google, technology

don't beta test me bro!

As many of you know, I have been a vocal supporter of the Google Android platform. While my support for Android remains stable, it is, regretably, showing signs of stress.

Since picking up my first Android device nearly a year ago, I have noticed, and read about, a number of little buggy things cropping up with the Android operating system. Now, we are beginning to see Android-based tablets coming to market. First was the Samsung Galaxy Tab, running Android 2.2. Today, people can pick up the Motorola XOOM. In the lead up to the launch of the XOOM, Google gave quite a song-and-dance about the tweaks to Android for tablet computers, in the form of the latest operating system release – Honeycomb. Like many techies, I was anxious to see the improvements and, admittedly, have viable alternatives to the iPad. (I think good options from Apple, Google, HP and Microsoft makes the entire device category better.)

Sadly, the comments in nearly every article, blog and video, say the same thing about Honeycomb. “It’s nice, but not quite ready.” What the…?! Check out this unboxing video by Kevin Tofel at the tech site GigoOm.



I cannot imagine for a minute that Apple would release a product that wasn’t ready for primtime. Well…ok…notwithstanding the whole iPhone 4 antenna design issue. You get what I’m saying. I want Google to succeed with Android.

Basically, though, it’s as if Google is content with releasing software in Beta form. That has been the company’s M.O. for some time with its web-based applications, where nearly everything is in a perpetual Beta state. However, for an operating system that powers mobile devices and tablets to be so shaky out of the box? That’s unacceptable. Look, I understand that no technological product will be perfect out of the box; but how about delivering something near the mark? Motorola and the other device manufacturers should demand more from Google. Unfortunately, in the race to catch, or beat, Apple, companies are willing to make compromises and cut corners just to have a product on the shelf. When you’re asking consumers to plunk down $800 for a tablet computer, it had better be more than an experiment, where end users are merely Beta testers.

Come on Google…do better!


2 thoughts on “don't beta test me bro!

  1. Aaron Swindell says:

    It’s the ecosystem, sir. Ask Carla which is better: a single dish prepared by many chefs or by a single chef? While Android is an admirable system, until Google truly mind melds with manufacturers, we will continue to see a hodgepodge of functionality. But I wish them well too! (aaronworks from Twitter)

    • Thanks Aaron. I’ve seen you on Twitter — flirting with Carla. <— I'm watching you! :-)

      You made a good, metaphorical, point about too many cooks in the system. That part comes, in my mind, when OEMs and wireless carriers try to put their own stamp on the Android operating system. I really like the promise of Android, but it's beginning to look even more messy to me than what I first thought. As I mentioned, I think Google definitely needs to set some minimum UI and hardware requirements for mobile devices and — especially — tablets.

      I like the ability to customize my phone, but I have to admit that the novelty rubs off a bit when you get repeated force closes and weird buggy behavior. That can't be blamed on the OEM. It's a software issues, that can't simply be blamed on crappy bloatware. Honeycomb does seem like a step in the right direction, but I am annoyed to no end that the incessant impulse to compete with Apple means products are rushed to market. I'd rather get it when it's ready, not because Motorola's trying to beat the iPad2 release.

      I see that you call yourself an acolyte. (That's funny). Let me be clear, I'm not saying Apple is necessarily better. Behind that "it just works" mantra is a line of people waiting for service of their Macs that no one likes to talk about. However, when it comes to the operating system, I don't get the sense, though, that people are bringing iPhones in for service because they mysteriously keep rebooting. Argh!

      At the end of the day, it's as simple as this: I want good products from all sectors. I don't like, nor engage in, flame wars or fanboyism (acolytism? :-) ). Good mobile and computing products from various manufacturers is good for everyone.

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