What we’d like Android to steal from other operating systems

by: David GilsonJanuary 2, 2013


Android may be our favorite operating system, but it’s certainly not perfect. If you are someone who uses multiple devices with different operating systems, there are no doubt features you miss as you switch from one platform to another. We’ve taken a long hard look at other mobile operating systems and picked out the features that we wish could make their way into Google’s mobile OS.

1. Cleaner widgets

Android’s widgets are great, and were a key differentiator to the stark grid of icons on the iPhone. However, Microsoft’s entrant into the mobile world – Windows Phone 7 and 8 ­– brought the live tile design pattern where icons and widgets became a hybrid object that acted as a launcher and information display. While it would be nice if live tiles displayed a little more information than they do, they do offer a very clean look and feel. Meanwhile, Android’s standard widgets often make homescreens look too cluttered, which is why we recently suggested Android is better suited to tablets.

Windows Phone 8 tiles look cleaner than widgets

Windows Phone 8 tiles look cleaner than widgets

2. Notification counts on icons

While iOS lacks the widgets we know and love on Android, it does have a way of instantly feeding information back to its user. It does so by displaying numerical indicators on app icons, letting you know how many items require your attention. While there are third party apps on Android that simulate this feature, it isn’t baked into the operating system. Having similar icons on an Android homescreen would be a good substitute for some widgets, thus using space more efficiently.

Notification counts in iOS

Notification counts in iOS

3. A better notification center

When the iOS notification center was introduced it was a blatant copy of the Android notification shade. However, Apple’s version of the pull down notification center does a much better job of grouping notifications. In Android, message previews are only shown for each app if there is only one message, otherwise there’s just an unread count. In iOS, previews are shown for all unread items, grouped by application.

The iOS notification center

The iOS notification center

4. Better social contact integration

While certain Android apps support contact synchronisation, the People app does a pretty poor job of integrating the social accounts of people in your address book. Conversely, the Windows Phone ‘People Hub’ does an excellent job of matching your address book entries to your social contacts, and presenting an integrated contact view, blending together all available details and social activities. Not only that, but the Windows Phone People Hub also shows the history of your communications with a given contact, and allows you to quickly contact them on social networks too. With Windows Phone 8, Skype has been added as well.

Social contacts in the Windows Phone People Hub

Social contacts in the Windows Phone People Hub

5. Hardware silence key

One of the unique hardware features of the iPhone since the iPhone 4 is a physical silence switch, which is very useful if you frequently need to keep your phone quiet. With the iPhone’s physical switch, silencing can be achieved quickly and without looking. That’s handy when you don’t want to be seen fiddling with your phone! With Android, silencing is more problematic.

The iOS silence switch

The iOS silence switch

6. Easy TV-Out

Some Android handsets can be connected to a TV. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2, for instance, can connect via its MHL functionality, but this is not standard to all Android handsets. On the other hand, the iPhone and most Symbian handsets are TV-Out ready – all they need is the right cable. We would love to see a TV-Out become a standard of Android.

iPhone TV Out cable (source)

iPhone TV Out cable (source)

7. Microsoft Office

Android has plenty of Microsoft Office-compatible office suites, but all of them have their quirks. Meanwhile, Windows Phone comes complete with a free mobile version of Office. Microsoft already has released OneNote for Android and there are credible rumours that it will release Office for Android. With the release of Android tablets that convert into small laptops (e.g. Asus Transformers), more people are depending on Android as a mobile productivity platform. Google Drive is great for collaboration, but doesn’t work well offline and doesn’t support editing Microsoft Office files. Therefore, Android needs an office suite that is more reliable than the current third party options.

Microsoft Office in Windows Phone 8


Microsoft Office in Windows Phone 8


8. Consistent back button behavior

A consistent gripe with Android is the inconsistency of its back button. The back button still does not behave as expected and routinely drops you into the homescreen or closes the app when all you wanted was to get back to the previous screen. Meanwhile, the back button in Windows Phone 7 and 8 behaves much more like a web browser, taking you through your history of pages from app to app.

Switching back through app pages in Windows Phone

Switching back through app pages in Windows Phone 8

9. App folders

I know, I know, Android already has folders for apps. Unfortunately, those folders are only for homescreens. No matter how much organisation you put into your homescreens, your app grid will still be the same flat alphabetical list. This is in contrast to various other mobile operating systems that include folders on their app launcher grids: Symbian, MeeGo Harmattan, and iOS. Most of us have ‘crapware’ applications on our Android devices that we cannot uninstall. If we had folders on the app grid, we could at least hide these annoyances.

iOS App Folders

 iOS App Folders

10. Better text input

The standard keyboard introduced with Ice Cream Sandwich was a great step forward, bringing it closer in quality to the much loved SwiftKey keyboard. However, Windows Phone seems to have the best combination of input speed and prediction ability. Things have improved with Windows Phone 8 as it has incorporated next word prediction, just like the Ice Cream Sandwich keyboard. One of the subtlest features of the Windows Phone correction system is its deft clean-up of spaces that precede punctuation marks.

