First impressions and the Android Market

Posted: January 13th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Android | No Comments »

This entry covers my first impressions of the OS itself, as I see the device as secondary. Maybe I will write some about the Galaxy Player hardware later.

After booting, the first thing to do is of course getting a Twitter client from the Android market. First point goes to Android: I do not need to tether the device, I can use it right away. That is something Apple will need to get right eventually. First step to the market is signing in with your Google account. After typing in my credentials, I was already wondering when the Wifi connection would be established. As it turns out, only after trying to access Google without network connectivity for about 5 minutes:

Photo Jan 13, 8 51 27 nachm..jpg

After trying this for a while, you will receive an error message with a bunch of things that could have went wrong and a button for setting up Wifi networks. Right. Because it is impossible to find out that there is no network connectivity without any Wifi connection. The Wifi setup process is a real gem, too. After selecting a network, a pop-over dialog will ask for your password. In background, the list of networks is still refreshed every couple of seconds, resulting in abysmal performance of the password entry field. It actually took me about 5 minutes to enter my password.

The market itself is a bit brief on descriptions and screenshots, but the App Store does not particularly shine in this regard, either. This means the primary place for looking for good apps is the web. On iOS, all links to the iTunes store are send to the respective iTunes, iBooks or App Store app. On Android, no such thing exists. There are no URLs for the store. Mind-boggling. Installation pages for Google’s own apps offer two means: a QR code and searching the market for some keywords. It’s absurd.

What’s great about market? Installing an app does not kick you back to the home screen. We really need that on iOS, too.

Also, the notification area. You can actually drag the top status bar down to open a list of current notifications on Android, which is very nice. The market puts the installations of apps there, with a progress bar and a means to directly launch the app after installation. That’s very good and much better than application installation on iOS.

The official Twitter for Android client is not that great, especially considering how well done the iOS and Mac versions are. Other popular clients include twicca, which is actually in beta, and TweetDeck. And what should I say? They are not very good either. They basically represent the state of iPhone Twitter clients in 1.x days, back when apps could only be obtained via jailbreaking your device. This was more than two years ago. I might actually do a comparison of those clients with the ones available on iOS someday, but this should suffice for now.

The biggest selling point for the market is its openness and on that front it delivers, big time. For example, you can get emulators for many popular consoles and computers. Apple really needs to get their heads out of their asses in this regard. It is understandable that Apple wants to provide a curated experience for its customers. But why on earth doesn’t iOS offer the option to install unsigned binaries as some kind of expert setting?

Final note: the lack of screenshots has one simple reason: there seems to be no simple and straightforward way to actually make them on a stock Android device.

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