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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?