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Geek Culture / I am planning to buy an android device for the first time, but...

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mr Handy
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Posted: 11th Jan 2015 18:32
Hi guys! I bet all of you have android experience. I am planning to buy an android device for the first time, but there are several issues that I have encountered:

1) Google (android) background services are eating the battery. I mean useless services not related to the core device functioning. They can't be killed until you are "root", which cancels warranty but you get less battery consumption device.

2) Google background services collecting your private data like position coords. I heard that some location services are hidden too deep inside and store location by logging nearby GSM (UMTS, whatever) stations even when GPS is disabled.

3) Upper stuff only could be done by reflashig the device with custom OS, which also cancels warranty.

4) Viruses?

5) Remote access to the phone by hacking the email (like message: send $ to the phone if you want your device not to be locked). Is email really necessary to tie with device if i am not planning to use market?

I don't know how Android works, but I don't need services and don't want location logging.

So is that true, false or something else I should know about?

Quik
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Posted: 11th Jan 2015 20:42
First off what phones are you interested in? AFAIK the whole google thing might vary quite a bit from phone to phone. that does sound exactly like my Nexus though.
Secondly, if you have no interest in say editing the phone in any way that may cancel warranty, then I must ask why you are planning to make the "switch"?



Whose eyes are those eyes?
mr Handy
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Posted: 11th Jan 2015 21:24 Edited at: 11th Jan 2015 21:29
Quote: "if you have no interest in say editing the phone in any way"

If it will remove issues with privacy and battery then yes, I would do anything not very complicated with OS.

edit: some guy says that modifying Android in any way should not cancel the warranty (for hardware), it is the phone repair service's illegal behavior.

I am planning a regular Samsung tablet and (or) phone with regular android (afaik it is not modified by Samsung, like Xiaomi)

P.S. please ask anything if I am unclear.

The Zoq2
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Posted: 12th Jan 2015 01:48
Quote: " some guy says that modifying Android in any way should not cancel the warranty (for hardware), it is the phone repair service's illegal behavior."


It depends on the manufacturer, most manufacturers make your warranty void as soon as you unlock the bootloader for rooting. I think it's mostly because they don't want to pay for repairs of a phone that has been broken due to some weird custom firmware that someone installed.

My OnePlusOne does not get its warranty voided because you unlock/root it. You will still void your warranty if you break something because of the custom firmware but that is very unlikley. It's a great phone in my opinion.

Quote: "
I am planning a regular Samsung tablet and (or) phone with regular android (afaik it is not modified by Samsung, like Xiaomi)"


That's not really true. Xiaomi is a completley new OS and is nothing like android, as far as I know, there are no phones with it but I could be wrong about that. The android version that samsung uses is called touchwiz and is both a skin on top of android and a modified version of the OS itself. Most manufacturers do something like that but samsung has the most custom version of android. In my experience, touchwiz is a lot slower than stock android and updates to it are rare and stop comming out quickly.

Personally I would avoid a samsung phone because of the slowness and lack of updates. And if you are concerned about coorporations spying, samsung have a ton of their own programs which you can't get rid of preinstalled.

Here you can see a comparison between stock android (left), touchwiz(center) and HTC sense (right)

Say ONE stupid thing and it ends up as a forum signature forever. - Neuro Fuzzy
Airslide
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Posted: 12th Jan 2015 09:01
Quote: "That's not really true. Xiaomi is a completley new OS and is nothing like android, as far as I know, there are no phones with it but I could be wrong about that."


Unless I've been misreading a lot of articles lately, I think Xiaomi is a hardware company (à la Samsung).

The last Android device I had was an HTC Incredible, but from what I hear from my Android touting friends the Nexus devices are among the best. They are stock Android as well, so no bloatware to concern yourself with.
Clonkex
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Posted: 12th Jan 2015 11:03 Edited at: 12th Jan 2015 11:05
If you want stock Android with no modifications by manufacturers, I strongly recommend a Google Nexus device.

If you don't mind minimal modifications (like colours and icons), the HTC One M8 is the phone I bought recently and it's awesome.

