Top 10 features we’d like to see in Android 3.0

UPDATE:

Hello HaD readers,
Sorry for the delay in updating this. I was on probation while the editors worked with Jason to figure out some things.

Clearly, for my recent debut article, I didn’t research Android OS well enough. After reading each of your comments, I realize that the article fell short of HaD’s and its readers standards for high-quality writing and reporting. Every point I made in the article were problems I noticed in my experience with Android, but I should have done more research on others’ experiences and the capabilities of each version of the OS. To each reader, I am sorry and will do better by you in future posts.

Poor Google. Despite its numerous capabilities with smartphones spread across a variety of carriers, Android still struggles to garner the prestige and positive perceptions of iOS 4. Sales continue to rise, but at the end of the day, the average person is still left lusting for an iPhone. Well, here are 10 features  that should be added to Android 3.0 that could change the tide.
1. A no-brainer task manager.
Google says Android doesn’t need a task manager, that it closes programs efficiently without any user-intervention, substandard apps often suck memory dry. Because of this, Android users are forced to download complicated task-managers, each with its own odd UI, and weigh which one works the best. Google, please fess up to the problem and put something in there a computer novice could use.  Something with big buttons would be nice.
2. Stable Multitasking
Speaking of crashes, multitasking on Android is a mess.  A little optimization here wouldn’t hurt. Better yet, while this may run counter-productive to us power-users, why not release a lite version of Android 3.0 that doesn’t support multitasking? Not every user needs it and lower-end phones would appreciate it
Google, your Android keyboard sucks. That’s why the fine folks at Swype Inc developed their product. Sure, some of the newer Android phones like the Droid X are releasing with it built in, but it would be a boon for the OS to come packaged with this software.
4. IR- sender support
On the hardware side of things, an IR-sender support is a “duh.” Imagine a next generation of remotes running on Android. Better yet, how would you like to control your lights and home-entertainment center with your phone without the sometimes-complicated mess of configuring through a network?
5. Universal pinch-to-zoom
Some apps have it. Some apps don’t. C’mon, this should be standard by now.
6. Folders
Google, you copied iOS’s homescreen UI, why not do it again? Many of users have outgrown their limited pages and would like a way to add some organization to their mobile lives.
7. SD-Card support for app-storage
If users are going to download a ton of apps from the Android Market, they need somewhere to put them. Users with rooted phones can already do this, but expandable storage should be standard in app-filled world with insatiable memory lust.
8. Built-in syncing
If the Android is going to succeed as a user-friendly platform, it needs to make it easy for people to add their music, photos, and video to their phones. It’s simple Google. Develop some web-based software and launch it as a beta. You do it for everything else…
9. Standardized UI for all apps
I’m all for artistic interpretation, but the reason so many functional apps get low scores is because they work differently than the rest of the OS. Once again, do what Apple did and come up with better UI guidelines.
10. Better market
Why can’t I queue downloads from the web? That would be awesome. How about a better way to navigate the store from my laptop? Despite the thousands of apps the Android Market hosts, it is stuck with the same problems as Apple’s iOS4. More importantly than any of the above, Google needs to innovate here. Change the way mobile markets work Google and you could win this war.

Photo courtesy [quinn.anya]

Comments

  1. djiffa says:

    I recently found that there might be a major violation of gpl in some android phones for example Nexus One, most of the drivers and even some of the major api’s for example sound api are closed, it might not be Google’s fault mostly it’s Qualcomm and HTC, nevertheless Google shouldn’t encourage this behavior by choosing their flagship phone to be so un-open.
    btw, if it was open enough most of this request could have been answered by the community…

  2. pwa says:

    Jacob Nahin,

    Nice HAD debut!
    Please find somewhere else to work

  3. ritec says:

    Half that list already exists in 2.2. Folders, sd card app storage, syncing, stable multitasking etc etc. I own a nexus one with 2.2 and it’s quite awesome.

  4. sirus says:

    2. android’s multitasking works just fine.
    3. swype is a piece of crap
    4. this is a hardware issue. petition the manufacturers not google.
    5. an app has to have a use for multitouch and then the dev has to use it. it can’t be forced.
    6. check again I have folders on my screen
    7. already has sd storage support. I keep all my apps on my sd card.
    9. just NO!
    10. already exsists. also I’m sure you should check out the chrome to phone extension.

