Last week we saw the release of the second Android powered phone and we are going to see many more to come before the year is over. The Donut branch was recently opened up and along with it, a slew of new features. With this in mind I thought it was a good time to take a look at what the Android platform needs to accomplish in order to be a true competitor to the other platforms, primarily the iPhone and Blackberry.
1) More/Faster Processing Power
There are too many “hiccups” when opening and closing apps and too many force close issues. Too often when going back to the home screen you are stuck looking at your wallpaper waiting for the icons to come back up. And how many people filled their screens with widgets as soon as they got Cupcake? I know I did. And how many quickly realized all those widgets were slowing the phone down? More and faster processing power allow more home screens and more widgets with smoother transitions between apps as well as the ability to run multiple apps without making the device unusable.
2) A Better Browser
Looking at websites on my G1 often brings back memories of being on dial-up. Even when on my home wireless network it can take several minutes for a standard webpage to fully load. This is unforgivable considering Google makes, arguably, the fastest browser, Chrome. Opera is promising to bring their browser (not Opera Mini) to the platform but I would rather see the native browser improve then have to rely on 3rd parties.
3) Improved Battery Life
I know it, you know it. The battery life just plain old stinks. We have all had it happen. It’s 3pm, you look down at your phone and see the little icon on your status bar down to its last slice. Obviously this isn’t something that’s easy to fix. The more storage capacity a battery has the bigger and bulkier it gets and that usually isn’t what a consumer is looking for in a phone. I also recognize that this is something every manufacturer is looking into for all their phones. As soon as new technology is available I would like to see Android handset manufactures jump on it.
In order for Android to gain acceptance in the business world it must have Exchange support built in. This was a priority for the iPhone and is the bread and butter of the Blackberry. Yes, the HTC Hero will have it. Yes, you can use a third party email client to get it. The problem is that it doesn’t support Exchange 100% out of the box and for many businesspeople (who are mostly non-techies) that’s a no go.
5) More First Party Apps
Sky Map, Finance, Google Voice… these are some pretty awesome apps. What do they have in common? They were developed by Google. By making awesome software they show what is possible on the platform. By making some of them exclusive it might be the deciding factor for some consumers. I’d love to see a Google Reader and/or Google Docs app. Yes, there are great third party apps (USA Today, Amazon.com, Locale, Ringdroid, etc) but I think Google needs to show the major developers out there that they are committed to the platform long term and that Android is a worthy competitor in the smartphone market.
I see iPhone ads everywhere. I see Blackberry ads constantly. Recently I’ve been getting seriously creeped out by that woman in the Palm Pre ads. Meanwhile the only ads for an Android phone I’ve seen are the banners hanging up in the T-Mobile stores. Android is a consortium of several huge companies who have a lot invested in the platform. A marketing campaign would pay off big time.
I do not mean for this to be a list of complaints, rather a list of ideas. I want to see Android succeed and improve. I want to see more people walking around with their Android phones.
Tell us what you think Android needs to gain that all important market share of the smartphone market.