If you don't want to root your phone and install a custom rom (i.e. a custom version of Android), don't buy Samsung devices. I'm a massive Samsung fan (their hardware is generally incredible) but TouchWiz is absolutely horrid. We have two Galaxy S3's and two Galaxy SII's in our house but they're all running Cyanogenmod because TouchWiz is so awful.

Ok, since I basically know everything there is to know about Android (exaggeration, but I am very experienced with the OS in all its many forms), I will quickly attempt to answer your questions:

1) I've only ever experienced these issues on really old devices, and it was normally just a bug in some app I'd installed causing it. I've never had issues with battery drain from Google services since my Creative Zen Touch 2, which was my first Android device and utterly crappy.

2) You can disable location access with a single toggle. I seriously doubt that there's some "hidden" location-logging service. Why would you care if Google knows where Android is being used, anyway?

3) Not sure what you mean by "upper stuff".... oh, do you mean question 2? Well I think my answer to question 2 made question 3 irrelevant.

4) Viruses totally depend on what you do with the device. If you download suspicious apps from suspicious places, you've only got yourself to blame for the viruses. If you only download apps from Google Play and watch the ratings, there's extremely little chance of getting a virus. Even if you do get a virus, they can do far less harm than on, say, Windows.

5) Whaaaat. No, people can't hack your phone by email. No, if you're not intending to use any Google programs, logging in with email isn't necessary, but... man, what are you intending to do with this thing if you're this worried about privacy??

Quote: "I don't know how Android works, but I don't need services and don't want location logging."


Services aren't just like a Twitter updater or something like that. A lot of the services that run on Android are fairly vital to its operation. They're just frameworks that things like the GUI run on top of. Just so you know that services aren't all bad...

bitJericho
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Posted: 12th Jan 2015 14:57 Edited at: 12th Jan 2015 14:57
Might I recommend a Windows phone if you don't want to be a part of google and apple's disregard for privacy? I have a Nokia Icon and <3 it.

mr Handy
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Posted: 12th Jan 2015 19:26 Edited at: 12th Jan 2015 19:34
Thanks for your replies.

All my "I heard"-s are taken from hi-tech news via web.

Clonkex
Quote: "man, what are you intending to do with this thing if you're this worried about privacy"

It is related to my work.

Summing up, there are three issues as I see them:
1) battery life
2) gps spying
3) spying with google account

Okay, it is good that modern Android is better with battery, but still people around me complain on short battery life. My old [not smart] phones usually live for a week.

It is bad to hear that Samsung has problems with OS and updates. I have choosed Samsung because of their great hardware.

Also I heard that Samsung may spy you with frontal camera, and they call it "eye detection service" for fancy page scrolling with eye move.

About GPS (issue 2): I checked again the web. It says that Google has in EULA one paragraph that says that if you turn off GPS it is still collecting your location with "Location History" (and Apple with "Frequent Locations"). It is based on simple logging recent closest "base GSM stations".

Quote: "No, people can't hack your phone by email."

I was not clear, I think. Apple has a function to remotely lock the phone if it was stolen (and remote control too, up to remote erasing all data). But this service could be accessed via hacking tied email. Like recent Apple Cloud scandal with nude celebrity photos. And now Android has such feature too.

I need a simple device with internet, so I don't need any app market apps. Do I have to log in with Google account to use the device (tablet or phone)?

edit: Also I would check other phones that you recommend. But I mostly need good and clear OS and long battery than any apps, games or "skin" features. No to Apple.

bitJericho
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Posted: 12th Jan 2015 19:51 Edited at: 12th Jan 2015 19:52
If you don't need apps then you definitely want a windows 8.1 phone. I bought my icon because i wanted Cortana and I no longer wanted to be owned by google. I'd take a serious look at ms phone especially what may be coming in the next few months with windows 10. It also integrates exchange properly where both android and iPhone have exchange capabilities but very sub par.

Also my phone lasts a full day even with hours of normal non game usage.

mr Handy
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Posted: 12th Jan 2015 20:40
Quote: "lasts a full day"

Comparing to my old phones's week of usage... But alas, they are overused, fryed and had to be replaced.

