Sigh, Android is still kind of goofy...

Discussion in 'Alternatives to iOS and iOS Devices' started by spinedoc77, Oct 10, 2013.

  1. spinedoc77 macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
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    #1
    So I'm back on the Android wagon...again. Every time I get on it I am amazed at how cool and customizable it is, then reality sinks in and I realize that the core features are not quite great, the things that make a phone a phone. Yeah it's a rant, but I'm also hoping some of these things can be solved and are just my lack of experience with Android.

    My journey has been first thru a iphone 3g/s to a Samsung captivate, then back to the iphone for a couple of iterations. Last year I had a brief stint with the Note 2, but besides being too large I also found Android was not quite ready for business prime time so I figured I would wait a bit and went to an iphone 5. Well this year rolls around and Apple releases the ip5s with the same freakin screen size, and the atrocity that is iOS7. At that point I decided it was time to ditch iOS, at least until they released a larger screen and maybe fixed some of the ugly white on off white crap that was iOS7. I picked up a LG G2 off craigslist for SUPER cheap and off I went.

    So what's my rant? It's just that certain things on iOS that worked right out of the box, things you didn't have to think about, things you didn't have to fiddle with, tweak, adjust, or even be aware of. These things don't seem to work well, are not integrated well, need questionable tweaks to approach usability, etc on Android. Here is a short list of things which are annoying currently, please let me know if there are fixes or what I am doing wrong:

    Google Now. This is the biggest culprit, but it has improved a lot since last year. My biggest gripe is that it's basically an internet search, and treats commands as such. So if I ask it to "call Mario" half the time it does an internet search for super mario bros., why half the time it does this, and the other half it actually pulls up my contact I have no idea. If I do this with Siri I never would get anything other than my contact, straight and business forward.

    I also can't seem to search for apps. If I search for calculator, it comes up with an internet calculator. Functional yes, but not what I was looking for. The app drawer is just basically icons sprawled everywhere, I wish we could do folders there to organize it.

    Other issues are bluetooth integration. I can't listen to my google voice voicemails over bluetooth for some reason. It's probably an app issue, but it's the same company that makes the OS and the app. I don't even see an option to use my BT headset. On iOS it automatically routes everything to my bluetooth headset, even GV. I don't have to think about it, and there is a nice big button in case I want to change that to speaker phone or earpiece. And the big one... WHY CAN'T I FREAKIN MAKE GOOGLE NOW TURN ON WHEN I HIT MY BT BUTTON? Maybe this is LG's fault, but I seem to remember the same issue with Samsung. I don't want S-voice, I don't want LG's voice mate, I just freakin want Google Now. Can we at least have a baked in option for this from Google?

    How about voicemail integration? Why doesn't Android have visual voicemail? No not that AT&T crap, but real visual voicemail as a tab right in the dialer application? I currently use google voice and it's voicemail service, but it just seems like an add on. Voicemail notifications are goofy, and sometimes put me in the phone app, which then sends me to GV, sometimes it just goes to the GV app. It's quite jarring.

    Ok that's my wall of text, I have more gripes but they all boil down to the same thing. Android can be a bit unintuitive to use. Yeah it's probably ok if I'm sitting at my desk with free time, but careening down the highway at 80 and trying to get things to work isn't good. I was hoping Google would be working to change and improve these things. I'm also astounded that my LG has lag in it occasionally, but that's another thread I'm sure.

    Yeah ok my flame suit is on, but I would hope some of the more civilized members might open up an interesting discussion. If iOS had a larger phone I'd probably go back. But I cannot for the life of me stand that tiny screen anymore and prefer my LG. I'm going to weather the storm and try to make Android work, if only for a year until hopefully Apple does something larger, or maybe Google will tighten up its ship.
     
  2. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    #2
    I think there's a great misinterpretation and misrepresentation of what Google Now is. And I don't mean by you or users in general, but also by media.
     
