The problem with ICS still lies at Android's core OS
It all started with Android 1.1, Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, and now here we are with Ice Cream Sandwich. So much has changed. The OS has become beautiful in it's stock form, brilliant, and so much more intuitive. With the addition of Android 4.0 many new users are blown away by it's power and design, however power users who have stuck with the OS since the 1.1 are still plagued with some of the same issues that really need to be resolved before the next installment of the OS. How can Android be improved?
Simple, beautiful, beyond smart
"Android 4.0 builds on the things people love most about Android — easy multitasking, rich notifications, customizable home screens, resizable widgets, and deep interactivity — and adds powerful new ways of communicating and sharing."
Problem 1: With the new installment of ICS multitasking has been redone in a whole new way. Many have expressed concerns with the way the HTC One X handles multitasking, but for the sake of keeping this post "pure" I will just cover the issues of the OS in it's pure form. Multitasking on 4.0 is awful to say the least, and it could be so easily fixed if it was faster. Using the multitasking key on the Galaxy Nexus takes more time than just returning to home and clicking on an app on the home screen. The scroll can be a bit lagging at times and after waiting a good second for the little glow animation from hitting the virtual key, if the task you are trying to get to is last on the list you have to scroll all the way to the top. Users are not going to want to remember to constantly have to swipe away apps to keep the multitasking panel clear. I have yet to see any OS handle multitasking in a convenient manner. Although the design on 4.0 for multitasking really is beautiful until it is fast and a bit more intuitive it will just be eye candy that "barely works".
The beauty in Android is that you virtually do anything with it. Many of the problems that I am going to cover can be dealt with by installing a ROM or launcher. However there are new users of the platform who expect it to just work.
Home screen functionality is still lacking. Until I used launchers like Go, Nova, and Apex I had no clue just how lacking the home screen functionality on Android 4.0 was. Actually even using skins or (a more integrated experience) from the horrid OEM's have a better home screen experience. Go Launcher make making folders so much easier that stock does which is sad to say the least. Some of these launchers are even smoother than the stock launcher although I have to wonder if the transitions they provide just cover the lag in Android that the stock launcher does not hide. At any rate, the home screen is not a problem so I will move on from that.
Improved text input and spell-checking
Problem 2: The stock keyboard on Android 4.0 is simply beautiful, I love the look and design of it, however once again it is painfully slow and laggy in landscape mode. Try typing a long email in landscape with the stock keyboard, it is seriously almost impossible. Can you imagine giving a Galaxy Nexus to your co-workers and asking them to work from it. Having to send a long email would take forever if they were not in portrait mode. I just don't understand why this is. Actually my favorite keyboard has become A.I Type using the Windows Phone theme. That keyboard just works. As with problem one (Multitasking) problem two also suffers from the same issue that I believes lies at the core of Android, or Linux. It. Is. SLOW!
I can finally say that the text prediction on 4.0 is loads better than it has ever been and auto correction has improved significantly.
Browse the Web at your fingertips
Problem 3: So, there are always alternatives like Chrome but the stock browser is so close to being near perfect. Here you can see the root problem in Android. Android would be so perfect if it was just a little quicker and smoother. The browser is a bit choppy, and scrolling can be a nightmare at times. Most of the time the browser is pleasant to use however.
These are my main three issues at the moment, but there are also so many more issues with 4.0 that need to be resolved. The Galaxy Nexus has a major re-boot problem. No one should have to deal with a phone that reboots when it sees fit, I originally wanted to blame this on the hardware but I am starting to think that it may be the software and hardware.
In closing, I have to wonder why Sense and touchwiz and Blur don't really have all these issues. However I am fully aware of the issues they have also. I have bought into the Android ecosystem and some of the apps suffer from the core issues in Android. Is slowness or lag really the core issue of Android or is it something that we have yet to discover? You have to admit that all the problems revolve around one key factor that manufactures keep trying to fix with faster processors. The processor what fix the issues, the software needs to be tweaked. Android still remains my OS of choice and it is still the most powerful I hope jellybean fixes some of these problems.