Windows 10? Frankly, I've never thought of it. Interesting, what about privacy issues and security - this will definitely need an anti-virus software.

bitJericho
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Posted: 12th Jan 2015 20:48 Edited at: 12th Jan 2015 20:50
You will need to research it. What I can tell you is that every step of the way during configuration and going through settings you see options to disable sending personal data out. Windows phone doesn't need an Av but there's probably solutions out there. I'm not aware of any smartphone that is rated to last more than a day tho my iPhone lasts 2 or 3 with minimal use.

The Zoq2
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Posted: 12th Jan 2015 21:50
Quote: "About GPS (issue 2): I checked again the web. It says that Google has in EULA one paragraph that says that if you turn off GPS it is still collecting your location with "Location History" (and Apple with "Frequent Locations"). It is based on simple logging recent closest "base GSM stations"."


I don't know what they say in the EULA but I do know that location logging based on GSM/wifi networks can be disabled in the settings menu.



And regarding battery life, you will never get a week of battery on a smartphone, if you are lucky you might get more than a day. My OnePlus one is considered really good compared to the competition and without use, it can probably last 3 days. Most people seem to be able to get 4-5 hours of screen on time in a day.

My mom who doesn't use her phone much, it's usually idle in her bag can get it to last 3-4 days.

Personally I don't think it's an issue because I always charge it during the night so as long as I have enough battery to last 24 hours, im fine.

Say ONE stupid thing and it ends up as a forum signature forever. - Neuro Fuzzy
swissolo
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Posted: 12th Jan 2015 22:04 Edited at: 12th Jan 2015 22:07
Quote: "TouchWiz is absolutely horrid"

I read this all the time and have yet to have a single problem with it. Problems people blame on TouchWiz were solved by stripping out excessive amounts of bloatware for me.

Anyways, the way I use my phone must be different than other people. It could last 5 days quite easy with constant use. On a normal full day I only get a reported loss of about 5% (perhaps the readings aren't extremely accurate though?)

bitJericho
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Posted: 12th Jan 2015 22:33
That can't be a smartphone. Smartphones are more similar to computers than they are the flip phones of days gone by. Every smartphone I've seen you're expected to charge it at the end if the day. I recommend wireless charging for convenience and that it will be easy on the battery. Text to speech is amazing on modern phones so you may see yourself using that when you can so keypad is not quite as important.

mr Handy
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Posted: 13th Jan 2015 00:34 Edited at: 13th Jan 2015 00:38
Quote: "Problems people blame on TouchWiz were solved by stripping out excessive amounts of bloatware for me."

Please, give more details.

So all that hype about privacy was only partially true and related to old versions of android. That is a relief.

And if you say that smart phone can live for a two-three days with small activity - Good!

I suppose that Samsung (still first in my list) may release a windows 10 phone and tablet. What is better for a plain phone usage - Win or Android? (if I am not gonna be user of MS Office or Outlook on a portable device)

edit: Oh, I still curious about Google Account and phone access.

swissolo
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Posted: 13th Jan 2015 00:48
Quote: "That can't be a smartphone."

Note 4

Quote: "Please, give more details."

The Note 4 came with a great deal of background tools from Verizon, auto-updaters and security tools (that evidently are useless ) I disabled all of this. You can also disable animations to improve performance but I've found it wasn't really needed. Everything always wants to run in the background. Does a game really need to run all the time to give me push notification reminders? No. Neither do these other tools I don't need Android will keep applications in memory, which is fine, but if they continue to run unneededly, they're gone I disable all wireless communication when I don't need it as well. (minus the base cellular of course).

bitJericho
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Posted: 13th Jan 2015 00:58
Random review of the note 4:
Quote: "
The good news is I had no trouble getting the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to last a whole day on a single, with it generally having 20%-30% of juice left in the tank when I got into bed."


http://www.techradar.com/us/reviews/phones/mobile-phones/samsung-galaxy-note-4-1263301/review/5

swissolo
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Posted: 13th Jan 2015 01:02 Edited at: 13th Jan 2015 01:26
Quote: "Random review of the note 4:"

Once again I have no idea what people do with their phones to cause that I'm just providing my observations Maybe the expectation is heavy use of video playback/game play.

