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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