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The 5 Dumbest Things in the Smartphone World

3. Android skins: Google's pure Android Nexus is an excellent operating system, but it's being fragmented and butchered by the various hardware makers. If you have a good thing, what do you do? Create umpteenth variants of it, all of them inferior and confusing!

Make sure that different Androids have different kinds of buttons -- some soft, some actual physical buttons -- and that they are put in different places, and then make sure that all menus look different from device to device. Therefore, someone switching from one Android device to another -- from Samsung to HTC to LG (LGL) to Sony (SNE), etc. -- will be totally confused.

Adding insult to injury, instead of getting the OS updates directly from Google as soon as they are released, you have to wait anywhere from three to 18 months to get them -- or never receive them at all. By the time you're 18 months overdue for an OS update, you have probably become so frustrated that you have moved on to a new device anyway -- perhaps an iPhone. Google's loss.

Google offers the pure version of Google, which has not been bastardized, in the form of the pure Nexus experience. Why someone making an Android phone bothers spending huge resources re-inventing the wheel -- always unsuccessfully -- is beyond me. All of these Android makers, from Samsung to HTC to Sony and so forth, should stick to the pure Nexus version of Android. Google should insist on it, for it's own sake -- and Android's.

4. Failure to copy the BlackBerry keyboard: There is a segment of the market that clearly prefers the BlackBerry keyboard. It differs from different countries -- anywhere from 5% to 50%+. When the BlackBerry platform was a competitive OS in general -- until 2007-08, say -- BlackBerry had a huge market share almost everywhere, approaching 50% on average.

Still, even today, there are some 80 million BlackBerry users out there. If BlackBerry had a competitive OS, there would probably be a lot more, although yet others would argue that the train has left the station for this to actually happen in the future.

That said, imagine how easy it would be for someone to pick off these 80 million BlackBerry subscribers, and attract even more who would like that keyboard but left the BlackBerry platform already because they couldn't take it anymore? Clearly Apple is uninterested in this, but what about Google and Microsoft?

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