The Windows Phone 8 keyboard

The Windows Phone 8 keyboard

What features from competing operating would you like Android to “steal”?

  • i must say before i read this i never realized how much useful these changes can be especially individual app notification count and better notification center.

    • RIchard Parker

      That’s because the majority of these features are pure rubish. Droid is better (and more unique) in so many ways that its not even funny. Why adopt features, it dilutes droid and makes it similar to others, Droid doesn’t need to be similar, it is already more advanced. If it has the same features as other devices, then why buy a droid? It doesn’t make sense..

      Apple was first, we can agree with that, but they certainly are NOT better. People are convinced Apple somehow is superior.. Years ago Cadillac was the status symbol.. now it’s BMW. it doesn’t mean people ACTUALLY know what’s better, they just ASSUME you pay more for something it MUST be better, which is CLEARLY not the case.

      • ragingdemon

        Physical silence button? The power toggle is not cool for you anymore? Better text input? Did you know that there is android 4.2 with awesome keyboard? Notification counter on icon is useless, and notification center is great. Very lame article overall.

      • Have to say that I’m not suggesting one OS is better than another in this article. This is my opinion in the parts I’d like to cherry pick from all operating systems. If I’d be picking parts from Android to go in the other operating systems, I’d want the hackability, the non-restrictive access to the operating system for devs, compared to WP8 and iOS, and Android has the best content sharing menu.

        Did you know that in Windows Phone you can’t even send an image over Bluetooth! 0_o

        Plus iOS generally has a back button in the top-left corner of the screen making it really uncomfortable to reach for.

        No one OS is perfect.

        • cron daemon

          I agree with you.
          Too bad most people here seems have close-minded nature.

          That reminds me a friend of mine said “when you feel perfect then you’ll no longer seek improvement”. Now I understand what it means :)

  • Airplay on all android platforms would be the best!!
    And maybe quick updates, I only have nexus product of the same reason, but still too slow.

    • RIchard Parker

      ..you are assuming Airplay is an exclusive device, there are other more capable devices.. we don’t NEED an Apple branded logo for it to be just as good.

      • Well, they haven’t done it yet, had years to do it.
        ohh wait Miracast…. oh wait only for nexus 4 eventhough many other phones/tablets should be capable.

        • Because the standard hasn’t been made official yet. We will start to see all kinds of miracast capable devices this year and expect miracast to be a standard feature of the higher end android devices by the end of this year.

  • Matt

    cleaner stock widgets i guess would be nice, but you can find plenty of clean widgets on the play store.

    notifications on icons is pretty pointless to me. its pretty hard to miss a new text when it sits at the top notification bar until you check it.

    the notification center should be better? disagree. its great. expandable notifications, ability to use 3rd party apps to add functionality ie power toggles, weather etc.

    better text input? have you used android 4.2? the gesture typing is awesome…

  • Earl

    Funny, my old 3GS had one…. seems like the learning could be better on your end.

    5. Hardware silence keyOne of the unique hardware features of the iPhone since the iPhone 4 is a physical silence key

    • RIchard Parker

      READ the article headline:
      What we’d like Android to steal from other operating systems

      What does that mean? It means they want to ADOPT features from other mobile devices.. they DID learn, it’s implied to be a feature that is needed on a droid, I don’t agree with that.

      • Earl

        I understand the headline. The point within the point is wrong though, thus, sloppy journalism.

    • I wasn’t aware of the feature on older iPhones as I had been using Symbian and Android up until recently – bought an iPhone 4S for research purposes, and from discussions with others thought the hardware switch was new to iP4.

      • Nevi_me

        Fair mistake

  • LOL, is this a joke?

    iOS notification centre is better you say?

    If you get a notification in iOS, you can’t swipe it away, nor can you clear all with a single tap like on Android, instead you have to press the tiny x on EACH AND EVERY notification (see image in the article)

    I find this Article is a joke and Android Authority day by day is becoming more of an Apple Authority, sad to see!!

    • leoingle

      I agree with you on the notification part.

    • Shadow Fox

      Not each and every notification- but every App since they are grouped by them.

      There’s a caveat to IOS and Android- You can wipe them easily in Android, but you have to scroll the entire list to ensure they are from the same App. In IOS, you can clear all App notifications in one touch, but you can’t clear every App’s notifications at once.

      Just like any OS, they both have pro’s and con’s- Like any other choice in life.

