There are certain things one comes to expect from technology; that Apple will always create ultra desirable expensive products, that there is always a new addictive Angry Birds round the corner (Fruit Ninja/ Draw Something) and that updates are going to be good, with a raft of new features and exciting possibilities.
I’ve just been forced to update to the latest version of Android on my Galaxy Nexus – 4.1.1 according to my smartphone’s settings, and I’m less than impressed.
To start with, I had no desire to update at all. I’d followed the court case between Apple and Samsung with interest and the general consensus seemed to be that Apple were forcing Samsung to backwards update their new Android release, taking away some of the things that made the phone so great. The main issue in court was around the ‘Quick Search Box’ on the Nexus which lets you search phone and web, and Google decided to disable this on phones with the latest update to appease Apple – thanks Google!
Fairly obstinately I refused to partake in this, but then I was getting around 30 pop-ups a day trying to get me to update, and I’m the kind of person who checks voicemail just to get rid of that annoying icon.
So I updated, expecting little, and receiving so much crap in return. Some of my grievances are based on purely aesthetic reasons, and some are based on the new interface and ease of use. I’m not averse to change, but feel that an update should be for good, not one that’s going to annoy the heck out of users expecting something swisher, shinier and overall better.
Let me start with the home screen. Rather than just swipe to unlock I now have to look at a stupid starburst which randomly plays little orb like pixels over the screen. Necessary? No. Does it add anything to using it? No. Sure, it means I can now rotate my thumb and auto launch the camera or browser straight away (as well as unlock phone) but logistically that involves rotating your thumb in an unnatural manner so it’s actually quicker and simpler just to unlock and then one click open either service. Could I spend some time playing with the settings and change this? Yes, but why should I? I don’t expect an update to involve configuration work on my part; I want smooth out of the box better than the last version and this is not what I’m getting. My phone also crashes a LOT now which isn’t ideal either.
The next thing that you’ll notice is that the font size and style has changed. I can’t pinpoint exactly what, but the script has got more cursive and larger and it seems to take the eyes a little longer to adjust to the new size.
The notifications bar has also changed- but not for the better. It used to be that you’d get updated with missed calls and emails; but now the settings have changed so you get updated with absolutely everything, from things you want to those that just clog up your screen and make you feel like you’re drowning in a wave of unhappy yet to be updated apps. I simply don’t need that much information at my fingertips- it looks cluttered and feels overwhelming.
The biggest problem I have with Jellybean, is the settings it uses when I’m opening applications within an application – to clarify; I’m in Gmail and want to open an attachment. Up floats a pop up, would I like to use the Gallery or Pixlr-o-matic? I opt for the Gallery, but I can only choose ‘Always’ or ‘Not now’, which I have to input every freaking time (as long as I’m not an Always). Always is too much commitment for me, but I resent these pop ups happening every time I open an image – what happened to ‘ask me later’ or ‘ask me again in a week’. I’m paraphrasing here as a smartphone menu has an amazing way of disappearing from your mind once the next version gets installed, but I KNOW it didn’t used to be like this.
There are a few NEW things with Jellybean that aren’t terrible but that doesn’t really make them sound all too appetizing. Jellybean is potentially a microsecond faster than Ice Cream sandwich, but I haven’t noticed this whilst using it and it also has a Siri like voice search but in all honesty, who actually bothers using this? After the initial ten minutes laughing as it gets questions wrong, or mistakes you saying ‘murder; instead of ‘puppies’ I just gave up on it, as it doesn’t really add anything to the way that I search online.
To clarify: This is NOT an in depth review of Jellybean, this is a personal rant against an inferior update.