A testimonial of a pissed off Android user

Yes, an Android user! Back in August this year, I realized I needed a second phone, due to my numerous travels abroad. That phone would need to meet 3 basic requirements: to enable me to do my back office work smoothly (E-mail, contacts, calendar, yammer, Skype/Lync), to have dual SIM card support (I prefer not to carry too many phones with me), and, since it will not be used that often, to be as cheap as it goes – but without endangering the first two requirements. Yes, of course I want to use Facebook and Twitter from time to time as well. Normal requirements, you may say. So after doing some research, the choice has been made, and I bought Samsung Young DuoSIM, a small cheap phone running the Android 4.1, which was meeting all the requirements from above. And I must admit, I was curious about Android, since I was never using it actively before. Well, as I told, I didn’t have much complaints about it, since I wasn’t using it much. Until December.

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In the beginning of December, due to my pending job change, I had to return my main phone of that time (HTC 8X), and since I knew I would be getting a new phone immediately in January, I didn’t want to buy a new phone just for a month, especially while I was going to spend that month with my family on holidays. So, yes, am using my Samsung Young with Android 4.1 since almost a month now, as a primary phone. This article will be describing one month of my Android experience sorrow. Android will be mainly compared to the Windows Phone, since that is what I use and know the best.

Warning to all of you Android and Google fanboys: please stop reading here. You are going to accuse me of being Microsoft nerd, you will imply that I am being forced to write this, only because I am a Microsoft MVP, or whatever. So, please stop reading here. I don’t really care what you think, or what you have to say in this moment, sorry. All the others, who want to hear an honest opinion, please proceed.

It has all started with the logging into the phone. I did have, back in the time, a “real” Google account, with my first and last name. I wasn’t using it that often, but I had one. I have seriously considered canceling it, after all the evidence of Google misusing personal data for its own profit. But I really cancelled it, after Google has denied using YouTube APIs, for Microsoft Phone YouTube app. I did have another Google account, which I was using for all the possible spam mails. So I was thinking – what a hack, I’ll use this fake Google account as a main account for my Android phone. Anyway, the only thing that I need, is just a login.

Wrong. This thing started syncing immediately. Hundreds and hundreds of spam mails, directly on my phone. I did go to the account settings, and turned the syncing off for that Google account. And then half of the things stopped working. Without this account syncing, Google+ wouldn’t work properly. Wait, I don’t use the Google+, this thing is useless? Well, if you don’t use Google+, you can’t use a lot of your phone functionality, so… (no, you cannot uninstall the Google+ app).

…OK, OK, I got it. I created a new, clean DonaldDuck82347 account, just for usage on this phone. Sync now, you bloody thing!

The next thing was setting up the dual SIM card support. Since I was abroad at that time, I have set my “secondary” SIM card (from that country where I have been at the moment) to be the default one for outgoing calls. Everything was good and nice, until I got home, and wanted to change the default outgoing calls SIM card. A simple thing. Not. Now, I’m not a newbie in the IT world, but there was NO option to change the default SIM Card for outgoing calls, other than turning the secondary card completely off! I did find the option for changing the default card for the data connection (OK, this is helpful), but not for bloody outgoing calls!!! Hard reset, and the new phone initialization was the only option for me at that point… OK, that helped. I won’t set the default outgoing call option any more. Instead, I’ll have one more click each time I am making a call, to choose the SIM card. Lovely.

The next thing was the mail. I use Exchange Online, from Microsoft Office 365, as my mail server. And my Office 365 account name (Exchange account), is not the same as my email address. To put it simple: I don’t log to Exchange with my email address, it is set as an alias to my account address. This has never been a problem, until now. On all possible devices, including iPad 3 (which I had back in time), this was never a problem. This is just a plain normal thing to do.

Not for Android! What Android mail client (or Android’s EAS protocol implementation, I don’t care) does of it, is whenever someone sends me an email to my well known email address, it adds to the “To:” field my account address as well. So when I, not thinking of it, press “Reply” and write an email, it bounces again back to me, through my account address (not my email address). This is not all that nasty, but it’s a god-damn nerving pain in the butt.

And then all this hype about numerous Android apps. What apps? If I would be nasty, I would said that most of those apps are flashlight apps, which require access to your address book. As I said, I spent most of this month on holidays, so I had some time to look for the apps, and to play with them.

I usually have my apps organized in 5 categories – core apps (browser, mail, setting, Skype, OneNote, security…), productivity apps (everything from Office apps, to airline check in apps), social (self-explanatory), media, and games.

Core apps are basically there on each platform, and they are always a matter of taste. I prefer Windows Phone mail client than Android’s mail client, but I find Android’s mail client to be way better than that one on iOS. Matter of taste, or habits. They all work. From the other side, I found nothing nearly as good for security on Android, as the “Guardian” App for Windows Phone.

There is great deal of discussion about the productivity apps for Windows Phone. One of the main reasons against Windows Phone platform which I always hear, is a lack of the banking apps. Now, I would never use a banking app on my phone, especially not on the 3G/4G networks, but that would be my personal opinion. Where I might use it, would be in my private, or corporate w-lan, but then again, if I am there, that means that I have an internet access with my laptop, as well. On the other hand, I find the productivity apps for Windows Phone to be way more polished, than those for Android platform. For example, the Lufthansa app. Pinning your boarding ticket as a live tile on the home screen is just neat. Oh, yes, I don’t even want to speak here about Office apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), which are just non-existent for Android in any decent manner.

All major social apps are present on Windows Phone since a long time, the same is truth for apps from all major media houses, local and international. So, no, I have no app problem with the Windows Phone. Where Android is clearly in advantage are the game apps (even if I am being said that most of the main games are already present for WP as well), but I just don’t play that much games on my phone, so it’s not of a concern for me (this is still my personal experience). And be aware, a lot of them on Android are just data-fishing apps (think twice when Tetris asks you for allowance to read your address book and your location).

But what really pisses me off with Android is Google’s arrogance. “We know what is best for you”. No, you bloody don’t!!! And this is actually a reason why I am writing this post today.

Today, my Android phone started showing me Google Hangouts instead of the Text (SMS) messages. Did it ask me, if I wanted the SMS app being replaced with Hangouts? It probably did, this thing always asks for something. I was also probably in the rush at that moment, and have probably clicked on “Yes”. I can’t recall. And now – you already guess – I have bloody Hangouts, and there is no way back, other than phone hard reset. Well, thank you Google! I still have a LOT of friends who are not even on Facebook, and especially not on your services! They still value the convenience of good old text message! Yes, I know I can send and receive text messages over your Hangout app, which probably means via your servers, where you are probably going to store it permanently (for my convenience, of course), and to index it, but I simply DO NOT WANT it! Yes, you asked, I know, and I know I have mistakenly clicked on “yes”, I know.

Believe me, I won’t do it ever again. Ever. Thanks God I’ll get a proper phone in a few days again…

PS. I don’t want to talk about performance issues here, and apps closing and restarting on their own most of the time. I am aware that I have bought a low-end device here, and that is a reason why I was writing solely about Android OS, and not Samsung’s hardware here. But, all you Google fan boys who have somehow made it through here, ask the users of Windows Phone low end devices, if they have such a massive performance problems. Go figure…