      • Justin Winker

        They are grouped by app in Android as well – the only ones that aren’t grouped b y app come from the GPlay store for any updates. For example, if you receive 12 e-mails, all will be shown in one singular notification. The same applies with tweets from your favorite twitter application, messages, etc.

        • Nevi_me

          This writer’s clueless to an extent. I read this article minutes after it was posted, reserved my comment till people had a go at him :)

          Only one that’s never grouped is the Play Store after updating an app or installing a new one. The rest as you say, are grouped. So it’s not an Android problem, it’s something the Play Store team must implement.

      • RIchard Parker

        Not true, if you have Go development apps AND launcher, EACH app can be cleared separately. Because of this I started using Go Dev exclusively…

        If they can do it, certainly OTHER Droid’s ROM can do it.. they are not doing it.

        The IOS user community is like public transportation, yeah everyone gets on a single bus, it’s streamlined and you don’t have to think about it.. but for those of us that MUST drive to get to work, the bus, train, public transit doesn’t work. WE NEED something more custom..

        I like droid because there are many ways to get the same thing done, and Apple doesn’t decide HOW I can use my phone. *I* decide.. Apple doesn’t like people changing the formula.. it’s not a success, it’s just convincing the world it’s cool.

        • Chip Estrada

          Apple products are for the technically inept.

          • hoggleboggle

            so it seems at first glance, until you try to do basic tasks like downloading a file or attachment or opening a file in an app other than the default one. then you suddenly have to learn numerous tricks a methods to do what comes naturally and simply for android.

    • MasterMuffin

      CNET writer… CNET and The Verge have writers that often prefer Apple…

      • For the record, I’m platform agnostic. Being a tech journalist I have to be using ALL platforms all the time, so I get to see the best and worst parts of each. For most people this isn’t possible because you generally get a phone on a contract and stick with it for the duration.

        • Jared Persinger

          I prefer Android but he if you liek the iphone more than I don’t really care

          • Brady

            That’s how everyone should be. Don’t matter what you like. Just don’t follow 1 phone’s technology and progression and call yourself a technology enthusiast like most people. That’s very weird to me. How would somebody’s brain work like that.

        • MasterMuffin

          That’s not the case for me, I’ve had 2 iphones, ipad 3, huawei ideos x5, sgs2 and now I’m using sgs3 and never been happier. And tough there are some points in this, I find this article was made about stock android, because for example #9 is available in (for example again) touchwiz. And it really seems that CNET and The Verge writers prefer often Apple from the articles that I”ve read!

        • cron daemon

          I don’t understand with all this closed-minded response from android user. I agree with the article. Android will look better with all those steals, err, improvements :)

          for #9, I think some launcher already have folders built in. I forgot which launcher, because I’ve tried myriad of them (well that’s the reason why I love Android ^^).

          for #1 I completely agree, that’s the reason why I use Launcher7 on android. it’s tidier & more informative.
          honestly I’m sick of switching between homescreen – appdrawer on android, it’s confusing. I don’t like another layer of screen, just give me direct access to apps.
          yeah perhaps sounds like ios, just appdrawer without homescreen. but microsoft do it right, homescreen on left, and app drawer on right. simple. no, I still hate microsoft, but I give credit where it’s due.

          really, people, Android is really great, and for me, android (with root access) is the best OS out there currently. however that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. it still need lot of improvement.

          of course, I believe what’s the writer means here is to ‘steal’ the good aspect, not the bad one :)
          so, don’t you all happy if android getting better & better everyday ?
          or your closed mind prevent it to progress further ?

          • Chip Estrada

            Android already has all those abilities. This article was useless.

        • Chip Estrada

          Prove it! Write a comprehensive article on things iOS should steal from Android. There is a myriad of functions to choose from if you are as objective as you claim.

          • News flash, he doesn’t have to prove it. You don’t like his writing, then don’t read it. Move on troll.

    • casinrm

      I totally agree. It’s like the author of this article has never expanded an email notification on Android in his life. It does exactly what he’s asking it to do and some of these expandable notifications are even interactive! Why the hell should Android copy iOS which copied the notification shade from Android in the first place?

    • Ryan MORGAN

      Hey, it’s his opinion, plus he’s not saying the iOS notification center is better. he would just like some of the better features to come to Android.

      • Like what!?

        • RarestName

          The ability to reorder…

    • its only one part of the iOS notification centre that is better, namely notification grouping

  • i would love notifications on my S3 displayed in the center of my lockscreen … just like on iOS

    • Nevi_me

      You know, there’s probably an app on the Play Store for that

  • Kwells155

    The iphone has had a physical silence Switch since the original iPhone, not just since the iPhone 4.

    • RIchard Parker

      Still a lousy idea, we can reprgram ANY soft button to do this.. I know because I can hold the power button on my droid to silence my phone…not a big deal. Why have a hardware button (that can be accidentally flipped, which I have done when I had an iPhone 3G) because a soft button serves a much higher purpose.. I can give a GOOD example.

