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    I think the device(s) used are the problem here. Not Android.

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      I only have so much time and money to buy and test so many devices.

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        That’s why Android folks wanting a good experience often buy a flagship device. Whatever is the best gives them the best experience. I don’t know about the tablets but the Galaxies are steadily top in phones (esp hardware). Pixels were, too, but I haven’t seen one in a while. Maybe discontinued or something. Only gripe on Galaxy is the interface upgrade. Not sure if it’s that good or maybe I just didn’t get used to the change yet.

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          It’s interesting though, because I don’t really like Galaxy’s at all due to what is running on them. I prefer to go for OnePlus or something similar. I guess it’s personal opinion after all.

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            I don’t necessarily like everything on it. I ignore most of the stuff they bundle. I’m just saying the difference between what’s in the article and three of my phones are like different worlds.

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      I agree with the author. Overall the iOS devices are better in terms of user experience and they “just work”.

      But each and every time I get one of those devices handed to me, I get the feeling that I cannot do whatever I want to do with them. For example: I cannot put an mp3-file onto that phone so I can use my own music collection, without jumping through numerous hoops. I cannot seem to find an easy way to connect to a shell server, and I also cannot edit something as simple as a txt file in a proper way.

      I’ve been using android for quite some time, until I also got totally fed up by the fact that the phones have terrible battery life and tend to break immediately when they are dropped.

      That lead me to conclude that smartphones essentially are expensive “throwaway devices”. Once I came to this conclusion it was clear to me that the entire mobile ecosystem is basically a fad, made specifically for selling us expensive subpar gadgets that need to be replaced within 3 years. This also means that the entire ecosystem can disappear within just a couple of years.

      I figured that the money I would have spend on a smartphone, would be better allocated if I just simply got an unlimited monthly subscription plan, a new xl-battery for my decade old 10” netbook and a dumb-phone with wifi and bluetooth tethering features and an mp3-player feature that could play files from a MicroSD card.

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        I cannot put an mp3-file onto that phone so I can use my own music collection, without jumping through numerous hoops.

        Yeah. The easiest way I found so far is to install VLC on the iPhone and connect it to your laptop. Nautilus in GNOME shows the IPhone as a ‘storage’ device with a VLC folder where you can drag videos and music.

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          But then the file would only be available to VLC right?

          That’s still hardly a solution if you want to have that file available in other apps as well. This is a feature I would expect from anything that is a $/€300+ computer that thinks it’s a phone. The aforementioned netbook cost me about €250 a decade ago, therefore it certainly is a feature that I would expect from any iOS device.

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            I get your perspective, but “Want to have that file available in other apps” is kind of a content-free argument that (imo) lessens an otherwise strong point. Why do you want this? Which other apps? Are you, say, an audio engineer and you’re editing tracks on the go, so you want it to show up in your audio editing app?

            In practice for my ios use, it’s been a mild hassle but not a huge one. Breaking inter-app sandboxing would be pretty convenient for a few things, even if it does open up new classes of attack (eg save a maliciously-formatted file where another app will read it).

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              It’s not about why, but it’s about what I expect from a $600 phone.

              If I buy a $600 phone, I expect that I will at least be able to do some basic file operations, document reading, annotation and editing and processing of some basic file formats. Examples include downloading a config file, editing it and uploading it to a remote server again or the simple requirement that an MP3 should be playable by multiple apps and should be usable as a ringtone, while it is stored only once on a device that is short on memory.

              Basically, I expect it to replace my laptop or pc for nearly all my day-to-day tasks except for writing a formal letter maybe. But as it stands, I cannot even browse, or write something on most of the internet in a proper way on a smartphone.

              iOS fails at this, while android delivers with way cheaper devices. But even the lower prices of android devices do not nullify the fact that even then, functionality wise, I cannot replace a €250 10” netbook with a $600 phone or tablet. As long as this is the case, to me, these devices are just mere toys that will not be functional anymore 3 to 5 years from now, while a decade old netbook, a Sony PRS-T1 e-reader, and a feature phone, will still function. There is a myriad of other toys I can buy for $600.

              That’s not to say that I am blind to the benefits smartphones and tablets provide. I’ve had a couple of those over the years, I see their upsides for use as devices to streamline all kinds of processes and I think that navigation on those devices is their true killer feature, but in the end, it just doesn’t add enough value to my life to justify that $600 purchase, while in the meantime, they give me that creepy feeling of continuously being watched, disrupted and interrupted.

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                But even the lower prices of android devices do not nullify the fact that even then, functionality wise, I cannot replace a €250 10” netbook with a $600 phone or tablet.

                Why on earth would you buy a $600 phone or tablet when €200 buys you a perfectly usable device [1] with an octocore Snapdragon 636 @1.8 GHz, 4GB of internal memory (which is more than your €250 netbook has) and 64GB of internal storage (again most likely more than the netbook had when you bought it), a ~6” wide HD display (smaller but higher resolution than the netbook) with touch functionality (netbook: no such thing), a missing keyboard (yes, here the netbook definitely wins so go buy an external keyboard already), 4G (not in the netbook), wifi (faster than in the netbook) and the freedom to install your own version of Android (netbook wins as it runs plain Linux I assume but Android does get things done, mostly) plus the usual load of cameras and sensors which the netbook lacks.

                Why do people spend so much on mobile devices? Is it a lack of knowledge, some form of peer pressure or just affluence signalling?

                [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redmi_Note_5 - many other devices exist in this category, this is only an example I happen to have experience with

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                  Yet it would still not provide me with all the functionality that my old netbook provides me with. It’s about the ability to run the software that enables me to do things. Not the features of the hardware.