  5. Jake says:

    OK WTF, what is it with people thinking that they need an “arduino” to accomplish things? An arduino is a tool for people who don’t really understand hardware, but still want to mess around with it. If you want an MCU board that supports the things mentioned above, then read a book and build it!!!

    I feel like the “Arduino” concept is keeping people from learning. Instead of actually trying to design something and make it work (much like a sort of beginner-level engineer wannabe) they instead cry “Oh no, I can’t do that because there isn’t an arduino shield for it, etc etc etc”. Screw that. Learn 2 Hardware.

  6. Jake says:

    HAHAHA, I keep seeing arduino posts and read “Android” as “Arduino”. LOL. My comments are directed towards the arduino crowd, NOT the android crowd ;)

  7. BikeHelmet says:

    As someone that has friends with iPhones, who routinely helps them figure stuff out, I can tell you #8 is bullshit.

    How can you get videos onto your iPhone? Well, first you have to import them into iMovie for editing, then you’re able to sync them from iTunes…

    Now they clutter up iMovie for all time.

    You can play them under the “iPod” menu on the fourth page. If you look under “Videos” or “Movies”, you will find nothing. <_<

    What I wouldn't give for a way to yank out an SD card and drag some files over…!

  8. BikeHelmet says:

    Forgot to mention – syncing takes about 4 minutes, plus the transfer time for the video, so when you factor in the iMovie crap, transferring one video over takes 10-12 minutes.

    The SDCard -> Remove[Phone] -> Insert[Card Reader] -> Copy -> Eject[Card Reader] -> Insert[Phone] method takes closer to 45-60 seconds.

  9. Paradox says:

    Umm, folders? They already exist.

    Here’s a picture of one:

  10. biozz says:

    @Jake
    shut the hell up … arduino is a great way to quickly program a device and allow programming and serial communications using one port and its easy to interface anything with it
    saying arduino is just for people who dont know hardware is an extremely ignorant thing to say and just shows that you are far from a professional

    many many professionals use arduinos … cheap … open source … easy … you can upload it to most 168 or 328 configurations and makes debugging a cake walk
    there is nothing wrong with using an arduino boot loader at all and you take your noob trolling else ware

  11. fatfingers says:

    The Android touch targets are too small (on Desire) – I often hit adjacent buttons.
    Tthe general inconsistency of input layout in Android apps is woeful. Sometimes OK/Cancel are juxtaposed or hidden by the alphapad etc.
    At the very least – an OS setting to provide LH or RH preferences.

  12. 013 says:

    I think that part of the reason many features showed up on this list is because Apple mentioned them, not because they are in high demand. Apple seems to be better at touting features that aren’t necessarily useful. I find it even more telling that the author of this post had no idea how many of these features actually were already in Android.

    Many of the features on the list are probably used by 1 in 100 users, if not less. As pointed out in other comments, many of these also already exist on Android.

    The features that /I/ value in android are much simpler: Stability, The ability to install any application I want via .apk files or the Android Market, free Google Maps with turn by turn directions (with voice prompts), and being on a carrier besides AT&T. The Droid is my favorite phone, hands down. The fact that I’m probably getting flash in the next week is just gravy :)

  13. therian says:

    @biozz you such a moron that you don’t even get what hardware Jake was talking about (hint its internals)

  14. nagmier says:

    Do you guys even have android phones? I mean seriously? Folders? Long Press on the home screen… ADD a folder…

    Task Mgr… I have no issues with memory and I’m a power user.

    Universal UI? ok what if I don’t want that UI for my app as a developer there goes OPEN…

    sounds like you want an iPhone 4 why don’t you go get one with the bigger GeeBeez, I hear it has the Wifiz too If the Apple store is sold out my sister told me they have them at Walgreens…

    I think I am now going to relegate hackaday to the internet junk bin… may Prince was right…

  15. PodeCoet says:

    Wow, you’d think the OP has never used Android before. Most everything has already been done, and done quite a while ago at that, what complete and utter bullshit.

  16. Jacob Nahin says:

    @ nagmier I did own one. Regarding folders: To clarify: I think folders on the Android should mimic Apple. I don’t own an iPhone and I don’t plan on owning an iPhone. That said, I am not happy with the way Google has implemented folders and I think they can do better on everything I mentioned.

