything in it is a frightful mess,” Manjoo writes. “Because I’m eligible for an upgrade with my carrier, I’d rather not pay full price for a Play edition Android. So, New Year’s resolution be damned, I’m sticking with Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Too many cooks in the kitchen. Windows redux.

And Manjoo didn’t even mention Android’s growing malware problem.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Fred Mertz,” “Chris Renaldi,” and “Judge Bork” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Mobile Threats Report: Android accounts for 92% of all mobile malware – June 26, 2013
Latest self-replicating Android Trojan looks and acts just like Windows malware – June 7, 2013
99.9% of new mobile malware targets Android phones – May 30, 2013
Mobile malware exploding, but only for Android – May 14, 2013
Mobile malware: Android is a bad apple – April 15, 2013
F-Secure: Android accounted for 96% of all mobile malware in Q4 2012 – March 7, 2013
New malware attacks Android phones, Windows PCs to eavesdrop, steal data; iPhone, Mac users unaffected – February 4, 2013
FBI issues warning over Android malware attacks – October 15, 2012
Researchers discover serious flaw in Android app security, say HTC and Samsung ignore issue – September 28, 2012
Apple’s iPhone has passed a key security threshold – August 13, 2012
Android permissions flaw allows eavesdropping, data theft, location tracking – December 2, 2011
Massive HTC Android security flaw leaves security expert speechless – October 2, 2011
Apple’s iOS unaffected by malware as Android exploits surge 76% – August 24, 2011
Android malware records phone calls; iPhone users unaffected – August 2, 2011
Symantec: Apple iOS offers ‘full protection,’ Google Android ‘little protection’ vs. malware attacks – June 29, 2011
Malware apps spoof Android Market to infect Android phones – June 21, 2011
Google forced to pull several malware-infested apps from Android market – June 8, 2011
Android malware sees explosive growth; even faster than with PCs – April 27, 2011
Virus-laden apps infest Google’s ‘open’ Android platform; iPhone unaffected – March 3, 2011
Security firm warns of new Android trojan that can steal personal information; iPhone unaffected – December 30, 2010
Trojan infects Android smartphones; iPhone unaffected – August 10, 2010
Millions of Android phone users slammed by malicious data theft app – July 29, 2010
Unlike proactive Apple, reactive Google doesn’t block malware from Android app store – June 4, 2010
Malware designed to steal bank information pops up in Google’s Android app store – January 11, 2010

42 Comments

  1. Fsck me dead. He called Google’s implementation of Android tasteful, restrained and utilitarian.

    I don’t know what drugs he’s on but Google would be the last, and I mean the absolute last, organisation I would turn to for anything that is designed to be remotely user friendly.

    Take Gmail for instance. The web interface for Gmail is unnecessarily complicated and is a pain in the ass to figure out. Next, take the YouTube web interface. What a fscking mess – difficult to navigate and you don’t have the option of arranging the channels you have subscribed to in the order that you want.

    Google’s design aesthetics, if you can call it that, is overly complicated, messy and fscked up. That is why I avoid using Google products like the plague.

    That is all gentlemen. As you were.

    1. Well to Google’s credit, they did hire a design guru for Android 4. The interface is fairly clean (although it will look extremely outdated compared to iOS 7). To their discredit, they never let the guy loose on their web interfaces.

      Google might be the cloud services company that touts web innovation, but Apple puts them to shame when it comes to building and designing webapps.

    2. Well this may be one of the most thoughtful and well written comments I have ever read here at MDN!

      Especially your last sentence, “That is all gentlemen. As you were.”

      Bravo!!

    3. Totally agree how does a simple email web interface become so confusing and annoying, you would have to be sadistic or incompetent to make it so un-user friendly. Stark AND complex what could be worse. It doesn’t actually even work well with email clients either so not sure where the supposedly acclaimed software expertise has gone. A very frustrating company.

    4. I find it unsettling that such a blanketed comment received 47 votes and a 4 1/2 star rating.

      You addressed some of Google’s most horrid mistakes and blanketed that upon a company who designs an entire OS, along with apps for both iOS and Android, completely dismissing their most promising designs found on these platforms[a][b] and even on the web itself[c].