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          I can’t really argue on the point of mobile devices being fragile, the ever-bigger touch screens in combination with the scratch-but-not-crash-resistant glass lenses being the main cause of this. Some phones are more fragile than others but all of them have a hard time resisting that stone which happened to be the first thing meeting them on their way down from your hands or pocket.

          On the subject of battery time I do have to differ though. I currently use two devices, a Xiaomi Redmi Note 5 and a Motorola Defy+. The Xiaomi lasts around a week on a full charge, the (8 years old) Motorola used to last about 5 days but now has gone down to 2 - with an 8 years old battery, playing audio all day (listening to netcasts and lectures while working on the farm etc.). Both devices cost me around €170 new, both run Google-free AOSP-derivatives. They connect to my own server for syncing whatever I deem in need of such, no need for any external ‘services’. Playing that mp3 or editing that file is no problem (apart from the horrid typing experience on a touchscreen that is - I could use an external keyboard (wired or wirelsss, both work, a mouse works as well for those who prefer those over touchscreens).

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          @tedu Im with timvisee on this. I have a Galaxy S9. I think I had to do a few things on first boot like enter my Gmail account. After that, a reboot does a splash screen, Im on home screen shortly, and I just use the thing. It mostly stays out of the way. I dont get emails. Maybe I unsubscribed or changed a setting (idk).

          It can do random updates for apps. Play Store has a setting where you can turn off auto-update or set it to Wifi-only. Far as system updates, you can tell it to do them later. It will let you ignore it until that hits some time limit. Think it’s a day or most of one. Then it forces it through. Slow process given apps get reoptimized. Doesn’t happen a lot, though.

          I also installed Netguard to firewall off the chatty apps. I kill anything Im not using with task switch button. That’s just a precaution given its great, battery life. Last thing is turn down image quality to save space since even mid-grade images look really good.

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            I really wish that Google were still making tablets like the Nexus 7. That was an awesome device: stock Android, great form-factor.

            OnePlus were really good and near-stock for a long time, but they got rid of the headphone jack (and they are Chinese, which has bad privacy I’m, and they had a bad privacy fail a few years ago).

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              story time: when I moved to iOS after it died (just kidding, it didn’t, I loved the screen off it and a well-meaning relative gifted me a new phone + service) I named my new Apple device in its honor: Nexus 5.

              Such an amazing device. Everyone spouting off about things giving you joy, but looking back, that thing was the only electronic device I’ve ever owned that did. Followed closely by the first iPhone.

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              (I initially drafted this as a response to https://lobste.rs/s/fifilx/hello_android#c_w3eaug but found that it addresses a number of replies, so I chose to make it top level)

              To everyone saying that you should just pick a different device: Compare that I can still buy a second hand iPhone 5S for as cheap as 150 EUR and receive all operating system updates by just hitting the update button. For just little more, I can get a refurbished 6S, and for a bit more a new one, which is still a very capable device. I have a wide range to choose for every purpose, with a similar core promise and a track record.

              Which is @tedu’s biggest point: navigating the Android space for a secure device is terrible, because the ecosystem fails at basics: keeping devices in support. Especially for a backup/travel device, I want to be sure that I can just pull it out, hit “update” and be happy.

              The reasons outlined are exactly why I moved off Apple in all aspects of my computing life except my phone: I have expectations for support, I want to keep my devices as long as possible and Apple has delivered in that space. I owned 3 smart phones since smart phones exist and I intend to use my current one until it dies.

              A lot of the other issues described in the post are fundamental UX problems of the Android space. iOS has a very well working “update tonight” mode and will not use your data.

              It’s a super-hard failure for Android, which set out to be an operating systems for everyone that they can’t keep everyone supplied with basics, notably operating system updates. Recommendations like “just buy top of the class/Google” are odd, because that kinda says that Android is only competitive with iOS if you buy in the same price class or from a single vendor. It’s basically supporting what tedu says directly in the post:

              We can’t let the poors get access to the good updates.

              Currently, if you want the poors get access to the good updates without having them to learn the intricacies of flashing their phone, the only proper recommendation is an older generation iPhone.

              No one should need to learn how to flash their phone to stay secure.

              I don’t want to say you shouldn’t be happy with Android or you shouldn’t get a phone that you can tinker with. But the outlined flaws are very well considered, rebuttals like “just get a different device” are falling way short of the effort that went into the original post.

              I’m very rigid in one of my views: From a security and from a fairness perspective, we can’t have devices falling out of support that quickly and this is one of the biggest problems we currently have in the phone space. Defending Google or the vendors using Android on that front doesn’t advance things in a world where we have managed to supply free, usable, well-supported and cheap updates for any other mobile device like laptops.

              Don’t get me wrong: the moment there’s a “Fedora/Ubuntu for Phones” which builds that track record, I’m off iOS.

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                Google’s Nexus lineup used to address the concern of having an affordable yet up-to-date device on the market, along with the OnePlus One. Now, I would recommend the Pixel 3a as that new device. Relatively cheap (although still grossly inflated compared to five years ago) and guaranteed the latest updates for at least three years. However, I’m watching Purism closely because I feel like it could bring some lengevity to the mobile space.

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                  “Used to” being the key word. “Guaranteed up to three years” is also quite short, given the talk about planned obsolescence going around and the track record of Google in practice.

                  We’re in the odd situation where Apple gives no guarantees, but outclasses everyone else.

                  The whole point of the original post is that while such devices may exist, ecosystem trust is also a thing and I cannot rely on an Android device (a name vendors have to apply for) to generally be supported beyond sales date :). That trust has been eroded.