3 months of Android: buyer’s remorse?

A little over 3 months ago, I gave up my iPhone 3GS and replaced it with a Samsung Infuse 4G running Android OS. I knew it was a bit of a leap, and I knew that if I hated it I could always go back to iOS when I was eligible for an upgrade again in early 2013.

Android is going to be a great mobile operating system. It’s improving all the time, and Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) looks promising. But I can’t get excited about a new OS that I’ll likely never touch. An iPhone purchased 3 years ago can be upgraded to the latest operating system, but an Android phone purchased 3 months ago is stuck with an evolving operating system nearly 2 complete versions behind. My phone launched in May 2011 with Android 2.2 (Froyo). I bought it in late August. An update to Gingerbread 2.3 was announced in July 2011. It never happened. It’s unlikely that this phone will get any further attention from AT&T or Samsung since the Galaxy S II is the latest darling. I feel as if I bought a brand new computer running OS X 10.1. Great promise. Buggy as heck. Very unfinished.

I knew all this going in. I knew that this was a huge complaint about Android phones that don’t have “Nexus” in their names. I didn’t realize until I started using Android day in and day out how much it would bother me. How frustrated the quirks and bugs would make me. How depressing it is to know there is no relief in sight.

My husband put it best: When my phone is working well I like it, but it’s not working well enough for me to love it. There’s still a lot I do love…just not on the whole. I love Google Maps. I love widgets. I love how quickly developers update their apps in the Market. But even they can only do so much. Case in point this email I received from a developer after reporting a bug that he earnestly tried to fix but couldn’t:

Sounds painful. I think we may have a hit a bit of a wall though, because Android is meant to handle all that routing, not our app. And to make it worse it varies per phone :(
So long story short I’m not entirely sure what we can do to help you out…in some ways this is why I prefer coding for iOS, so much simpler from a developer point of view.

When I go back to iPhone it will be one of the first apps I get, if for no other reason than to support the developer.

I love how integrated Google services are (duh). But the bugs. So many bugs. Apps that start and stop at random times. Inconsistent wifi and bluetooth. I try and use voice control to “Call (person) mobile” when (person) is in my address book and the phone searches and dials a pizzeria in Idaho. I could go on.

My phone is not rooted. I only install apps that are well-known/popular. I keep my caches as clean as I can. Yet I am rebooting the phone way too often to solve various software ills. Sometimes by force (removing the battery) due to hard freezes that are unrecoverable. I’ve already exchanged the phone once due to a bad antenna. I’ve had enough and it’s only 3 months in.

I don’t think I’m going to make it to 2013. I had a nice little chat with AT&T today about my options. I’m waiting for someone further up the chain to call me back to see if they will grant me an extra early upgrade due to my long history with AT&T. In 10+ years with Cingular and then AT&T I have never played this card before. I’ve always completed my contracts. At first I was offered an early upgrade to any phone but an iPhone. I couldn’t even buy a no-contract phone. I didn’t accept that. Sure, I can get the Galaxy SII which at least has the hope of getting the latest OS at some point. But then 3 months later something shinier will come along and that will be that. I’ll be stuck with the bugs that still exist in Ice Cream Sandwich, just as I’m stuck with Froyo’s quirks now. Not sure I’m willing to go down that hole again. I am so frustrated that I’m almost willing to break my contract and start over…but if I did that, I assured her that my replacement iPhone wouldn’t be on AT&T. Her supervisor seemed willing to allow the override, but apparently it has to be escalated and now I wait for a decision. The woman I spoke to, Micky, was wonderful. Very understanding and friendly and willing to do what she could to resolve this. I’m sure I’m not the first, nor the last, frustrated Infuse owner she has spoken to.

For my friends who also leaped from iPhone to Android…are you happy? What am I missing? And yes, I know there are tons of folks who love Android and don’t have any of the issues I’m having. I’m sure I’ll hear from all of you in the comments too. :-)

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4 thoughts on “3 months of Android: buyer’s remorse?

  1. Judi — I thought about switching from my iPhone 3G to some sort of Android device back in 2010. I went to the local AT&T store and toyed around with upwards of ten different Android phones and in less than 20 minutes I’d experienced numerous bugs and freezes… on the in-store, trial phones!

    I decided then that I wouldn’t be making the leap to Android. The only reason I had even considered it was for the price cut. But then, the iPhone 4 came out a few weeks later I couldn’t be happier. (Now if only Apple would create a workaround for iPhone 4 support for Siri.)

  2. This has been my biggest concern with Android, and why I’m hesitant to recommend them to friends, especially non-nerds. Ironically, I wonder if those non-nerds with Android devices even notice these problems or assume that’s just how smartphones work?

    @itspresonm – Siri is still technically in beta, so there’s still some hope that 4 users will eventually get it.

  3. Knocking on wood that I got lucky, but my biggest complaint right now is the weak service & dropped calls, something my husband has been experiencing with his iPhone too, so it’s not just me.

    I definitely don’t have buyer’s remorse, except for maybe I should have just let it expire & switch to Verizon.

  4. I have a Verizon Motorola Droid2. I replaced the hardware three times for a variety of issues that were superseded by the different but equally serious unresolved issues of the each subsequent used replacement phone. They told me to wipe it at least as many times. I got rid of a blackberry coz of ergonomics but at least all aspects of it functioned as advertised. My impression with this droid is everything is still in beta. It turns itself on & off. It freezes often. It crashes. It frequently can’t send text messages or make calls when it’s registering 4 bars. It doesn’t catch incoming calls about 30% of the time. The only thing I’ve never had trouble with over the 4 pieces of hardware was the camera–that always works great.

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