Android: It's real and I am loving it

Android: It's real and I am loving it

Summary: It is exciting to be heavily involved with mobile technology and I enjoy all platforms. Lately, I have been excited about Android, which is funny considering two other ZDNet writers are quite frustrated.


I was sent a Samsung Galaxy Note and Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 with Verizon LTE to evaluate for a few weeks and diving back in to the Android operating system has reignited my passion for Android that started back in 2008 with the T-Mobile G1. I guess it is timely that both Jason Perlow and James Kendrick expressed their frustration with the Android platform.

With the upcoming ICS update in the Premium Suite I think the Samsung Galaxy Note  just may be the perfect Android device for me. I just ordered my own Galaxy Note this weekend and cannot wait to get it optimized for my usage and then do things such as handwrite equations that are solved via Wolfram Alpha.

The Galaxy Tab 7.7 is also a superb Android tablet with near perfect hardware and super fast Verizon LTE support. It is way too expensive for me though so I won't be picking one up at this time.

James discussed how the Android sales and activation numbers are calculated (such as including Kindle Fire sales figures) and stated that Google has allowed the manufacturers to create a jumbled mess of Android. I agree that Android is not a consistent platform, primarily when you look at media support, but I think the differences between manufacturers actually make Android more attractive.

I don't want every platform locked down like iOS and Windows Phone and with Android I have the choice of different user interfaces, different form factors, and a broad range of prices I can pay for devices. There is actually quite a bit of consistency across the Android OS though with a fantastic Gmail experience and a core focus on providing optimal Google experiences. If Google takes control and dictates everything, then it limits how manufacturers differentiate and may prevent low cost Android devices that are bringing people to Android by the millions.

I have been frustrated in the past by a lack of Android updates for some devices and the Android Update Alliance revealed at Google I/O last year is a myth. However, many of us reading this are on the cutting edge of mobile technology and I am not hearing as much frustration with lack of updates as we may tend to report and believe.

Consumers are getting more educated about mobile platforms, but I doubt many would even know what version of Android is on their device. As long as they can get their email, make calls, and play Angry Birds, they probably don't care if their firmware is outdated by newer devices. If you are happy with a device when you buy it then do you really expect it to be updated for free for the life of your contract? Devices are capable and full featured when you purchase them and it isn't always the manufacturer that limits the update process. Even if Google stepped in here, the carriers have the final say on updates and it seems the only company that has been able to temper carriers is Apple.

Jason has spent two years with Android and has owned some of the top devices with the Droid Bionic and Galaxy Nexus in his purchase history. He talked about some of the reasons he enjoys the Android platform, but Jason states he is sick of Android due to the failure in delivering updates that were promised months ago. Apple and Microsoft do a great job of getting updates to devices, even through carriers, but Google doesn't seem to have much influence here. Again, I don't think this is that important to most folks, but in today's smartphone market there is a reasonable expectation that you get updates to ensure your device is relevant for at least a year or two.

I have a few Android devices and will be regularly using my new Samsung Galaxy Note, Galaxy Nexus, and HTC Flyer since these devices let me customize as much as I want and excite the mobile geek in me beyond the locked down and controlled platforms. The stability and consistency of iOS and Windows Phone are appreciated and desirable so I will continue to use them too. Thankfully, we have choices and I personally hope Google continues to allow us and manufacturers to make choices.

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Topics: Mobility, Android, Google, Hardware, Mobile OS, Security, Smartphones

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  • Hmmm, finally.

    .. an article that is not bashing up something. Though I hope this wasn't just written to counter the other against-Android articles and make readers happy :P
    • Matthew's enthusiasm seems kinda lukewarm to me.

      Maybe he drew the short straw and had to do the "balancing" article.
      • Yep. It's all staged.

        Why no mention of all the problems with the Nexus?

        Most people, myself included, have to keep the phone in 3G mode, otherwise the device is useless. The patch from Samsung to fix all of the radio issues is nowhere to be found.
    • Here is the same response I made to Jason's post

      I've had HTC Touch, HTC Touch Diamond, HTC EVO and now Samsung Note. Each worked very well. Each in their time had a combination of hardware and software functions which non-android phones could not match at the time. As a result, my investment in Android has been well repaid.

      If the Android updates had been quicker I would have been even further ahead for a month or two here and there. But how churlish to rebuke my suppliers for "only" supplying me with leading edge devices and failing to attain perfection.

      The Note is the best example. Years ahead of the others (285 pixels per inch compared to the iPad 3's measly 263.5 per inch), an ideal screen size which one day will be common, a great stylus experience with game-changing functions already.

      If this was all the Note gave me for the next two years, I will still be head and shoulders above the non-android phones I could have bought. But it isn't all I will get. In about six weeks I will get ICS and a bunch of premium stylus applications. I don't need them to be more productive and happier than I would be with any other phone - but it will be fun to play with them when they come.

      Of course, I could spend the next six weeks bleating about how ICS could have come earlier. But enjoying my superior phone is a much better way to spend my time.

      Thanks Google, HTC, Samsung, Sprint and AT&T. You have given me a lot of function and pleasure over the last few years. Take no notice of the so-called experts who have no life beyond dreaming up controversial headlines. Except, of course, to wallow in Apple sycophancy; for example, screaming about iPad 3 selling 3 million in the first four days - and apparently being unaware that Android activates 3.4 million devices in every 4-day period.

