How Would You Improve Your Android Phone?

DT8 - Feature (post)It’s holiday season and there you are on Santa’s lap. You decide that this year, you’re gonna ask Santa to improve the thing in your life that matters most—your phone. What would you ask Santa for? It can either be a new feature you’d love to have, or a fix for something about your phone that annoys you.

This thread is for Android users. iPhone users, go here.

  • DeeDee Massey

    My ideas don’t come completely for free. I’d add an app to it where I could submit improvement suggestions straight to the R&D teams and get paid a consultant fee for them via huge discounts on my phone bill.

    • DeeDee Massey

      P.S.
      The thing that matters most to me is chocolate, so I’ll be asking Santa for lots of that. And my very own baby dragon.

      Happy Holidays!

  • Jennifer Gagnon

    An app that tells you the composition of anything you photograph. I think that would be neato.

    • Bill

      What, like “62% Hydrogen, 24% Oxygen, 12% Carbon,1% Nitrogen…”?

      • Jennifer Gagnon

        Yes, as well as any other way you can break things down.

        • Eduardo Serra

          Please, tell me more.

  • František Ficek

    The most irritating thing about Android for me is that you can’t uninstall pre-installed apps. Without rooting which can mess with your warranty. I mean I get it. They want to protect the users form removing crucial software but why the fuck I can’t uninstall kindle e-book reader. It’s just 100mb of dead data I’m never going to use. And the same goes for many other apps. Like I can’t uninstall both my phone manufacturer internet browser and google chrome. Even though I’m obviously going to use only one… I know developers pay for pre-install apps so they get promoted but still… Not being able to remove this apps is one big “HAHA FUCK YOU” from google to me.

    • Eli Peter

      I’m so on board with this. My first phone came with a Blockbuster app pre-insalled, even though Blockbuster was swiftly dying as a company.

      Both of my subsequent phones have been rooted.

  • Shayz

    Physical keyboards need to be more popular, I’m tired of seeing phones and apps designed to be right side up instead of landscape/sideways. We don’t watch TV like this, we don’t play games like this, so why is a tiny virtual square keyboard the norm for phones?

    I understand that trying to make phones lighter with bigger screens and thinner profiles is all the rage but having a virtual keyboard take up half the screen is NOT even slightly useful.

    Right now I’m having to use my full screen just to type this. The top half is my text box and the bottom half is the keyboard. With my previous touchscreen/slide keyboard phone I was able to watch videos and type at the same time.

    It even had arrow keys for very simple and easy editing, and locked the screen sideways when the keyboard was out for whenever I wanted to watch a video while laying down.

    No it has nothing to do with typing speed, but even then, having a physical keyboard you don’t have to fight the autocorrect or pay attention to the screen when typing to see where the buttons are.

    The sad thing about all of this is that there is no better touchscreen phone with a keyboard out there than the Motorola Photon Q…and this phone came out in 2011. Every current 2014 list of “best” physical keyboard phones are all filled with super old looking phones that are actually brand new designs for this year.

    All of the new technology is being put towards phones that are not comfortable or natural…if it was, we’d have physical keyboard phones with full touchscreens just as fast and nice looking as the current psudo-tablet phones.

    • Shayz

      If anything, every app needs to have a landscape option, and the ability to remove top/bottom bars that take up a third of the screen.

      Right now I’m having to type this without being able to see what I’m typing because the web address bar is on top, and the virtual keyboard takes up 70% of the screen when sideways, occasionally 80 when the word suggestion list pops up over the keyboard.

    • Avid Reader

      I am in total agreement. The voice recognition is only about 80% correct so I still have to fix things all the time and I absolutely HATE the on-screen keyboard.

  • John Matthew

    Timely OS updates by every manufacturer, for at least a period of 2 years from the date of release. Debloated UIs.
    A different UI for tablets, to make use of the extra screen real estate(eg. Multi pane apps) Floating window apps.

  • Roy Will

    I want to press on the phone while its in my pocket and have it ring 20 seconds later. How to escape that meeting!