  3. Razeus macrumors 601

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    Jul 11, 2008
    #3
    You need to understand the meaning of the word "journey".

    I'm not sure why your think Google Now is a search engine. It displays your information you need, when you need it. Game times, my schedules, weather, drive time, etc. I simply look at the notifications and rarely go into the actual app.

    Do you understand what the app drawer is? It's certainly not "sprawled" (that word implies random or all over the place) as they're in alphabetical order in a grid like format.

    Your Google Voice setup needs configuring it seems. I get a voice mail, I get a notification for it. I hope it up to return the call and it goes to my Samsung dialer. Rather simple, but yes, I like to see it fully featured and the default dialing/voicemail system for all Android OS's.

    Why are you trying to configure your phone doing 80 down the highway. Chill out, and take the time to setup Android at home.

    But you already knew Android will need some slight configuring so why the post?

    Now, let me post my rants about iOS 7, as we can go back and forth like this all day. :rolleyes:
     
  4. strausd macrumors 68030

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    #4
    I agree with just about everything you said except the app drawer. If you want to organize your apps, that is what the home screen is for. The app drawer is like your Applications folder in Finder. You have them all listed in alphabetical order. If you want the arranged in different ways use the dock or desktop.
     
  5. Assault macrumors 6502a

    Assault

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    #5
    I think this would be a poster child post for the 'Is stock Android really all that great' thread. ;)

    By the way, Google Now is not a personal assistant like Siri is 'supposed' to be. GNow has a lot of similar functionality to Siri, but its primary function is search and notification.

    As for BT, I have no issues with my LG Nexus 4 as you described above. My guess is the LG UI is the crux of many of your issues.
     
  6. Apollo 13 macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Stop being so damn but hurt. He's trying to get help.
     
  7. spinedoc77 thread starter macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #7
    Cool, thanks for the advice. I'd like to make Android work. I do understand the concept behind google now, but I also think Android needs something like Apple's Siri and google search is the closest thing to it. Something voice driven that allows you to use the phone functions, reminders, calendar, emails, dialing, etc. Google search is the closest thing to this, and it's not bad, it's just the integration is kind of weak. Alternatives like S-voice and Voice mate are just horrible IMO and I think it needs to be stock from Google and integrated seamlessly.

    As for the app drawer, yeah I understand it, it's pretty basic. It's just a desktop with all your programs in it. Not much different than the main desktop, it's like having 2 desktops. There is no app drawer in iOS, just one desktop. This is good and bad of course. But still, I'd like to put my most used programs on the destkop, and what is left in the app drawer, and organize the app drawer into folders. Otherwise I'm constantly scrolling to find the app I need to run. Maybe it's possible, I don't know enough.

    As for 80mph, hehe. I don't configure the phone while driving, but I do answer calls and check voicemails.

    I also dislike iOS7, "dislike" may be a weak term, I kind of hate it and it's a major reason I ditched my iphone this cycle. But for all of its ugliness, it still made short work of "phone" tasks, things you would expect need to be rock solid.

    ----------

    Yeah. I think I am using Google Now instead of Google Search, which is kind of what I meant. I'm not sure where the differentiation is.

    Don't get me wrong, Google Now is meh IMO, but iOS does not have anything like this. Google Now just seems like it doesn't get information right IMO. For example, it tells me x amount of minutes to work and light traffic on the first highway I take, but it gives me no information about the rest of my trip past that first highway. Ideally I'd have enough information to decide if I need to reroute around traffic for example. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate Google Now and I understand it's still evolving.

    ----------

    Yeah, that's certainly possible. Android needs a personal assistant, something that is not geared towards making money off your eyes/click/view, but something that is geared towards helping you control your phone seamlessly and through voice.
     
  8. kenknotts macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Im pretty sure Apple has the patent on that type of assistant related to a phone.
     