    Also, I imagine issues with task managing and multitasking vary from user to user based on the hardware and OS version.

    As for the inaccuracies, I will admit, I haven’t had a chance to play with Froyo. My experience is with everything up to 2.1. Froyo was released a few weeks back and from what I read about it, SD card storage still has several issues and the software keyboard is still a pain.

    Some of those who have commented have given a much better understanding of what the OS looks like dev-side, but from where I stand as a consumer, one who knows tech but was still unsatisfied, Google had a ways to go.

    As for a standardized UI and some standardized features, the article was aimed at how Google can increase marketshare, appealing to a wider base of customers. I know a lot of people here love open platforms and the freedom to develop whatever and however you want, but standardization has a place. Consumers do not want to learn a whole new menu system for each application. Some developers do have an eye for design. Some do not, and when said developers release an app, it throws consumers off. That is why a standardized UI for applications makes sense.

    First, this doesn’t affect the hacking, hardcore community or those who really want to do whatever they want. Almost any Android phone can be rooted, some with one click. It isn’t hard, but most just want a phone that works consistently.

  17. pogyhauler says:

    Headline – R.I.P – H.A.D.

    Fanboi Pollution claims another victim.

    Sad. Very, Very Sad.

  18. tscott says:

    I love hackaday and I read it every day and this article is crap.

  19. namerequired says:

    Just saying… I’m not sure what 40+ year olds you hang out with, but I don’t know anyone who wants an iPhone. Maybe you should get out of Florida?

  20. JoshHart says:

    This is pretty bad, haha, 3/4 of the stuff listed here is either already part of Android and or is ahead of the rest of the mobile OS’s available, only thing I saw on here that would be cool but isn’t possible at this time is IR control but there’s already plenty of good remote control apps for people that really want them. I would say USB host would be the coolest feature they could add. Has the writer used an Android phone?

  21. r3nrut says:

    Hackaday #fail

    Serious disrespect points for this one. Do you research before trashing on something you obviously haven’t touched.

    *wags finger*

  22. Aravind says:

    Hmm. There is already folders. And with Android 2.2, there is already pretty decent Task Manager in the settings and SD-card support for app storage.

    I do agree the need for the rest especially Built-in syncing for my photos, videos and music.

  23. wow... says:

    this article is pure trash. You read old articles and add your own opinion while having absolutely no f*ing experience with either phone. how can you say something is unstable if you havent even fucking used it. Sales do not translate to a better product, it relates to advertising and fanboism. ALL of these features are already in android in a better form or in development dumbass…. yes even the ir support with googletv. your such a tard i cant even express in words how stupid you are

  24. Michael says:

    This article fails, in all honesty, please delete the person who wrote this…

    Every single point the author makes is incorrect, stop bending over for apple!

  25. EggoEspada says:

    Wow. Whats up with this bullshit article?
    Do you guys even know what the heck is Android.
    Pathetic excuse for writers, do your research kids.

  26. wtf says:

    Tell me this article is a joke?

  27. petedroid says:

    Hackday just lost a longtime visitor, what a piece of garbage article…GO ANDROID..

  28. Andy Roid says:

    W T F? Really? Who wrote this list? A 14 year old apple fan boy? This is complete bullocks. Most of it’s completely wrong, the rest is either already there or not needed.

    A lite version? Are you insane? Hackaday used to be good, this single article has really added a 1 to the 3 strikes rule. I honestly don’t think the “writer” of this has any idea what they are talking about.

  29. locke2384 says:

    Who is the genius who wrote this article without doing any research. It all began with android copied ios and then got more and more inaccurate. Check your sources.

  30. gbhil says:

    Are you high or stupid? The only people that should be allowed to write about a subject are the ones who know WTF they’re talking about. HAD just lost a long time reader, and I certainly won’t be sourcing any of my own writings from here any longer.

  31. pmk says:

    I don’t even know where to start with this post. The inaccuracies and pouting iPhone mentality shine though.

  32. unkid4n says:

    This article put me in a perpetual state of facepalm.

    1,2,5,6,7 are all flat out wrong, while the rest remain debatable or truthful.

    sigh~

  33. Travis says:

    First, the popular argument gets on my nerves. Just because something is popular doesn’t mean its better. It just means that it’s popular, but really it means that Apple has a really good marketing department.

