warthog9: Warthog9 (Default)
So I've had a problem adapting to the Nexus One these past couple of weeks. It works great, it's super fast, the screen is bright, clear and astounding. But I've run into two problems that are continuously causing me to scratch my head and go 'ERGH?'
  1. There's not enough room for apps.
    So I moved over from my hacked G1 to my hacked N1, and immediately found I couldn't port over all of the apps I had installed. This isn't a huge deal in the grand scope of things, it just means that I don't have the bazillion tower defence games on my device - now I only have a million or so ;-)
  2. Where's the goram frelling TAB key?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
    So apparently I use the TAB key a lot.  Like daily, in nearly everything I do
    1. When I want to write a grocery list I will most often open up a note of some sort add one item per line and when I get it at the store I tab it over so that it's not completely left justified anymore
    2. When I want to align text, in notes, in my calendar, anywhere
    3. When I'm using ssh - *ESPECIALLY* when I'm using ssh
So obviously 1 there isn't worrying me too much, Google has already said they will support running apps off the SD Card at some point in the future, so I'm not terribly worried.  As for 2 however - I'm astounded.  I can't be the only person who wants a keyboard with a tab key.  My G1 has one on the physical keyboard, so does the Motorola Droid/Milestone.  Yet there is no tab on the virtual keyboard, not as a shift character, not in the symbols, and not as an alternative in the symbols.  I mean seriously I get a character that looks like the new Netapp logo, but I don't get a tab key?!

So this started my adventure into the Android Market.  I've generally had good luck rummaging around in there (except when I'm in Canada and I want to buy an app, come on Google let people North of the Border buy apps!  It's either that or I use my proxy / vpn).  So I figured, hey the keyboard on Android is replaceable lets see what they've got.

One search for 'keyboard' later I noticed there are something like 600 (I counted) applications for keyboards!  I mean there's what, 30,000 apps on the Market and 2% of them are keyboards - that's pretty impressive... but wait a second, I thought to myself looking just a smidgen closer, some thing is amiss here.....

Most of these "Apps" are themes, or skins, or whatever they want to call them for a single application: Better keyboard.  To find what I was really after I had to wade through page after page, after page, after page of "Applications" to find the maybe 10 or so keyboards in the market to try and find one with a tab key ( For the record AnySoftKeyboard is what I finally found that had a tab key and was, more or less, usable).

This is when it dawned on me: the market idea, as it currently stands, is doomed.

I'm not being a naysayer here, in fact I really like the idea of the Market, or the Apple App store (for definitions of like and closed minded we can bounce your app if we don't like it for any reason, like it was sunny in California today).  The ideas are quite sound: give the user a one stop shopping place to find apps to make their device more awesome, slower and in need of being upgraded.  Great!  But here's the catch, for things like Better Keyboard they offer themes or skins or whatever they are, and each of these ends up taking up a slot in the market and thus becomes the problem: There's so much random stuff, I really don't care about, that I can't find what I'm looking for.

Why are there apps that show you pictures of attractive individuals?  Isn't that what the web is for?  Why isn't there a way for people to say "I'm a theme of Better Keyboard" and have all of those "Apps" collapse under the general heading of better keyboard?  Why must the Market be such a disastrous mess I can't even find what I'm looking for?

What we really need is better organization, for things like themes they should be more directly attached to the application, heck even a little sub-category for them all would work.  Click on Better Keyboard and you can install it and after the comments section there's a listing of all the themes for the application, which take you to their individual pages, etc.  But the entire thing only searches as a single entity when I search the market.

Dunno, I'm obviously frustrated at the market for making me wade through more "Apps" purporting to be keyboards than I have tower defence games, and I'm doubly frustrated 'cause all I really wanted was a tab key.  Are those really so much to ask for?

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warthog9

December 2014

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