Five things Google needs for Android 3.0

About The Author

CNET Editor

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

(Image by Google/CBS Interactive)

With my crusty old Nokia E65 rapidly failing and the Android vs. iPhone choice looming in front of me, CNET associate editor Joseph Hanlon kindly lent me a Nexus One.

A month in, I've got a fairly good idea of Android's capability. It's a platform of huge potential and flexibility, but this raw capability also helps to highlight its painful shortcomings, even running Froyo.

Text selection is appalling. The media player is too basic. The keyboard makes us cry. Too many apps need to be forced close. Vendors have created software to help bridge these shortcomings, but this has led to further fragmentation of the platform.

The separate approaches of Google and Apple are interesting. Apple's ridiculous level of control, strange regulations and amazingly closed system have severely limited what its platform can do, but has resulted in a much more polished, complete and integrated operating system. Most apps will actually work when you download them. It's both its biggest strength and weakness.

Google's openness and flexibility is equally its biggest strength and weakness: it allows considerably more capability than the iPhone, but to the detriment of platform stability and a more polished experience. We've lost count of the amount of apps that simply don't work and need to be force closed.

Over the horizon though is the tasty Gingerbread, version 3.0 of the Android platform, rumoured to bring a huge user interface (UI) overhaul. After long and detailed chats with Mr Hanlon, here's what we think Google needs to do to continue its meteoric smartphone rise, and put Apple back in its place.




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possie posted a comment   

how about an anti shake feature for the cameras

 

thewolf posted a comment   

Swype is great, so is Access' Graffiti, but what really differentiates Android from the iPhone is voice transcription. You can use Google Voice Search on the iPhone, but you can't enter text messages with it. It really revolutionizes how you input text into your phone.

 

Harry posted a comment   

I agree 100% with "BoZz". We do not need to convert Android into another Apple/MS OS.

 

J-Rod posted a comment   

I live in Canada and I have a Motorola Milestone. I can add icons for aps to the main "desktop" screen, but I can't remove any. If I use the email icon that was pre-loaded as a default, it only works maybe 40% of the time. But the Gmail app works much better. So now I have two icons for email on the main screen, and can't remove the other useless one.

The app store also needs tons of work. Too many apps that don't work.

I also have issues with the phone restarting. I'm not sure if this is an Android problem or a Motorola hardware issue. Sometimes I just go to check the time and the phone restarts its self.

 

BoZz posted a comment   

While I agree 100% Android still needs work I don't agree with pretty features / extras you talk about? The reason I purchase the Nexus One was because it was basic and functional so I could build on it the way I want. If you a out of the box feature rich phone get a HTC Desire. Traditional Linux / android user like to start with a good base and build the rest to suite them self rather than have someone like Apple, Microsoft push what they believe we need in features? For this reason I hope the base Android system stays basic and functional leaving HTC Desire / DroidX to produce a phone for the masses with pretty features / extras they believe we want and need.

Brett

 

Adrian posted a comment   

There is no working proper Skye Android App for the HTC Desire

 

Aysgarth posted a comment   

One function I love is the ability to search for apps on my desktop computer and have the barcode square on screen for that app. Use barcode reader and point at computer screen and Bingo it takes you to that app on the Market. It has only failed me once so far, great idea.


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