13 Android Irritations By MobileCrunch


Late last week, I saw an article called “13 Things That Bug Us About Android – Cupcake or No Cupcake” hit my RSS Reader (Google Reader, of course). I overcame my reluctance to click, assuming I would be overwhelmed with a tone of iPhone fanboism. But like it or not, Devin Coldewey produces a pretty fair list of shortcomings with a brief explanation of his frustrations. I don’t agree with all of them but here is the list, sans explanation:


  1. Notifications are buggy and limited
  2. Lack of notification customization
  3. Can’t “exit” apps
  4. Can’t organize apps from “app drawer”
  5. Dismiss voicemail notifications doesn’t work properly
  6. Search Box uto-complete is too sensitive
  7. Contact list needs UI improvements
  8. Mail apps are buggy
  9. Want more use of long touch
  10. Ring profiles needed
  11. Key illumination
  12. Android Market app changelogs
  13. Menu button should wake the phone up!

At the end he admits:

That’s all we could come up with

And considering much of that is nit-picking rather than severe functionality flaws – for example 3 of the 13 are complaints about the “notifications” – we have to say that Google is doing a pretty darn good job with Android. But there ARE flaws and even if we think Android is awesome, complacency won’t get us much of anywhere. So share your top frustrations with Android (the OS not hardware, and keeping cupcake in mind) and lets see if we can’t pinpoint the top needs in a democratic fashion.

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. i really like how on WebOS (the Palm Pre’s software) when you start typing anything on the keyboard, it automatically brings up contacts, apps, and anything else it finds relevant to what your typing. And if it can’t find anything, it gives you the option of looking it up on google or wikipedia or maps. I really think any android phone with a physical keyboard should have that feature.

    And why not a mobile chrome?

    Also, in this day in age, we shouldn’t need so many dedicated buttons on the hardware. It seems to me like Google is probably making these mandatory to the hardware companies seeing as how every new android phone i’m seeing pictures of has a dedicated menu, home, answer phone, end call, and back button. Maybe Google’s making those mandatory or maybe they’re not – but whatever the case I’m not liking it.

  2. There seems to be no PDF reader and no simple way of storing things locally (i.e. pdfs) . The iphone plays this game too.

  3. The ability to save Apps to the SD card. I can’t believe I am the first person to bring this up. This is the most frustrating thing about my G1!!

  4. PDF files can be read and/or created on the android easily using google docs.
    I think 90% of the things people are bitching about are really stupid girly nit-picky crybaby things.
    The only thing I see thats missing is a flash player. for everything else, theres a work around.
    And the browser IS really a mini/mobile chrome.

  5. @Jason
    While I truly share in your frustration that we are hindered in the number of apps we are allowed; we have to consider that we are on the verge of getting a phone with a respectable hd(I7500). With that, the g1 and the magic are going to slowly be pushed to the side of irrelevance. Put yourself in the android dev’s teams shoes. Is it worth it for them to work on an official apps2sd solution when it will become irrelevant so soon? Personally, I would rather them spend their time on 2.0.

  6. The only claim that I might support is that you can’t “exit” apps. However, I haven’t foud this to be a real performance problem. Android does a good job handling multiple applications.

  7. 1. Notifications are buggy and limited – I disagree, the notification system is probably the best EVER, my Palm phone had nothing like it at all.
    2. Lack of notification customization – I’m not really sure what he means by this.
    3. Can’t “exit” apps – With Advanced Task Manager you can, but I prefer to let Android do what it was designed to do.
    4. Can’t organize apps from “app drawer” – With a home alternative it’s much better. I use ahome
    5. Dismiss voicemail notifications doesn’t work properly – I hardly ever get anyone calling me, mostly texts, so I don’t know about this
    6. Search Box uto-complete is too sensitive – No idea what that’s supposed to mean
    7. Contact list needs UI improvements – I can agree on this, but it’s not that big of a deal. It’s still way better then the Palm I had before this.
    8. Mail apps are buggy – Gmail app works great
    9. Want more use of long touch _ This is a complaint to the application developers really.
    10. Ring profiles needed – Eh. If you say so.
    11. Key illumination – My keys light up?
    12. Android Market app changelogs – I think the market needs changelogs, and you should be able to have different versions under one app (trial, cupcake edition, normal, etc etc)
    13. Menu button should wake the phone up! – It does?

