Daring Fireball: Making Our Hearts Sing

February 8, 2023

Daring Fireball: Making Our Hearts Sing:

Android enthusiasts don’t want to hear it, but from a design perspective, the apps on Android suck. They may not suck from a feature perspective (but they often do), but they’re aesthetically unpolished and poorly designed even from a “design is how it works” perspective. (E.g., Read You doesn’t offer unread counts for folders, has a bizarrely information-sparse layout, and its only supported sync service was deprecated in 2014. It also requires a frightening number of system permissions to run, including the ability to launch at startup and run in the background.) And as I wrote yesterday, the cultural chasm between the two mobile platforms is growing, not shrinking. I’ve been keeping a toe dipped in the Android market since I bought a Nexus One in 2010, and the difference in production values between the top apps in any given category has never been greater between Android and iOS. And that’s just talking about phone apps, leaving aside the deplorable state of tablet apps on Android.

I’ve tried Android devices many times over the years, mostly as a tablet for the rare things I wanted more control than iOS gave on iPads… iPadOS has largely negated the things I wanted from Android to begin with, but there were 2 things that always kept me from doing more with Android.

  1. The software blows. Not just in look-and-feel, but in functionality and stability, and even discoverability. I’d try things many writers said were “best of class” and they were dumpster fires.
  2. OS – Most of those tablets never got a major OS update beyond what they shipped with. At least one proposed it would support the next upgrade at the time I bought it, then quietly erased that from the product page when it came time to deliver… Samsung, Lenovo, Acer, major brands that should be able to deliver compelling devices and just … moved onto the next thing instead. Compare this with Apple who just released OS updates for devices released 13 years ago.

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