Is it Just Me? Or does Android still feel unfinished?
Recently I had to switch to owning a connected a google device for one simple reason. I needed my Google Calendar when I was on the road. I don't know what's going on or why, but my Apple Calendar will not sync with my Google Calendar and we pretty much run our whole company on Google Apps (gmail, calendar, docs).
While I could use the google iOS apps, for reasons unknown I am required to login every, single, time. This is a huge problem for me as I use a complex password with lots of symbols. Try typing a 16 character (4×4) password with symbols and case changes on an iOS keyboard. It's PAINFUL to impossible.
Therefore, I went to the AT&T store and they tried a couple of things, but nothing seemed to produce the consistent sync I need. This has been made worse given a recent change in the way we operate. Our new task management process relies heavily on Calendar scheduling. So not having my schedule has become a very real problem.
The most cost effective mobile solution for me is the new Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 eight inch tablet. While the Galaxy Note phone looks appealing, the cost is more than twice as much ($700 instead of $300) and the monthly charge is was < 1/4 – about $15 a month to add to our business plan instead of $65 for a new phone line. So here I sit and type.
It works. Mostly.
Well, the number one critical feature I needed works like a Champ. I can get my Google calendar but with one caveat. The Samsung application does not fully sync with google either. So the default calendar from Samsung is almost completely useless. Changes made to the default calendar app do not propegate through the Calendar ecosystem.
Despite that, I now have reliable email and Calendar for the road. But what about my other critical apps?
The quality of Apps for iOS really seems to outshine Android. I have not one, but 3 decent Markdown editors on my iPad. My favorite right now is Editorial because of the power it has to format your markdown into HTML you can paste into web apps like WordPress and so on. ByWord is another classic editor that is extremely powerful. What I really like about both of them is
- They format the markdown in the text.
- They have lots of options like setting the font size, or saving to dropbox.
These features really make these applications easier to use. The formatting is like syntax highlighting. It's eye-candy, does not change the actual content but helps you catch mistakes in real time.
The options like setting font sizes let older folks like me concerned with eye strain pick a comfortable font. The linking to DropBox gives me confidence I can get my files later from another device.
On Android? Not only are there very few markdown editors, not a single editor offers all three of these features. Writely Comes close, but they don't support indocument formatting. Writer supports in document formatting, however you are stuck with their "font for 18 year olds", and no linking to an external service.
Given the sheer number of Android devices in the world it is shocking that more apps are not available.
So I have my shiny new state of the art Android device, but I kid you not, two apps I went to download right away had warnings that the apps were not compatible with my device. Seriously?
In another review, the app maker complained that they could not garunatee their app would work in the future. They already supported 1,200 devices. With all the changes they had no idea if they would or could support what ever new things came along.
Is Android a Viable Market for Independent Develpers?
The other challenge with Android devices is that because they are cheap, so are many of the clients. Apple users pay a lot. They expect to. But this also means they will pay for quality. I have never seen one, but I would love to see a comparison if Android software developers actually can make any money. The numbers are huge so I would assume so, but I don't understand why there are so few quality apps that maximize the latest hardware. Even Microsoft seems to understand that when you release new tech there should be marquee apps to give you reasons to buy the newer hardware.
This seems lost in the Android space. My Samsung tablet has an absolutely amazing screen. And yet most of the games play at a very low resolution and look terrible. That is hardly what I would think either Samsung or Google would want – their latest tech looking bad. But I don't know why that is. I think I take it for granted what Apple has built.
On the surface, they are so similar, but just below that shallow surface is a depth of features and quality that only seems to exist in the Apple-sphere.
I can go on, the list of applications that are available on my iOS and work flawlessly that I can find no equivalent of on the Android. There are a few notable exceptions, mostly business and productivity apps like Everynote, and Todoist, but where is Solebon the outstanding solitaire game for iOS? Or how about Textastic? And while it gets slammed more often than not, I would love to have Safari on my Samsung. I long for a browser that does not freeze during page loads or jump around constantly as it rerenders the page adverts during loads.