Ah! The ubiquitous Android phone! Ever since they penetrated the smartphone market way back in 2008, the portable communications market has not been the same.
From its infancy to the present day of 2020, Android has come a long way. Along the way, it has come up with many innovations. They may be good, not so beneficial or simply useless- it is subjective and varies from individual to individual.
I have some gripe against Android and I believe you may agree with me. These gripes are not against the innovations, however, it’s against some things that I will mention below even you may agree.
My first Android:
It is always prudent to ask what is the purpose of buying a new phone? Here is India, not many people ask that question to themselves.
My requirement was to rid-myself of the near-extinct push-button feature of my previous Nokia E63 Communicator phone. It was not comforting and I had used that phone for almost four years. Now that’s long. Very long. My peak of changing phones is at an average of 3 years.
My ‘affair’ with Android started with Samsung Galaxy Grand 1. The phone was a hodgepodge of bloatware. I wonder, how many are better acquainted with this term ‘bloatware’. I will be very much surprised if despite owning a phone this term will sound new to you or maybe a few.
That phone had over half a dozen apps that I rarely used. Over 162 gm – it was heavy to carry. The later versions made it quite lightweight. I bought the one, which had just launched around 2012. That got me better acquainted with the operating system. My first Android!
The reason to upgrade to an Android – it was affordable and well within my budget of 20,000 INR at that time.
No. iPhone was never my first choice because it was and is still overpriced in India. Another reason was to play games. Although I call myself a PC gamer, playing on mobile did not bring the experience of the PC- a larger screen and keyboard at hand.
I am a strategy gamer and my ancient PC lacked serious power – even more reason for migrating to Android. However, reasons are aplenty and I won’t list all of them here.
My initial years of using Android-based phone was not pleasant. All thanks to Samsung! Galaxy Grand had loads of bloatware – the unnecessary apps not only slowed the phone drastically – it took up unnecessary space. Could you imagine if I told you the initial memory was 8 GB with 1 GB RAM? Despite that- the games I played ran smoothly. Over time, the phone aged fast. It got more and more cumbersome to operate. The super slowness was slower than a running turtle on the road!
Fast forward 2017 I bought a new phone – Xiaomi Redmi Note 4.
Wait! A Chinese brand that was hardly known, why should I buy it? The Chinese brand has a reputation for being not-so-reliable. Except for the price-conscious, not many people will buy a Chinese product mostly due to the lack of quality.
Yes, those thoughts did cross my mind. Their quality improvement took place hardly a few years ago. Redmi Note 4 solidified the fact – some Chinese products can be good, but better? I am yet to decide on that.
Now coming to the point – why does Google or the OEMs stuff their phones with bloatware? Admittedly, Note 4 does not have much bloatware to contend with – however – that’s no excuse for ruining your experience of using Android.
You might as well be suggesting to root my phone – perhaps that is the easier way to remove all bloatware. True. But why should I do that? I wish to sue my phone as is.
Let me share an example, you may have heard Google Duo- the high-resolution video calling app- well – I don’t do video calling. So, this app is useless. My problem? I can’t uninstall it.
Let’s talk about entertainment – Google Music – I am sure you have heard of it – you guessed it – I don’t use it either. I prefer Spotify.
Note 4 has its video player, I use MX Player in its stead. I don’t know what is hang-outs and what is it even used for. I sparingly used Google Plus on the phone.
The Google services I use is YouTube, Chrome (forced to use it) and YouTube Studio. What comes to me as a surprise – Google gives you the freedom to download other apps like Google File Explorer, Google Business, etc. these apps don’t come built-in as default. So, why not other apps?
This is what I would prefer – you are given a choice of what apps you wish to download at the time of buying the smartphone in the first place. I am a person who likes to be in control rather than be controlled. I am afraid this one area which I am unable to control.
Perhaps, that could be the reason why I am not completely happy an being an android user. 3 years since then my current phone has renewed my faith in sticking to android – all because I get more for less.
I am very appreciative of some conveniences my present phone offers me. One of the built-in screen recorder which is good enough for me to record my gaming sessions and second is the basic image-editing which helps me crop screenshots for making YouTube thumbnails.
The phone is yet to slow down. Although I do experience minor sluggishness in the performance it is not that bad to ruin your experience. The same cannot be said for iPhone. You pay more but still, get fewer features.