Is Stock Android Becoming too Much Like IOS

Google unveiled Android Kit-Kat a little over a month ago and its been enough time for me to really play around with a few features of the new OS update to Google’s already rock solid mobile OS experience. The news from my end however has me somewhat worried. After playing with the new GEL launcher on my Nexus 7 and LG G2 (apk link can be found below), it seems that Android’s stock experience has taken a bit of a step back.

After multiple iterations of the stock experience I fell in love with Jelly Bean, the features were innovative and made for a clean look and user experience. The biggest change with Jelly Bean was easily the looks. It brought Android from a cesspool green to  beautiful pale blues, and it streamlined the whole user experience so that it felt uncluttered and feature rich. Most of all though it became easy to use, which for many was the biggest complaint(more a concern) about switching to Android.

With Kit-Kat however I find the opposite to be the case. The looks are still there, but I feel as if Google took a page from Apple’s book. Don’t get me wrong I still find it to be a better overall experience than IOS, but in many ways its becoming IOS(ish) in terms of the launchers feel and operation. This has me slightly worried about where Google is planning to take Android.

The biggest issue for me is how cluttered the experience feels in 4.4 compared to 4.2 or 4.3. Adding home screens took me a few minutes to actually figure out, whereas adding screens in 4.2 was simple and easy to figure out. Another gripe that really bugs me on GEL(Google Experience Launcher) is the dots that indicate the currently selected screen. It takes up so much space on the screen and makes it feel smaller and more cluttered. Whereas with Nova or Apex you can either get rid of the screen indicator or use the small bar that disappears after a few seconds. GEL has no such options and you are stuck with those horrid dots taking up screen space.

Google now is simply a swipe to the left, and as this does make it easier to access its far too similar to IOS left swipe to search. Its something I hated on IOS and although I understand Google trying to integrate Now into the experience as much as possible its just as easy to say ok google to get to the same page. Not to mention they don’t give you the option to remove it at all, this is against the whole idea of Android. Stock Android no longer feels; well stock. It feels forced and is now very close to being as bad as an OEM skin like HTC’s Sense or Samsung’s Touchwiz. What made stock Android so great is options and the bare bones nature of the OS. Now it seems that Google is trying to take Android in a direction similar to Apple. Which in all honesty is fine, but when you take away the ability to make simple changes to the experience it’s no longer Android.

Now I am not naive, every Android user should know that the launcher on every Android device is easily replaced with a whole host of different launcher apps like Nova or Apex. They offer more options, give you more control over functionality, and provides just as good of an experience as the stock launcher that ships with the phone. However, thats not the point. Nexus devices were supposed to show the stock experience of Android and with Kit-Kat it just feels as if stock Android is taking a step back rather than furthering the philosophy Google once portrayed. Either way Google seems to be making Android more like IOS in terms of how it functions, and that is not what I signed up for.

(I’m not responsible for damage to your device, installing APK’s from the internet can be dangerous and you do so at your own risk)


Bears Hold On Against Giants in Thursday Night Victory

The Giants visited the Bears on a short week that ended up with a Bears win, although in unimpressive fashion. Jay Cutler continued to shine and show his time with Trestman is paying off. The defense also continued to prove its own trend in allowing long plays, but maintaining the opportunistic approach to defensive football. After complaining all week Brandon Marshall got his return to the spotlight with a two touchdown performance. As we continue through the season things look bright for an offense that is still finding it rhythm, while the Bears defense continues to figure out what to do after a game that got far to close at the end.

Cutler for the second week looked really good, although not the statistical powerhouse we saw last week, still played extremely well. What really stood out against the Giants was his decision making. Especially on a red zone play that broke down and forced him to throw it away, yes Cutler threw the ball away. This is what people really wanted to see from Cutler this season, smart plays that keep the game alive. Cutler is proving that he is taking Trestmans advice, and running with it. He looks poised and comfortable behind his new line as well that again is thanks to Trestman’s playbook. Quick releases have really helped Cutler and his line surrender less sacks and has allowed that trust to be built. Against the Giants Cutler was again over a 100 QB rating, that’s three games in a row with 100+ rating. He finished with two touchdowns for 262 yards while Completing 24 of 36 attempts for a 66.7 % completion rate. So far this season I have been more than impressed with Cutler. So far this season Cutler is 12 touchdowns to 6 interceptions, passing for a total of 1630 yards and an average QB rating of 95.2, that’s the highest of his 8 year NFL career.

