In the recent months, I have spent a lot of time using an HTC ThunderBolt after selling my iPhone 4 because AT&T’s service was terrible where I lived. It’s been nice having 4G LTE and all, but the actual Android OS is a joke. Don’t get me wrong here, I do like Google when it comes to some things - Google+, Gmail, Music Beta, Voice, and Calendar. I believe that every company has its strengths, as well as its weaknesses. Android is Google’s weak point. The issue here is, Android is an open source platform that any manufacturer can easily port it to their devices. This makes things incompatible, slow, and downright unusable in most instances.
While many people ramble on and on about how great open source material is, it’s definitely not very nice when it comes to Android. All open source has done for the users of Google’s OS is lead them to think that they have a better phone than Apple’s iPhone. Most switched or bought one because they wanted “something different” and they are stubborn in thinking that it’s better. This isn’t the least bit true because iOS is just far more developed, and Apple spends time developing new hardware introductions, such as 4G LTE. In something like a ThunderBolt, HTC just wanted to be the first manufacturer to release the phone, not the most reliable one. There were rumors before the device was even close to releasing that it had battery issues and was only lasting for 3-4 hours. These issues were reported to be resolved by launch date. Now, here we are five months later and the factory battery only lasts for a measly 3-5 hours when on 4G LTE, depending on what you’re doing. This is a huge problem, and it’s also why Apple probably won’t release an iPhone 5 with LTE support.
So, if you spent $250 on an HTC ThunderBolt as I did, then you also got an extended battery to insure the usability of 4G all day instead of just a few hours. This is what happens with anything that releases first I suppose, but they really didn’t need to release it after such little testing. Then I could go on to say it doesn’t have an antenna issue like the iPhone 4. That would be a lie, because it does. If you hold it wrong then you’ll be constantly losing your signal and wonder why. I emailed HTC’s support team about this and told them that it really needs to be fixed. The man told me “Hold it differently.” It seems that any way I hold it causes a problem with the signal, no matter if it’s on 4G or not.
While I’m talking about 4G, you may as well know that it has a horrible drop-rate on the ThunderBolt. First you’ll see a constant upload arrow in the notification bar, then it’ll just stop working altogether. Even if you restart, nothing happens. This is rather ridiculous for a phone that has been out over five months, isn’t it? Well, it seems that HTC doesn’t care because all they told me was that it’s Verizon’s issue. When I went into a corporate Verizon store and told them about the issue, they told me what I had assumed in the first place: It is the responsibility of the phone’s manufacturer to fix all signal-related issues unless Verizon tells you that there’s an outage.
Even though half this page has been about the failure of Verizon’s first 4G LTE device, it also shows how bad companies have become at making a phone with Google’s development kit. In addition to those issues, I’ve had countless lockups, crashing apps, lagging, and slow loading times on almost everything I do. The network speed doesn’t determine the speed of the device, sadly.
The last thing I would like to speak on is all those Android updates that never seem to make it to your phone. Remember back in December of last year about the all-new Android Gingerbread? Well, it seems that it’s taking manufacturers like HTC almost a whole year to get the updates to phones like mine. And then after all that testing, there’s still a bunch of stuff broken or incompatible on the new OS. Then Google announced those special update plans that is in cooperation with many of their manufacturers. While it’s great that they’re trying to fix the many problems that they’ve made, there have been no developments that I’ve seen since that day.
In the end, Android users have no idea what a nice phone is since they’re used to such a sad piece of junk. And it’s not just the manufacturer’s fault either. It’s Google’s mostly.