Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Downgrading the XOOM

A month in, it feels like I may have bought the wrong tablet. That's quite an admission having dumped a whole lot of $, but the XOOM just isn't good enough. The culprit? Google itself. Its applications and environments are so unseamless, so unintuitive and so arrogant as to render the device a pain to use.

It's a bunch of silos not a nicely integrated whole. So what has my ire and indignation? What was the last straw? iGoogle. I was playing around with it - and it magically became my home page. I couldn't find a way of reverting the home page to the google android page. Even when resetting to "default", I get iGoogle.
Why is that bad? Because the bloody calendar displayed there doesn't show me my Google calendar - that carefully synched ruler of my life. There are no, zero, none, nada appointments in the iGoogle calendar. So what's going on, I wonder? And it says clearly on the iGoogle home page it may not work properly on tablets. Then give me a way to not have it - bastards.

Then there is the general rant (admittedly on the desktop/laptop) where the irritating autosave causes me to lose characters when typing. And Google's phenomenally arrogant attitude ("it's a feature, we know best, now go away and let the people who know how YOU are supposed to work tell you what to do")

The crassly stupid email (even for connecting to corporate mail) where the visible size of the address field shows just one email address (in to: CC and BCC) making it really hard to edit addresses.

The idiocy of having to accurately place fingers on text that you want to edit. Some arrow keys on the keyboard would be pretty handy sometimes.

The half hearted integration between email and calendaring.

The Android market - it renders in landscape only. If I was in portrait mode then selecting the market means I have to physically rotate the tablet. It seems to turn into some elaborate plate spinning ritual.

In other words, the user experience software is terrible. The operating system itself and the underlying capabilities of the device are excellent. Extremely reliable, good battery life, etc.

Now if Google would stop trying to develop software that humans have to touch we would all be better off.

Apple may control the developer experience, but the user experience seems somehow freer. Google opens the platform for developers, but the user experience really suffers.

What's a poor user to do?

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