    Don’t be one of these people http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FL7yD-0pqZg

    > 1. A no-brainer task manager
    I’m running 2.2 on my Nexus One, and there are changes from 2.1. My only complaint about the task manager is buried in the phone’s settings.

    > 2. Stable Multitasking
    This seems to be more of an issue with developers not understanding the application life cycle in Android.

    > 3. Swype
    Swype is trying to license this to OEMs directly in order to deliver on the millions that have been invested. I would prefer to see more voice control. My phone hears me say, “Navigate to” a lot.

    > 4. IR- sender support
    Do they still make phones with IR ports, and hasn’t Bluetooth replaced IR? At least with Bluetooth you don’t need a direct line of sight.

    > 5. Universal pinch-to-zoom
    > 9. Standardized UI for all apps
    To me this seems more about developers understanding what they are developing on. There are conventions that a developer should follow, but should doesn’t mean must. I wouldn’t want the OS to force a lot of behaviors for the sake of standardization.

    > 6. Folders
    Let’s start the revolution.

    > 7. SD-Card support for app-storage
    Maybe I’m just not an app addict, but is this really an issue? I would like to see more applications store data on the SD card.

    > 8. Built-in syncing
    When I first installed 2.2 and signed into my Google account all my installed apps and contacts were downloaded from the cloud. What can be more difficult then plugging in a USB cable and dragging and dropping? As for adding music I don’t have any problems with programs like Banshee syncing music. To me this is one of the things that Google really did a good job on.

    > 10. Better market
    QR Codes are your friends http://www.cyrket.com/
    While Wi-Fi Tether is obsolete with 2.2, the site is a good example of QR Code use. You don’t have to depend on the market to install applications onto your phone.

    http://code.google.com/p/android-wifi-tether/

  34. X says:

    Wow I’ve been reading hackaday for years and have never seen such a BS post by them. this post needs to be removed more then 75% of it is all lies. seems more like Apple paid someone here to make this post. And the fact that they think more people leave android for Apple is hilarious. oh and on a final note… to bash the multitasking of android when Apple took years to add multitasking support only goes to show someone at hack a day fell under the apple greed bus and was poked cash to come up with this article.

  35. Atomriot says:

    With this article, im going to have to give hackaday cred -=10

    This thing screams fanboy. Hackaday I thought you were cool

  36. YouAreTroll says:

    Wow this article contain many false statements about Android. You really should check your facts before posting wrong, Apple fanboyisms.

    No need for a native task killer
    Folders have been on Android forever
    You can download apps from the web
    The multitasking works fine
    I dont want every app to look the same. Boring

    Apples iTunes only proprietary sync crap is controlling and ridiculous. No room on Android for that. I sync anything I need between my Android device and my computer wirelessly. Im not tied to itunes or my computer in any way. I use dropbox mostly, but have used bluetooth, ftp, as well as some of several other ways available. Also, if you really wanna be tied to your pc with cords, Android is compatible with the true and tried “drag and drop” method for moving files around.

    Oh yea, swype is available Android devices, as ad SEVERAL, differen keyboards, both swype style or traditional. That is the beauty of Android, you can use it however you want. Also, 3.0 for apps to sd? Its already available.

    Sorry to all the readers that this post looks sloppy and rushed, but it is. I normally take my time and present a thought out, presentable contribution, but the author doesnt deserve it. Either he is a blatant troll, or just plain a bad writer. He obviously doesnt know much about Android, and surely didnt check his facts. I pray that noone believes this garbage, most of it is just plain wrong

    Its fine if you dont like Android or prefer Ios, but its just bad manners to slander Android with completely false statements. I, for one, love Android and would highly reccommend it to anyone who likes to have control over their device, and like practically unlimited oprions.

  37. Mike says:

    Wow… the author of this article is not only an iphone fanboy, but an outright retard. Get facts next time instead of making dumb assumptions: Android has always had folders, it has Swype, and it has apps2sd as well as stable multitasking. This makes hackaday look like it’s ran by a bunch of amateurs.

  38. Bubba says:

    What in the hill billy farms is this shiz… Seriously do you guys proof this stuff?

  39. WJD Designs says:

    http://wp.me/pRHkY-xX The Rebuttal

  40. Drizzle says:

    I refuse to believe that this article is real. If so, its pretty embarrassing for the site to post.