    • Vinay Kapadia

      You can probably do that with the Tasker app. Check it out, it’s probably one of the most powerful Android apps.

  • Lunadia

    Put the volume buttons on top of the phone so I don’t go from ringtones to vibrate every time I pick up my phone!

    • Vinay Kapadia

      I like the LG G3 buttons, they’re on the back.

  • d

    I got all excited about this topic until it transpired that the improvements had to be realistic. Boo. What I wish for the most is for my phone to know when I am being called by people who want to talk to me about my PPI entitlement and block those calls. Other than that, I am happy with my phone.

    • Vinay Kapadia

      Where does it say that it has to be realistic. I see no such restriction. In fact I think it would go against WBW’s usual m.o. to put in a restriction like that.

      • d

        Well then. What I would like is for my phone to have an app that screens all my calls (ideally in a really thick accent) and takes messages which it then texts to me so that I never ever have to answer the phone myself ever again. And for special bonus features, maybe the app can do all my outgoing calls too. That would be the best. There was a TV show in the 80s I think where there was this computer called cursor which did all sorts of cool stuff. Something like that would be awesome.

        • Joshua Warhurst

          I think you’re talking about Automan, right? :p In any case, that would be a cool feature for those who don’t really like phones but understand their necessity. Or, you know, for those few people…

  • Vinay Kapadia

    For a lot of the people submitting suggestions, check out the Tasker app. It allows a ton of automation and is probably one of the most powerful Android apps. For many of these suggestions, Tasker might already do it.

  • Thea

    the fact that to have my alarm working I have to keep it on whole night and have the battery dead in the morning annoys the shit out of me.

    • Vinay Kapadia

      Yeah a scheduled power on feature would be really nice. You can schedule airplane mode and shut down a bunch of features with Tasker, but currently there’s no way to fully turn the phone off then back on later.

  • Innocent Bystander

    This goes for Android and iPhone (so I guess I’ll need to post it in both places):
    The thing that annoys me the most is the users. Stop acting like yours is so much better than theirs. People act like their Android or iPhone is some kind of massive statement about their life. It’s a cell phone, people. Get over it.

  • Caio Vianna Lima Netto

    More battery life, 2~3 days still too little.

  • Artyom Karapetov

    1. Remove crappy apps from Google Play store.
    2. Get updates faster. I would love a taste of Lollipop right here, right now, please.
    3. Make it easier and enjoyable for developers to write apps (this is where Apple excels)
    4. Have apps that are only available on iOS (#3 would make it happen)
    5. Ship without bloatware.
    6. Ship with pure Android.
    7. Remove stupid unnecessary features (I’m looking at you, Samsung).

  • Joshua Warhurst

    Hardware: Extended battery life. Always worrying about it. Like, I know if I’m going to play a game on it, I’d better be near an outlet.

    App: I have an app called “GO Keyboard”, and while it’s been my favorite keyboard app, the Japanese dictionary for it pales in comparison to the basic Japanese dictionary on the phone. Like, can’t I use that database? I guess they’re probably formatted differently, but still. It’s frustrating. If I’m going to type out a place name, I basically just go to the computer. And the app doesn’t learn new words automatically? It’s a shame it’s so good in every other way… I just sent a message to them about this actually, hoping it’ll change.

    To be honest, I’m pretty happy with my phone. Even including the above things, nothing really annoys me about it.

  • Michael

    The biggest growing pain I have with my new phone so far is the really big screen making for a really big touch keyboard that is very difficult to use one handed. The buttons around the extreme lower left corner are the worst to reach. Samsung offers a “one-handed mode” to address this issue, and it shrinks all the buttons by about 50%. This puts them all in comfortable reach, except the part where it is impossible to avoid hitting at least three of them at the same time, because they’re much too small. There really isn’t a reasonable compromise here.

    Theoretically, the solution would be to use all that voice recognition that’s available for everything. Typing while driving is bad (and extremely illegal) anyway, so you should just use the voice thingie it’s always reminding you to use. Except voice recognition really hasn’t come that far since the ’80s. Even though the computer I’m using now is 130,000,000 times more powerful than the first computer I played with voice recognition on, voice recognition still doesn’t work worth a damn.

