Android is far too unpredictable for my business critical use

LG G3The latest version of Android is still driving me round the bend.

You’d have thought they’d have fixed all this nonsense after many iterations. As it stands today I’m still getting emails from Android apologists telling me that ‘these things should be resolved with the next version,’. Yeah. Not useful to me when I’ve spunked £600 on what I thought would be a phenomenal experience.

Here’s a case in point that is causing me to press exit on Android today.

This morning I sat down at my desk to do some work. I placed my LG G3 top of the range gorgeous Android phone on the desk and got on with my tasks.

About 40 minutes later I got a text message. I picked up my phone. That’s when the trouble began.

It was exceptionally hot. Uncomfortably so.

I looked at the battery indicator. I put it down on about 98%. It was now, after 40 minutes, reporting 67% charge.

In my mind I was screaming BLUE FRUCKING MURDER.

Yes, it’s a #firstworldproblem but this is totally unacceptable.

I tried to respond to the text and found the phone had got itself drunk. It was semi responsive. The FRUCKING HUGELY POWERFUL CPU was behaving as though someone had thrown a bottle of Sambucca down it’s throat.

Now and again it was responding to my commands. I’d tap three times. The screen would register the taps but the rest of the phone was 10 seconds behind. And that created even more trauma because I ended up launching apps and other services that were going on to use up even more resources by mistake because the phone was misinterpreting my wishes. Because it was slow.

It was slow, because McAfee was doing something.

There’s some bollocks generic McAfee nonsense installed on the phone. Family Protection or something like that. I can’t easily find a way to remove it so I just left it.

I had a look and saw that in the past 40 minutes, McAfee had eaten up 32% of the battery power and seemed to be consuming a heck of a lot of other processing resources.


No idea.

It’s perhaps wrong to blame McAfee. I’ve no idea what kicked that off. I’m at home today so I’m not worried about power. But I tell you, if I’d been on the train into work this morning and arrived at the client’s office with 50% battery … because of some stupid process malfunction. Ouch.

The fundamental problem as far as I’m concerned is that I’m using Android. And it doesn’t matter WHAT you say to counter this text: Android isn’t prime time.

Prime time requires stability. Stability at all flipping times. Not general ‘I’m sometimes drunk’ stability. I mean guaranteed stability.

I get this with an iPhone on iOS. IT. JUST. WORKS. NICELY.

I think once in a blue moon I’ll find my iPhone overheating unexpectedly. This is almost a daily occurrence.

It doesn’t take long before the other list of ‘fcuking annoying traits’ bubbles to the surface.

Want just one? (I’ve got a whole list.) I start the camera and … piff paff poof… I get message saying, “Camera stopped.”

Great. Thanks. Useful. Run the FLIPPING camera won’t you please? What is so difficult about running the camera? How can it POSSIBLY fail? Surely this stuff is tested repeatedly and repeatedly? Yes… but not in real world situations when you’ve got all sorts of buggy nonsense from lazy third party app developers interfering.

The OS itself on both the HTC One M8 and the LG G3 is really, really fast and responsive when you first switch the phone on. Start putting stuff on it and then seems to progressively dissolve into a semi-responsive experience.

I absolutely ABHORE interfaces that have to keep on building. You know, swipe right and then you have to WAIT while the phone renders the animation, then displays the icons and then properly formats the background. You have to wait or you’ll confuse the hell out of it.

You don’t need to do this with iPhone. Or BlackBerry. Or, to an extent, Windows Phone.

So that’s it for me and Android.

I tried, dear reader.

I’ll try again later on.

I need continuous stability first. Bring on the new iPhone.

Next, I think I owe it to Rafe Blandford to try out Windows Phone properly.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

46 replies on “Android is far too unpredictable for my business critical use”

so this is exactly my experience with Android… I got a midrange Sony Xperia SP phone from my company in June and I’m using it only for some work related apps and with my Napster account if I’m tired switching between my phones when I’m using my BT headset. Every now and then the phone gets super hot while it should be just sleeping in my pocket. On other occasions it’s just lagging and being slow, with no particular reason for this behaviour. So I’m perfectly aware of the fact that my phone is just a midrange device, but its ridiculous that a dual core soc with a gig of ram performs like a 5 year old Symbian phone, just because it is communicating with Googles servers in the background…

You’re simply not ready to take responsibility for managing the software on your mobile device. Go in to your app settings and stop your useless and unnecessary anti virus app from running, or better still, uninstall it if you can. If you bought it there, you wouldn’t let John Lewis dictate how processes run on your macbook, would you?