      Calendar.. if you have an appointment like a meeting you can automatically silence your phone during the meeting.. you can’t do this with a hardware button… so therefore your phone has no control over sound.

      DUMB idea.

      • Nevi_me

        And wouldn’t Android have to tell manufacturers to put the button there? The very idea that he’s saying Android (an OS) should change hardware features makes him an iDiot in my book

        • Guest

          Play nice children :-)

          • Nevi_me

            Done, removed ill references

  • Apple’s notification center is frustrating. For instance, they have live stock quotes in there with no way (that i know of) to remove them.
    Also, the iPhone has had the silence switch since the befinning. It’s probably the only thing I miss about the iPhone.

    • aj

      Actually, the iPhone has a way to remove them.. go to Settings->Notifications->click on edit and press at the right side of stocks widget and drag it to not in notification centre

  • I love android notifications and widgets on Jelly Bean.

  • David Kirby

    Galaxy s3 let’s you make folders in the app tray and you can hide any application as well.

    • Nevi_me

      Yea, it’s also there in stock Android :)

      • No, stock Android does not have folders in the application grid.

        • Nevi_me

          Okay, he was talking about the app grid. You’re right.
          But am I the only person who thinks that they’re a bit unnecessary? Apple doesn’t have an app grid that’s separate from their home screen, i.e. the home screens are the app grid. So why would I put all my apps in folders on the grid when I can do that on the home screens? If it was such a necessity I’d have seen *a lot* of custom launcher devs making it, so far haven’t

          • Well saying which respective parts of iOS and Android have the app launcher is semantics really. I know that I could put folders on my Android homescreen and load app icons into them, but that takes time and thought. Even if I do set up my perfect set of folders, if there’s an app I haven’t filed that I need to get to, then I still have to go into the app grid/launcher and swipe through everything to find it, which kind of makes app icons on the home screen a tad redundant.

            For the record, on my Nexus 7, I have CM10 running, and I don’t put any app icons on my homescreens, I use the homescreens for widgets. I have six dock slots, on one side I have app folders, and on the other I have my favourite three apps.

          • Nevi_me

            I see what you’re saying. I have CM10 on my device, and all screens are full of icons. I don’t have that many widgets as I use their apps a lot already. I find folders to be quick to set up, and being able to put multiple copies of the same app even in the same screen, it makes the whole thing better. I generally keep the launcher for most of the other apps that I hardly need to use.

            Putting semantics aside, the real beauty about Android is that they leave a lot of room for customisation (and sometimes improvement). I read one of your comments, and you said you are OS agnostic. So having used multiple apps, I’m confident that you’ll agree that Apple’s way when it comes to homescreen icons is quite lacking. It’s visually appealing sometimes, but lacking. That’s what makes it unique to the rest, most iOS users are comfortable with it.

          • With 5 pages of home screen I have plenty of space for widgets and apps. I only go to the app drawer for rarely used apps. Don’t have a need for folders in the app drawer but I am never opposed to improvements. It should be noted though that Android has the same foldering capabilities as iOS, which is folders on the home screen.

  • Taurus

    This review has been written by someone who either doesn’t like Android our hasn’t used one. You do not need a silence button because you can just flip the phone over to silence it. The notification centre on jellybean its more informative than iOS. As for the folders, that concept was introduced neck in the days of gingerbread.

    • RIchard Parker

      EXACTLY what I was thinking.. this person doesn’t have a clue or spent ANY time with a droid.

      I can debunk every one of these points, but I don’t have the time…

      • Nevi_me

        Did that for you lol

    • You can’t really flip it over in your pocket :-)

      • You can’t really find the tiny silent switch in your pocket either…

        • You can, it’s quite pointy – I’ve done it :-)

          • APai

            hold the down volume for a second . voila!

      • You can just as easily find your volume down and hold it for a second until you feel the vibrate. At least that way I get haptic feedback to tell me that iI did in fact silence the phone.

      • Chip Estrada

        If you hit the volume rocker it silences it without answering it. LOL. Have really ever used an Android for any amount of time… really?

        • Bit of a kludge

          • Patricio

            I dunno David – Honestly, for starters, I have an app that just mutes my phone automatically by flipping it down. I don’t even have to push a button at all. No hardware wear and tear on that… and it automatically un-mutes my phone when I pick it up and look at it. It’s so simple and it works great. No pushing buttons ever. And Chip is right, so is Rajvir and Apai, hell a lot of people commenting here are right. It’s truly like you’ve never used an Android phone! And… I wasn’t going to say anything but when I read “bit of a Kludge”?!? on the subject matter of the mute button? well I had to say something How on earth could anybody who knows Android say something like that?! It’s so incredibly easy to mute an Android phone in so many different ways, just pick what works best for you! David… just because there is no tiny little hardware flipper switch on the side of the body of the device, you think that’s a “Bit of a kludge”? No, I guess you can’t wrap your head around the simple simple easy to grasp fact that YOU JUST DON’T NEED IT! It’s simple. It’s not the lack of a mute button that’s a bit of a kludge here David…… it’s your article.

