Thoughts on Android.
In June Google released the Jellybean OS for the Android phone. At that time it was my understanding that an update for the Google Nexus phone was "coming soon." But here it is now September and no upgrade in sight from +Verizon Wireless
I suppose this has been frustrating to me most of all because for the past few months (ever since the last Android update on the phone) my photos gallery on my phone has been borked. I've talked with folks at Google about that problem who have told me that they've identified what is borking my photos and that a fix has been put in place for the next update. But will that update ever come? Google can't tell me when it will be here.
This is my second Android phone. My first was frankly a miserable experience. I was confused by all the Galaxy names for different phones and instead of buying the Nexus I bought some other lame version of Galaxy from TMobile. It came with Eclair on it even though Froyo was out and TMobile wouldn't update it. In fact Samsung and TMobile had to be sued in court just to get the update from Eclair to Froyo. Finally when TMobile was forced to update the phone they provided a software download that could only be used with a Windows PC that was a total PITA to get done. The battery life especially on that phone was awful. Not an experience you'd expect for paying over $400. I don't think that phone ever did even get Gingerbread.
My mistake, I was told by those in the know about mobile phones, was that I didn't buy the Google Phone. The Nexus. Don't ever buy all those other crappy android phones people told me. If you want to get updates you simply must
go with the Google phone. It's the same one they give to all their employees. If it does not say Nexus, do NOT buy it. This phone doesn't have all the crapware that the phone companies force down your throat and so it gets updates almost immediately.
But here it is Sept and the jellybean update from June is nowhere in sight. One thing that could make it better would be at least if Verizon would say, ok, ok, we know people want this, it's coming by September 30th. At least then you wouldn't be frustrated thinking it never may come (like on my last Android phone) or perhaps it will be here in June 2014 with a weird Windows only update process.
The other thing that bothers me about the my Nexus phone is that I can't use Google Wallet on it. It's odd to me that I can't use a Google product on the Google phone. I know that Verizon is to blame for this, but I wonder if more couldn't be done to force their hand on these sorts of issues. Why isn't it possible for Google to say to the carriers, hey, if you want this Google phone you have to agree to let all Google products on it. Is it simply that no one would agree to this?
I know that I can root my phone and do all of these fancy things with it. People tell me that all the time. I tried to root my last Android phone and it wouldn't root. It got borked and got stuck on weird screens with lots of flashing letters and numbers. I'm just not technically inclined enough to feel comfortable going through all the rooting stuff. I'm not a phone developer and I just want it to work with a normal update.
The iPhone 5 is coming out in a few weeks apparently. I do like my Android phone but it makes me wonder if it's not time to switch back to Apple. At least with Apple you know when a new update will be out and it's so easy to get it. How is it that Apple can get all of their carriers to push out the update the day it is released but Google cannot get them to push out updates ever? Is it simply that Apple has more negotiating power with the carriers?
Whatever the case, it seems like a positive customer experience should be a priority for both the carriers and Google. Not being able to use your photo gallery on your phone is not a positive experience for a photographer. Neither is wondering if it will be months before you ever will be able to.
I don't know a lot about how the mobile phone business works. I've probably gotten a whole lot of things wrong in my write up on my experience with Android so far. Mostly I just want to understand more how the process works. I do consider myself an early adopter but not technologically inclined enough yet to do the whole rooting thing. Could/should I be doing something else to try and improve my Android experience? Will Verizon actually release a jellybean update? And why haven't they already and why the need to be so mysterious on if/when a release will ever come?