My Brief Affair With Android

As a software engineer I like to experiment with different technologies and step outside of my comfort zone once in awhile. Having used iOS devices for a very long time, sometime last year I bought myself a used Samsung Galaxy Note 3. I can now confidently say that whoever thinks Android is better than iOS must also be the kind of person who thinks Windows 98 is better than Mac OS X.

Allow me to explain.

When my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 running Android 4.4 Kit Kat arrived the first that I was greeted with was a bunch of pre-installed apps I did not ask for and did not need, one of them unfortunately named “ISIS Wallet.” Verizon and Samsung preinstall a bunch of crappy apps that you cannot uninstall just like Acer and Dell used to (and still do) bundle unnecessary apps with their Windows laptops and desktops. Fine, we can move past that.

The device had a stylus. Woohoo! Exciting! I never used it. Ever.

The next thing I observed was absolutely horrendous notifications. If you lock the screen with a passcode you don’t see your notifications unless you unlock it, meaning you can’t at a glance tell what’s going on. App icons don’t show little bubbles like iOS does and across the top there is an incomprehensible bar of icons and indicators that gets filled up with meaningless nonsense. Oh, and the LED on the front of the device would light up in christmas light colors when there were pending notifications, but the colors mean nothing.

So that was Android 4.4 Kit Kat and I honestly thought that the device was so old it couldn’t support Android 5.0 Lollipop. I was fine with that. A couple of days ago, however, I got a notification saying something like “Samsung Has Prepared Android 5.0 Lollipop Update for Your Device. It has exciting new features.” So I said “Give it to me.”

After about 15-30 minutes of updating the device, I was greeted with an error message saying that my device is not compatible with Google Play Services. Furthermore, my Google Calendar stopped syncing.

Sorry, Google, I am not interested. I want my stuff to work. I have no desire in debugging what really should have been an automated process. If my device was not compatible with Google Play Services and installing Lollipop was going to break some things that make smartphones smart, it should not have installed Lollipop.

In any case, I have no desire to mess with the settings, to install and uninstall software, and so on. All I know is that my iOS devices always worked after updates. My contract with Verizon is up, I am going over there and will get a new iPhone this weekend.

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