      • Samsung Galaxy S2, S3 and Note2, once you press the Lock button while a call is coming, it automatically silence it and turn the screen off!!! ¬¬ and you can do this in your pocket! :D

    • Ryan MORGAN

      That’s just to silence an incoming call, no? Other notifications will still make noises.

    • hoggleboggle

      won’t work if it is in your pocket or bag as you walk into a meeting or movie theatre. a switch is a lot more practical

  • MasterMuffin

    Shh! Apple will sue you!

  • Nikzilla90

    I’m only jelly of the wealth of iOS’ games library. I hope no Google employee actually reads this article; a silent physical button? Lol.

    • MasterMuffin

      iPhones actually have less apps than android phones, only about 500,000 when android phones get 700,000 (because of the 700,000 apps in app store over 200,000 are only for ipad)

      • aj

        Yup..thats exactly what i try to explain. Apple App Store has a total of 700000apps out of which over 200000 apps are specially designed for iPad and don’t work on the iPhone. So iPhone users have only 500000 apps. Since android tablets are not as popular as the iPad, they would max to max be having 150000 apps designed especially for them. So there are 550000 apps left for android smartphone. Ha ~ this theory just proves that android smartphones have more apps than the iPhone but the tablets have fewer apps when compare to the iPad. So, the people who buy android smartphone benefit more than those who buy the iphone but those who buy the iPad benefit more than those who buy an android tablet. Anyways, I believe that phablets are gonna be the future and we will land up quiting our tablets so yes it is a WIN TO GOOGLE. @MasterMuffin btw (by the way, I am the retard retard )

        • MasterMuffin

          You are the retard retard? Okay :D what’s with the @mastermuffin in the end? :)

          • aj

            Dude..u forgot me.. you thought that I had a terible spell check and then realised that i used facebook shortcuts like lol,rofl,lmao,nd etc.
            To remind you, you indirectly called me a retard and i wrote I feel like a retard calling myself a retard but i am one

          • MasterMuffin

            I didn’t forget you, I just didn’t get your “retard retard” joke, lol :D

          • aj

            Ohh! That was me trying to make u remember about it.

          • MasterMuffin

            And I failed miserably and now I must go hide in a closet >.< :D

      • Nikzilla90

        I’m talking about game apps specifically. See: Rage, Sega & Sonic: All Stars Racing, ORC: Vengeance, Totem Runner, God of Blades, Endless Road, Infinity Blade II, and Into the Dead to name a few awesome iOS games. I’m tired of looking through rejected 2002 flash games on Google Play.

        • MasterMuffin

          Developers who have money prefer iOs, “poor” devs prefer android

  • RIchard Parker

    As a user of ALL previous mobile platforms, IOS, Blackberry, Windows mobile including CE from the first days of Windows mobile.. I can tell you, that live tiles adopted from Windows 7/8 mobile is a HORRIBLE idea. Live tiles totally suck. One reason I LOVE android is that the tiles offer transparency, better look. Live tiles are drab, very uninformative and simplistic to the point of almost no value.

    That will NOT help Android at all.

    The hardware silence? You are kidding right? It’s 2012, now 2013.. and you say you are Android AUTHORITY? I have completely lost faith in you now.. Go Launcher has the ability to change the functionality of the power button including.. silence the phone.

    Did you ACTUALLY review software or do not keep up with technology? This is unbelievable.. you look really stupid to overlook the “soft” program on every droid device out there.

    A hardware button ONLY does 1 function, but a re-programmable button (a la power) can do MANY functions not just one. I really can’t believe you think a hardware button is better.. that’s just crazy.

  • MasterMuffin

    Weird article and the only actually good point was Office. To #6, Many android phones have HDMI dude and you can’t expect every android OEM to put TV out in their phones…

    • Yeah I know many do, I’d just like it to be a standard of the OS.

  • 7. I don’t want Microsoft Office.

    • Me neither, but some of us are stuck with it for work purposes :-(

      • APai

        I dream of a day when there are open standards and not obfuscated ‘open’ standards and we don’t have to pay the MS tax.

      • Chip Estrada

        Try Kingsoft Office. It’s free and works with all formats.

        • and you can do a lot of things using Kingsoft Office and is free!!! that was thinking the same thinkg when I read this part! Obviously I’d prefer an Office, but Kingsoft is a really good alternative that could save your job!