  9. rockitdog macrumors 68020

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    Mar 25, 2013
    #9
    For me, Android is like a sexy new girlfriend. She's new and exciting and fun to be with at first not to mention she looks great. But then you talk to her and you realize that she's not you're ex-girlfriend, in fact the more you talk to her and around her you feel yourself longing for the days your were with your ex-girlfriend who you thought was boring and stale. You remember how comfortable you are with her and how well you two mesh together. Things just work between the two of you and you don't really know why or care how they do. They just do. Once the newness of the new girl wears off you find yourself holding you're old iPhone promising to never leave her again and for a week or two you're back snuggling up on the couch and holding hands together. Everything is great and dandy until your're buddy brings his new girl over and you sneak a peak at her and think wow, that widget it kind of cool... and then the cycle begins again...
     
  10. gotluck macrumors 603

    gotluck

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    #10
    FWIW everything you say seems valid.

    Personally I am not effected by any of these issues, however my use is very different than your own. Hardly ever use google now (its turned off) except to check wind speed before playing hooky to surf, Moto X's implementation seems to be best.

    I don't want to beat the stock android drum, but there tends to be less irregularities with stock.

    Voicemail, I had switched to Youmail while still on iOS, but I agree visual should be native.

    The software is what scared me away from the G2.

    You have to be willing to get you hands a little dirty with android (with your use case at least), but with it comes OPTIONS. Lack of freedom drove me from iOS.
     
  11. mclld, Oct 10, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013

    mclld macrumors 68000

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    #11
    "The app drawer is just basically icons sprawled everywhere, I wish we could do folders there to organize it.
    "


    Install a launcher asap like Nova or Apex, totally customizable folders and home screens

    [​IMG]
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  12. gotluck macrumors 603

    gotluck

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    #12
    This screams Moto X, it seems to not require touches when other devices normally require a touch for actions.
     
  13. spinedoc77 thread starter macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #13
    Oh I never saw that, I have Nova launcher too. Thanks!! I'll give it a shot.
     
  14. mclld macrumors 68000

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    Nov 6, 2012
    #14
    I have Nova Prime which is the paid so some of these features may not be in the free version if that is what you use
     
  15. spinedoc77 thread starter macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2009
    #15
    Ahh, I didn't realize that, is that accurate? If that's the case then we cannot ever expect a personal assistant like Siri on Android? I don't know how everyone else uses their phone, but I found Siri incredibly powerful for mundane everyday tasks that I perform constantly during the day.

    I'm curious how Microsoft is getting around that with their personal assistant Cortana, although it's not concrete yet so who knows what that will be like.

    ----------

    No I have the paid version, I just didn't delve into it too deeply.

    ----------

    I've been tinkering and playing with it. It's not that I mind having to tweak and stuff, it's just that I'm finding even with that desire Android doesn't function very well as a straight up business phone and no amount of tweaking or apps will fix that. There has to be an effort on Google's part to match things like Siri and other things. Just something as incredibly stupid as dialing someone can turn into a process on Android.
     
  16. Assault, Oct 10, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013

    Assault macrumors 6502a

    Assault

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    #16
    You are def gonna have to get into the settings on Nova to see what it is capable of. You might also want to look at apps that use swipe gestures to make accessing apps very simple, but still give you a clean iOS look on the homescreen. Take a look at Swapps, Homeflip and Wave to get some ideas.


    You may want to take a look at the various voice commands that Google uses, if you want to do things like calendar events, send email, open apps, etc. (Assuming you have not already done this.) Link: https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/2842392?hl=en
    However, you will still have to click a button after you input the info by voice, which is a PIA, but I believe it is due to an Apple patent with linking data together.

    Additionally, Google Now is moving to become a "no button" app, meaning it will always be listening (if you click the option). The code is already built in to various ROM's, and I think it is there in 4.3.1 as well, which means all AOSP members will have access to it in 4.4. This is why the new phrase to activate Google Now is "Okay Google", just like with Glass and MotoX.