Dark Java Dude 64
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Posted: 13th Jan 2015 01:29 Edited at: 13th Jan 2015 01:33
Quote: "Once again I have no idea what people do with their phones to cause that"
Most people just carry around a few extra items:

Simple 3,500 watt generator to charge the phone (or 350 at once, your choice):


A basic dolly to carry it around:


And a simple petrol container to power the generator:


swissolo
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Posted: 13th Jan 2015 02:24
Quote: "Most people just carry around a few extra items:"

Oh yes I did cast a dark spell on the device recently. Perhaps that's the cause of the battery life?

Regardlessly, even if you aren't getting battery life as good as I'm reporting (I'd be skeptical too) it shouldn't be as much as a problem as past devices.

Clonkex
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Posted: 13th Jan 2015 12:23
Quote: "It is related to my work."


As curious as I am, I guess you can't tell me any more than that...?

Quote: "My old [not smart] phones usually live for a week."


No smartphone can last that long simply because they have to do so much more. iPhones are even worse. Some top-end Android phones have the best battery life of any smartphone.

Quote: "Do I have to log in with Google account to use the device (tablet or phone)?"


Nope

Quote: "But I mostly need good and clear OS"


Well unfortunately Samsung won't help with that, unless you're ready to void your warranty and flash a custom rom. HTC's Sense is very nice, but for the simplest and clearest OS, any Nexus device should do just fine.

Quote: "I read this all the time and have yet to have a single problem with it. Problems people blame on TouchWiz were solved by stripping out excessive amounts of bloatware for me."


I'm talking visually and functionally. Visually, Samsung's "organic" look is pretty yucko (and old). Functionally, TouchWiz is pretty inefficient and messy.

Dark Java Dude 64
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Posted: 13th Jan 2015 14:29
Quote: "No smartphone can last that long simply because they have to do so much more."
Mine can go for two weeks! Granted, I hardly ever use it...

Quik
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Posted: 13th Jan 2015 19:41
Longest i've had my nexus last is 2 days, and thats when I touch nothing else but using the fundamental features of calling and texting = P



Whose eyes are those eyes?
mr Handy
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Posted: 13th Jan 2015 20:57
Thanks for the answers, guys! I'll take a look at all the mentioned here devices.

Quote: "As curious as I am, I guess you can't tell me any more than that...?"

Unofficial business meetings. In business security is important.

swissolo
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Posted: 14th Jan 2015 01:20
Quote: "I'm talking visually and functionally. Visually, Samsung's "organic" look is pretty yucko (and old). Functionally, TouchWiz is pretty inefficient and messy."

Oh yes of course I had read about problems with performance that were fixed by cleaning out the device (visual skips, stutters, overall performance, etc). Most people seem to blame TouchWiz.

Yodaman Jer
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Posted: 14th Jan 2015 04:04
TouchWiz is purely awful, and has ensured I will never buy another Samsung Galaxy of any kind. The S4 was great after I modded it so that it didn't run TouchWiz, otherwise TouchWiz slowed everything down and made everything stutter and be sluggish.

I do have the HTC One M8 through TMobile, it's a good phone but the camera lens has cracked already that's the only bad thing I can say about it though, otherwise I would recommend it - the speakers are incredible!


It's back, baby!
Ortu
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Posted: 14th Jan 2015 04:55
I still have a flip phone, they laugh when i go in to Verizon to get a new one every couple of years. I laugh when my total phone bill is $12 a month and the battery lasts more than 10 days on one charge.

At first I just didn't want to pay for a data plan, now it's kind of or of principle. Plus I have a company issued smartphone with work

Clonkex
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Posted: 14th Jan 2015 07:34
Quote: "Unofficial business meetings. In business security is important."


Ah, I understand. Don't want all those company secrets getting out, eh?

Quote: "I do have the HTC One M8 through TMobile, it's a good phone but the camera lens has cracked already that's the only bad thing I can say about it though, otherwise I would recommend it - the speakers are incredible!"


My brother and I both bought HTC One M8s a month or two ago, and we absolutely love them! We were totally blown away by how awesome the speakers were! How on earth did you crack the lens??

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