    For that matter, I’d like to be able to remove the microphone buttons that switch to voice recognition mode in each and every place where they occur in the GUI. They’re useless, and if I had a dollar for every time I hit those fucking buttons by accident and heard “Speak now!” from my damn phone, I wouldn’t have to come up with any money to pay the monthly bill at the end of the month.

    “Speak now!”

    “Dial William Roscoe Smith”

    “Dialing 000003002003005001003009008002003002001005002003002010200102”

    “ARGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    “I’m sorry, I didn’t understand that.”

    “USELESS FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT DIE IN A FIRE!”

    “Do you want to search for anal sex toys?”

    “NO YOU STUPID USELESS PIECE OF SHIT I WANT YOU TO FUCKING CALL FUCKING WILLIAM!”

    “Searching for anal sex toys… I put a butt plug the size of a fire hydrant into your shopping cart. Would you like to buy it now?”

    “NOOO!!!!!!!”

    “Buying with 1-click. Your butt plug will arrive tomorrow.”

  • Liam McKnight

    Just one little thing: when you tap and hold an app, it won’t let you move it around on your main app lists any more. You have to scroll through a little drop-down menu. It wastes at least five seconds every time I install anything I want to put into a folder, and I have no idea why they changed it.

  • Kaaraan

    Allow youtube to play in the background so I can listen to music and browse wait but why at the same time.

    • Mark

      Try Nextvid, it plays youtube vids in background

  • Charging port on the side, please! Impossible to prop up and use the phone in portrait mode with the cord sticking out of the bottom. Otherwise, pretty happy with the Galaxy S3. Yeah, it’s old, but so am I and it still astounds me what this thing can actually do.

  • annetea

    I want a physical slide out keyboard, like the kind from the early days of texting. The way I see it we can’t have them because Ive or Jobs didn’t like them at one point. The phones are thin enough now that I should get the option of bulk for a keyboard.

    I’d like an android notification system that makes some damn sense without rooting or installing a bunch of 3rd party stuff. That stupid black bar with its parade of changing icons tells me nothing useful.

    As others have said I’d like more regular updates and I want the option to install pure Android without voiding my warranty. I switched from iPhone so I could have more control over my phone yet don’t have enough that one big apple upgrade could send me back.

    I’d like an alarm clock that learns my bad habits and helps me with them without being sadistic (like sending you to the kitchen to scan a barcode to turn off).

  • Pepperice

    Battery life. Huge issue, if I have a smartphone that can access the internet, play music and keep me up to date with my facebook messages/emails etc, you bet I’m going to use that in all of the idle time I have, it’s frustrating when my phone lasts for four hours of heavy usage and then dies. Yes it’s twelve hours for the first six months (which isn’t really long enough either, TBH) but dropping battery life to 1/3-1/4 of the original after this time is a joke. And please make some high spec phones in female hand friendly sizes. I don’t care about having a screen the size of jupiter, I want my phone responsive and fast and comfortable to use. The argument tends to be that high powered phones need more space but I don’t think that can be true; so much power tends to go to the screen. It’s annoying that all of the high powered phones have such giant screens that I can’t use them comfortably, and my hands aren’t that small.

    Oh and bring back the feature of old phones: The one where you could switch them off overnight but the alarm would switch the phone on. I miss that!

  • Elizabeth J.

    I knew I would miss my dumb phone and I do. On my smartphone, I spend 98% of my keystrokes BACKING OUT OF MENUS. When I “shut” my phone, it should reset to my home screen and refresh all functions. And our phones should work perfectly, all the time. I don’t have to take the battery out of my car to reboot, ever. My fridge works flawlessly, year after year. For what we pay, we are being ripped off.

    • Whilst I agree with your statement that phones should be more reliable than they are and should just work, your analogy is somewhat off. The problem with modern phones is that they are actually modern computers which allow the user to install whatever programs they like, usually after the phone has already had a load of customisations and tweaks and bloatware added by the manufacturer and then by the network, before you’ve ever even got it.