    Is iOS better for you and what you need to do? Possibly. But human nature is to dislike change. Dislike what is different. It takes time to overcome what is different, before it becomes the "norm". :D
     
  17. zbarvian macrumors 68010

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    Jul 23, 2011
    #17
    Google Search is very strange. On the one hand, it can do voice controls like launch apps, call contacts, set reminders, yet that functionality seems shoehorned in, since it's always displayed atop a search results list. I wish it was smarter and prioritized actions over searches, but it can't really do that either.
     
  18. kenknotts macrumors 6502

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    #18


    If Google had to remove their system wide search in Android because of Apple patents, I wouldnt be surprised if something like Siri or more specifically, how it can function is patented too. As for MS and Cortana, maybe they are willing to pay Apple for the use of some of their patents.
     
  19. spinedoc77 thread starter macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    Jun 11, 2009
    #19
    That about sums it up, yes.

    ----------

    Great points. I'm definitely leaning towards getting a Nexus 5 if it has that Google Now listen capability. I miss my iphone hardware button as well mainly for activating Siri, and also activating the app list.

    I use swipes a LOT. I have GMD gesture control and it's phenomenal.

    I'll take a peek at the Google voice commands. I wish I could activate them with my bluetooth headset though, that would alleviate my complaints a bit.
     
  20. onthecouchagain macrumors 604

    onthecouchagain

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    #20
    There's no doubt Google Now can still grow. It's grown quite a lot in just one year:

    10 Minute User-Made Demo Video Shows How Google Voice Search Has Improved In The Last Year:
    http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/0...how-google-now-has-improved-in-the-last-year/


    I'll add:

    If Google Now, voicemail, and bluetooth are the only things not "well integrated" in Androidn, I think those are fairly acceptable things lacking with Android when compared to all that is lacking with iOS.

    Again, all for improvements, though. Just saying.
     
  21. Assault macrumors 6502a

    Assault

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    #21
    I'm curious. Let's say you are in your car or using a BT headset, if you click on BT in settings it won't allow you to use Google Now via voice command? Can you makes calls or open an app? What can you do? I can see if I have the same issues. I use BT every single day to and from work with Maps, BeyondPod podcasts and handsfree BT phone calling running. All simultaneously.
     
  22. spinedoc77 thread starter macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #22
    I don't see any options to set Google Voice as the trigger for the bluetooth headset button. Out of the box the LG G2 uses LG's own voice solution "Voice Mate". I shut that off though, it's really bad but maybe I'm just spoiled by Siri.

    The more I think about it though the more it seems that Google would really make a lot of people happy by beefing up google now/google search with more personal assistant type abilities, and make it stock/default, or at least have an option to make it default.
     
  23. Six8 macrumors 65816

    Six8

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    #23
    Put a direct dial widget on yer freakin screen. Can't get any easier than that lol
     
  24. gotluck, Oct 10, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2013

    gotluck macrumors 603

    gotluck

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    #24
    Totally agree regarding google now/search.

    I have a bone to pick about business phone use though - I'd argue that full fledged email attachment support (that ios lacks) is more important than siri :)
    Android is more like full PC which would lend to more business abilities IMO of course depending on what one does for a living

    On iOS I need to run back to my PC more often than on Android
     
  25. spinedoc77 thread starter macrumors G3

    spinedoc77

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    #25
    You know, a direct dial widget is one of those awesome awesome things about Android that I love. I do have direct dial widgets on my desktop and I use them frequently.

    The issues I have with Bluetooth is when driving. I have my phone in a holder on the dash within arms reach, but it's still MUCH safer IMO to press the Bluetooth button on my ear and say "call xx..." than to try to find and press an icon on screen. Same thing with anything else, such as creating a reminder, checking appointments, etc etc.

    ----------

    Yeah I agree, but I email most often from my windows tablet. Having outlook on the go is pretty nice. I've also never been very good at writing a lot of text on a small phone screen/keyboard.

    One thing though is that pretty much anything is harder on an iphone because the screen is so small. Just browsing the internet is an exercise in frustration.
     

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