Is the Android OS too complicated?

by Chris on July 4, 2013

Serious question. I am not an Android user although I generally love Google products and I’m also a (happy) shareholder. Here goes:

Last night I was at a pub with friends. One of them, who we will call Paul (only because that’s his name) had a Samsung Galaxy S3. He used to be a BlackBerry user but he switched to Android at least a year ago. I know because I remember when he first showed me the “so cool” facial recognition feature for unlocking the phone. He’d hold the phone out, facing himself, and it would take a selfie, analyze the result, and unlock. Hilariously slow. Total novelty. Useless.

Anyway, Paul wanted to download some podcasts I had recommended. So I used his phone to install a Podcast app and add the podcast feed for him. I started playing one of the episodes and gave him the phone back. It had taken me a while to figure out exactly how to do all of this, but I assumed he’d know what to do from this point onwards since it was … well … HIS phone.

But he couldn’t figure out how to: A) Get back into the app from the home screen; B) Turn off the podcast episode that was playing in the background.

Here’s the thing: Paul is an intelligent guy. He’s not a tech geek though. He’s an average consumer who just wants to be able to use the features on his phone. The screen system on Android seemed so convoluted and confusing that even a guy using it for a year couldn’t quickly get back to the app.

Like I said up front – I don’t know Android. I know the basics of swiping through screens. That’s it. Compared to BlackBerry 10 it seems horribly confusing.

So the question: Is Android seriously confusing to the average Joe? For those of you who have spent time on Android and BlackBerry 10 and iOS what are your thoughts?

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