Does Android get bad rep due to being open source?

Posted Oct 04, 2012 at 6:00 pm in Threads > Opinions

One of the great things about Android is that it is open source and anyone can make hardware and have it run Android, whether it be phones, tablets, consoles, or cameras. But does this also pose a threat to itself?

1. Android Tablets
There are tons of Android Tablets online, and what worries me about this is that there can be a lot of sub-par tablets. While I’m not saying they are all horrible, I see a lot of tablets boasting Android OS for under $100 and this worries me because with low price usually comes low quality and poor support. While a lot of them may offer a great experience there are probably a lot that offer a terrible experience, which in the end could make someone think twice about Android devices.

2. User Interfaces/Experiences (HTC Sense, Motoblur, TouchWiz, etc)
Most Android phones and tablets come with their manufacturer’s own User Interface/Experience. HTC has Sense, Samsung has TouchWiz and Motorola has Motoblur, while they may have features that everyone likes there are bound to be some things that people don’t like which could in also could be damaging towards Android due to the consumer not knowing that some problems are due to manufacturer’s specific implementations and is not necessarily on all Android devices. Do manufacturer specific interfaces mask the true Android too much?

One of the nicest things about iOS, iPhones and iPads is the hardware is not all over the place and user experience is for the most part the same across the board. While some like having more options to choose from, some maybe not like having 50 different options to choose from.

What are your thoughts?

  • Mix

    Slightly on topic but slightly

    I have to agree with you to a certain degree, especially when you think that iOS updates get sent out and everyone (most) can update their phone at that given time. As it is something like 2% of Androids are now on Jelly Bean while 60% of iPhones are on iOS 6 (5?)

    I have also heard people talk about how garbage Android is when they have a phone worth $100 in their hand that is running Gingerbread with less ram than a calculator. They do align themselves up to be seen as low end but their high end phones are also insane so I think it tends to balance out.

    I think Android is winning because they offer phones that cover all target markets with their affordability and openness as people have an easier time finding something that suits them.

    If they don’t like it then they are free, to a certain point, to change it!

    iOS is 1,2,3 and Android 3,8,2, your number goes here.

  • Bpear96

    While no one should by a $100 Android tablet expecting a very good experience (but it is almost there with the Nexus 7, Kiddle Fire etc). But anyways, this is kinda similar to the Windows Situation (though it isnt opensource) You can buy a crappy $200-$300 netbook, loaded with tons of bloat, barely any ram, And an Atom CPU. And the performance (for those who dont know much about specs) might turn them a way from windows, but im sure most realize it is because they bought a $250 Netbook, and not a $800 Laptop/ultrabook.

    But yes i agree, Google Should set some guide lines for android, but since its open source it cant be to strict.
    For example they could make some spec requirements, if the tablet wants to have Google Certification (Google play , etc) But manufactures or free to make crappy devices with out it.
    Or the rumored nexus program may just be it, if you follow googles guidelines you can be a Nexus, and get updated by Google etc.

  • Ironzey Lewis

    It’s a double edged sword. You mention the cheap tablets being pretty universally bad. Another way of looking at it is they are getting out there at pretty much all price ranges. I would imagine that most folks that will spend $100 on an new Android tablet would go in with low to no expectations. They probably don’t care about updates and specs as much as an enthusiast would, they just want to surf the net and check email. For $100 your probably going to be able to do that and maybe a few other things. I’d argue that any Android is better than none even if the experience isn’t top of the line.

    Secondly, those different user experience are a good thing. Once again I’m not talking specifically about the folds like you and me who are enthusiasts, I’m talking about “those regular folks” people who aren’t the least bit into learning the intricacies of a new OS. My last phone was a Sensation running Gingerbread then I upgraded to a Galaxy Nexus where the UI/UX was completely different. I was a Nexus One user before this so it wasn’t my first time with vanilla Android. The change from Android 2.X to 4. was DRASTIC and took me a while to get accustomed to. If I would have just stuck with the Sensation for the update to Android 4.0 the change wouldn’t have nearly as difficult.

    I’m going to say the overwhelming majority of smartphone users want a similar UI/UX from phone to phone. For example, My wife uses her phone more than I do. She had no problem jumping right on to her MyTouch Slide 4G from a MyTouch Slide. The UI/UX was familiar, it would not have gone as smoothly if she would have upgraded to something AOSP.

  • zerosix

    I can’t agree with you.
    IMHO, it’s like saying “people get bad reputation because they are all different”.
    First of all: similar user expirience is good for, well, grandmas. It’s obvious, that the same UI can’t be used for a 4″ screen and a 10″ screen. I think, that Android is very comfortable both for tablets and phones, while iOS is good only for phones.
    Secondly: choice is good. For example, if I want to play high-end games I buy Asus TP, but if I know, that I’m buying a tablet only for reading I’ll consider buying something more cheap.
    And the last point: I think, that the only thing, that gives Android some bad reputation, is moderationless Play store. Google should make developers follow the guidelines, and remove sh*t out of the Play store: my favourite link is with “at least 1000 results”.