In my previous post on the subject I sounded almost too happy, so it is time to go back to my grumpy mood by speaking loud of what I do not like about the HTC Hero, or Android in general, because, as it is my first contact with this platform, I have little way to know which features are Android-wide and which are specific from this model.
I live in the early 2000’s (and so does my girlfriend) and for me it means that a mobile is a phone with PDA functionality attached and the only connectivity is achieved by the occasional data synchronization via Wifi, Bluetooth (more on this later) or the classic and trustworthy USB cable. That means a power consumption very contained as talkers is not long and we are not “exploring” the device so often.
Even with this seldom usage, I am not that happy with its battery life, which can be even lower than my HTC HD with its bigger screen size (and same capacity of 1350 mAh). I’d need to find out how to disable some of the unused background services, but my opinion is that unused services must not run unless the user says so.
Why would anyone want a stocks of tweeter services running in the background if:
- the owner does not know what the heck Tweeter is and is not into stocks?
- the owner chose not to display that information?
I cannot but fear how bad autonomy would be if data connections and push technologies was always on. I better be buying a very long extension power-cord just in case we make our way into the 2010’s :-) At least the
Speaking of connectivity… I find it hard to swallow that an advanced device, and not a cheap one I must add, does not have the same capabilities as a way cheaper entry-level-device in terms of connectivity. No OBEX or PIM information exchange? WTF?!? What does one say to his friend that has a 5 years-old, smashed crappy Nokia when he offers to send a picture of his cute-kitty via Bluetooth? What kind of shoulder shrug is capable to explain that contact information from a Windows Mobile 2003 device cannot be sent to a newly acquired device?
I found no answer for that. I am aware that Bluetooth is that technology that never became as mainstream and ubiquitous as its early proponents foresaw but… give me a break!!! The iPhone received a much deserved bashing for exactly the same deficiencies and years later a “revolutionary” device makes the same mistakes. And Google fixing it in a subsequent version or the open source “less complaints and do it yourself” motto offers little to no relief.
The provided contacts and calendar application are just fine. Not bad at all, but not in genius category. After seeing how Google changed the face of internet applications everyone expects them to do the same with everything they get their noses into. Unrealistic? Maybe. I have very little doubt that they will succeed in innovate, but it has not happened yet. That and the lack of third-party alternatives in this area left me a bit disappointed.
The fact that a task application is not included is also kind of disheartening. Fortunately enough there seems to be movement in this area and there are fantastic free applications that do the job.
Application Installation in Memory Card
This is one of my biggest WTF so far with Android. I agree that applications tend to be more compact in size than the ones for Windows Mobile. But again, if the device mandated the existence of the SD card in orders to work I cannot for the life of me agree with any of the reasons stated by developers of the platform.
- Users installing the same application in the external and internal memory? doh!!
- Program not working when external device is not present? A program crash would do for me. As if taking the tiny piece of silicon was easy enough to do it all the time.
- Security? I do not fully understand the reasons or implications but I’ve been running applications from external memory and never had a security issue with it
I find it lame, at best, that all my applications (even the ones I rarely use) need to be taken a very much needed space in the device memory. They need to fix this issue. Badly. Straight away.
And no, hacking your device to become root is not an option for many, many users of the platform.
Summing it up. Great device, great platform. But it does come with some flaws. Some more serious than others and some I consider a real shame. But hey! if the iPhone could cope with all the critics and deficiencies why couldn’t Android? Well, I only have higher hopes from Google. Do not disappoint us, nearly-converters.