Oh, the [Android Battery] Horror

I am sure this title lighten up few smiles in my dear Windows Phone and iOS fans :). But no, don’t be in a hurry, it’s not what you’re possibly thinking.

I started today to analyze my Note 3 applications, using My App List application. One of the features of this application is to create an extensive list of the (additionally) installed applications on your device. The main reason to go in this direction is the fact that something is wrong with my Note 3 after it came by from the deep freeze, which my iOS experiment has put it into. During the experiment I was pretty mad from the bad performance of the iPhone battery, but since then the Note 3 battery runs pretty quick and the device is constantly hot! Its like I’m being punished for my harsh words about its fruity colleague!

GSam Battery Monitor reports main “juice user” (averaging 60-85%[!]) is the system’s gsiff_daemon, in which we have tons of system (including user!) services running.

Since I’ve never succeeded digging into gsiff_daemon process (I doubt this is possible at all, and even it it’d be possible, it’d require root, which I won’t do to my Note 3), I decided to check up what’s installed on the device and (eventually) to through full reset cycle this weekend.

That’s how I ended up with My App List, a really nice piece of software, which does this enumeration for you.

The (alphabetical) list looks amazing (and way too long!):

As you can see, this is quite substantial installation base, which I’ll most probably have to reduce. I’ve already uninstalled applications like BatteryGuru, AccuWeather, LinkedIn, Cover, which I was suspecting could eat up battery because of bugs, but the situation did not really improve. To be honest, the situation did not get worse as well, which would be strange, since BatteryGuru promises precisely that: saving battery life. However, I assume that the drain is so bad that the eventual savings from Battery Guru are not significant to mention.

The next step will be to completely wipe the device (don’t forget to pull out the SD card first!), and then to see what’ll happen. I’m very sorry that I will have to redownload ~5GB of Spotify lists, but nothing can be done to help that: the SD card will be copied, and then the card itself will be formatted via the Android, to ensure that it is not in a supported, but not so well tested filesystem.

I am very eager to see how this goes on. My Note 3 has not been wiped since I got it last October, and this is way too long time for an Android installation (it’s like the old Windows 98: if you use it too much, you have to wipe it out from time to time).

Time will tell. For now, I’m struggling with the thought how it’ll go, while I’m waiting 1 day with the stock Note 3 software, without any additional things but my accounts setup… I have a lot of account, so I’m assuming even that could easily put the device in the same state as it’s now (i.e., draining battery way too quick), but without check we can never be sure.

Weekend is approaching, I’m anxious!

Featured Image (cc-by 2.0) Intel Free Press

iPhone story end: one month, one week

It’s been a while since I decided to try an iPhone (the post is in Bulgarian, sorry!). I promised myself to follow-up as detailed as possible, but just now I’m succeeding to post few thoughts about this experiment. I also promised myself to try to keep at least for 2 months with that smartphone. I failed both promises!

I called it “experiment”, because I didn’t think this would ever become “new reality” to me. I knew that the platform is just way too crippled by Apple, it is way too limited for someone with my requirements. It’s the most non-flexible platform I’ve ever seen: it has tons of silly limitations (both small and big, see below) and a lot of illogical, stupid decisions.

Anyway, last week, after just a bit more than a month with an iPhone, I decided to abort the experiment and call it a failure (it’d be a success, if I lasted at least 2 month with this phone). Effective a bit more than a week ago, I’m back with my Galaxy Note 3! I have this buzzing thought in my head to make a try with Windows Phone 8.1 as well, but I am so tired of platforms, who put shackles to their users, I might need few months with Android first…

Anyway, the good, the bad and the ugly about those days follows.

Daily Stuff

Below I’m describing the daily use of the iPhone, all the Good and Bad things I’ve experienced with it.

The Good Things

  • Unlocking with a fingerprint: This gives tons of flexibility, when you want to quickly unlock your phone, while waiting on the red light. Just hold your finger and it’s done. Neat!
  • Keyboard prediction: no matter how stupid iOS default keyboard is, its word prediction mechanism worked great for me. I know it’s been a subject of a lot of fun, but it’s also the best autocorrect ever (yes, including the autocorrect of SwiftKey)
  • The Camera! Yes, it’s good! And the Camera Awesome app I’m using as my camera app makes really great pictures, too. Note 3 has also very good camera (I wonder why Vesela’s SGS 4 still beats it though!), but I believe iPhone 5S’ camera is aligned as quality to the camera, which is integrated in Samsung Galaxy S4/5 series! No compromise there!
  • Misfit Shine app for iOS was much better. I’m saying “was” here, because I actually lost my Misfit Shine device :(, somewhere in Austria, during our vacation in the beginning of July… But while I had it, it was clear that Misfit Wearables have put much more effort in Shine for iOS than in Shine for Android. I’m very sad about my little Shine, but I doubt I will buy another one: for one they don’t have any support in EU, and for another – I’m an Android user, after all. And Android users usually go for Android Wear these days.
  • Either by accident or not, Pebble immediately upgraded to 2.2. I did not see much improvement, except one quite bad thing (see below).