Apple, BlackBerry, and I imagine, Windows Phone, all abstract that control away from you, and limit what you can do with one of their mobile devices.

Android requires that you pay a little attention to what you install, and how you manage the behaviours of the software to get both solid battery and system performance. I have absolutely no problem getting a full days use out of Sony or Nexus devices I use regularly, but I do have to customise the configuration of apps and services to achieve this.

Yes. Many apps are not particularly well made, and left unchecked in their own settings, they will chew your battery. Camera sensors are getting much fatter, and this creates huge demands on device memory in post processing. Poorly made apps with camera access will slow the whole device down, as Android actually allows several threads to run concurrently. iOS does not, so it will keep you in a state of limbo until the process is finished before it lets you continue. You just don’t notice because it does this very very gracefully.

I do enjoy the way your expectations are never met by Android devices.. It is by far the most powerful and interesting mobile platform in the market right now. Step up and take control of your G3.

Yes you do.. Or just stick with an iPhone. I have a 5C which I use professionally at work, and it is super simple, does it’s job brilliantly. However, it’s necessarily limited and basic in order to achieve this.

I can’t believe I STILL need to actually TELL systems what to do. It’s half way 2014.

I don’t want to build my own computers anymore. I did that when I was 15!

Possibly the LG bloatware… I’ve been using a Nexus 5 for 6 months now (Was loyal iOS before) without any issues at all… no over-heating, no drunk phone, nothing.

That is one of the major problems with Android… the manufacturers trying to stick far too much of their own stuff in there… trying to make the UI there own with fancy wizzy transitions etc. That combined with the anti-virus won’t be doing your phone any favours. Who remembers wrestling with Norton in the old Windows desktop days?

When you do get around to trying Android again, you might want to try something on low to mid end of the spectrum, running something close stock Android (so currently something like a Nexus 5 or Moto X, possibly even something as cheap as a Moto G). This is purely anecdotal, but everyone I know with a higher end Android phone consistently complains about them, while my Moto G works like a phone should.

So you are complaining about some pre-installed anti virus software that’s completely unnecessary. It’s 2014. You are an editor of a mobile rag and you don’t know you need to buy a Nexus device to avoid bloatware? You really need to stay with an iPhone. It’s limitations are a good compromise for you.

It seems like you hate the LG-proprietary skin to be honest 🙂 I would recommend installing a stock Android — I hated Android on Samsung for same reason, it was bloated, slow, chunky and overall weird. Then for application testing I got Nexus 4, it was a completely different experience, everything is so much cleaner, leaner and nicer 🙂 I’m now sporting Nexus 5 and apparently gonna stay with the stock Android or “almost stock” if Motorola ever makes a high-end phone 🙂

Really, just walk out the door, and go and buy the 4G version of the MotoG, with the SDCard slot.

I’m using my older generation G instead of my GalaxyS4 (which is running a Google Play edition firmware), and the experience is alot smoother..

After years of Android – Sony Ericsson while I did its online PR and HTC or Samsung later – I switched to Windows Mobile in April. And will never go back. WP just works and is an altogether nicer and more intuitive interface than an iPhone. My Lumia 1520 also has phenomenal battery life, easily managing a full day of heavy use, whereas my Samsung S4 it replace lasted from about 6:00 to 15:00ish before getting low. The one huge weakness of Windows Phone (lack of apps) has now virtually disappeared in that you can get either original or third party versions of just about everything – except if games are your thing as many of the ‘top 20’ Android/iOS aren’t available.
It’s definitely time you try out Windows Phone properly.

No you are not. The LG G3 is an excellent phone. And one pre-installed software caused you grief. You are justifiably ticked off. But the article is painting all of Android with a broad brush of a specific problem. The diversity of Android allows you to choose the features and phones that you find important for your needs. Clearly, if you like the experience of iOS (which I find extremely limiting), then as a Mobile magazine editor, you should have known that the Nexus or Moto X would have given you that experience.

Well I obviously know that you can get the stock Android experience on various devices.

I wasn’t interested in the absolute raw Android OS experience. I wanted to know what normal people (“normobs”) are getting exposed to right now.

I selected an LG simply because it wasn’t a Samsung or an HTC. I thought I’d try something different.

