After going exclusively for a while with the iSide of mobile phones, I decided to get back with Android. It felt like greeting an old friend again. However, I found some things that annoy the heck out of me with Android devices these days.
The first one is darn “silent switch” – you have it on the side of every iPhone ever. An easy way to check or adjust whether your phone is silenced or not without looking at it. And no, fiddling with volume buttons in your pocket doesn’t count as “normal” Android behavior is to share media and ringtone volume. And reversing silencing also means guessing your ring volume every time. Or simply giving up and using it in either silent or max volume mode. And don’t blame Apple patents for this as there are (rare) Android manufacturers that have it – like OnePlus.
The most curious thing about this physical switch is that I didn’t miss it before I went to Apple. I was OK with volume buttons and got used to their quirks. However, coming back to Android, I gave up on damn volume buttons for anything except volume control. While getting used to silent switch took no time, getting used to life without it takes eternity.
And frankly I could stop here as all other things together don’t annoy me as that simple switch. However, I will mention a few more issues. :)
Lack of headphone jack on new devices might be OK for some but I find it really limiting. Apple successfully removed it first and then everybody just had to follow. I have a feeling if Apple sold a polished turd, other manufacturers would start rubbing their’s too. Yes, I do know Bluetooth exists and I actually have reasonably good wireless headphones. But they are also pricier, have batteries, and I even sometime forget to bring them with me. You know what I always have? Pair or two of cheap 3.5mm headphones that need nothing. I can use them for rare sessions in (non-Pokemon) gym, driving a bike, or while walking through woods. If I lose them – so what?
And whoever mentions headphone dongle first can stuff it where the sun doesn’t shine.
Notches are my enemy too. Like in the carrot measuring contest (what? you don’t do those?) all manufacturers are trying to have screen to body ratio as high as possible. So they notch the hell out their phones. The more expensive phone the uglier notch (or two) it has to have. Yes, I know, people say you get used to it. Well, I can get also get used to having a screen without notch in the first place. :)
Of course I will complain also about the fingerprint sensor on the back. Not only this allows me to fiddle my phone for an uncomfortable minute before hitting it just right but it also means I need to physically move phone to get under it. Too much work for just a quick glance toward notification.
To continue with “get of my lawn” old man gripes, I find even such inconvenient fingerprint sensor strongly preferred to face unlock. Not only face unlock gives you the same drawback of having to pick up phone to unlock it, but you also cannot share your face with other people (unless you’re Nicholas Cage).
For example my phone at this moment has fingerprints for me, my wife, and both of my kids. My wife’s phone is likewise setup for the whole family. My kids’ phone have my wife and me added as secondary fingerprints as they don’t trust each other. :) And stop yelling privacy concerns as (a) they’re kids, and (b) I don’t actually snoop through their messages nor they snoop over mine (as far as I know :)).
Shared logins are awesome if you play some game together (e.g. Pokemon Go – yes, still) and one of you is not there – no worries, just use your own fingerprint and play on their phone. Or for the admin in the family – i.e. me – when I go over each phone to either setup new app or I need to test something during night and I don’t want to wake everybody up just for login. Yes, I could track their PINs and patterns in password manager but that’s not as friction-free as the good old fingerprint.
I have great hopes for come back of the fingerprint with the new under-the-screen technology but it might be that for the next phone my whole family will have to wear the same mask. :)
PS: And yes, I know that not all these are necessarily just Android faults but general industry trends – especially the damn notch race – but I’m not gonna change title now. :) Maybe some time later I’ll write what I love about Android and why I came back to it to bring balance to the universe.