      • Numbers game

        If you want to pay the numbers game, you have to consider the ipad3 is a single device, not a platform. Android activates 3.4 million "devices" a day. Apple sold 3 million units of single product in a weekend.
      • Also, Note has fake resolution/pentile screen

        You can not compare it to anything Apple; it is another league. Also, it is strange that you compare Note's screen to iPad's one -- since these are four times different in size.
      • Note had fake screen?

        @ DeRSSS
        "You can't compare it to anything Apple."
        I wasn't comparing it to anything Apple. Both the Note and the iPad 3 screen are developed and built by Samsung. Funny that you think that when Samsung builds a component to put in an Apple product they tell the truth but when they build one to put in a Samsung product they lie.

        So, I think the Note screen is better - Samsung wins. You think the iPad 3 screen is better - Samsung wins.

        Meanwhile, you might want to check the settings on your reality distortion zone feature if you think that the label on the packaging affects the quality of the technology inside.

      • Re:Numbers game

        Umm, Google is activating 850,000 devices per day. Here do you get 3.4 million from?

        Also Apple was selling around 700,000 iOS devices per day averaged over last quarter. Now with the new iPad and the iPhone 4s available in more countries, that figure will no doubt be higher.
      • Check your reality distortion field

        Keith: Samsung is only contractual manufacturer for Apple's screens -- among two more companies which do the same screens with the same technology process that does not belong to them.

        [b]This is the reason how Apple is now able to make iPad with Retina screen, while Samsung can not[/b], even though it is one of the companies that produces the screens. The same was with iPhone Retina screen.

        Also, you can not make screen resolution subjective screen. Galaxy Note has fake resolution with twice lower pixel density than iPhone, despite nominally claiming the same DPI/PPI density. This is because the matrix is only pentile system, rather than honest RGB.
      • 3.4 million... it's not that hard for those of us that know maths

        @Melciz "Umm, Google is activating 850,000 devices per day. Here do you get 3.4 million from?"

        From that number. You and he are in total agreement, the only problem is that your math skills are lacking. Ask someone who knows maths what you get when you multiply 850,000 by four.
      • He said 3.4 million per day - that is incorrect

        You need to read the comments better.
        Bkohler said 3.4 million per day not over 4 days.
      • "activates 3.4 million devices in every 4-day period."

      • Screen manufacturing processes do belong to them, not Apple

        Apple may 'design' a device, but they SPECIFY a component's requirements to a manufacturer who makes it to that spec using their OWN, often-patented, manufacturing processes.

        Samsung has already demonstrated display resolutions higher than that of the new iPad, and they would be happy to do it in production qualities for any OEM that wants them.

        Get out of your Apple coloured dreams and get with the reality that Apple doesn't DESIGN the whole world, but gets everything it does built and manufactured FOR them by someone else.

        PAthetic how a human being gives over their mind to such petty imaginings.
      • Samsung never showed 10" display with even approaching resolution

        Patanjali: ... and they can not produce such displays for themselves.

        How is that? Because Samsung is just contractual manufacturer of displays in case of Apple. They do not own process to mass produce this quality displays, [b]hence there is no Samsung Galaxy Tab with Retina-class displays.[/b]

        Get out of your Samsung coloured dreams. Pathetic how a human being gives over their mind to such petty imaginings.
      • A strange mix of science and marketing

        You quote a technical factor (like pentile) when it suits your argument. Then you fall for the "Retina" display marketing hype in the same argument.

        The human retina has a lineal density of over 9,000 cones per inch. Assuming an equal number of L/M/S cones that is equivalent to over 3,000 "pixels" per inch. Rather more impressive than 263.5 per inch! So, why call such a puny array after the retina?

        But wait a minute - there isn't an equal number of L/M/S cones. There is a much smaller number of S (blue sensitive) cones. Just like the Samsung pentile panels. So, in this respect, Samsung's AMOLED technology is much more like the retina. What makes you think "honest" rgb is superior to pentile? Have you seen any studies which show better human perception of "honest" rgb panels? I have only heard of studies which show people can't tell the difference.

        For me, the first panel worthy of being named after the retina will have to have 10 times the lineal density of the current panels. And like the human eye, it will have to be clever about the economic use of individual components to attain its objective (pentile being a first step in this latter direction).

        Meanwhile, why would any rational being go ga ga over 300dpi when they have lived with color printing and photography at twice this lineal density all their lives?
      • Do your homework

        Opinionated, but not based on facts.
        530 years proves you wrong in one area of your prejudice as well.
      • Personal Opinion

        While I am happy for you that you have been so satisfied with your Android phones you can not in all honesty make the claim that they were superior to say the iPhone or WP7 devices. You could most certainly say that for your needs/wants they are superior but to claim they are for everyone is blatantly false.
    • Wait, what?

      While I am happy to see articles written from a positive perspective rather than negative you act like it doesn't ever happen. If so why is it every time there is a pro Apple article all the haters come out of the wood word crying about yet another pro Apple article and that the author must just be a fanboy?

      Again, have not issue with the positive tone of the article, it is refreshing but have to all out the claim.
  • The problem with no updates is security

    With all these private label phone services selling under $100 Android phones from an end cap in the grocery (iWireless at Kroger for one) there are a lot of non tech folks buying Android.

    But how many of these forever v2.2 or v2.3 devices will be hacked and infiltrated with key loggers and other malware over the next few years and start stealing their owners personal data and credit card information?
    • I agree...

      not having the most up-to-date version of the OS is irrelevant for a vast majority of users these days, as the author pointed out, many aren't even aware of what version they are using.

      But having the latest security patches available for your device is a necessity and a manufacturer delaying the release of security fixes should be publicly hung, drawn and quartered.

      That said, just got the official ICS update for my Sensation through this morning! :-D