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5 things we’d love to change about Android

a wide variety of android phones laying face-down

Welcome to our wishful thinking for Android, where we dream big and gripe fairly, where we imagine what Android could be if only a few things were improved. A world where updates arrive on all Android phones across the board at the same time and where you can get friendly and helpful support for your software issues. A world where kids think Android is cool. A fantasy world, indeed, but as long as we are dreaming, here are the five things we’d love to change about Android.

1. Streamlined updates

Imagine if every Android phone got the newest version immediately, like a certain fruit-named competitor

a wide variety of <a href=android phones laying face-down” src=”https://static1.anpoimages.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/how-to-choose-the-best-android-phone-for-your-needs.jpg”/>

Android’s fragmented update process is (in)famous and has been since the first HTC phone burst upon the world. It goes something like this:

  1. Google releases a new version of Android.
  2. Pixel phones get it on day one.
  3. Everyone else has to wait for their OEM to tweak it, add bloatware, test it, and roll it out.
  4. Some OEMs just say “nah” and you never get the update.
  5. Repeat.

Google has made important strides in getting around this bottleneck by pushing individual app updates through the Play Store. This has the added benefit of making annual OS updates more nimble because it doesn’t have to update every single app in a massive annual overhaul like a certain other company (looking at you, Apple).

But the core Android system and all of its security patches, newest features, and any redesigns have to go through myriad different OEMs, and many won’t even bother pushing the update to their customers.

But what if Google could somehow push new updates straight to every single compatible Android device over the air? This would require OEMs to join in some sort of agreement or consortium with Google, but it could be possible. Maybe there would even be a way for OEMs to accept updates that will automatically work with their individual skins and bloatware.

This would give consumers a unified Android experience regardless of their device. This would also allow manufacturers to compete on hardware, not on how well they bloated the OS with superfluous apps nobody will use. We can only dream.

2. Overhaul support

A friendly and responsive support system is just a dream away

Apple Store on Google Pixel 8 - Edited with Magic Editor

Picture this: you buy an expensive new phone. It works great for a month, but then suddenly, the software starts glitching. It’s not letting you sign in, or your account gets hacked. You call one number and get a friendly person who speaks your language to help you, or you saunter on down to the local mall and pop into the store, and a knowledgeable “genius” takes care of the issue for you.

You clearly don’t own an Android in this case. If you did, you would get the run around when you called some random number for a subcontracted call center. You might even get yelled at. And good luck going to the mall. The kiosk where you bought your phone is only interested in selling you an overpriced Otter case.

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A man in a white shirt sitting at a desk wearing a headset and speaking to someone while he types on a computer keyboard.
image source: Yan Krukau/Pexels.com

Imagine if Google provided the same kind of support for all things Android that Apple does for its products. If something goes wrong with the software, you could chat with a Google representative, and they would be friendly and knowledgeable. Friendly and consistent customer service isn’t rocket science, after all. Companies have been doing it for a hundred years.

3. Just give us all the things

There are no pro features, there is only a paywall

Why should a slightly better camera experience be considered a “pro” feature? Every Android OEM has jumped on the Apple bandwagon of nickel-and-diming its customers by offering an expensive “regular” version of their device and then a more expensive “pro” version.

Why not stick the best camera, the best speakers, and the best display in one device? We would love to see a company produce one phone with all the best features across the board. That includes funky software gimmicks. They could even sell the phone at a premium.

Let’s be honest here; the Galaxy S24 is not a discount device. The Plus doesn’t offer all that much more but comes with a hefty premium. The Ultra may as well be a different phone altogether. Something with the best Samsung has to offer in a unique device. They could call it something to differentiate it from the S24. I don’t know. Maybe something like the “Note?”

4. Unififying app design

Android should enforce a cohesive design language


Android is a Wild West theme park when it comes to app design. The icons are all different shapes and sizes, while the app experience varies from developer to developer. Some apps are sleek and modern, while others are stuck in 2015. Even the OEM’s apps aren’t uniform. Samsung Notes is modern, mature, and slick, but Samsung Mail looks like it was slapped on by a sophomore computer lab student.

You could download an icon pack and tweak your app icons this way. Sure, it makes your app drawer look nicer, but it doesn’t change the way the app looks and behaves once you’re using it.

We would love to see a cohesive design language encouraged across the board. We’re not saying Google should enforce any particular design language, but app developers should be incentivized to follow certain guidelines. Perhaps their apps could appear closer to the top in Play Store search results if they follow the established design guidelines, for example.

5. Tidy the app drawer

It’s chaos in there


Whether you sort your app drawer alphabetically or manually, it remains a labyrinth of misplaced tools and forgotten apps. Apps get downloaded and forgotten. When you need to find it, you spend valuable time swiping through your drawer, looking for the right icon. Bless you, if you spend time reading the name of each app.

We would love to see smarter organization. We hate to say it, but Apple is on to something with its automatically-sorted app folders. Sure, Apple doesn’t get it right a lot of the time, but Android could do one better and sort apps into categories or folders inside the app drawer. It could be an option to turn on for those who prefer a cleaner and less cluttered experience.

A side-by-side comparison of Apple's folder system and the app drawer on a Google Pixel.

source: Nathan Drescher

A clean and organized app drawer saves time. It means less time searching for apps. We’re confident Google could do this as part of the overall Android experience and knock this one out of the park.

The runners-up

A few changes we would like to see with Android

  1. Stop blocking bootloader unlocking.
  2. Bring back the 3.5mm headphone jack.
  3. Bring back removable storage.
  4. Unify app backups the same way apps can utilize iCloud on the iPhone.
  5. We need mini-sized Android phones.

Turn gripes into greats

We know we will never see most of these wishes come true. It would take more than just Google to bring them about. All Android OEMs would need to work together to make it happen. Then there’s the Android community itself (us included). If you put us all in a room together, we couldn’t agree on the color of the walls. There’s no way these changes would not get serious pushback from a lot of people.

We’ll dream instead about the perfect Android phone. Great hardware, day-one over-the-air updates straight from Google, unified app design, fantastic post-sales support, and an auto-sorted app drawer sure would be lovely to see. Add in a headphone jack, and we would buy this phone in a flash. Perhaps the new OnePlus 12 comes close?

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