Android Headliner: Chinese Handsets Need Better Software

Smartphones 2014 AH 1

The Chinese smartphone market is the biggest market in the world, as you probably already know. There are tons of active OEMs located in China which manufacture smartphones these days. Ever since Xiaomi managed to succeed in only a couple of years, and become the number one smartphone OEM in China in just 4 years, a lot of new companies actually came to life and started pushing their devices to the market. I’m not talking about Huawei, ZTE, Acer, etc… those companies have been around for a long time, and are renowned all over the world. I’m talking about smaller businesses, like Mlais, Ulefone, Doogee, etc. Those companies haven’t been around for long and have managed to release quite a lot of phones already.

That being said, Chinese OEMs have been known for pretty poor quality products for quite some time. Many of them still are, but a number of China-based OEMs improved in that regard, a lot. Manufacturers like Xiaomi, Huawei and Meizu have great hardware, and they’ve also improved a lot on the software front, but some other, smaller companies have real issues on the software side of things. Don’t get me wrong though, not all of them have such issues, but a number of them just can’t get that part right. Many of us in the tech business actually appreciate stock Android and what it brings to the table, and luckily, many of these smaller companies don’t skin Android all that much. Why is that a good thing? Well, the performance tends to be good for the most part, and the UI also looks really great. So, what’s wrong then? Well… read on.

The UI design is not the problem here, but their software offerings are just not as polished as they should be. Some of those OEMs tend to release devices which are full of small quirks which can be quite annoying, even though the device performs great for the most part. The same thing can actually be said about a number of well-known brands which tend to heavily skin Android, but we’ve talked about that many times before and there’s really no point going over it all over again. The point is that Chinese OEMs have improved a whole lot on the hardware side of things, even the smaller companies like UMi for example. That company has released the UMi Iron device which is really, really well-built. Elephone, yet another not that well-known company, is another good example. Their P7000 and P8000 smartphones are really solid in terms of hardware.

Bigger Chinese OEMs like Xiaomi and Huawei, for example, have come a long way in terms of software, but they should do some cleaning up as well. The performance is, for the most part, great, but the design could use some work. That’s not the only thing though, many of these OEMs tend to not include an app drawer, like Xiaomi for example, which annoys many people. The point of Android is to offer more than iOS, and throwing an app drawer in your face is definitely not the way to do that. You can, of course, install a third party launcher and get it over with, but that’s not the point, now is it. There’s also an issue of updates with some Chinese OEMs, especially the ones which have heavily skinned Android. It will certainly going to be interesting to see if they can rectify such issues going forward, because these (smaller Chinese) OEMs manufacture extremely affordable devices which have real potential. What are your thoughts in all this?