Third party software is an Android problem because it appears to have degraded my *Android* experience.

Simply saying that I should have got a Nexus isn’t a solution at all. The issue isn’t me. I can go and buy any phone I need to on a regular basis. I make allowance in my monthly company budget for this cost. Occasionally I am sent handsets to review.

The point of my post is not me. I’m thinking about everybody else who has to commit for 18 or 24 months to a particular device then discover that the third party software they cannot (easily) remove is causing their otherwise wonderful device to offer a shitty service on a daily basis.

If you summarise it all up to the Macro view, it’s an Android problem.
(Just to be clear, I’m making assumptions that it’s the third party bloatware screwing things up for me. That might not be the case.)

“I’m using my older generation G instead of my GalaxyS4 (which is running a Google Play edition firmware), and the experience is a lot smoother.”

This is interesting, @philiptrickett:disqus . A phone running Android 4.4.4 (practically vanilla) on a Snapdragon 400 SoC with 1GB RAM is smoother than one running Android 4.4.4 (GPe) on a Snapdragon 600 SoC with 2GB RAM. Any theories, @smstextnews:disqus ?

“trying to make the UI there own with fancy wizzy transitions etc.”

Yep @danfield:disqus , and even on Nexus / GPe / Motorola let alone custom UI frameworks, I always tap the ‘Build Number’ under ‘Settings – About phone’ seven times, then go back and enter ‘Developer options’, then scroll down and change ‘Window animation scale’, ‘Transition animation scale’ and ‘Animator duration scale’ to ‘Animation off’.

It is a good experience on the G.

It probably also might have something to do with less apps being installed due to only 8GB of storage, but it keeps going very well.

If any of you guys are in Dublin, look me up and I’ll bring both for a comparison 😉

Just found this site, and this article guarantees that I won’t be back. Bruce has it right – you have an issue with LG, not Android.

“Camera stopped” isn’t a normal thing. So how was the support experience? Because when the interface can’t keep up with a swipe, you probably have a faulty phone. Ranting publicly about Android generally won’t change that.

Another Android apologist? 😉 I think, as others have commented, it’s the layer stuck on top by LG that is causing a lot of the problems (particularly, the McAfee bloatware). I’ll need to check out a recent stock Android version soon.

Apologist? I can be, but this isn’t being an apologist, it’s just common sense. Just get your LG back to where you bought it and describe your experience. You’ll get another. I have a colleague with that exact phone who claims it’s the best device he ever used. Your experience is definitely NOT normal.

It’s not the device Neil; it’s the software operating on it. I can actually see it getting all gummed up by watching the activity monitor and ‘using’ it. If anything — again, as others have commented — I think it would be ideal if it just came without the generic bloatware they’ve stuck on it.

Right – so my colleague must have bought his from a provider that doesn’t put all that rubbish on it, maybe? That makes sense. Uninstall it? Or it’s pre-installed bloatware, use the “Disable” function in Settings/Apps.

As I say, your experience with this phone isn’t normal. It’s a shame you’re bashing the entire ecosystem due to one experience on one device from one carrier. Welcome to the internet, I guess.

It sadly doesn’t seem to be (easily) removable.

That’s actually my point though Neil. My experience isn’t unique. I’ve had quite a few emails (and comments) indicating similar experiences with this phone.

Again, that’s not the actual point either.

The point of my post is that you don’t get this with Windows Phone or iOS.
And the commenters who pointed out that I shouldn’t be blaming this particular experience on “Android” were at pains to suggest I try stock Android. That’s a fair point.

But again, I wanted to try out what the standard consumer is experiencing if they walk in the door to a mobile phone shop today and walk out with an LG G3 (in this instance). It’s far from ideal. Indeed, your point (well made!) about trying to remove the bloatware is perhaps my key focus. Why? Why should I have to bother? I don’t have to do this with iOS.

How could LG possibly have released a top of the range handset with this level of ambiguous ‘service level’ caused — we are all presuming (as it’s quite difficult to specifically diagnose) — by rather iffy third party nonsense forced-bloatware? Is this the pinnacle that Android has to offer?
Sadly, yes. It’s way too unpredictable. Which is why I think we’re seeing so much change from Google in the context of the next generation L update. I am really, really keen to see how that will improve things.

In the meantime I’m going to get a Moto G. Or wait a few weeks and see what else Moto have up their sleeves and get that one.

