Android and (lack of) innovation
Here I am, proud owner of a Macbook Air. It's a marvel: Rock Solid, it goes with me every day, it punched some walls right in their faces, it kicked some floors (not too hard) and it learned some magic tricks. Soon it will have 3 years, and now it gives me 6 and half hours of WIFI usage, or 5+ episodes of Breaking Bad in a single charge. The OS is free, and the computer feels faster than when I bought. It's even better. Because of those things, and despite never (even for one second) believing that there is something faster/better/worth it for my needs in the market I know that in a few years (5?) I will buy another Mac, this time for my job.
Simply amazing product.
Value is very important for me, and because of that I settled for an Android device, galaxy s3 mini (heavily discounted, obviously). Despite being one of the ten most used devices to surf the web, it has received 0 updates. I think that samsung and UI are the same mix as Samsung and talent for designing SoC (exynos), or Nvidia and talent for SoC: Disasters.
During the first few months, I tried custom ROMs but despite some support, NovaThor didn't help and Cyanogenmod is a disappointment. So here I am, stock in 4.1.2. I read some rumors that Samsung is trying a new UI and I was thinking... Are they waiting for it to be ready to release some OTA updates? SamMobile had access to some documents that validated the claim that the s3 mini (international: GT-l8190) will be updated.
So, why didn't it happen until now? Because of Vodafone? No, it's because there's absolutely 0 reasons to go through 4.2, 4.3 and even 4.4. There's 0 useful features, 0 useful UI improvements (just new colors, irrelevant to OEMs). There are some things, but nothing that mades the update worth it. Hell, everything should be jelly bean. Since 2010/2011, there's nothing new, nothing better on Android.
So my point stands: While Samsung is no innovator at all (seriously, fooling people to think that your camera is better than the iPhone because it has more megapixels (it isn't, at all), or how your screen is better because it is full hd and all (that pentile oversatured crap isn't better at all), or how your crappy 8-core processors are better (they aren't) even when you must use qualcomm, etc.), Google also is to blame, maybe even more.
The limited innovation that comes to Android is related with OEMs, not Google, and most of those OEMs are in big trouble (all of them besides samsung lose money, so if nothing changes they will disappear) and that's why kitkat is nothing more than slightly polished 4.1, released many moons ago: So OEMs can save on hardware costs and keep prices, to increase margins, and survive.
Personally, while Android gave Google an whole lotta relevance, it didn't gave them a whole lotta love. Clearly they can't make money from it, they just spend money on it, and soon those patents related with ads and search will expire. It just looks like a big, heavy burden right now.
So... What's this all about? Because OEMs are so fragile, because Apple only cares about the high end, because Blackberry is dead, because Microsoft is useless, Google doesn't care about innovation at all in the Android world. Just some irrational projects to keep the "nice" image but that in fact show that there is no direction, no goal, and a big urgency to monetize Android ASAP.
I don't care how many features a phone has, I care about great/useful features and how good the phone is even at trivial tasks. With the elegance of Sense, new commitment from HTC to support devices, Sony trying to rise and LG doing a Samsung to Samsung, I know who is responsible for the attractiveness of Android, and if I chose the little green robot again, it won't be a Samsung.
But I won't chose the little green robot again, because there is someone that cares about UI, support and users, not user data. Yeah, equal valid business practices, but my experience was clear. I will keep this phone for a few years, but if things keep going this way, Apple it is.
While I can understand why people would buy a new HTC, or Sony, I can't understand this Samsung love (those 15 billion per year working their magic, maybe...) or the Google "cute" image. I really like Google, but Android stopped.
I stated my preferences and justified myself, not to smart any flame wars but I was being honest when I wrote this thing. Are some GT-I8190 owners out there? What do you guys think?