Android OEMs: which changes must be made in 2020

Jack Wallen shares his wish list for what changes Android OEMs should consider for the new year.

Image: Getty Images / iStockphoto

The new year is coming and I have made my predictions for Android and mobility. All in all, I believe it will be a remarkable year for Google’s mobile platform; however, I am pretty sure that part of that success is in the hands of the OEMs that produce Android devices. Here is my advice to those manufacturers to help Android stay a great platform.

SEE: Top Android security tips (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

1. Android OEMs, just say “no” to bloatware

You really have to get rid of bloatware; experts shouted at what seems to be nothing more than a void. This bloatware contains your UI skins – the vanilla Android interface is nice enough without your help.

In most cases, users never have trouble with your apps, because there are built-in solutions that perform better and are more integrated into Android. Gmail, Drive, Calendar – you can’t add much to what these standard apps offer, so your apps only take up space, slow down the devices and / or cause security issues. Even worse, these apps tend to slow down the Android upgrade process. Trust me when I say that users want the latest version of Android more than they want your apps.

Concentrate that the latest upgrade works on your hardware, release vanilla Android and help improve the user experience.

SEE: 10 largest Android flops of the decade (TechRepublic)

2. Android OEMs, help Google to migrate to the Linux main line kernel

Google wants to adopt the Linux kernel kernel, and this should be at the top of your task list. This change can seriously improve the Android release process and platform security. If you plan to help Google with Android, let it be the migration to the mainline Linux kernel.

If you fight against this change, everyone loses; if you help make it happen, everyone wins. See how that works? This is going to take a huge effort and the last thing Google needs is pushback from OEMs, so don’t do it. Play along, work together and let this happen.

SEE: More technical predictions for 2020 (TechRepublic on Flipboard)

3. Android OEMs, resuscitate the microSD

We understand it; There are countless reasons why you drop the microSD card from devices. One of the reasons is that you want to make the consumer strong in the upsale. Since external storage is not supported, why not buy the 128 GB model instead of the 64 GB?

Here’s a better idea: bring back external storage so that users don’t have to make that decision, and while we are busy, you know that 64 GB is hardly enough storage. For some consumers, the smartphone is their only computer, so they need more storage. Why does 128 GB not become the standard and offer 256 GB and larger? Or simply restore the microSD card so that users can dictate the top of their device storage.

SEE: Android gift guide: the best gifts in 2019 (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

4. Android OEMs, make better quality control a high priority

In the past two years I had to return four devices due to production problems and if you google enough, you will find thousands of consumers complaining about the lack of quality control. No manufacturer is safe for this.

Instead of eating up the costs of quality control – because it is cheaper than building the right screening device – remember that blatant contempt for consumers is not good for you. When devices fail due to production problems, consumers should consider switching to a different brand. Don’t let this problem pass because every OEM has problems with quality control. You all have to do better. Customer satisfaction must be your most important goal. Period of time.

5. Android OEMs, enough with the gimmicks

This is the deal: consumers want phones that work quickly and reliably. We do not want modules, folds, multiple cameras, squeezable devices and other gimmicks that are not used or overlooked. We want clear, borderless displays, lots of RAM and storage, stock Android, high-quality telephone calls, long-lasting batteries, and reliable network connectivity. Check all those boxes and your device will be a hit, but neglect them in favor of gimmicks and your device will fail. Enough with the gimmicks.

SEE: The best Android phones of the past decade (TechRepublic)

6. Android OEMs, choose a biometric standard and stick to it

Face recognition is the future of smartphones – at least until we start using DNA or another biometric fiction. My experience is that face recognition is superior to fingerprint sensors because it is more consistent and convenient.

Whatever biometrics you want to use, make it a standard because app developers need to know which way to go. On my Pixel 4, some apps use face recognition and others don’t. Choose a biometric standard and stick to it. Just make the right choice: face recognition.

7. Honorable mentions

A few other pieces of advice for Android OEMs:

  • Do not make a device unless you can support it for at least two years.

  • It’s fine if you drop the headphone jack; just don’t go completely portless.

  • Make hands-free truly hands-free.

  • Do not skimp on the quality of telephone calls. Remember that these are telephones.

  • Make support a priority.

  • If your device fails, learn from your mistakes – and the mistakes of others.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it is a good place to start. Manufacturers of Android devices, are you listening?

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