      How you find it within yourself to dismiss the design capabilities of an entire company with an umbrella as large as Google’s on the basis of selectively chosen convoluted messes is comically ignorant, a tainted case of confirmation bias. You refrained from even addressing the initial claim and instead deviated to web designs, likely not even heavily legislated by the same team that caters to the mobile devision, and yet you still received such high praise.

      Your jaded hyperbole is unwarranted.

      [a] Gmail for iOS –

      [b] Google Keep for Android -https://lh5.ggpht.com/QVb1S32TCzA4gBRM1OXSolnh5zxWgHXk2-tzq1nlqcoVTkPFOtx2CFcTmaqLPKvAgO-P=h900

      [c] Google Play Website –

      [c2] Google Plus Website –

      1. Whatever. I too find all Google apps and services klunkalicious. Made like a first time developer effart. No regard for efficient layout. You find your eyes darting everywhere around trying to make sense of it. A great interface is like giving good directions as if it’s the first time you are going to that destination. You aren’t constantly getting lost.

        1. Agreed. Google has the ‘design sensibilities’ of a nine year old child.
          Honestly, whenever I look over the shoulder at some poor sod on his huge plastic craphone I feel a sense of relief – that Apple exists so I don’t have to use that junk.
          I feel the same way looking at the hideous Windows 8 ‘UI’.

      2. NoDawnNoDay said: “You addressed some of Google’s most horrid mistakes and blanketed that upon a company who designs an entire OS”

        To be fair, Google BOUGHT Android OS, then elaborated on it with Apple designs.

        1. Ok… that is true?

          They have been responsible for the design of Android since they made the purchase. I have no contention with the assertion that Android in its current incarnation is not influenced by iOS. But this does not serve as a detriment to the argument that stock Android, as of 4.3, is a lovely OS that is influenced by Google’s will.

          1. Yes it’s true, but my comment does induce *Snark* by omitting the fact that Google has not been entirely plagiaristic.

            I hope Google get Android OS to the point where no one can to point at iOS and say, ‘Oh, that’s where Google stole it from!’ It could happen. And if it does, that would be REAL competition for Apple, which is always a good thing.

            Meanwhile: Bad show Google! Bad, unimaginative show.

    1. Manjoo might not be blissfully ignorant, but he’s always been close to clueless. I don’t know if he’s really as stupid as he looks, or just another click-hit whore.

  2. The misery of fragmentation: multiple operating system versions running on a variety of different manufacturers devices. This multiplies a lot of the issues on a platform that is basically fragmented through hardware and software and service or carrier…
    Googles Goal to realize an integrated environment just like Apple did, is not a secret, but not realistic at all, considering hardware manufacturers that do have of course their own economic and strategic goals which do not necessarily match what Google is aiming for.

    Fragmentation versus Integration, thats Google versus Apple.
    I personally realized that most of the Android I have met and asked for their reasons to not pick an iPhone, those users have an unreasonable aversion against Apple… which is more or less the fear of not having every choice (even useless choices) or simply refusing the higher price of an iOS device.

    “Apple is only Marketing” is what we hear from some people who do not know the difference between iOS and Android, between Integration and Fragmentation.

    I don’t think the iPhone is a perfect device, even the Sony Xperia Z looks like real innovation. But there is Android on it, and therefore: no way !

    1. Very good observations. I would only add that marketing is a key differentiator and Samsung is pressing that advantage. In the long run, though, I believe that “churn” will do more to reposition the market spectrum, with more defectors from Android to IOS rather than vice versa.

    2. My son sells iPhones and Android phones for Telus as his part-time job (he is in school). He gave a fair shot to Android using various models intensively. In the end he dropped them and went back to his iPhone.
      The reason is as † says. Fragmentation. He gets a continuous line up of people returning their phones because this doesn’t work and that doesn’t work due to fragmentation. People buy Android because they are cheap and Samdung media blitzes make them sound like the coolest thing on earth until you buy it and the veil falls off and you see the toothless grinning hag staring back at you across your pillow mouthing the word….sucker!!!!!!!!

