Can’t somebody please just fix Android’s rubbish bits?


This is the screen that popped up earlier on one of the Android tablets I own.

The device is requesting that I approve connections for all the apps listed. In fact the list goes on for another two screens.

Do I want to give permission to “com.wipereceiver”? Possibly. Maybe. What?

It how about “DSMLawmo”? No fracking idea.

I almost hit “approve” but I decided to decline. Not today Android.

State your reason for existing beyond being the default cheap alternative?

Seriously who is running this UI experience? Who is responsible for displaying this utter jibberish? I’m sure there’s a valid reason for “Factory Test” to require me to give access to my personal gmail account. So tell me why. Or better still, just make the decision for me. I don’t get this crap on Apple or on a BlackBerry Playbook.

Maybe it is a Google Apps thing?

You’d think that Google would have been able to spare me the pain.

The Google Play store does a better job at explaining what the security access requirements are of particular apps. They try at least to use normal English.

But read this and weep:


That is the application description field for the BBC iPlayer App for Android. You have to feel for the developers who were forced to include explanations for the likes of “WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE”.

One day all of this on Android will just work without users having to parse stupidly badly defined system elements themselves.

  • That iPlayer example is a bit unfair. The BBC chose to write that, they could have written the same in itunes if they wanted to. The play store security warnings are very clear and not written in tech speak.

    Fully agree on the top screen shot though, that’s weird and unacceptable. Never seen it myself.

  • Unfair to Android, do you mean? The fact the BBC felt they had to is the issue

  • Explaining why your app needs certain permissions is fine, especially when the reason might not be obvious to a user (not the case with iPlayer). It was the BBC that chose to use system strings that no user will ever see. The play store refers to the same permissions as ’network communication’ and ‘storage’, they’re simple and understandable terms.

  • I’ve gotten crap on Apple devices for sure. Not like that above, but download almost any of the DLNA app and you will find the interface confusing and unfriendly on Apple devices. More to the point, the DLNA app never requested my permission to blog access my local intranet; nor did ask permission to send all my music and video tastes/selections back to mothership without my knowledge (ok, an exageration — or is it?).

    I have to admit I have never seen the screen up top on any android device I have. You must have worked hard to get that. As for the BBC app, this is of there own creation, not Android’s.

    To be fair, I don’t think that Android’s interface for alerting user as to potential access risks apps may have is all that great. But on other devices, you never get to see it. And just because you don’t know what an app is doing with your data (or in the case of Apple products, it is not your data but Apple’s), doesn’t mean it won’t do bad things with your data.

    I think an article dedicated to the need for easier and better control of user access permissions by apps would be a better place to start.

  • How and why did that screen appear? Does not look like any standard android screen that I have ever seen. Perhaps you have some sort of development device?

  • just a Samsung Galaxy Tab

  • Matt Foot

    Face it folks, Android is an ugly, distorted, crashy, half-hearted nerd-fuelled fragmented mess. Anyone who says different is deeper in denial than Cleopatra was.

  • Good post. The answer of course is if you make it easy most people will turn it off. A good example is maps. It ought to be possible to start maps, automatically turn on location services get to where you are going and then exit maps turning off location services. But if they did that then how would they be able to track where you go and who you go with. So location services is buried and every update turns it on. Marketeers love this stuff because tracking my phone you can see that I pay for furniture in a superstore but only after we’ve visited six specialist stores and she’s called her mother for approval. So target her mother if you want to sell me furniture. Government’s love it too, if you were in the bar bathroom last night at the same time as a cocaine dealer Google knows and they have no problems giving it up.

  • Matt Foot

    How to fix Android: Get RID of Android.

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