  • Android needs Apple and Windows Phone’s hardware and GPU acceleration. Android needs not only 2D, but also 3D hardware acceleration. That’s why many people loves the Samsung Galaxy S series, because it has the same hardware acceleration as the iPhone. What I also want is that the OEMss not only focus in CPU power, but also in GPU power. The Android Smartphones’ GPUs have to beat Imagination technologies’ Power VR GPUs for giving very great experience to Android Users, for example Gaming and web browsing. The GPUs are the hearth of better experience in Android. That’s why Apple uses the best GPU brand but also not strong CPU in their iphones or ipads, because it is not necessary a strong CPU but it is necessary a great GPU to make the people loves the phone they have.

  • Big question out here : what are the patents minefields involved? Also since physical specification maybe beyond the purview of Android, what I found a crucial difference is : In IOS when it said 10 GB space was available…it was was that 10 GB is available for apps, photos, music files, videos…etc. On Android its different, even if there is 10 GB available., I would still get “Low memory space” notification because the system space was getting filled up. Such problems never occured in IOS.

  • Ed Baker

    Tablet to tv with a cable? I love it on my Nexus 10. Everything about it, except the cable. Maybe if they could do it without the cable? Oh wait, android 4.2 has Miracast. So we can see what is on the tablet on our big screen via wifi. It’s coming as the tv’s start rolling out….. Too bad I won’t need a new thread for a few years.

  • #10 Android keyboard in 4.2 has Swype AND word prediction. DON’T BE BIASED (to iOS or WP)

  • Author says he is ‘familiar’ to android. Yeah right…

  • TechGuy21

    android notification is better. im not sure why you want the half baked notification from IOS. they stole from us too

    • Nevi_me

      Talk about us wanting to steal something they stole from us. Even Robin Hood would be confused :)

  • Nevi_me

    TL;DR – This guy’s clueless at best, and must stick to Quantum Physics and what not

    #1 – Not really up to Android to dictate. The mere existence of widgets means that app developers can achieve those types of hybrid icon/widget. Maybe Google can step up with their app suite and lead the way, but it’s not up to Android.

    #2 Counts are useful, so they have their merits. This might become a bit chaotic design-wise, e.g. app developers don’t generally make the same icons, so imagine some counter floating on white-space …

    #3 Rajvir Singh Justin Winker have said enough there

    #4 It really depends. HTC bloatware made me come to *hate* ‘social integration’ because their default apps were in my face. Another thing which the writer seems to be clueless about is that Google wasn’t happy with Facebook’s ‘deep’ integration in Android. Oh and he doesn’t know that manufacturers’ contact apps (like HTC) already have this.
    Android embodies choice. Core apps should be minimal in integration, and have things that every single person will find useful. That’s why there’s the Play Store, and why Android has intents. We don’t need to ship built-in *social networks* on Android. Even Google+ is not ‘built-in’.

    #5 Doesn’t Android stealing that mean that they’ll dictate to manufacturers that they should have the button on all their devices? Go back to CNET buddy … Again, I’m shouting ‘clueless’.

    #6 TV-Out – seriously dude? Go ask the manufacturers.

    #7 – Office, isn’t that Microsoft’s job? Google already has Google Docs for Android, which is getting better over time.

    #8 – Back-button. Talk to app developers about that. Yes the Android dev documentation makes it seem that the button is a wonder-button, but some apps do it well and others screw up.
    If they change it, we’d need confirmation buttons to save stuff or whatever, which Android (and the Android Clinic guys recommend against).

    #9 App folders – last time I used an iPhone (this morning) it didn’t have a launcher menu. Everything is laid bare in the standby screen. So WHAT THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU ON ABOUT? There’s a reason why folders are in the standby screen(s), so that people can add and sort everything they want there and leave the rest in the menu. WE CAN ALSO DISABLE PREINSTALLED APPS instead of throwing them somewhere.

    #10 Keyboard – Seriously dude?

    • Re #9. Yes the iPhone JUST has a standby screen – in other words a launcher grid, whereas Android has its launcher grid behind homescreens. iOS has its folders on the launcher grid.

      • Nevi_me

        I know my language is inappropriate, I sincerely apologise for that. Please do though take everyone else with better manners than myself seriously in the comments section. The article felt a bit like what Techcrunch write to incite fanboi wars in the comment section.

        Most of the things mentioned are genuinely not for Android to control, e,g, the hardware button.:)

      • No iOS does not have an app drawer. They have a home screen that everything is forced on to.