  8. @ #3
    This should be on top of all, I have to jugle and judge which app is worthy to be on my phone. A phone with less then a Gig of internal memory should have this ability from the get go.

  9. I’m not seeing anything wrong with the notifications. They pretty much blow anything else out of the water.

    I don’t really care about exiting apps. They need to improve the memory management a bit. However I’m looking for someone to make a home mod or app switcher that lets you manage apps similar to WebOS. Maybe I’ll put that on my list of things to play around with.

    I do wish someone would put together a single mail app that can get all of your accounts in one place…throw in text and IM too….I guess a complete total message center. Some might argue that this is almost duplicating the functionality of the notifications.

    I also wish there was a way to change the length of time the keyboard stays lit. I’d pretty much like it lit as long as the keyboard is open. Its annoying to stop have to light them back up while in low light.

    But overall I think this is an amazing start for Android. I look forward to watching it evolve. I think I will be stuck on Android phones for some time.

  10. 1. The ability to categorize applications in the home screen’s app menu. I always have to look for a few seconds for a specific app. (And no, I don’t like to have my home screen spammed with all my apps.) I remember I saw some screenshot of Android’s app menu on some website where this was fixed by really nice category buttons on the left of the menu, though I can’t find it anymore. If I recall correctly, that was a modification made by some manufacturer.
    Also, the more applications I have installed the more the app menu laggs which leads me to the next point.

    2. Faster, smoother scrolling, smoother surfing on web pages.
    That really bugs me at the moment.

    3. Apps to SD. And in contrast to Tyler, I think this is a must as with SD cards the phone’s storage can also be extended later (i.e. when technology’s improved and we have cards with even more space). Also, there’re still many phones out there who have a similar small storage like the G1 has and that’s why I don’t think every manufacturer who uses Android will throw in an 8 GB flash chip.

    4. Downloading files there isn’t any application for to open them with.

    5. Reading PDF files. I don’t care if there’s Google docs, I want built-in support for that.

  11. I agree with the lack of flash. tack on yet another reason I hate adobe.

    the other thing I don’t like is the home screen won’t auto-rotate.

    I also don’t like that Apple patent-bullied Google into disabling multitouch, but that’s not really a “software” problem.

  12. 1 – Never experienced.
    2 – Disagree, not sure what else he wants – perhaps confetti?
    3 – AGREE – Some let you backbutton out of them, some (like the browser) do not.
    4 – Don’t care
    5 – Don’t know what this means
    6 – Never experienced
    7 – Don’t know what this means, works fine for me.
    8 – Don’t know what this means
    9 – Maybe?
    10 – Locale and others have done this — and gone beyond expectations.
    11 – AGREE – need to be able to set timeout.
    12 – Don’t know what this means
    13 – It doesn’t? Perhaps his other issues are indicative of a faulty device. Mine wakes up when I press menu – it’s how you unlock the phone.

    Sherbo – PDF is Adobe’s baby, take it up with them — That’s not an OS issue.
    uesnyc – Flash is also an Adobe issue, not an OS issue. Guess what, windows doesn’t have a flash player made my Microsoft, nor does Microsoft make a PDF viewer.
    Jason – you can save apps to the SD Card, you just can’t install them to it. I have about 70 apps and maybe use 10 of them on a daily/regular basis. If that often.

    Overall, I only see two things I agree with, and the most I haven’t seen or don’t care about, not too bad.

  13. Apps to card – I haven’t used every phone, but I do know that blackberrys don’t support this either, and the ipone has no external memory. I have 82 apps downloaded and am only using about two thirds of the memory so I’m a little lost on this.

