Who cares about 4G if the apps don't work?

danthman

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I just downloaded the "release" version of an Android app that used to be iPhone-only. It doesn't work on my Incredible. I read a bunch of the reviews on the Android market, and I found two or three models where everyone's happy (the EVO 4G was one of them). On all the other phones, the app is either a partial fail or a total fail.

This really says something to me about the Android platform: App developers need to test on a huge array of models, and write specific code to take into account all the subtle--and not so subtle--differences between each one. The iPhone doesn't have this problem. You build an app for the iPhone, and you can be pretty sure it's going to work on any recent model because there are tight standards and you only need to support one UI.

I think this lack of consistency and standardization between Android phones discourages developers and harms both the quality and availability of apps. I'm now on Day 13 of my new Droid Incredible, and my number-one disappointment so far is that popular iPhone apps I was expecting to find haven't been ported to the Android yet (and in some cases, never will be). Also, many of the apps that have been ported just don't work very well or are only available on certain Android phones. I was particularly surprised to find out that I can't even take a screen capture on my phone without rooting it first. Really? I'm also not thrilled with any of the browsers I've tried so far, and I'm disappointed that there is no Android version of Scrabble.

So, my initial excitement for Android is waning. I think even if the TBolt actually hit the market tomorrow, I'd still stick with my one-year contract on the Incredible. Maybe in a year, things will look better. If not, I might end up with an iPhone 5.
 

SUB-dawg

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this is the problem with android fragmentation. apps could work for every android device in the world except the thunderbolt.
 

bkorver

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Does this app by chance use a front facing camera? Last time I checked my DInc, it didn't have one. So if I dowloaded an app that used one, it wouldn't work, because the first thing the app would do is try to find the front facing camera. There is a reason why there are several vz navigator apps in the market. One for the TBolt, one for the Droid X, etc... Different hardware configurations mean different code. IT's both a strength and a weakness with the OS. A strength because I can find a hardware configuration I want and it's not one size fits all. If I don't want a physical keyboard, I don't have to have one. If I want one, not a problem. With multiple screen sizes and price points, everyone can find a phone they like. The weakness is some apps that use certain hardware have to be tailored to the device. Just because it's in the market doesn't mean it will work on your phone. Wait for a version that does... (They usually come out after the phone is released)
 

danthman

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Different hardware configurations mean different code. IT's both a strength and a weakness with the OS...Just because it's in the market doesn't mean it will work on your phone. Wait for a version that does... (They usually come out after the phone is released)

I agree that not being stuck with one hardware configuration is a definite pro of the Android platform, although if you happen to like the hardware configuration of the iPhone (and many people do), this advantage goes away.

I've seen several examples, however, where hardware was not the issue. The issue was the Android OS itself (I've seen several apps now that don't work on 2.3 yet...is 2.3 not backward compatible?) or the issue was HTC/Motorola/Samsung/LG bloat that runs on top of Android.

It's a total can of worms for software developers to write apps when the ground beneath them is constantly shifting. For this reason, iPhone apps are always going to be easier to build and maintain, which might very well mean that Android never catches up to iOS on number or quality of apps.
 

danthman

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Name the apps. It's easier to invesitgate things that way.

There's nothing to investigate...I'm making a general point about Android in general. I've seen the same problem with countless apps in the Market. Just pick an app and read the reviews. Chances are, you will find a contingent of users who simply can't use the app. Either their Android version isn't supported or their particular phone isn't supported. Or it is supported, but it's buggy.
 

Comineeyeaha

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Ok, so if you got it 13 days ago why not return it and go get an iPhone? You have a 14 day window where you can return the phone and still use your upgrade discount to get in to the one you want.
 
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danthman

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Ok, so if you got it 13 days ago why not return it and go get an iPhone? You have a 14 day window where you can return the phone and still use your upgrade discount to get in to the one you want.

Well, that's a definitely possibility. To be honest, I'm afraid I'll get the iPhone and discover all the disadvantages of that platform that I didn't notice until I had the phone for a couple weeks :)
 

danthman

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All the apps I used on my BlackBerry are in the Appbrain...and a ton more!

I'm happy with the app selection!

But will they work on the TBolt from day one? I've noticed a lot of users on 2.3 devices who are not happy with their app selection. (Not that the TBolt is a 2.3 device--yet--but it still might have incompatibilities.)
 

bnsteele5

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I have the Droid 2 and I really can't remember ever having an app not work for it that was in the market and even the ones I found outside of the market have worked just fine. But I guess there's always that one. I also had a 3rd gen touch and had apps that would constantly lock up on me. So really it happens on both OSes the same way things act up on Windows and OSX.
 

Chrisy

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Good point!

Same thing happens with BlackBerry when a new OS is released. The apps have to be adjusted to work on the new OS. Just a few, not all.
 

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