Android Too Hard To Use ?

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The tech analyst are very sure that Android tablet will beat apple iPad. There are critics to this, and recent Black Friday statistics are in favor of the critics. You can view the statistics with commentary on Asymco The Android Engangement Paradox.

I have covered the topic of Android Needs More Active Apps  in a previous post. Now with this information, Android tablet do need to do serious homework. One of the question that comes to mind immediately, is Android Too Hard To Use ?

The iOS User Interface simplicity and ease of use are, by now, legendary. It is still unmatched by any other OS, including Android.

I found two great articles on the internet to share with you, on this topic.

iOS is easier to use than Android. Or, flipping that around, Android is too hard for the average user to figure out.

Let’s face it, from the outside there’s little to separate one black rectangle from another other than screen size. What separates them from each other is not how they look, but how they work, and if more people are buying Android devices than iOS devices, but more iOS users are using them to do real stuff like shopping, that’s down to the software — both the operating system itself, and maybe the apps.

But this data gives us an even deeper insight into the differences between Android and iOS usage. Online shopping is a task primarily carried out through the browser, and once you get as far as firing up the relevant browser on an Android or iOS device, the experience is, on the whole, not that dissimilar.

This would tend to suggest that the core difference between iOS and Android is that owners are more inclined to look at an iOS device — whether it be an iPhone or an iPad — as a tool to get things done. Android users aren’t getting as far as clicking on the browser, because if they did, the experience from that point onwards is not that different to the iOS experience.

This would suggest that Google is facing a problem. People are buying Android-powered smartphones and tablets, but there are barriers or obstacles that gets in the way of engagement that aren’t present in Apple’s iOS platform.

Part of this is undoubtedly down to user education. Apple has spent a lot of time and money creating commercials that show its products being used to solve real-world problems. As short and as simple as these ads may be, they give owners — and potential owners — an idea of what the iPhone or iPad can do. That might seem extremely basic, but it gets people to explore the potential of their iDevice.

Compare this to ads I’ve seen for Android hardware, which seem to focus on the device itself rather that what it can do for the owner.

Monkey see, monkey do.

Source: ZDNET

I have to agree here, that iOS is geared towards what it can do for people. Greatly increasing its value. While Android tablets are, shall I say, competing with each other, it is less about the user, than it is about bringing new features that the competitor did not have. And by competitor, I mean not Apple, but other Android tablets.

This reminds me of a story about crabs. Did you know, that when a crab is caught, it is put into a large bowl like basket that is not too high, that a crab can easily get away from it. Put two or more crab into the basket, and no crab will ever escape. Why ? Because when one crab is just about to escape, near the edge, another crab will simply pulls it back in.

Here are some theories we’ve gathered from around the web alongside our thoughts:

  • Horace Dediu of Asymco wondered if Android was attracting more late adopters, who were prone to do less with their phones than hardcore smartphone users. But he’s not convinced that’s the answer. Perhaps, it has more to do with “design considerations” or “user experience flaws or integration.”
  • One thought is that Android users are more apt to want things for free, so they’re not as likely to shop for things on their devices. We’ve seen a gap in how Android and iOS users are willing to pay for apps — Android users prefer free apps – but that difference is going down over time.
  • Some Android users are just graduating up from a feature phone and really don’t understand all they can do with their device. Considering the declining number of feature phone options, it’s possible that people are graduating to cheap Android devices, but just still talk and text on them, something Daring Fireball’s John Gruber mentioned before.
  • Tim Windsor from Digitally Speaking goes a step further, saying that most iOS buyers are specifically buying their devices for the features they can access, while most Android users are just buying what’s available to them. Most, he believes, aren’t interested in serious computing power.
  • Jason Grisby of Cloud Four recently wrote that the gap doesn’t exist when looking at web traffic over cellular. It’s only when you examine iOS and Android traffic over Wi-Fi that a usage gap emerges. He believes that Android users might not be aware of the availability of Wi-Fi networks through their device or are in lower income brackets and have less access to Wi-Fi networks.
  • Some people believe there is no gap at the high end when looking top Android devices. The problem is with cheaper and older Android devices, which don’t provide as good an experience or are saddled with older versions of Android, which are worse at browsing. It is true there are more cheap Android phones options available, so that might contribute to some of the gap. And a majority of Android users are still on devices running Android 2.0x.
  • Apple users are more likely to use apps, which can provide a better user experience. Android users who turn to a browser may not find it as inviting or engaging.
  • It’s also possible that shopping data is not an accurate proxy for engagement. NetMarketShare earlier this year said, however, also came up with general browsing data that showed iOS devices have 65 percent of mobile traffic compared to 20 percent for Android.

Source: GigaOm

There are some good points from GigaOm. The fact that most Android apps are free and its users base are most likely low-income person, thanks to the cheap price of Android tablet. This can highly contribute to the low usage of Android tablets. Most people buy Android tablet for talk and text. Add to that, another fact that cheap Android tablet have slow response times and can only run basic apps. In most cases, those cheap Android tablet did not have access to Google Play Store, where the majority of Android Apps are located.

So, is Android Too Hard To Use ? Yes. Android tablets do need to improve on its quality. Especially on cheap tablets.

Image Credit : Asymco