A thoughtful article on MobileUnwrapped today addressed a factor the author termed "Android fatigue", and the observation was so right on the money it got me thinking. Once I get thinking about something an article is almost always the result, so now everyone must pay.
The reference article covered the author's growing dissatisfaction with Android and subsequent realization that iOS 5 looks to offer a complete system that functions well. I have been growing uneasy with Android myself recently, the result of a system software update on my HTC EVO. Since the update have used the EVO with the stock user interface and not customize the phone as heavily as I normally would. This leads me to the realization that the Android 'fiddling ratio' is extremely high.
What is the Android fiddling ratio? That's the amount of time owners of Android devices spend fiddling with the interface to customize it just so. The beauty of Android is that every aspect of the system and interface can be tweaked by the user to make it look and work in just the desired way. Unfortunately, while users are busily customizing the device, they aren't doing anything productive with it. That's what I discovered was happening to me without even realizing it until I stopped and just used my phone like it is.
Looking back, I spent a tremendous amount of time tweaking my devices. My situation is worse than most uers as I use a lot of different devices. I regularly spent hours at a time installing different apps that let me customize the look and feel of the phone. Additional hours were spent on top of that experimenting with the tools to get them to look a certain way. Then came the search for additional apps and widgets to do other things related to making the phone work just so.
The simple fact is while I was doing the nearly constant fiddling with Android to fit my "needs", I wasn't using the device to get anything done. Sure I'd end up with a feeling of accomplishment once I got a new tweak to work just so, but I really wasn't getting anything of substance done. The fiddling ratio was off the chart, and not the correct side of the chart.
Since leaving my phone alone and using it as is, I have been frankly amazed how useful it is. Now every time I pick up the phone I actually do something with it, and that has positively impacted my routine. I find myself thinking about things that really matter, and not just about how something looks. It's like I have recovered a lot of time each day that would have been lost not that long ago. The ability to customize a device is a good thing don't misunderstand me, but when you take it so far that it's all you do the fiddling ratio is much too high.
I'm interested to hear from Android device owners, smartphones or tablets, about your thoughts on fiddling with Android. Give it some earnest thought about how you use it and let me know in the Talkback if you find your fiddling ratio to be as high as mine was.
Image credit: Flickr user mogmismo