A few weeks ago a good friend of mine who shall remain nameless but works for Samsung sent a Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 8″ tablet. The joke was, I showed up at a meeting with my Toshiba Encore 2 8″ tablet and he, being an Android centric company, gave me a fair amount of shtick over the Windows tablet coming into the meeting. In reply, I said, send me a tablet and I’ll happily give it a go.
So there you go. I now have a Galaxy Tab 4 tablet (which I have to send back to him BTW).
With the amount of travel I’ve had going on though it wasn’t until this past week and weekend that I had the chance to use this tablet and, more importantly, Android in anger. The net result: It was a very depressing experience but not for the reason you would expect from an admitted Windows and Windows Phone fanboy.
First, I have to give credit where credit is due. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 is a great little piece of kit. I have the 8″ unit which has 1GB of RAM and 16GB of storage and can be expanded up to an additional 64GB with a MicroSD card. Most retailers have this tablet for around $199 so if you are looking for a solid Android tablet, this isn’t a bad choice in my opinion.
I have said before and still stick by my comments that I’m not a fan of Android. I don’t like the way that the UI works or looks mostly (I appreciate this is solely a matter of opinion) and further I don’t like the inconsistency when it comes to upgrading. We in the Windows Phone world love to moan about the fact that Lumia Denim upgrades have been a mess for the most part (Yes AT&T, I’m looking at you) but I don’t care what Android fans say, fragmentation is real. All that said, I do have to say I was pleased with how Samsung rolled out Android on this device (it is running KitKat) and their skins on things. I found it far better than the previous tries I’ve had on Android so that was not the source of my sour face.
That sour face belongs to the apps. It was the first time since returning to Windows Phone back in August last year that I experienced the app gap in all its glory. And it was depressing. Name an app and it is there for Android. I think in the time I’ve been playing with the Galaxy Tab 4 I’ve downloaded some 90 apps. No more was I tentatively going to an app store (the Windows Phone store or the Windows store) and searching for an app, assuming I would be disappointed. I rarely ran into that using the Google Play store. I did run into a few apps that wouldn’t work on my device but over all I had no problem finding just about any app I wanted.
It was a stark reminder of just how far behind in both quality and overall app depth that the Windows and Windows Phone stores are today. I’m not going to beat this particular drum again. I’ve been vocal enough on it. Nor am I jumping ship. I’m sticking with Windows and Windows Phone because I’m confident that when Windows 10 comes this summer, it will be the release that propels Windows Phone in particular.
This week was also a reminder of just how bad the updating of apps in the Windows Phone store is today. I wrote about this a few weeks ago that Windows Phone has an app update problem more than an app gap problem. I still stick by that although perhaps a little less strongly after this week. I’ll give you a great example. I have on my Windows Phone about 70 apps installed. I will get an update of an app or two every other day or sometimes as long as 3 or 4 days. With Android on this tablet, I was getting an update of some app nearly every day. The updates ranged from your garden variety bug fix update to new features but the point was that upgrades were happening.
I am hopeful and confident that with the coming of Windows 10 on all of my devices that this depression around apps will be short lived. But for now, for this Windows and Windows Phone fan, it was a sad experience using Android and all its apps for a week.