Saturday, 11 September 2010

Android, no more...

Android, that nice "mobile" / "smart phones" operating system....

There are many things I like about it, to name a few:

- Google Contacts sync: few years ago, if you reset your phone, it means you should have a backup copy of your contacts (and many other things to that matter) to restore them after the reset. For contacts, you don't have to have a backup... recently, I had to reset my phone, and shortly after logging in to my Google account, my contacts were synchronised and ready to be used on my phone. The other thing I like about Contact sync is if you update a contact on your phone, it'll update on Google Contacts, so you won't have different entries of one contact; I have to say this is great.
- The browser:  based on WebKit, (in my opinion) it is one of the best built-in browsers for mobile phones!
- The Market: loads and loads of free useful apps and nice games, almost anything you think of, there is an app for it, and most probably, it's free. Some of the free apps, ConnectBot (SSH client), AndFTP (FTP, SFTP and FTPS client), Twitter, Seesmic (Twitter client), Voxofon, Spotify, Wikidroid (Wikipedia client), Kindle (read ebooks) ... the list is endless.... I think I've read it somewhere that Android Market is most popular with its "free apps" as iPhone market is with its "paid apps".

The list of  things I like about Android goes on, but for me, Android does lack one essential component, ability to read / write Arabic (technically, as it's an open source, it's ready but lacks the required Arabic fonts due to internal memory size). Anyway I won't go into much technical details...., I couldn't read anything (emails, websites, Tweets, etc...) that contain Arabic characters! You basically see squares instead of the Arabic characters.
Due to this fact, a guy logged an issue on Android site, Arabic support was logged as an "issue" (and it's considered an "Enhancement issue" and its priority is "Medium", with all the Arabic users that use Android, really!
You can get Arabic on Android if you "root" your device, which voids your warranty! But then again, why would I want to loose my warranty while I can get Arabic natively supported on other devices? (Blackberry 9700, iPhone 3G - I assume 4G does include it as well-, etc... even my SonyEricsson T715 can read Arabic natively).
Honestly, when I bought the phone, I didn't check whether it supports Arabic or not, I didn't think that it may not ! Especially that Android is a Google product and Google has support for all languages, even translation and transliteration, this led me to my false assumption that Android must have support for Arabic; I was wrong !
This situation (lack of Arabic support on operation system) reminded me of Windows 3.1 where the original set of floppy disks that contained Windows 3.1 was English only, and if I wanted Arabic support, there was a different set of floppy disks (with two floppy disks more than the English version) that contained Arabic fonts etc...that was roughly early 90s! This is 2010 !

Given the above, (apps, features, bells and whistles, etc... available in an Android phone), when I'll buy my next mobile, unless Arabic is supported natively, I don't think I'll consider an Android phone.