  3. It’s the same story as Windows. Even if they manage to make the hardware look good, it still runs Android. From the cheapest phone to the most expensive, it still runs Android. Android is the lowest common denominator.

    It was Apple’s goal to have Android become the only “other” mobile platform. Look at the carnage since iPhone was released in 2007.

    Palm OS – Killed by Palm and replaced by WebOS.
    WebOS – Just a memory.
    Windows Mobile – Killed by Microsoft and replaced by Windows Phone.
    Symbian – KIlled by Nokia and replace by Windows Phone.
    Windows Phone – Going nowhere fast.
    BlackBerry – Still around by looking bleak.

    Android helped Apple remove or marginalize all other mobile phone platforms. Who doesn’t think this outcome is exactly what Apple wanted? Just like in the Mac versus Windows world, in the iPhone versus Android world, Apple continues to make most of the available profit.

    Apple can’t possibly make 100% of the world’s smartphones, so the only other viable platform might as well be a predictable fragmented malware-threatened mess, with no leadership and negligible software/hardware integration. That’s the game Apple knows how to play and win…

    1. It was inevitable that something cheaper, in every way, than the Apple iPhone would grab the cheapskate, ‘good enough’ market.

      It was also inevitable that among the cheapskates would be those who would regret their cheapskate decision, relent and go Apple. We are seeing that happening right now with previous Samsung, sorry I mean ScamScum, victims turning tail and buying the iPhone 5 over the craptastic Galaxy S4 series. All the marketing spending ScrapeScrap can muster won’t change the revelational rejection of their junk. Boohoo for them. 😥

  4. Hey, man! Give me some skin(s).

    Honestly, some of you think that Apple has Android right where it wanted it. Sorry, but I don’t see it that way. If it weren’t for Android, Apple wouldn’t be currently looking at a saturated smartphone market. There wouldn’t be a gazillion vendors putting out Android devices at rock-bottom prices. There would probably have been more mobile OSes out there and Apple would be sitting pretty high with iOS market share instead of sucking Android’s hind tit. Apple wouldn’t have had to be compared to the huge creeping Android crud. I don’t see how many of you think that Android is a good thing. It appears very dangerous and it’s a major thorn in Apple’s side. I see it as a major obstacle of Apple ever getting a fair and decent stock valuation. You keep mentioning all these Apple profits, but Apple’s share price is still stuck in the toilet. How is that good?

    1. I told you not to invest in APPL, and now you’re bitching? Take the loss, update your investment strategy, kick away the soapbox, and go away. I hear RubberMaid (NWL) is ascendant. Go there, and spare us your moralising.

    2. Ya. Stop bitchin’ about Apple. The problem is “Wall Street”, not Apple. For example, calculate Apple’s share price if it had Google’s current multiple. Many of us early investors have seen it all before. (Yawn.) Apple’s business and team are fine. If something (ie, Wall Street pessimism anout Apple) cannot go on forever, it will eventually stop. Reality is eventually a constraint.

    3. AAPL is “stuck in the toilet” IF–and only if–you bought the equity at $700! Did you, Boy48? You MUST HAVE to be so angry and disillusioned with the company and its financial outlook. However, for those of us who are long-term, genuine believers in, and supporters of, the company–and whose average price per share (5700 of them) is $12.40–AAPL is streaking across the sky like a meteor!

      Which investor are YOU, Boy48? We think we know.

      1. Really? 5700 shares? Sure you do. But for sake of of discussion, let’s assume that someone does have that many shares. By failing to sell last September that person would be down $1,576,500. Hardly anything to brag about. Had that person sold in September and bought back in today in hopes of reaching $705 again, they would make $1,576,500 if it ever reaches that height again. And had you sold last September it wouldn’t be on paper. It would be in the bank. $1,576,500 dollars in the bank! Ready to invest in AAPL again if you feel the need. Better yet, you have had nearly 10 months to have invested that $1,576,500 in other stocks. Nearly anything you put your money in would have increased greatly. Meaning that today you could have $2 million easily. Probably much more. That is something to brag about. You invest to make money. Not to brag about being under water in a stock because you failed to take your profit when you were way ahead. 5700 shares at $12.40 average eh? Riiiiiiiight. Sure you do. I think we know which investor you are. Not.

