Thought I’d step way way out of character and lay down some complaints against my sweetheart Google and my darling Android, inspired by David K’s recent post about Microsoft continuing to suck with email. A little roll reversal, you know? But instead of just mentioning one thing, I’m going to up the ante with a larger list and see how he responds to that because this could get interesting. Here we go.

Top of the list, the stock keyboard is, what’s the word, underwhelming. Maybe that’s why the hottest third party software on and off the market are better keyboards like Better Keyboard, SwiftKey and Swype. The only good thing not making a deal with one of these guys (I like SwiftKey myself) I can think of for Google is to promote the market itself. The stock keyboard gets the job done but there’s enough room for improvement that a lot of people are making money (hopefully) by filling that void. C’mon. I took the dive from hard keyboards and though I don’t mind firing up another keyboard from the market or a sideload job, it bothers me to know that many people buying Android phones, and there are quite a few such people, won’t ever hit the Market and will stick with the soft keyboard if they don’t have a clunky Droid. I want the world to move on to soft keyboards, this ain’t helping as much as it could.

Number two: Google’s native Android Gmail and regular email clients. Last time I checked, which was a while ago as I switched to K-9 Mail in frustration, a sweet app by the way, you cannot change your From address to anything else you have cleared with Gmail to be your email address on the web side, you can only email with your actual Gmail address showing up — unless you have Google Apps, that is. One workaround is to configure the non-Gmail email client to connect to Google as if it were an Exchange server and specify the alternate email address there, as you can with WinMo (though at least allowing you to add multiple Exchange accounts, which you cannot do with WinMo). What’s up with that? A whole lot of people asked Google, no good answers. Also you can only seem to attach images from the gallery, not random files, at least not directly from the client without third party software or some other trick I don’t know about.

Next up, Google Docs. Google recently announced, stupidly, Hey everybody guess what you can now view your documents using your Android phone! View? What the hell about Edit? Isn’t this supposed to be a mega cloud phone I paid for (and am pushing on my own clients), Google Docs being a core component of their cloud services? There’s a third party editor that syncs up but you lose formatting. Why would they announce this? Not having tried it I never knew you couldn’t view but this called my attention to that past shortcoming, an unsettling one. Thought we’d get a treat in Froyo but that didn’t happen. Not yet at least.

Unless you’ve got Froyo, no voice dialing on bluetooth. And no VoIP with Google Voice (except for listening to voicemail, which I no longer do thanks to the transcriptions), unless you are smart, have a lot of spare time and are really determined. Haven’t found one program out there, unlike with WinMo, for any Android device capable of recording both sides of a phone conversation without being on speakerphone. At this point that sounds either like an operating system thing or a hardware thing, but the XDA guys for WinMo consistently figured this one out. The native gallery program, though fancy with its 3D animation which is impressive, excessively and unacceptably and inexplicably downsamples images when displaying them. Shouldn’t have to hit the market in order to find one that displays images in their full glory. And the video playback support, which codecs and containers it can handle, ain’t nothing to write home about (though like many of the other shortcomings solved by third party software, in this case RockPlayer). Not really Google’s fault (contractual agreement between Stern and Sirius) but still no Sirius client of which I’m aware that lets you get Howard, whereas I had that with SiriusWM5 on WinMo.

I’m glad to see some nice Android phones making their way to AT&T finally, and I understand that Google leaves Android, which is open source, widely open for carrier modification, but a persuasive phone call from one higher-up at Google to another higher-up at AT&T to talk AT&T out of bloating up their Android phones with AT&T bullshitware which unfortunately all start with the letter A so they get listed first in the menu, that would have been appreciated.

That’s all I’ve got without googling for other people’s Google grievances of Android. I’m sure there are others, go ahead and dump them in the comments, let’s get this over with. Your serve, David K.

Doug Simmons


  1. I have to agree with those. I generally like Android, but there are still many limitations that not even 3rd Party apps can solve as of yet.

    I suppose I should put something like this together for the iPhone, although I’m not a pusher of the platform in any way. It just happens to be the phone I currently have.

  2. i dont like how there is no widget to provide a message preview (email or text) on one of your home screens, i thought this would have been easily remedied with a widget app but no such widgets exist (unless you happened to buy an HTC phone in which case, all of their awesomeness is built into the thing) not to mention the lack of integration on a non-htc device. i know this isnt so much an OS gripe as it is a manufacturer gripe but it seemed alot of things require opening another application on the captivate whereas with the aria your capable of doing it right from the native stuff on the phone. anyone else had the opportunity to try different manufactured phones?

  3. Good afternoon, Mr. Simmons! I’m glad to see that you’re still contributing to this site.

    In-call recording is one of the few things I miss about Windows Mobile. It was unobtrusive and effective(& therefore sufficiently sneaky). I’ll be surprised if that functionality gets carried over to Windows Phone 7 Series. Boooo! Anyways… check it:

    “It’s not currently possible to record outbound calls made through your Google number at this time.”

    (This is in reference to Google Voice, mind you.)


    “To record your call, simply press 4. You can do it when you first accept a call, or any time after it’s started. To stop the recording, press 4 again or hang up.

    “Your recordings are saved online and you can access them just like you do with voicemail.

    “Note: at this time you can only record calls you receive on your Google Voice number. You can’t record calls you initiate using our Click2Call from our website or the Return Call feature from your voicemail.

    There are different laws that apply to call recording, so check your current state and Federal laws before using this feature. To assist in the compliance of these laws, we provide an automated verbal announcement when call recording has been initiated and when it has been stopped.”

    I’m gonna try this out riiiiiiiiight now…

    …aaaand it works! Bear in mind that there is a very clear “THIS CALL IS NOW BEING RECORDED” prompt, which can be heard on both sides(and is the first thing you’ll hear when replaying the audio afterward, either through your handset or online). Something tells me that this is as good as it’s gonna get– at least directly from Google. meh.

    Nice rat, by the way.

  4. grrrrrrrr…. MobilityDigest c**k-blocked my attempt at a response to this post yesterday. here’s the truncated version of what i wanted to share:

    dunno if this is news to anyone besides myself, but Google Voice allows for somewhat effective in-call recording, on in-bound calls only. there’ll be a very audible(friendly-sounding, even!) female voice announcing to both sides of the the call that “THIS CALL IS NOW BEING RECORDED“, to help prevent your ass from being sued into oblivion.
    again, this only works on in-bound calls for Google Voice numbers.
    just press 4 on your handset to activate the recording process, and press 4 again to stop it. or, simply hang up. the audio will then be available for playback online under the ‘Recorded’-label of Google Voice.

    i’ve only used this on a Nexus One, so i have no idea how effective it will be on other handsets or operating systems.

    and yeah, this method is totally NOT sly.
    also? Windows Mobile does it better(i dunno about Windows Phone 7 Series). **ducks**

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