Mainstream media still doesn’t understand Android


Those of us who have been using Android for years have a good understanding of the platform, its limitations and how it compares to the competition. While I’ve been a proud Android user since the original T-Mobile G1, I’ll be the first to admit that Android has its fair share of issues. For all its versatility, power and compatibility, the platform can’t compete with the simplicity of iOS. For all its restrictions, Apple’s devices and ecosystem do create a more-cohesive environment that gives its users a sense of security and peace of mind. Android simply doesn’t have that.

But the issue I’m struggling with is how Android is still so misunderstood. A consumer who has never used Android before definitely gets a pass, but the media definitely doesn’t. An article published on Business Insider a few weeks back shows that even mainstream media still doesn’t seem to understand Android.

Below are a few examples pulled from the article.

Android as an open-source platform

Android’s software is built on an open-source platform, which gives developers the ability to create apps that can do more. The potential for customization is basically limitless.

It’s true that Android does have a lot more customization options when compared to iOS, but that’s not necessarily due to the open-source nature of the platform. Because Android is open-source, the code can be taken, modified and used in any way imaginable, but that doesn’t mean that an app developer is given magical powers to transform the Pixel or any other device at will through an app installed through the Play Store.

Android devices as fundamentally insecure

While I never got a virus scare with iOS, using Android reminds me of surfing the web in the early 2000s. I’ve frequently had to exit out of apps like a maniac as pop-ups flooded my screen.

Security is definitely an important topic to cover, but there’s a big difference between security and pop-up ads. It’s not Android’s fault that a user downloads an app from a developer that is more concerned about making a few extra bucks with ads than offering a great user experience. Read the reviews before you download and you’ll find amazing apps.

This hit home for me earlier this year when an Ars Technica report revealed that Facebook had been collecting texting data and call history from users through its Messenger app. Though users technically opt in, the specifics of what Facebook was allowed to collect was hidden in the fine print. This breach of privacy affected only Android users.

The Facebook messaging tracking fiasco was a huge story this year, but it’s surprising that the media is still blaming this on Android. Yes, Android did allow Facebook to collect specific data on its users, but that was not a flaw in the system. Facebook was the one at fault for simply breaching consumer trust.

Android’s main features

What I missed most was the ability to copy and paste from a text message. Google recently resolved this issue, but at the time it was a huge pain, especially when people sent addresses. You really get used to the ability to simply click an address and have it come up in your maps app.

I always laugh when iOS users think their devices have the corner on certain features which were actually implemented on Android years before Apple got around to them. Copy & Paste is far better on Android than it is on iOS and clicking on a link to open it in Maps has been around for about a decade.

…you could find many of these functionalities on the Google Play store. But the effort of finding something and vetting its quality never seems worth it.

Finding great apps on Android is just as easy as it is on iOS. The default apps on Android may not have all the same features as those on iOS, but the versatility that Android offers mean that developers can do a lot more on the platform than they can on iOS.

Final thoughts

While Android devices account for the vast majority of smartphone sales around the globe, iOS is still the platform of choice for many members of the press. I don’t have an issue with that since choosing an operating system is subjective to the user’s needs. What irks me is that there is so much uneducated reporting on Android, painting it as an operating system for coders and gamers.

If you’re still not sure why your friends and family members are reluctant to switch from iOS to Android, I suggest reading the Business Insider article. It’s definitely eye-opening, revealing how little the media and general consumers really know about Android.

Source: Business Insider


Nick Gray
I'm a life-long tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC. After writing about tech for more than a decade, I jumped at the opportunity to take on the role of Editor in Chief at Phandroid. Please contact me at [email protected].

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