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5 min read 46 Shares 9 comments

Android, I wish you could...

Among the various mobile operating systems, Android is truly my favorite but there are a few functions that have always been missing, or have simply just been poorly implemented. Here is my personal wishlist, which if implemented would make Android perfect.  

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Don't get me wrong. Android turned out great. For nearly nine years, Google and the Open Handset Alliance (comprised of several manufacturers) have been continuously developing the OS. Finally, we're getting the absolutely necessary security updates. The so-called fragmentation problem, the simultaneous presence of several different Android versions, has been fixed, at least from the viewpoint of many app developers, or at least it does not pose such a giant hurdle anymore.

Defective and poor chargers are gradually being rinsed from the market thanks to a more rigidly specified type C connection. But a few things are still missing that would make android the über-system. Let me guide you through my thoughts.

Proper backups

If you've ever used an Apple device, you’ll be familiar with this scenario: when you first turn on the device, you’ll need to enter your Apple ID and password. Then, as if by magic, all your apps and settings that you had on your previous (Apple) device are restored.

Google pretends to do the same in Android, but failed miserably in the implementation. At the end of the day, manufacturers like Huawei or Samsung rely on their own “insular” solutions, which are not compatible with each other.

google backup 6
backing up your data with Google / © ANDROIDPIT

 

If I want to switch from a Huawei Mate 9 to a Samsung Galaxy S8+, I'll have to start completely from scratch: install apps, enter passwords, transfer text messages. The light at the end of the tunnel is that at least my calendar and contacts can be synced thanks to them being connected to my Google account. The alternative here would be a massive software modification, which we wouldn’t recommend for most normal users.  

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Android doesn't just have to repair the broken backup system, it has to be expanded and improved upon. Google especially needs to prepare for the increasing number of networked and connected devices in the household. If I set up a TV or a voice control in my home, a simple Google login should be enough to load all my configurations. And if I replace these devices, I don't want to lose all my configurations every time.

Desktop mode

Jobs with bring-your-own-device policies are not so uncommon these days. Why not save yourself the heavy and expensive laptop, and instead use an existing smartphone as a computer? Solutions such as Samsung DeX or Microsoft Continuum show that smartphones can replace workstations. So why aren't other manufacturers following suit?

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Samsung Dex in action / © AndroidPIT

 

The prerequisites would be surprisingly low. Thanks to the USE type C connector, which has already been introduced on most high-end smartphones and tablets (and will replace the micro USB completely), many devices will already be ready at least from a hardware perspective. The standards for signal transmission would come directly from the USB Implementer's Forum - that would be all major manufacturers.

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Now, you would have to adjust the user interface so that it can work on large monitors with a comparatively low resolution. In addition, the display of the smartphone should remain turned on. Both could (and should) be solved uniformly thanks to the new multi-display support of Android O. The hacks with which the Remix OS (shown above) can replicate these functions would be a thing of the past.

Real night mode

Some apps can already do this - but why not all?  White text on a black background is a much more effective night mode than the one currently implemented in Google, LG or Huawei's Android variants. This is the only way where your display gets dark enough that you can read in bed (or in the dark) without your display blinding you.

apps with night mode
Quite a few apps already have their own dark theme - Relay, Twitter, and Telegram / © AndroidPIT

 

Some apps have dark themes. What Android would need now is an interface to activate this theme globally for all installed apps and switch it off during the day. Because if it's bright, I'd probably like to switch back and be able to read black text on a white background again. A button in the quick settings menu or simply a time-based solution, which is coupled with the previous night mode, would be the perfect implementation in my point of view.

Conclusion: Google needs to get a move on

As mentioned in the beginning of this article, Android has already tackled the biggest hurdle concerning security and has fixed some glaring holes concerning app performance and usability. But it shouldn't stop there. The next step Android needs to take is overcome its limitations as a smartphone. Implementations like DeX show the possibilities.

AndroidPIT android partner walk 7233
The diversity of Android / © AndroidPIT

Google must always motivate manufacturers to do this in a uniform way. If this doesn't happen, there would be too many individual solutions, leading to two massive disadvantages: firstly, the solutions would not be compatible with each other, so we wouldn't be able to use the expensive DeX adapter with an LG smartphone despite the type C connection. Secondly, we could scrap solutions such as the DeX adapter if Samsung doesn't develop the system further and doesn't make it compatible (or use it) for the Galaxy S9.

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Android is perfect the way it is - its the hardware manufacturers that need to improve
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Of course, Samsung and the other manufacturers have to be the first to deliver these ideas and implement them. However, they must respect Google's role as a moderator, as Google wants to make the new ideas usable for as many users as possible and make them available to hardware and software developers. This would also have the positive side effect that a standardized counterpart to DeX would be interesting for all Android users.

Have you seen a feature that you wish Google would implement as soon as possible? Where do you think Android has improved the most over the years?

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  • Dean L. 3 months ago Link to comment

    For sure the biggest let down with Android OS is that almost all device manufacturers provide two or less years of OS updates. That's the only place I feel Apple does better.

  • android should have more features also. I switched to android from windows because of simplicity

  • anytime I get a new android device I login to Google account, go to play store & click 'my apps' and voila! I can get the same apps I had on my previous device to my new one

  • I 💚 ANDROID.

  • Apple deserved zero praise for restoring all apps and settings on a new device. I don't see any benefit in a single click restore of a new device. When I get a new Android device I like to set it up as new. Leaving aside a few of the apps I installed on my old device, to see if I would really be interested in using them again in the future. If I feel like using them again I'll install them, otherwise they don't come back to bloat my new phone. Really, how much time does it take to install all your apps on a new phone and sign in? Thirty to forty five minutes I'd say. Contacts, your Google account does that really well. Apple has no email worth using, no integrated contacts system. SMS, there are Android apps that can restore them in a jiffy. What else? Pictures and videos? Don't tell me Apple does a great job with that with its measly 2 GB of free backup. Of the whole device. No compartmentalization, no privacy, no distinction between what part of the device is crucial to your life and what part is peripheral. Really like Big Brother. Apple has lost its edge. It just brings out pricey devices that most people use out of pure habit. First mover advantage. Let's give Tim that, at the least.

  • Sundar Pichai...
    "For us, technology is not about the devices or products we build,
    those aren't the end goals. Technology is a democratising​ force, empowering people through information."

    i like android for its open approach, and it's global
    "be together not the same" inclusiveness,
    which includes choice and fragmentation, the good the bad and the ugly.. like the world we all share.
    over the past few years my android UX has really improved, more features, smoother, faster and more efficient..
    more of the same please..

    but with better customer support and 5 years software and security updates..

  • Goggle & Android should be doing more to help there users out,as the most annoying part of the software is it not helping people with there Batterylife, "Exit" function needs included so people do not get so annoyed when there phones battery is draining when there not using it,if everything did close after using the application and it stop running in the background,loads would be more happier with that and get more usage of there phones

  • storm 3 months ago Link to comment

    Lots of this still depends on the maker, not Google. For example, the Samsung dock has been around for a long time using MHL which Samsung used to routinely support. If your phone maker is supporting USB C fully, you have video ouput to a large screen at your leisure. Bluetooth or a USB C dock with other ports gives you the mouse and keyboard support. It's not up to google what the phone supports over the connector.

    Similarly, true night modes and dark themes are more the realm of OLED than LCD with their grays instead of blacks. And why clutter the OS with what apps do well enough?

  • Mark
    • Admin
    3 months ago Link to comment

    I think Google need to concentrate on getting manufactures and themselves better at updating rather than trying to punch out a new version every year.

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