  41. doooshty says:

    This is the first time I have read an article here, and honestly after reading it, I would not return.

    You seem to be smitten with iOS, but looking over your list, you obviously neglected to recall one of their slogans. “There’s an app for that” You want a better keyboard? It’s not hard. You don’t even have to be creative, just type in “better keyboard”. Is it the best? No, but the point is that you aren’t locked into the stock android KB. Maybe you should install swype on you’re iOS…oh, yeah.

    As has been said, a lot of these can be resolved on the hardware end. I think if you saw more screens that were true multi-touch, as in the Galaxy S you would see more apps that took advantage of it. See –> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVlsRCMltDg

    Android is going to be cloud computing soon anyway so it’s all just a stop gap anyway.

    As far as a better market goes, as you said, so designers are good, some are not. Good apps float and bad sink. I like the improved search in the froyo market. Type goggle voice and you get “did you mean : google voice?” Type in luncherPro and you get “Did you mean : LauncherPro?”

    While you’re searching the market, try FolderOrganizer. You mich like it.

    IR? Bluetooth. I can already use my android phone to control my Fios Set Top Box and schedule my DVR over wifi…get with the times

  42. Jesus Christ says:

    Who wrote this gibberish? Was it inferred from tarot cards?

    Seriously, I won’t recommend that killing yourself is the correct option, however I would advise that you go into seclusion until such a time that you learn to use your brain.

    This article is tantamount to someone writing an wishlist article for iOS5 to the effect of:

    1: Native application development.
    2: Music Player.
    3: Ability to make phone calls.
    4: Touch screen.
    etc..

    I hope you enjoy everyday of your life, they say ignorance is bliss and I’m sure you can confirm; don’t feel obliged to do so though, I’ll take solace in your future silence.

  43. flak0 says:

    dude the guy who wrote this is either hanging from Steve J’s scrotum or he is a pissed off fanboy.hey author of the article u must be under a rock. android has had folders and live folders since 1.5. it took 4 generations to get that on the iOS and omg u have wallpaper support. go get a bumper for you wack phone since u might lose signal. android signal is open source.

  44. Selfsilent says:

    Not wanting to buy an iPhone and not being able to afford 1 are 2 totally different things. Most of the iPhone and Apple haters have never even tried them out, mainly because they can’t even afford the bus ride into town to have a go of one. They feel like the should hate it because it’s going against the popular choice. If you don’t have any friends that want an iPhone then you either don’t have friends or they are all sad skateboarding 15 year olds like yourself.

    Vonskippy: I’m amazed that you can access our Internet from a different planet because you are clearly not on this one. Percentage increase means nothing. If they sell 25 phones in a week and the next week they sell 50 phones, that’s a 100% increase in sales but they still didn’t sell that many TOTAL UNITS. Show me a product that is competing with an Apple product that that outsells it, you can’t.

    I can assure you, there are lots of people who have never owned an iPhone who are lusting after this one, hundreds and thousands more people that lust after this weeks Android device.

  45. DisBJ4ke says:

    hey google can you make sure to add folders in 3.0 lol. What waterhead wrote this crap. is this the kind of shit that hackaday “reports” on???

  46. copolii says:

    Have you ever used an Android device? You seem very misinformed.

  47. m1ndtr1p says:

    What utter BS…

    I mean seriously, have you even used an android phone other than picked one up for 5 seconds at a big box store?

    The web is already full of this kind of crap, now it found its way here… Android will NEVER be like iOS, get over it. If you don’t like it, go back to your iPhone and leave the Android community in peace.

  48. Drone says:

    Please HaD, don’t do this again…

  49. EE says:

    The crowd commenting here seems to me to be the same crowd complaining that Linux is the best OS and can’t understand why Windows and Apple aren’t out of business. People want simplicity. The iPhone sells because people are idiots. Not for buying the phone, but for not wanting to learn how to use something. Make it easy and fun and it will sell. Complain that you’re smart enough to do it and it won’t sell.

  50. spbogie says:

    “First, this doesn’t affect the hacking, hardcore community or those who really want to do whatever they want. Almost any Android phone can be rooted, some with one click. It isn’t hard, but most just want a phone that works consistently.” – Jacob Nahin

    Then why on earth is it posted on HACKaday?!?!?

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