In spite of the overwhelming popularity of Google Android all over, there is a surprising number of misconceptions and myths about the mobile platform. Let us take a look at the truths behind some of the most frequently-heard Android myths.
Studies from the International Data Corporation have predicted that, by the end of 2014, Google Android will close in on 80% of the worldwide smartphone market share. Big things are being expected of Apple’s iPhone 6 (rumored to release next week) – but it’s highly unlikely that it would make any significant dent in Android’s popularity. Particularly among those looking for budget smartphones, Android will remain the first choice in the foreseeable future. With the widespread usage of the Android platform, one problem has emerged though – many baseless myths about the mobile OS have started doing the rounds. In the following piece, we will bust some of these common Android myths:
- The malware risks associated with Android are too much – No one took Google’s Eric Schmidt seriously when he suggested that Android is more malware-proof than Apple iOS. While we too feel that such a categorical statement is a bit of a stretch – there is no earthly reason to worry too much about virus attacks on Android. All that you need to do is select apps created by a relatively well-known mobile app development company, and provide the requisite permissions (you can check out a preview too), before installing them. To stay safe, and prove this myth wrong, having a reliable security application on your phone would be advisable too.
- Rooting an Android phone can lead to legal hassles – There is some cloud over whether performing an iOS jailbreak is illegal or not (although it is relatively commonly done, and no one has ever been punished for that yet). There should not be any similar confusion regarding Android device rooting though. In fact, many mobile software maintenance experts feel that rooting an Android smartphone after every few months is a good idea.
- GPS needs to be turned off to save battery – In any standard Android phone, the GPS features get automatically activated only when location-based applications (e.g., maps) are being used. In other words, GPS remains off whenever it’s not required – and hence, does not cause any extra battery drain in your Android handset. Of course, if you use GPS radio services (or similar stuff) for extended durations, the rate of battery depletion will go up.
- Only tech geeks can understand Android – Ex-CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, once famously said that people need a computer to operate Android phones or tablets. The truth is nothing like what he had tried to indicate. The Android user-interface is extremely simple, well-organized and user-friendly – and the flat ‘material design’ of upcoming Android L should enhance the overall intuitive feel of the platform. Even if you are upgrading from a feature phone to an Android smartphone – you are not likely to find the latter complicated. Just play around with it for a bit!
- The Android OS is identical across devices – Well, it’s not. And that’s primarily because the platform is open-source, and manufacturers can add extra apps or do some tweaking with the codes. The OS of a Google Nexus phone, for instance, will differ from that on a Samsung Galaxy device (which, in any case, would be ditching Android for Tizen in its latest flagship handset). Software engineers at Amazon have done their share of modifications to the ‘pure’ Android system, before using it on the Kindle. The version might be the same – but there are companywise differences in the Android OS powering each device.
- Having a task-killer app is an absolute must – If you believe this, you are either a new Android user (and the marketer has done a good job of convincing you!), or you have not yet bothered to think whether the task-killer is really of any help. Professional software and Android app developers point out that the task-killer app performs 2 basic functions (managing RAM space and closing apps that stay active in the background) – both of which can be done without it as well, more easily. It’s practically impossible to run out of RAM in a standard Android handset, while closing any app when it is not being used is hardly a tall ask. In fact, there have been reports that getting rid of the task-killer app can improve the battery life of your phone!
- You should calibrate the phone battery at least once every week – This supposedly boosts the battery performance of Android phones. Battery calibration, in reality, does not (and is not meant to) affect battery life of a handset in any way. It only helps users check the exact percentage of battery that has been consumed at any point in time. You can take such battery readings once every month or so – but if you don’t, there won’t be any problems either.
- There is no pattern to the naming pattern of Android versions – Just like Mac names its desktop OS versions after ‘big cats’, Android has always chosen lip-smacking desserts as its version names. Right from Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich, to Jelly Bean and Kitkat – every new version has been named following this pattern. The latest version (codenamed ‘Android L’) would be named either Lemon Meringue Pie or Lollipop. There’s a number-wise pattern as well, with the upcoming version being either Android 4.5 or 5.0. There’s nothing random about the names!
- It is easier to develop iOS apps than Android apps – This one is not entirely false – although it has got nothing to do with coding-related factors. There are not more than 2-3 screen sizes for iOS devices (including iPhones and iPads), which makes developing customized apps simpler for this platform. For Android though, the scenario is a lot different. There are zillions of Samsung (till now), HTC, Sony, Huawei, LG and other handsets – which are powered by Google’s mobile platform, making customization a bit more tricky and time-consuming. For a developer with enough relevant experience, making Android apps is certainly not ‘difficult’.
- Android applications invariably crash more – Again, a biased statement that is not backed by any solid data. On the one hand, there are reports that apps on iOS 6 devices do not crash as frequently as those on Android Jellybean phones – while a Crittercism report (published in Forbes) hinted that Android applications are, on average, less problematic than iPhone apps. The fact remains, most app crashes are caused by device defects and hardware problems – the platform has got very little to do with such screen freezes. If the manufacturer UI is robust enough, chances of app crashes will remain minimal.
- You should always go for Android phones with quad-core processors – Are you a big-time mobile gaming addict? If not, dual-core phones will be equally good as quad-core ones. According to experts from mobile app companies, only heavy gaming applications need that extra processor speed. For most average Android apps, the processor speed does not really make a difference.
- Android lacks customization options – Those who believe in this have probably mixed up the words ‘Android’ and ‘iOS’. On iPhones, it is not possible to install third-party apps, applications are sandboxed and third-party virtual keyboards are not supported either (all that is likely to change in iOS 8, in all likelihood). Top-notch UI personalization options are, on the other hand, one of the key features of the Android platform. Start using an Android phone and don’t go by hearsay – you’ll find out the truth.
Although there is no room for doubt about the edge Android has over iOS in terms of worldwide device share – even that warrants a closer look. After all, iOS is used only by one company (Apple Inc.), while there is a line of companies which use Android as the default OS in their mobile handsets. With so many users across the globe having Android smartphones, it’s high time the above myths about the platform disappeared!