  • Hudayfah

    Hardware silence key ? no it’s really bad and not beautiful >>
    about the text input android is the best in texting

  • Akash

    I guess we don’t need the silence button, my Xperia S silences if i hold the volume down button

  • 1) I like the Android widgets, the windows tiles are ugly IMO.
    2) Notification counts get annoying. While I can see how they might be nice, I prefer not having them.
    3) Android notification center is better in that you can swipe to clear.
    4) I dont want my contacts synced with all the social networks, especially since I have multiple accounts on many of them. To easy to make mistakes if synced.
    5) For silencing you just turn the phone face down, but seriously, you can hold the volume button down also, or hit the silence widget. How rediculous that one would need a button for it. Just more moving parts to clutter the sides and pocket engage.
    6) I can easily hook my phone to my TV through HDMI or bluetooth.
    7) I dont want to pay microsoft another dollar for another office product. I use Office Suite Pro which moves things back and forth easily and I have yet to have an issue with it.
    8) My back button works fine, maybe user error is the reason for this one.
    9) I have app folders off of the home screens.
    10) I have not had a problem with keyboard predictability, I love the fact that I can pick from a wide array of keyboards in Google Play.

    While maybe the author is “familiar” with The Android OS and the others, it might not be the OS that he is comfortable with. When writing for a puplication that is geared to Android, it would be best to have a firm handle on the latest versions of the OS and not using words such as “We”.

  • Funny, you’re funny , David!

    Cleaner widgets. Ok, must say it, some widgets have an horrendous design, but Android is the only mobile OS with REAL widgets; although I like the WinPho’s tiles, they don’t reach Android’s widgets power.

    A better notification cente…..HAAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, that’s a good one, man!! I mean: expandable notifications, swipe and gesture enabled, an API to do things within the notification itself; a double tab (on Jelly Bean 4.2), one for notifications and the other one with quick settings; media controls within the omnipresent notification bar (the ProPlayer and Google Music controls with artwork in the expandable notification are SWEET, period). Well, yes, I must say I envy a bit the tiny crosses to close notification cards on iOS HAHAHAHAHAAAHAHAHA, seriously, you must do Seinfeld-style monologues and upload them to YouTube.

    The 5 and 6 depend on the hardware builder… The app folder already exist in the main screen ad if you want to skip the app drawer you always could install other launcher. Better input…. SERIOUSLY??? Android is the only and unique current major mobile OS capable to accept third party keyboards, and you can even switch between them with two taps, and you always have the Google voice recognition system (which works offline in Jelly Bean… BOOM).

    The only two things I would like to see solved are the consistent back-button behaviour and the better social integration OUT OF THE BOX (and the second one, not that much).

  • Alu Zeros

    Check out the new Ubuntu mobile Os, unified message box, and it’s a full desktop when docked.

  • Meph

    I think the 72 previous comments pretty much some up the inaccuracies and unbalanced approach to some of the features in the article. So I’ll throw in some positives and additional ideas!

    Social Contact Integration – Agreed, the Contacts app itself wipes the floor with iOS, but WP has it nailed. I once saw a social update feed appear when swiping right in a contact screen, but nothing since. Nor was it feeding anything through.

    I do also like the flowing tiles of WP, it seems fresher than swiping homescreens which are fast becoming stale and inefficient like the rest of iOS.

    I think a better point to make in this article is, however you want your phone to work, someone will have made it for Android. It’s a powerhouse that enables users. You just need to play and experiment. Every other point above is achievable on Android or inferior to something more powerful on Android.

    I highly recommend you download a custom launcher, David. #2 & 9 sorted.

  • Aziz Farhi

    Correction: Hardware silence key exists since iPhone3G. Not I4

  • zebra

    And please no notification badges on android. I don’t need my phone causing anxiety.

  • Rodpe

    Number of suggestions which I agree: 0

  • Raymond Marx

    If you want a damn windows device, getcha one, the main things Android needs is a much better launcher like Nova with ability to create folders in the app window, not just on the desktop, who cares about there?!? Give me more screens, the ability to wrap around, the ability to make my launcher hold more icons and wrap around as well. Besides the mini USB and mini HDMI outs, it would be nice to get adapters for those with the device or even at all, also a more customizable notification area and Open Office would be pluses. Leave our keyboards alone, just make them more reliable and sensible, like a number pad every time I needed to put in a zip code on a page, add .com/.net to all email queries, not just certain ones a shift should be all it takes for the switch between the two. Not everyone’s a twatter nor does everyone care for fake book, what about Google+? Not that everyone uses that either, there’s Bebo, MySpace and all those too, why is everything dedicated to the trash and no choice?!? Integration into it’s own software makes more sense to me, quick links to post to Google +, Messenger, Talk, and/or voice makes more sense to me, than the alternatives, if as a child you feel the need to change them, then the ability to do so should be left up to the user. A “power strip” widget such as the one that’s part of the otherwise junk, Go Launcher that’s customizable, should be default. Multiple Search options in the themes, like all the launchers have and a default clock/weather/alarm/calendar like fancy widgets that also shows on the “lock screen” by default would be nice as well the store needs to add a developer section and better distinguish what’s free and what’s adware/spyware

  • Pegasus195

    I know, Ubuntu’s new “Welcome Screen” That just release a couple of hours ago…, and maybe Blackberry’s latest version of BBM, it could make a phone call, and many other features, and no wonder why my country love that BBM feature thing?

