Android is not a very exciting OS. There are little to no snazzy effect (bouncing scroll?) to hooked and mesmerize you upon the design, and the consistent lag over any interaction with the device is a constant turn-off. At least for me. They might not be noticable for most of the users, but for any person who have looked and used an iOS device for a couple of minutes, you’ll see and feel the difference pretty much instantly.
Yet i’m an Android user. It started two years ago when i decided to buy a new handset, preferably smartphone to upgrade from my (increasingly dumb) Nokia 5200. At that time, i chose Samsung Galaxy Spica, an Android 2.1 (Eclair) device. Why? Well, at that time, i’m still (and still, now) a college student with only money from my parents to support my frivolous lifestyle. I’m not enough of a leech to ask for a $900 smartphone just to quench my thirst for awesome UI. I knew only one thing, at that time to guide my choice: i want to be in a platform for the future. And the option for me is touchscreen vs qwerty device. Blackberry vs Android/iPhone. Easy. I chose Android.
But at that time, although constantly using the device, i never felt any real love for the OS. The green android is cute enough, and it triggers some small attachment to the OS, but the device lags crazily. I need to constantly micro-manage the running apps just to make sure i can open the dialer and sms apps in time to prevent me from throwing up the phone in an output of rage. I bought a Nexus S a year after, and the lag improved, thanks for the much bigger RAM, but oddly the perception of lag’s still there. It’s still not as smooth as the iPhone. And i’m still constantly trying to cheat my Android phone with an iOS device. A loveless marriage.
And i’m still constantly trying to cheat my Android phone with an iOS device. A loveless marriage.
That’s why i was so excited for Jelly Bean after i saw the announcement. I don’t really care about new features that looked more and more like gimmicks (improved facelock, anyone?), or expected a complete new UI since i know Jelly Bean naturally will not be much different to Ice Cream Sandwich. Plus, from time to time i can just switch and flash MIUI on my Nexus S anyway if i feel bored over the UI.
“We did it guys, we’ve made Android as smooth as iOS”
The part of the announcement that made me trully excited was Project Butter. The announcement by the Android team is full of tech jargons and in-detailed explanation, but i know, just by the name itself, this must mean one thing: “We did it guys, we’ve made Android as smooth as iOS”. I know it’s a very embarassing thing for any Android fanboys to admit, but the only thing holding back Android from equaling the iPhone is this perceptive smoothness problem. Yes, there are other problems as well, but for end users who are looking for new phones, when they try both Android and iOS device at the store, assuming they got enough money, they will go for the iPhone. Project Butter, is the equivalent of Yahoo picking Marissa Mayer as the new CEO. It might or might not work; but it will pick interest and change the overall perception from people who already ran away from the OS due to the sentiment that it’s not as smooth as the iPhone.
So i wait. Not for the OTA update, but for people in XDA to port Jelly Bean from whatever device it got first to my Nexus S. I don’t have to do this, though. Having a google-approved handsets made me entitled for at least one to two OS Update without any fear of carriers or Samsung holding back the updates to mess it all up with their own creation (Touchwiz? blah). But i wait anyway, since i knew the port will come sooner than the updates. And it’s proven to be true, since i’ve been using it since two weeks ago, a week sooner than Google official OTA that’s only been out for two days or so.
So how is it? Well, let me just say this: if you have a Jelly Bean on the Nexus S, you’ll be stupid to replace them for any device with ICS. Even if devices like HTC One X or Galaxy S III is obviously better in terms of hardware. But the improvements in smoothness has made me feel like i’m holding a smartphone with dual core processor and 1GB RAM. The truth is it’s a two year old device. Yet it’s how big an improvement this .1 update has given me.
if you have a Jelly Bean on the Nexus S, you’ll be stupid to replace them for any device with ICS
Unfortunately i might be the luckiest of the bunch. Some Android devices will not see this update for months from now. Even if you bought a phone that just got released two to three weeks ago, chances are you’ll not see this update. This is due partly to Android’s own mistakes in previous versions, when Android was too raw for manufacturers to offer it in vanilla. Now that this has become a habit, Google need to do something about this one word that trully become a stupid cliche in every Android article: fragmentation. Any improvements, small or huge (like Jelly Bean) will be useless without speedy solution for this problem.