Google’s method of quickly and regularly dishing out new updates to the Android platform is a good way to get consumers and manufacturers feel more excited about latest smartphone models. But it may cause many owners of Android devices to feel restless about the next update schedule. Users of the XPERIA X10 are getting their version 2.1 update recently, despite the fact that it was available since January 2010.
The current Android 2.2 (Froyo) was introduced to the public on May 2010. It introduced some useful improvements, like the ability to install applications on a memory card, better Wi-Fi hotspot functionality and Flash 10.1 support.
Version 2.3 (Gingerbread) is planned for 2010 but there is no official word until now. Some sources have indicated about new improvements, like better social networking and copy-paste features and also support for WebM videos. Many experts have speculated about the inclusion of an iTunes-like feature, revamped UI, Music Store, support for higher resolutions and bigger screens.
Either way, Android still misses a few features that can make it a very useful OS. These are five features that can make Android a perfect mobile OS in 2011, let’s hope that Version 3.0 (Honeycomb), Version 4.0 (Ice Cream?) or perhaps even Gingerbread will include them.
Google Talk Integration
Apple revived the concept of video-conferencing on smartphones with its “FaceTime” on the 4th generation iPod Touch and iPhone 4. It is now possible for Apple customers to make video-calls with Wi-Fi to avoid paying expensive data charges. Now that consumers are getting excited with video-calling again, it is a good time for Google to take advantage of the opportunity. The drawback of Apple’s Facetime, apart from its inability to use 3G networks, is that it can only call other Apple devices and Macs.
Audio and Video Chat is the primary feature in the Google Talk. Today, about 75 percent of the consumers use Google Talk for making video and audio calls from their PCs. It’s a pity Android by default doesn’t even support basic video-calls with 3G network. Future Nexus phones will have a front facing camera, which may indicate Google Talk support on the next Android version.
But, this is may not be enough – Google Talk in Android devices should also support video and audio chats. This way you can also make video-calls to any laptop and desktop. One good thing is that you may not need new equipments to do that. Google Video Chat can works in most major browsers. While 3rd party app developers like Fring are making plenty of efforts to go with the current, obviously, having this built-in feature is always a good idea. Also, there’s a few angry mobs complaining about how many Android phones ignore a secondary video-call camera. Implementing a reliable video call feature will give many manufacturers a compelling reason for putting a front camera in future devices.
Google Docs Support
At September 2010, Google announced that Google Document editing will be supported by the Android. It’s been two months now and no further words on it. To open Google Docs in an Android device, you need to open a mobile site which only allows document viewing and no editing. It is understandable that adding editing options on any mobilephone screen could be a challenging task (you can imagine how developers tried to fit text manipulation toolbox and drop down menus in such a small screen). But it isn’t impossible. A good Google Docs application should allow you to make a few editing on documents and spreadsheets, while inviting others to collaborate. Making presentations on a smartphone is a little troublesome, but you may have a different opinion.
Automated Power Saving Feature
Android phones are infamous for their short battery life. Many of them last only a day with those huge vivid screens, fast CPUs and the constant Internet connection for viewing videos. There are tips online that give you many different ways to improve the battery’s uptime. “Disable Bluetooth/Wi-Fi, don’t use GPS navigation, dim your screen brightness, disable automatic updating of Twitter/Facebook, disable Live Wallpaper, don’t play videos too often, blah, blah”. But often, when you are low in battery, you need to make a very important call for just five minutes more. Opening power saving checklist in a website and individually turn off all unnecessary features may sound kinda dumb, because we may end up exhausting all remaining battery life. What if you have a “Power Saver” feature, with just a few taps on the screen? It is essentially, a quick way to put your device in ultra-conservation mode.
Faster Wi-Fi Connectivity Procedure
Many Android users are displeased with the amount of effort needed to connect to a nearby Wi-Fi network. Currently, you need to follow this procedure Menu>Settings>Wireless and Network Settings>Wi-Fi Settings>Turn on Wi-Fi and then choosing any available Wi-Fi hotspot. A faster way would be to display a list of available Wi-fi hotspots (protected and open) in the notification bar, in a way that isn’t too intrusive, which allow you to connect to a hotspot in a couple of taps.
American phone manufacturers tend to skip this feature, even iPhone doesn’t have it. Asian phone makers like Acer and HTC had to customize their Android phones to include a smart-dialling feature. New Android users occassionally complain that finding a contact with QWERTY keyboard is simply too slow. This is something that Google should include in future versions of Android.