The disappointing here is that you don’t seem to be listening much, preferring to defend your disappointing experience.
I don’t think a normal consumer would put up with that experience. They would return the phone. I urge you (yet again) to do so.

Also, you again blame Google and Android, but ignore the fact that they introduced the “disable” feature PRECISELY because of the bloatware issue you describe. But instead of trying it, you stubbornly denounce Android as “unpredictable”.

That like denouncing all cars as “unpredictable” because you had a bad experience in, say, a BMW 320i. Instead of denouncing the dealership you bought it from, or BMW perhaps… NO! All cars must be at fault, and therefore I will stick to trains!

It’s a strange attitude and exactly the reason that while I’m happy to have this discussion with you, you are devaluing your entire contribution to this website by refusing to listen to simple advice.

Well, I’m done. God knows how you get out of bed in the morning with that attitude though. What do you when a bus runs late? Swear off all future buses for 6 months? If you’re served bad food in an Italian restaurant, do you forgo all Italian food for a year before maybe trying it again?

Your sense of blame is entirely inappropriate.

And claiming that you don’t get these problems on iOS is… well, that’s great for you. I work in IT and I deal with iOS every day. They drain battery all the time. Their icons appear and disappear at random. Apps crash. The GPS comes and goes. Their SMSs work, then don’t.

But I don’t claim “Apple devices are too unpredictable”. I’ll say it again – as an editor on a website like this, this rant article does nothing but damage your reputation as useful reviewer of technology.

Hilarious. Weapons-grade fanboy stuff from the Android lovers who think that the user should know to disable stuff, or know to buy a lower-spec model, or one with less manufacturer bloatware.

The thing is, you’re both right. If you can be arsed learning what to do to make your £600 phone into a predictable daily business tool, Android works. And if you can’t, and want predictable out of the box, with no need to be able to customise it to the nth degree, iOS also works.

I use a Motorola G Ewan. It’s not even a proper mid range phone but the way you narrate your Android experience and what my experience with it has been so far, are two extremes. I get that prime time stability. I get 10 hours on heavy use. 8 hours if I “frucking” abuse it. No over heating. You are a power user. A mid range phone won’t do for you but why don’t you give Moto G or Moto X, a twirl? Try them as a secondary phone, back up phone and see how they hold up against your requirement. May be.. Can work.

I think throwing the “fanboy” or “apologist” insult is rather childish & unprofessional. People will fit into those categories if they own a device & like it. In short, the minority do not speak for the majority!

Smartphones are personal computers. They will require some configuration to suit the personal needs of the owner, this has much to do with everyone being unique / different, we are not identical having fallen off a production line! This “Come on! Do I really need to MANAGE this stuff???” has me helpless. We have to “manage” lots of things in life, why would a sophisticated smartphone be any different?

Luckily we have options. We can “mamage” by getting someone else to do it for us. Or failing that, get a basic cheapo phone that has no “smart” features that need configuring.

I should also add that I have a LG G3 and it’s an outstanding phone. You state that you can’t disable it. Sure you can. On my Sprint G3, Go into Settings->General->Apps->Swipe to All->Lookout. Just press the Disable button. I have disabled it because I know Anti virus apps are completely unnecessary on Android.

And as Neil has been stating, as an Android user, you have diverse phones meeting diverse requirements. I chose the LG G3 for the features that appealed to me – the screen size, the resolution, the replaceable battery, external storage, feel, wireless charging… I chose that over the Google experience because the Nexus or Moto phones don’t have replaceable batteries or SD cards. I know what I wanted.

If you buy an iPhone, Apple has made the choices for you. I agree that carriers load crapware on phones. If you want a iPhone like experience, then you should look at the Nexus or Moto devices bought straight from Google. You will get no crapware, Google experience and regular updates – just like the iPhone.

We can choose that or the LG G3 in my case, or the HTC One for the build quality and beauty or the Note 4 for the stylus, great screen, performance or the Xperia for an unlocked bootloader, great camera etc.

That’s what normal people who walk into a store do – choose. Even if they are not savvy, they will (hopefully) have savvy friends or will have a smart person in the store to help them. Really no different than anything else you go to buy. I went to buy a mattress last weekend. I have no idea what constitutes a good mattress. I went to a couple of stores found out about it, decided on one and bought it. Or I could have gone to 1 store and bought the first one and then complained about the softness when I could have bought a firm one.

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