Motorola CEO Blames Android Openness And Poorly Performing Apps For Device Returns

by Gaurav Kheterpal on June 7, 2011

In April, I made a genuine attempt to find out how open (and fragmented) is Android? There is little doubt that the ‘open source’ tag has been a major trump card in Android’s phenomenal success story. In fact, Android is widely seen as the next biggest open source triumph after Linux.

However, Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha believes the openness of Android Market is adversely affecting the overall quality of apps and causing users to return large numbers of Motorola devices. He claims apps most apps aren’t tested for power consumption and CPU use and this frustrates device owners as they are forced to restart and frequently charge their devices.

It’s understandable that Jha’s comments caused a furor amongst developers and the Google think tank doesn’t appear amused either. Therefore, the company was quick to clarify that Jha didn’t mean to single out third party application developers for the obnoxiously high rate of smartphone returns. Though Jha has been forced to backtrack from his original comments, he might have done enough to reignite the Android openness debate.

Google has always claimed that Android offers “true multitasking” better than iOS. Of course, the ability to execute multiple tasks simultaneously comes at a price. Jha says Motorola is now beginning to understand the impact of Android’s multi-tasking abilities on the consumer experience. Most users download a large number of third party applications and therefore it impacts the performance of the device.  Motorola says Jha has been misquoted and he was merely trying to suggest that though the company conducts extensive research to examine factors that contribute to returns, and the high volume of apps available on Android Market make is impossible to certify each and every app on its devices. This often leads to device instability.

It’s an open secret that Google’s app review process leaves a lot to be desired. In contrast to Apple where apps go through a stringent review process, Google lets developers upload apps to Android Market at will. Though the company does regular cleanups and it removes applications that are found to be malicious or to violate its terms, Android Market’s average app quality is no match for Apple App Store. Last year, Steve Jobs ridiculed Google’s lax app store policy by suggesting “Folks who want porn can buy and [sic] Android phone.”

IMO, Google’s multi-vendor multi-version policy makes it difficult for app developers to ensure their apps would run just as well across a plethora of Android devices.

Jha believes Motorola is willing to take the matter in its own hands. He suggested that, in future, the Motoblur interface could be used to warn users when it detects that an application will consume a large amount of power or otherwise be detrimental to system performance.

A video recording of Jha’s interview is available here.

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Written by: Gaurav Kheterpal. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.comby: RSS,TwitterFacebook, or YouTube.

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