        1. Just a thought GM…. Its really easy to look back and say buy here and sell here. But its close to impossible to say for the current time… buying at 10:30 today and selling in 2.5 months in the future…

          No one can look ahead and trying to guess where the stock price is going day to day is close to impossible.

          Just saying.

    4. Laughing_Boy48: If you’re going to blame Apple for the AAPL dumping, your head is buried in the sand. I’m not going to repeat, yet again, why it happened. Just give up trying to blame Apple please.

      As for the ‘Android phenomenon’, see my previous reply post above. Android fit into the niche for cheapskate ‘good enough’ sort-of smartphones.

      And now we’re watching the more insightful of the cheapskates dump Android crap and buy Apple gear instead. Witness Samsung, sorry I mean SameScrap, crying in the corner because their junky Galaxy S4 series isn’t selling well. Cry cry cry. 😥

  5. “Cellular carriers” don’t “snatch defeat from the jaws of victory”; OEMs do. Carriers might be responsible for some crapware apps, but the skinning is all on HTC, Samsung and (formerly) Motorola. Does this guy seriously write about technology for a living?

  6. Just to throw in my usual 2¢: Apple requires competition. Apple is consistently at its best when it has a real competitor. Right now in the phone business, what Apple has is copy cat plagiarists and ripoff scammers. That’s not competition.

    Maybe as Android grows up it can differentiate itself from OS X and actually compete rather than rob. It could happen! That would be great. As for Windows Phone 8: Well, at least it’s a different direction. Few people like it, but it’s sort of original, despite the desperately retro 2D tile crap.

    Samsung? All I can do is ::lol: Keep watching the show. I told them they’re screwed. And screwed they shall be. It has already started.

  7. I recently bought one of those android tablets. I already have a Ipad.
    Wow what a contrast, there is no comparison at all.
    Returned the andriod after it hung every 20 minutes was very slow and half the things did not work on it.. The Ipad has not hung since I bought it one single time.
    Buy Apple buy for life.
    I just sold my Apple TV first gen. Cannot believe it had not missed a beat since I bought it. Have one of the latest gen, will buy another with the money I sold the first gen for.
    The extra upfront investment is well worth it to buy quality products.

  8. Farhad Manjoo, you are a veritable Genius! When you see ‘crap’ you just know it’s ‘crap’. Now there’s insight for you, that’s just absolutely amazing!!

  9. The most amusing thing about the original article is not so much what Manjoo said and how he said it, but what came of it.

    The article has generated almost 900 responses. In the torrent of the Android vs. iOS mudslinging, in the tradition of the best Mac vs. Windows battles, there are a few well-spoken, well-argued posts that explain the reasoning behind the Android choice.

    The few intelligent ones seem to acknowledge most points Manjoo is making (non-removable crapware, fragmentation, lack of security, etc), but make the philosophical argument that defines the fundamental difference between those who choose intuitive, consistent, simple and elegant, vs. those who want open, free to tinker, completely and totally customisable and flexible.

    One of the most intelligent responses I saw argued that while Apple tries hard to prevent jailbreaking, Google doesn’t care, and salesmen in carriers’ stores often comment how rooting the Android devices is cool.

    So, if we take out all the pointless and baseless shouting match and look at the few messages that argued their position with intelligence, we arrive at the conclusion that Manjoo is in fact correct, and that for normal people, there is really no choice but iOS. Among us, geeks, a debate might be valid, since we might be willing (and many intrigued) to explore, experiment, tinker and memorise the unintuitive features, gestures and functions of the OS. The rest of the world should really use iOS.

  10. “Play edition” is that for children?
    When google changes the name if their App Store to Play I just shaked my head… Sounds ridiculous and childish.

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