    Flash- come on! They are working on it, this is not a phone flaw, its an adobe problem, when they release it it will be there. No one has mobile flash.

  14. i pretty much agree with everything there. I don’t find the notifications buggy at all though but i do want more customization. everything else i agree with.

    but for #14. APPS FROM SD CARD. this is a f’ing must. or give us phones with 500MB+ storage.

  15. I think the fact that it does not support bluetooth file transfer blows, and I would like the ability to touch a contact and the phone ask me if I would like to send the contact info to another phone via MMS, Email, or BT. Also, the call log creating a log for every single entry sucks. My wife always fills up the screen. Why cant it just store contact activity logs and allow us to see the log for a contact if we touch their name for 3 seconds or something. Why are we forced to see every incoming and outgoing call from the same contact row after row.

    Simple shit.. c’mon guys…

  16. Really for me the biggest flaw is that we can’t save apps to the SD card.
    And I have to agree with the voicemail thing.
    But that’s all I can really think of.
    Everything else i think it’s just nit picking.

  17. Rather than a simplified UI, it mimics a full desktop leaving a seasoned desktop user wanting full desktop functionality. Why hide the apps in a drawer and create shortcuts to the hidden apps, honestly? The application drawer is equivalent to lining all your tools in an attic alphabetically but by brand name; unattractive, inefficient, and awkward.

    The hardware/software bridge is not fully defined and is therefore not hardware independent. How can we dual-boot current Android on the iPhone without a menu button, or hang up a call without a “End” key, or take a picture? I want Android on my device, sorry it doesn’t have a menu button, send/end, or photo key. Jerks.

    Why does everyone insist 1st party apps cannot be removed? If I write my own text messaging app, must I keep the original as well? When I get a new pair of shoes, Nike doesn’t force me to carry around the first pair I bought.

    I hate not being in control of my phone. The whole point of GNU and Linux is to get software to do what you want. Android should be our ultimate OS on our ultimate hardware, brought to you by Google. Not another iPhone clone.

  18. The biggest issue for me is no native exchange sync for calendar etc. I _really_ do not like Touchdown because it doesn’t integrate with the rest of the phone.
    Other than that, I really like Android – I just need native exchange sync for work (or else I have to use my iPhone _and_ Android).

    Any chance of doing something similar to what HTC did with the native client? I’ve used it before – its really pretty good.

  19. to add to the list of irritations…desperatly need an delete all button for emails!!!!!!

  20. 11. Key illumination
    A white light on white keys with a white background is the most ridiculous thing ever invented. Unbelievable that there’s no way to turn it off. There was a way before 1.5, but not any more.

  21. @#17: what do you mean, most mobilephones on the market today has Flash support. But yes, it’s a Adobe problem.

  22. 1. Sometimes but rarely
    2. erm, what?
    3. Wasn’t that working before? I could exit apps in 1.0 definitely by pressing back button for few seconds… In 1.5 I can’t! This definitely need fixing.
    4. These are organized alphabetically. If you want more, then use folders on the desktop.
    5. Agreed.
    6. Really? It is supposed to be intuitive…
    7. I like it plain and simple – EASIER to use.
    8. Agreed, it’s a pain in a bum to use pop3 mail client, it can’t remember that I read the message, therefore I have one thousand new messages. Also Mark All As Read button would be nice.
    9. Useful but app devs must tell users that long touch does something :) I can’t use a thing I am unaware of!
    10. Ring volume button makes me crazy! I work in loud environment and NEED it to be set to max volume, but whenever I hold it, I reduce it! This volume rocker must be only for media volume or voice volume during calls. Runger MUST be set up in the menu.
    11. My black G1 is fine, the white one is shit with ilumination thou
    12. Changelog yes. App branches – yes! (also between all Free and Paid enabled market)
    13. It does it most of the time ;)

  23. Here is my list of gripes;

    1. No voice dial or voice search (as shown on android site)
    2. Can only have one gmail account.
    3. Even on the one gmail account you can’t select a different sender. So if you receive emails to different addresses, you can can’t reply as correct sender to some.
    4. Standard email client (not gmail) shows attachments but you can’t open ANY (doc/xls) as with the gmail one.
    5. Calendar; can’t edit all calendars as shown in you web account area. Some which are editable on the web are not on device, so you can add to them.

