Many consumers have long admired the Android operating system as a more “open” alternative to the closed iOS ecosystem. But more and more, Google seems intent on ruining this past advantage. Already, highly-admired features, like running apps from an SD card (and getting add-on storage), have been dropped from most phones. And while Google has claimed that change was for “better security,” many observers felt it was simply to upsell more storage.
Now, with its latest rev — Android 10 — Google adds more than 60 new features to the OS. And while some of these again are “security updates,” you can find gobs of information elsewhere that runs them down. BTW, rumor has it they didn’t give this “Q” release a food-name, because of lack of a good candidate. Really? What’s wrong with “quince,” or “quinoa”?
The rev does come with a host of new issues, however, such as the following:
- Dark Mode. Introduced on Android 9 (Pie), Dark Mode provides a more-sexy theme based on blacks and dark colors. But amazingly, it doesn’t work with Google’s own Gmail or Maps apps. Duh.
- Non-erasable Location Cards. This is a really annoying problem: visited location cards can’t be stopped from re-appearing in the Android Auto startup screen, even if you don’t have any interest in going to that location. One user complained about the dreadful situation where she was at a funeral for her mother, and now the damn phone keeps reminding her about that visit ad nauseum. While it may be possible to delete this by blocking all location history, that’s somewhat akin to using a sledgehammer to hang a picture.
- Pixel Sensor Broken Issue — Many users are finding that the sensors on their Pixel phones stopped working after the update.
- A Memory Leak has been reported that allows a closed app to remain resident in RAM.
Of course, any software update will have its growing pains, along with some workarounds. But when you build a feature like Location Cards and don’t think through something that would be obvious to any user, you’ve got a serious problem somewhere in the product development process. And what’s really inexcusable is that, from the posts on Google Help, it seems that issues like the Location Card problem have been known to Google even with Android Pie — and their staff responds by saying the behavior is “subjective.”
You’d think Google would have the resources to develop features that are useful and not annoying. Perhaps 10.1?