It’s 2012. Why do Android Apps Still Suck?
I’ve just gotten home from CES, and I wanted to share my frustration.
One of the goals I set for myself for this show was to see if I could move all my work processes over to Android. I have an Asus eeePad Transformer, and I’d really like to use that as my main computer because of the 15+ hours of battery life.
Unfortunately, I cannot because several apps I must have are sorely crippled when compared to their Windows counterparts. This being 2012, I’m a little surprised that the apps don’t even come close to matching feature for feature.
For example, the official WordPress Android app is only marginally useful. It was updated recently, and that raised it from being complete crap to simply being crippled. It’s okay for the simplest activities, but the more complicated ones are difficult to impossible.
It will show me all new comments but it doesn’t say which post they are a response to. This means someone could ask a question and need me to elaborate on a point. But on what topic, exactly? There are also times where a reader will ask a question that I can answer by linking to another post. But finding and embedding a link in a comment is not easy in the WordPress app. I also didn’t find it easy to create a new post, but the issues there are so plentiful that I do not know where to start.
Now, you might think that I shouldn’t expect the WordPress app to be as useful as the browser based dashboard, but both were official releases from Automattic (the folks behind WordPress). That means that the official support for WordPress on Android is at best half-assed, and as a user I find that frustrating.
I’m also not happy about the Google Reader app. The stock gReader app is missing key features. I can live with out the stats options, but the app is also missing the translation options. A few dozen blogs of the blogs I follow are in other languages, and I cannot read them in the Reader Android app.The gReader app is also missing other features, but I stopped caring after I noticed the missing translation options. I simply cannot use it.
And then there’s the official CES app. Like the others, this one is only somewhat useful, but it is missing basic and obvious abilities like being able to import my online schedule, my list of exhibitors, and other data I’ve built up on the CES website. I would have thought that this was half the reason to have the app, but no.
Now, I know that I’m only finding issues in a few apps, but I really need them. And while there are probably alternatives (I’ll go look in a second), these apps are pretty good examples of an ongoing problem I have with Android.
It seems to me that more and more people are being led to think of Android as a mainstream OS, not as an accessory to Windows or OSX. Well, the apps simply are not there to support that idea. (BTW, if I wanted to I could point out the lack of a full featured Word app for Android.) And the amazing part here is that not even Google supports Android adequately. It’s their own app on their own Android OS, and yet gReader is crippled.
I’d like to pare my gear bag down to just the minimum hardware needed to get the most work done. And right now that means Windows, not Android.
And yes my title is a little over the top, but my point remains. I think Android simply cannot match the abilities of Windows. I said this 6 and 8 months ago, and it’s still true today.