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June 19, 2012

Simple and Unified Phone Rating System: A Solution to Android Mess?

Problem:

In the good old days, when we had Celeron, Pentium II and other “newest and fastest” processors, 96mb RAMs and all that other stuff. That’s how it was like when I got my first computer. I was proud owner of PC and soon after that I was completely aware of my computer’s specifications, so I could buy games which were to run smoothly on my PC. At first, there weren’t games which didn’t run. But, as time went along, my choices were narrower and narrower. And that was ok, because that’s how things were supposed to be.

Somehow we have reached the same situation in the market of smartphones, especially- Android’s. There is a ton of phones, each of them (for the most part) have different hardware, there is a ton of apps, which run or doesn’t run on different phones and then there are users who aren’t aware about which release of Android they have, which apps can they run and why something isn’t working.

This is also a turn-off for developers. Creating an app for this volume of phones can’t be easy on anyone. All the different models, different Android releases, etc.

How do we solve this?

Actually, the situation with phones is exactly the same as it was with computers a while ago. The only difference is that Android versions come out at a much more faster pace than PC operating systems back then. That creates confusion for:

  • Manufacturers- they have to think really hard about adopting new releases of Android for their older models
  • App developers- they have to decide- how old Android’s should they support and after that- how to create an app which runs on as much phones as possible, but without giving up every last feature they could run on the newest Android and most powerful phones- where is that perfect balance?
  • End users- how to know which apps will run, for how long, how long after purchase they’ll be able to use the newest OS and how every phone stacks against others

I say- Android (Google & manufacturers) has to come up with grading and guarantee system which is universal and can be attributed to all phones.

Apple has this easy- their phone models are so few, that they itself are the grade levels. Electronic appliances have universal grading system depending on how much electricity they use. And I believe that this can (and definetel should) be done for the sake of Android’s ecosystem.

How exactly?

First, the hardware already is graded in its own way. It has GB’s, MB’s, RAM’s and all the other specifics.

Second, Google knows what are the minimum requirements for each (already released) Android to run smoothly.

Third, Google knows what they are working on and what will be the requirements for the next OS- right now they’re releasing about 1-2 in a year and seems that they are moving towards releasing them less frequently.

Fourth, developers know what resources their apps do require.

Fifth, Google can create a limit (forced or suggested) for each OS to run- using the hardware specs.

Sixth, they can rate phones yearly- for example, this year’s A will require x amount of storage, y amount of RAM, z level of video processor, etc.

Seventh, this gives an opportunity to manufacturers to rate their phones for customers so they know at what level their phone will be- A+ will run the latest Android at least until next year’s first release of Android, A will run the latest Android at least until end of this year, B is already B and it will be C next year, etc.

This also would be a relief for app developers- They could mark their apps in Google Play so there would be less inquiries about “Hey I bought this app and it crashes all the time”. And they could easily see what are the maximum requirements for each app to run on as much phones as possible. And they could give promises (those who aren’t using best model’s full resources, like, games) that on this year’s B phone app will run until at least next year’s end.

This takes an extra work on Google’s part and the initative has to come from them- they’ll have to decide how to allocate resources (for background apps, for example), but it would make so much sense and create much more confident Android phone buyers.

What do you think about this? Do you agree that phone/AndroidOS based rating system could be a solution?

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Māris Antons

Digitālā mārketinga menedžments at ground floor digital
Digitālās komunikācijas speciālists, ikdienā konsultē uzņēmumus. Pārzina mājaslapu, aplikāciju un programmatūras izstrādi, digitālo reklāmas kampaņu stratēģijas, veidošanu un vadību. Pateicoties plašajai pieredzei palīdz kā ārējais digitālais konsultants vispusīgā uzņēmumu digitālajā attīstībā, kas orientēta uz racionālu un efektīvu izaugsmi.