Saturday, April 28, 2012

My Rant about Android and Samsung

I admit that I am a total gadget freak and a technology addict and this means every year when the wrappings of the latest smartphone come off or some other hi-tech gizmo hits the market, I of course begin to drool and also instantly check my bank balance to see if I can even think of affording a new gizmo and more often than not a paltry bank balance leaves me depressed. 

But this has not deterred me (thanks to my totally selfless wife that is ready to gift me anything I ask for...what more can a man ask for..) from making some purchases over the last year that are, lets face it both expensive and no where near being necessities for ones life. The first one was the Samsung Galaxy S2 which I brought last year (through Flipkart) and I followed it up by getting my wife to buy me a pair of Bose noise canceling head phones for my birthday.

Now aimless as this post is going to be, the biggest complaint I have with moving from an iPhone to an Android powered device, apart from the crappy battery life is the absolute agony that one has to go through to get an Android upgrade going. Of course folks can look at me and tell me that if I were a tech freak, I should have already 'rooted' by Galaxy S2 and got the upgrade to the latest version of Android (4.0.4 aka Ice-cream Sandwich), but I prefer to not to dig around too much with my phones and prefer the upgrade to come through the normal channels. Having said that, ICS was released months ago and Samsung promised that its flagship Galaxy S2 smartphone would get the upgrade by Q1, 2012 and we are well into Q2 and there is still no update from Samsung on when poor old Indian users like me would get the upgrade.

I tried to complain on Twitter to @Samsungmobile and also tried Facebook but no one seems to bother. At this stage I am seriously thinking of jumping back to the iOS bandwagon the next time I buy a new phone.

All this, again brings me to the question: Where is Android heading? Given that its a free license product, it has resulted in severe de-fragmentation of the Android market with hundreds of manufacturers rolling out Android phones at different price points, and with different versions of the Android OS. All this makes the process of upgrading users to newer versions on Android that much more painful and I guess that pain is not going to go away anytime soon. That may be one of the main reasons why it is rumoured that Google may be opting to build out its own walled garden through Google Play just to get out of this mess that Android seems to have created.

Samsung have built a kick ass phone in the Galaxy S2 but I feel they have screwed up big time with a bloated peice of junk called Samsung Kies (similar to iTunes) to allow users to sync data from their computers to the phone and to manage upgrades. I have had several hair tearing experiences with Kies and dread using it every time there is a new firmware upgrade available.

This is where Apple scores over everyone else. With iOS everything you do, be it using the phone, buying apps or upgrading is totally simple so much so that even a kid these days knows how to run an iOS upgrade. There is a lot to be learned for companies like Sammy from the master. With that I guess I will stop my rant on Samsung and Android until I have new stories to tell about how my ICS upgrade went (whenever that happens!)

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