      The core operating system is actually very stable and problem-free, it’s the multitude of badly written apps that people install after getting the phone that causes unreliability.

      The problem with your analogy is that the products you mention are not customised in the way a phone is. When you buy a fridge do you ever then make any adaptations to its functionality? A more realistic analogy might be having a car and then getting someone to bolt a custom ‘turbo booster thingamajig’ onto it, only to find that the thingamajig is a piece of rubbish that doesn’t work properly and causes the car to cut out randomly. Taking into consideration the other 15 or 20 thingamajigs you’ve had added to the car, is it any wonder that it no longer runs as smoothly and problem-free as it did when you first bought it?

      Computers and the programs that run on them are far, far more complicated than the average person could ever imagine. Apple’s walled garden approach allows them to use stricter quality control procedures on the software that makes it into their App Store, resulting in a more stable and reliable end product. Android’s open approach gives more power to the user to customise the device exactly how they want, at the cost of there being lots more unreliable and badly-written apps.

  • asdf

    AI is the future

  • Just one thing to improve my Android phone: a Blackberry-style hard keyboard.

    I’m sick of trying to navigate around a soft keyboard… it’s unnatural and every time I try to use the ‘m’ key I end up backspacing over what I’ve just typed.

    I’m using a Motorola device now, but give me a Blackberry-style hard keyboard coupled with an Android platform, and I’m a convert.

    • Paul Verizzo

      Not just Android, all current phones. After I went from “car phones” to PCS, all of my first ten year’s phones had real kb’s. Almost all were of the Nokia Communicator series. Nothing similar after the E90, and although I might be mistaken, nothing after some Verizon Androids. Zipola.

      As much as I can, I don’t use onscreen kb’s or speech to text. SO bogus! If I can, I’d rather just wait until I’m at a PC with a real kb and big screen.

    • Robbie Stone

      Then use a Blackberry! I bought a Q10 last year on a whim, and I absolutely love it. The software is based on Android so you can use all their apps. The BB10 software is extremely natural to use. The keyboard is as fantastic as always.

  • sabs546

    I really enjoy my htc one, so much that I feel like I would regret an upgrade
    But the battery life in this thing is horrid so but instead of asking for a new bigger battery that would make the phone thicker I would ask for a better processor, two birds with one stone faster phone more efficient battery use

    (ok maybe its not that bad, use it right and it lasts you a day almost but it’s my only problem with the phone I charge it twice a day if I’m using it heavily)

    • ana

      How would a faster processor be more economical?

      • sabs546

        It wouldn’t really be economical or anything
        Newer processors are now efficient and use less battery
        I wanted more battery out of my phone

  • BringData

    My Samsung Galaxy S3 has one design flaw: The button that wakes up the screen and the volume buttons are exactly on opposite sides of the upper part of the phone’s edge. So to grip the phone and press the wake up button with my thumb, I am simultaneously turning off the volume with the fingers on the other side.

  • The file system is abysmal, with apps installing files and folders seemingly wherever they want, making it very difficult to know where files live. Also, it doesn’t handle filling up with space very well and can be very difficult to identify where you need to free up valuable space.

  • Jenny

    I had a nokia music phone three years ago that had a dedicated camera button and ever since, no other phones seem to have this very important feature. The best I can do with my phone right now is use a third party app to allow a successive volume down and volume up to take a picture and holding down the options “button”.

  • GreyHat

    A file system that allows me to save everything under a specific directory, under a specific name, so I can find a relevant response picture in my over 3,000 images on my phone without searching for ten minutes and forgetting what I wanted it for. Also, a text messaging app that keeps the notification for an unresponded text unless I choose to ignore it, rather than removing the notification if I glance and check it, then forget to respond like a dick.

  • MiyuEinzbern

    Fact that there’s more posts on iphone post than android post could mean there’s less to improve on the android phone. But i would like to have an android phone software with an iphone design frame, except without the apple logo.

  • Jim Mataczynski

    Drown the SOB

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