Rushing phone and tablet products to market is not without its consequences

Ahhh, the days of tried-and-true Apple products that just worked because, well, because they were Apple. Sure, there were problems. Certainly combinations of factors caused crashes. But by and large, the approach taken by the company was an attempt to put a corral around the Macintosh way to develop and deploy software. It had to have a certain look and feel. It had to have specific menus, and the menus had to contain certain functions. Anyone sitting down to any new program on a Mac would know where to go to open a file, to set preferences, or to find help.

A recent article in The Register got me thinking. The subject of the article was a report by an investigative website called Crittercism. In their analysis, there were statistically more crashes (specifically, app crashes as a percentage of app launches) on the iOS platform than on Android. How could this be? Apple is so controlling as to what gets released to the public, compared to the relative ease with which an Android developer can get a product onto people’s phones.

But it might be true. The problem with iOS 5 is definitely there, but it’s not like it wasn’t there with 4 as well. I can’t say whether it’s there to the same or greater or lesser extent on Android, not being an Android user. I believe that it is there, to some extent, and it is on that basis that I make these observations.

I’ve been a die-hard Apple fan for many, many years, but I certainly noticed the difference between the “get it to market as fast as possible” mindset of the phone/pad world, and the more considered approach to product releases in the computer division. Particularly in consideration of Apple’s walled garden, where nothing gets released without first having been at least tried out and looked at, the number of issues that cause things to break is a little disappointing. In fact, unless there’s some very real truth behind the allegations that Crittercism is not quite looking at a level playing field (the company receives funding from Google Ventures, which some have cited as a possible conflict of interest, due to the fact that Android is also a Google product), it’s pretty inexplicable.

I’m sure it’ll get fixed in due course. But the fact that all the developers, the marketers, the manufacturers, the suppliers are constantly in such a mad rush to offer features over finesse will always mean that products are not as functional and reliable as they could and probably should be.

The extent to which we all just overlook glitches in product offerings because we were swayed by a nice shiny presentation is the extent to which we’ll have to deal with the failure of things to work when we need them to work. Is it a show stopper? Apparently not yet.


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