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Mike Fratto
Mike Fratto
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The Mess That Is Android: A Google-Powered Object Lesson

Google's Android is a great OS, but it has significant problems that must be addressed before it becomes irrelevant. Here are 10 of them.
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Can I get a consistent UI? Anyone? Granted, Google isn't totally to blame for inconsistent Android UI's. OEM's like Motorola, Samsung, and HTC do customize the Android UI, or in the case of HTC, re-skin it. The openness of Android is a blessing and a curse. Without a consistent UI, it is very hard for developers, users, and organizations, to support multiple devices.

Just take a look at the software and hardware buttons on these home screens. Some of 3 buttons. Some have 4 buttons. I think the symbols were inspired by the Mayan calendar. Worse, the hardware button functions can be re-assigned functions by developers. Isn't that just fun when some well-meaning but woefully misguided developer decides to change how the back button acts for just their app.

Google does have developer guidelines, which they revamped in the last few months, but Google doesn't enforce them. There is some hope. OEM's and Carriers that want to have the Android Market, I mean Play Store, on their devices must support the stock UI. That should save developers from have to write custom layouts for each UI, but it's still a long way from consistent.


Mike Fratto is a principal analyst at Current Analysis, covering the Enterprise Networking and Data Center Technology markets. Prior to that, Mike was with UBM Tech for 15 years, and served as editor of Network Computing. He was also lead analyst for InformationWeek Analytics ... View Full Bio

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