  • APai

    I think most of these “improvements” already exist and live as various hacks and apps on the market or off it on xda or other places. I’d prefer that android adopts more of this from the unique pool of community developers :) I frankly feel that companies creating anything unique is over rated these days (if not, it can be equal, it’s just some creative guy at the end).

    especially when their hubris leads them to believe that each “feature” they come up might have cost them unlimited resources and an army of developers, so other companies must sell their soul to keep a puny feature.

  • John

    Excellent article David!!!

  • Twisted247

    What would we like Android to steal from other OS…


  • Justin Quang


  • Chip Estrada

    Pretty stupid article, all the things that are mentioned there are solutions for with android. Gingerbread has folders in app drawer. I SwiftKey3 has the best keyboard text input. So instead of reading insipid articles like this you could fins the solution to whatever issues you may have. iOS may have more apps, but Android has more useful apps.

  • John Stock

    #1. That is not Android’s fault, it’s 3rd party developers.
    #2. You can do this through small widgets.
    #3. I’m sorry, but the hidden Apple fandom is apparent here. ICS and especially JB’s NC is far superior to iOS

    #4. I don’t really use integration platforms, especially when the underlying platforms evolve so quickly.

    #5. Holding down Vol – is a problem?? lol

    #6. I agree with this one.

    #7. I agree.

    #8. Yeah…
    #9. Sorta agree.
    #10. I dont know.

  • Chip Estrada

    Lame article. I nothing in it is true. I all the things you say android should steal, Android already has. And most of it is in free apps like kingsoft office and swiftkey3. iOS needs to steal from android, not the other way around. Shameless waste of blog space you have created.

  • Chip Estrada

    Thin skin?

  • The Ubuntu OS had a lot of software features that’d be worth integrating into Android, the edge to edge hidden control panels for the search bar and status icons, recent or running applications, navigation buttons and app specific buttons would expand Android’s screen space by about .7 inches and give it a cleaner interface and homescreen.

  • kascollet

    What I’d like Android to steal from iOS
    – cloud based full device backup (full !)
    – powerful GPUs (for the devices to last longer and tablets to better cope with high-res displays)
    – better battery life for tablets

  • THE FUDGE IS WRONG WITH YOU? iOS notification centre is better you say? Go home David, your drunk.

  • frosty11x

    Like half of these, I’m like, “No, are you kidding me?”

  • hoggleboggle

    Points 2 & 9 are available if you use Nova Launcher Prime. Text input is more than covered with Swiftkey or Swype. Otherwise agree most of all on the hardware silence switch, although i would also add a dedicated camera shutter button

  • Brady

    A HARDWARE SILENCE KEY?????????? AM I SERIOUSLY FREQUENTING A WEBSITE THAT WOULD EVEN PRETEND TO BE SERIOUS ABOUT THAT? Android dont need to borrow anything from anybody. Your areas of work are Windows Phone and you are “familiar” with Android. Don’t let this dude type where actual consumers can see it. =)

  • jaduncan

    “Stealing” Microsoft Office would be a bad idea; ironically given their huge complaints about the lack of a WP8 YouTube app, it is MS’ willingness to build an Office app that is the blocker here.

  • DAngelo8

    Nice article. Is android perfect? Far from it. There is always room for improvement. Coming from WebOS, there are many areas Android could improve, as stated in the article.
    – Better notification center -> I’d love to see the WebOS style, not iPhone style
    – Hardware silence key -> Absolutely loved this feature on all my Palm / HP phones. This feature was standard on Palm phones, from where Apple borrowed the idea.
    – App folders – Yes I would use this.
    – Better text input – I still think I get more accurate typing on my wife’s iPhone
    – Better apps – quality not quantity

  • Ivo Velitchkov

    What I miss in Android are some of the features of Meego: swype, app close, running apps screen, combined feed, clock and notifications when in sleep mode, double tap to wake up, slow/fast scrolling and many others.

  • mjolnirxz

    this is so dumb on so many levels; i think this article is intentionally written like this to get more hits.

  • So many things in Windows Phone are better than Android. Instead of having Android copy it, why not just adopt it? A lot of people will this coming year, and you’ll get to rejoin your friends who dropped Android recently in order to get features ONLY available on Windows Phone.
    Rock on!

  • tomo008866

    My god, the first reply made me laugh. Why can’t people, specifically Android users, accept ideas from other OSs? Like, the entire concept was taken from iOS in the first place anyway.