Monday, January 28, 2013

Why I dont dig Smartphones

Computing has come a long way since it started. History has proven that every new thing replaces the older and takes things higher, floppies gave way to hard disks, hard disks to SSD. Monochrome got replaced by color, crt by lcd, CLI moved to GUI and GUI aims to go touch way.

Its time for android and ios to play battle. I am no way an expert on both but having witnessed computing over years, I still feel these smartphones are still phones. They can replace the phone, but not the PCs yet.

Since I surrendered my workhorse thinkpad when I left job recently, I am without a laptop. All I have is this android slate with. I am trying to get things done, which I would normally do on a laptop. Results: few months on, and I am still struggling! Why? Lets see...

Its easy to type with swype, prediction but I still miss the pure full 3D keyboard

Its based on open model, but free is no more free as in free beer. Suddenly every developer wants to blast you with free adware version or buy full version. Makes me think how these guys earned their living before. People used to write freeware and there were so many good ones. Looks like that word and culture is history now.

One thing annoys me is the way wheel is being reinvented. There was a time when critics and fanatics fought over how a particular OS has bad GUI behaviour and how it requires x amount of more clicks to get a job done. Are they sleeping in their graves?

I am writing this post on a tablet, as I have moved beyond one page, simple stuff like formatting one word into bold or italics needs back and forth scrolling in blogger!
I haven't managed easy way in google mail app to select all mails in a click.
There is no standard way to layouts and most developers are creating their own. It can be easy for literates but try teaching a computer illiterate and you will know the difference.

Convergance is good for hardware but it leads to half baked software. Stuff that looks good on 4inch looks sparse on tablets. Folks its okay if you code specific versions for tablet or handheld. But try to write a one size fits all version and you mess both.
One example of half baked software apart from ones shared above is google maps. Nokia offerred a perfect solution for maps, full with offline maps, turn by turn navigation and route editing. Google maps cannot do offline maps for entire state or multiple countries. I have had tough time while trying to customise route. Then I created custom map on pc and sent link to googl maps on iphone. The app re calculated path and it was not same as its desktop counterpart. Nokia never had such issues and that phone was equally good at rest of the things.
On integration, bill gates was sued for integrating browser into OS. Now its defacto to have everything mixed into OS. There is no OS infact. The browser is os, os is camera and camera has file uploader. Anyone?

One button
Also obsession for one button is beyond me. Many pre android/ios smartphones had multiple buttons for camera, volume, audio controls and. On a newer phone its so frustrating to unlock and navigate just to change song. And with bigger tablets, holding one to click photo, especially self clicks is sure lame. Atleast give full keyboard on screen with shortcut keys or modern equivalent s of ,

Crappy multitasking
No other word, its not true multitasking yet. Its TSR way of multitasking. We are just stretching a phone screen concept to match what we do on a desktop. They blame it on lack of processing power but if today's calculatora can pack prehistoric supercomputers then smartphones can atleast pack a humble pentium, can't they?

First the computer was personal, then it became multiuser and now its back as single user. Couldnt anyone see this as a necessary feature? May not be on a phone, but on a a shared tablet in a family? Its going to be here but why was it lacking in the first place??

I can no more use one media to setup on different phones. its not what you do everyday but Imagine if you needed different OS media for your dell pentium and you have to wait for Dell to release it for your particular version. Or you are stuck with x version of ubuntu on your desktop since no one has ever written update for your hardware combo? Why a particular app wont run on samsung tab but can run on others flawlessly?
Interoperability was dealbreaker back in earlier days, many superior products died cause they were proprietary. Now no one bothers! Its so easy to switch devices than expect value for money and better programming.

Why can't manufacturer keep software and hardware seperate and focus on one of them. Ultimately there are no PCs and compatibles akin to old days, now there are note 1s, note 2s and blah blah. (I believe apple is bit different here)

Everyone complained how windows updates were annoying. Now updates keep coming every other day and that seems like a norm. We are no more users, we are beta testers for a product that never enters release.

Every app assumes internet connectivity and thats kind of dangerous for your privacy. Someone said rightly, if you want to secure your data, dont connect your PC to the net. Now every bit is on net and you cannot know how many people see it.
You cannot use some basic apps if you do not connect to net and that freaks me out. One crappy software claimed video conversion. it uploaded every video to its server, convert it there and download it later #facepalm
Remember, clouds are in sky (net). Rings a bell?

I do not make any claim that this is the final word. This is how I see things based on my usage. You are welcome to share your view or let me know how to get things done. Perhaps I am expecting too much from a phone.

During the edits, somehow I can't see any bold formatted text. Unless I publish it, I wont know! And I am not bothered. This is my last post from an android.