Marshall finally gets the ball, after begging for it all week. Cutler rewarded him with 2 touchdowns on nine receptions for 87 yards. After weeks of double teams he was finally able to get a few opportunities. After a small absence on the stat sheet its nice to see the Bears number one wide out get back into the action. The offense overall though has what’s been most impressive. Cutler continues to spread the ball around efficiently leading to teams having to choose who to defend each week. Martellus Bennett continues to make his case for one of the better all around tight ends in the league. Alshon Jeffery’s had a rather quiet game this week after exploding against the Saints for 200 plus yards. The offense continues to be a bright spot for the Bears.

The offense is playing as good as the defense is bad. It seems that unless we’re creating  turnovers we can’t stop anyone. Brandon Jacobs is not a great running back, but was able to run all over the place finishing with 22 attempts for 106 yards and 4.8 ypc and two touchdowns. The lone bright spot Thursday night was the three picks two by Jennings and one by Zack Bowman. Week in and week out the Bears are struggling to stop the run. It’s a complete role reversal from previous years where the offense is doing its job weekly while the defense puts together a less than stellar effort and is failing to finish games. The woes on the defense all start up front. Let’s start by saying that the Bears will not switch to 3-4 defense, they already are greatly lacking the ability to get pressure on the quarterback. Taking away a lineman will only make it worse, so lets keep that idea on the back burner. The lack of pressure means were blitzing far more than we should be, allowing for opposing passers to complete longer plays. A lot of complaining has been targeted towards the secondary, when its simply the lack of pressure allowing opposing quarterbacks to complete more reads on longer routes.  With MLB D.J Williams out for the season to a torn pectoral muscle rookie Jon Bostic will take over starting duty. I’m not naive with Tillman battling knee injuries, Stephen Paea still out with a toe injury, two defensive tackles on IR, and Williams also going to IR the Bears Defense is in shambles. Rookies Mclellin, Bostic, and Wooton need to step up. If they don’t the Bears will have a hard time getting a deep run in the playoffs, let alone making it there in the first place.

Bears Lose to visiting Saints, but how bad was it?

It wasn’t all bad news Sunday when the Bears had the New Orleans Saints visit Soldier Field. Jay Cutler played a really good game and somehow come out of the game with a loss after posting a 128 qb rating. His only turnover came on an early fumble, after pressure from his left went unchecked. However its inescapable that the Bears are extra thin on an already beat up defensive Line. Collins went to IR along with Melton leaving the Bears to push Wooton in for time inside. After a poor outing against the Lions a week earlier the Bears really needed a bit of a rally, in some ways they got it.

Jay had one hell of an outing, 128 passer rating, no interceptions, over 300 yards, and completing 24 of 33 attempts for a 72% completion rating. That’s a pretty good day regardless of the fumble. After what to me seemed like a bit of an outcry from fans calling for an end to Cutler. He responded, but certainly isn’t going to get the credit without the W.  The fumble was luckily held to three points and regardless of how you want to look at it that doesn’t make the game in this one. Bennett’s missed catch was much worse. I think Cutler is responding well to Trestman so far and beyond the Lions game a week ago has played well enough to prove it. I believe he is going to go off against the Giants who are 0-5 at this point and still looking for answers.

Good god Alshon. The Bears wideout may have really turned a corner I am not necessarily celebrating yet as I still want to see what he does for a few more games. There is no ignoring 208 yards receiving, and after 100 yards against the Lions it seems as if he is starting to put things together. Not to mention he’s gotten a touchdown the last two as well. Teams are doubling Marshall almost every play, so he is getting open. If Jefferies can attract more attention Marshall is going to become as dangerous as ever, there will simply be too much for opposing teams to handle if the Bears can get Brandon loose. Let’s hope for another big game from Alshon Thursday, and see how the offense really opens up.