    Basically, if you have it simple; 1 email, 1 calendar and so…. then it’s probably fine. However, if you have a few addresses & calendars and really use the google services it is meant to work with to the full, then it has problems.

  24. UMA calling.

    ability to interface with a bluetooth keyboard.

  25. here’s my beef (as if you care):
    1. there needs to be a way to lock the screen while you are in a call.
    2. keyboard needs a ctrl and tab button. I know that there are key combos that produce those scancodes but not all apps recognize them and I can never remember what the key combos are.
    3. k9mail does a good job of picking up where the default email client sucks but email clients need gpg/pgp support.
    4. needs a better unlock mechanism like the iphone has. Lock2.0 is a nice 3rd party app for it but it is not integrated with the os and is not configurable enuff.

    other than that, i just got the standard gripes.
    3g, multitouch, battery life, A2dp

  26. two additional issues:
    -Proxy Support for the Browser
    -AD-HOC-WLAN support and tethering out-of-the-box

  27. Easily the most frustrating thing about Android is the fact that the web browser automatically reloads open pages when you flip back to the browser. It’s an infuriating waste of time. I might have a wikipedia entry, news story, or any other static content open – I flip away, wait some time or launch another app or two, and when I come back, the browser starts reloading immediately and if I hit “stop,” it just empties the page contents and sits there with a blank screen.

    If nothing else, just let it be a configurable option!

  28. Okay, so it’s not the “most frustrating thing,” but it’s an annoyance and it *just* happened to me, thus the overreaction ;-)

    Also, I’ve noticed that when I receive phone calls, sometimes it takes ~2-3 seconds for the screen to show up… often after one or two rings. Again, this is a bit of an annoyance, as I’d prefer if I didn’t have to stare at a ringing black screen for a few seconds before knowing who is calling. Has anybody else noticed this?

  29. My gripe is lack of support for wpa2-enterprise wifi (is this in cupcake?), especially since it seems to just be a lack of interface support (people have gotten this to work on rooted phones by editing a text file).

    @Bradicus I agree about the browser reloading every time you switch back to it is an annoyance.
    I agree about the incoming call screen being too slow. In fact, it’s happened to me twice that the screen took 10 seconds or more to show up, and during that time I could do NOTHING to stop it from ringing. I couldn’t even pick up or shut it off.

  30. @Mike I have voice dial and voice search on my phone… came by default. I got my G1 from T-Mobile in the US.

  31. uhh…. APPS 2 SD they have already…. you gotta root and do all this other stuff, but its been done… go to XDA website and educate yourself…

    now if your saying ” i shouldn’t have to do that”
    your right, you shouldn’t.. but this isn’t a perfect world and if you want it you’ll do it….

  32. When I Clear Notifications I don’t want it to reappear when I launch messaging.
    And I want control over keyboard illumination timeout. That’s it.

  33. I’m an iPhone user but I’m not loyal to anything. I checked out the android 2.0 for an hour or so. It’s pretty darn good. Here’s what I like: multitasking, turn by turn directions, slightly bigger screen, and camera has flash. Here’s what needs fixing: turning the phone side ways does not always rotate the screen (must pull out the keyboard to unconfuse it), synchronizing with outlook is way better on the iPhone (I’d buy the activesync app), placing cursor is easier on the iPhone, phone app places contacts/favs stuff at top which slightly harder to get to with your thumb, iPhone has support for yahoo mail and has better support for multiple email accounts, need a good tv guide app for US customers like iTV, it’s a little easier to zoom in web pages on an iPhone with multi touch.

    I may buy an android in the future but not right now. If I was forced to use an android right now I probably would be reasonably happy which says a lot about how good the phone is.
    FYI: I’m not close to a novice user and would not give an android to my mom.

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