★ 10 tips for Android to be better than iOS

I’m an Android user, I follow mobile tech news, I’ve asked many people about their experiences with mobiles and at TouristEye we have the best travel guide for Android. However I’m going to buy an unlocked iPhone 4s. Before leaving Android I want to write down 10 tips for the Android team. I like their philosophy, their effort but the experience hasn’t been great. Anyway, thanks for that Google IO phone.

1. Set only 2 sizes for the screen on phones; and 2 sizes on tablets.

It’s really horrible for designers to have so many screen sizes and resolutions. Our designer really hates Android because of all the different images he has to export. This means the apps are going to be less prettier. Set fours sizes: small phone, big small, 7” tablet, 10” tablet. And use always proportional resolutions.

2. All Android partners have to maintain the OS updated for 3 years almost instantly.

Samsung, HTC, Motorola, etc should have to update their users’ mobile phones to the latest version of Android in less than a month since Google launches it. The situation has improved a bit (18 months), but it’s still a problem because it still takes several months to receive the update. If I have an Android phone, I want the update NOW, not 6 months later. Maybe Google can develop a desktop app to update the phone instead of being OTA if they have problems with telcos. Compared to iPhone, iOS5 can be installed in an iPhone 3Gs from day 1.

Check this post with a terrible graph for the Android ecosystem.

3. Partners have to treat settings files on the same way

We have had problems with Samsung devices because they treat settings files differently. And we weren’t the unique ones.

4. Set a standard design for apps.

If you use Android apps, it’s a mess. There is no pattern. On the last months, it has improved a bit thanks to that Google IO app but I think Google has to almost enforce it. If they do, the Android experience will improve a lot. An easy way to “enforce” it is that only apps with the standard design can appear on featured and top apps lists. If you have a strange UI, sorry.

I was writing a really interesting post about design and UI in Android after my research for the coming design update of TouristEye. With Ice Cream Sandwich I have to change again some parts of it…again…

5. Improve the developer panel of the Android Market. 

The developer panel sucks. Give me daily downloads, reviews and errors. Take the same good design thinking of Google+ and apply it to this panel.

6. Let developers answer publicly to reviews, and let them start a private conversation.

Most of the reviews in Android are because of some bug related to different handsets, sizes, resolutions. We, the developers, want to solve them and have a perfect app. But we don’t have the tools for doing that. I want to ask the user more about their problem and solve it. I want to answer to all my users. I want to transmit to future users than we are working on it and we will solve all problems.

7. Improve the search engine.

Are you Google, aren’t you? Come on, it’s your core.

8. Integrate app recommendations on the Android Market.

More downloads, more apps, better for users and Android. There is no need to use extra apps, you have the data.

9. Quarantine apps with many errors.

If an app is having many errors, remove it from the Market and email the developer with the errors so they can fix everything and have a decent app on place. Users will be happy about this, and it will greatly improve the overall experience of Android apps.

10. Quarantine apps with a rate lower than 2.

If an app has an average rate lower than 2, remove it from the Market and email the developer so he can check what’s happening. Less crappy apps and more happy users.

You are welcome, Android team.

Two extras:

Business Idea 1: A local place where developers can go and test their apps in 20 different handsets. They can book phones. They pay per hour/day/month.

Business idea 2: A web like PerfectoMobile that let you run Selenium tests on different Android phones.

I’m in San Francisco until November 20th. If you want to meet, email me at javier at touristeye.com. We want to meet as many people, entrepreneurs and investors as possible!