This is the reason why I have a hard time truly recommending an Android phone – Verizon pushed an update (NG6) which caused the phone to reliably crash every half hour or more frequently. Full factory reset didn’t fix the issue. They then pushed another update, NK1 I think, which fixed the crashing, but battery life has gone to crap. This was with location turned off. Nothing else was above 3%. If the OS is taking 2x the power what should be the most power hungry part of the phone, the screen, then that OS is failing.
I don’t know if this is due to whatever customizations Samsung puts on Android, whatever additions Verizon tacks on, or due to Android OS itself. The OS updates come through Verizon, so from what I’ve read, they’re most likely to blame. The updates are virtually forced in that if you don’t do them, you are prompted every time the phone is unlocked to update. It really doesn’t matter who causes the issue – each participant will just point to the next. Verizon doesn’t care because you’re on contract. Samsung doesn’t care because they already have your money and would rather you buy a new phone anyway. Google may or may not care, since it’s not a base OS issue (other devices are fine) and has no way of forcing a fix anyway.
I’m sure there are issue with Apple devices. I don’t own one and I don’t particularly want one, but at least when your iPhone gets broken by an update you know exactly who caused the problem: Apple. I think this alone gives Apple a huge advantage in that they are in full control of the OS (and the hardware), so if a fix is needed you know exactly who’s responsibility it is to take care of it, and they know they have premium reputation to uphold so at least there are better odds that they will take care of it.
Some things that Android OS could benefit from:
- Individual feature permissions for apps – very few apps should ever be allowed to query my location.
- Better kernel control over functions – if an app is hammering the GPS for a location and it’s not available, shut it down. No app should be able to single handedly burn through a battery in a few hours unknown to the user (yes, I have had this happen).
- Consolidated settings, specifically notifications and permissions for each app. There are some third party apps that try to do this, but it should be rolled into the OS.
- Fewer manufacturer and carrier customizations – I know there are a few google play version devices out there and I will consider them if I’m still interested in Android as of my next renewal time.
- App longevity – I have seen apps that are forced to expire (present an “outdated” notification and exit) once a new version comes out. Problem is that the new version can have reduced features. Yes, I’ve seen this exact scenario happen, and it makes me hesitant to ever purchase any apps since I consider them all to be temporary.