The Bad Things

  • Battery life! Don’t even get me started about that! The thing has such poor battery life, compared to Note 3, it’s just f***ing unbelievable. When I approached this project, I went with the impression that at least I won’t have that frequent charge need, something which I was anyway used to with the Android OS. What a surprise it was to notice that when I’m using the iPhone, its battery life is at least twice as worse, compared to the battery life of the Note 3! If I leave the phone alone on my desk, it definitely behaves better than the Note 3, but if you actually work with the damn thing, then the battery drains at least twice faster, if not three times! And as I’m a power smartphone user, this hit my initial impression badly!
  • Pebble applications are much weaker in iOS rather than in Android! The Notifier Pebble app I’m using, the best notifier app for Pebble I found so far, is available only for Android. No iOS version and no iOS plans. Such a big shame, indeed, but… what to do! I can surely bet that there’s some development limitation here, which prevents the developers to fulfill the same functionality as in Android. At least that’s my gutfeeling.
  • Video Player app for iOS suffers all problems, which a Video Player app would suffer under such limited conditions. MxPlayer for Android set does not exist in iOS. In iOS I purchased GoodPlayer months ago, which I was able to use also for the iPhone. Not bad app, but the sandboxed storage really limits you in many, many ways. One example: in order to play a file from BitTorrent Sync, you have to “open” the subtitles first (which copies the subtitle file to the sandbox of the video player), then “open” the actual file again with the player (which copies now the actual video file to the sandbox), and then you can start watch. Yes, you end up with two copies of the same thing in your phone memory… sucks, doesn’t it? One reason why you should pay EUR150 more for the 64GB iPhone version 🙂

The Limitations

Two lists here: small limitations and big ones. The small ones are the ones I can cope with and the big ones are the ones, which are definitely pushing (and keeping) me away from this platform.

Small limitations

  • Tons of irritating small stuff like lack of direct sharing of a link/file/whatever else to something, which is not integrated in the OS. Let’s say that you’ve installed Delicious for iOS and you want to share a link from Safari (or another browser) to the app. Well, you cannot! In Android you have intent receivers, which allow you to design cross-app communication with style and which could belong to any third party apps. In iOS you have… an apple (or worse).
  • Another “apple” is burried in the keyboard shift. Assume you’d like to switch from any keyboard to Emoji and back. Somehow iOS product managers figured out that it should be stack-wise switching, but why (just for fun) don’t we also move the keyboard switching button around? That way the users will never (ever!) learn where the button actually is and will have to look for it each time they switch English => Bulgarian => Emoji etc. Isn’t it great idea?

Big limitations

  • The Only One Right Keyboard: this is the one, provided by Apple. Altogether with its smartness and stupidity. If you don’t like it, then… well… don’t chose Apple.
    • It’s worth mentioning the fact that in iOS8 Apple will (maybe, let’s see what they’ll approve) give chance to third parties to build and integrate their keyboards too. I don’t know how much limitations they’ll introduce prior that, but the fact that the SwiftKey people plan to build their iOS keyboard is more than promising.
  • No App Can Run Forever (right!). I’m saying that by watching two favorite apps of mine: BitTorrent Sync and Spotify cannot sync content, unless they’re in foreground! At the moment they go background, Spotify informs you after a while that it paused your syncing, while BitTorrent just stops synchronizing. Quite annoying stuff, especially if you want to sync up few movies from your server to your mobile phone, and the stuff is with good size.

 Conclusion

Just one sentence: bye, bye Apple. I’m sorry, but before I try something that shitty, I’ll give it between two and four years time.

Just some fun at the end, totally not connected with the above, but still at Apple!

And last, but not least… Apple, WTF?! How can this trigger such kind of an error? Are you hiring interns to work on your site?
Apple Store Weird Error

Wanna repro this? Just put “https://itunes.apple.com/bg/app/spotify” in your Chrome or Aurora browser (maybe in the rest too, I just did not test there).

Featured image (cc-by-sa 2.0) Sean Neakums