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Runkeeper Deathmatch: iPhone versus Android

Halftime stats, already showing a difference of 80 meters in distance covered.
Halftime stats, already showing a difference of 80 meters in distance covered.

Runkeeper is a wonderful app I’ve used for years, but its most recent versions have been giving me headaches on both platforms. Tonight, I took both of them out for a walk, to see if either or both of them fail again.

And so, this was Runkeeper versus Runkeeper, on an iPhone and an Android phone, tracking the same walk. Yes, I hear people recommending Endomondo and other competing apps, but after years of using Runkeeper, I’m wary of ditching it, and willing to give it another chance, or any number of them.

The iPhone was in an outside overcoat pocket, and the Android phone in an inside overcoat pocket, with outside temperature hovering above the freezing point. The final difference in distance measured is 100 meters, and in terms of speed: 6.04 km/h (iPhone) versus 6.11 km/h (Android).

Final stats, with the distance discrepancy growing to 100 meters.
Final stats, with the distance discrepancy growing to 100 meters.

On the positive side, neither of the two phones crashed or displayed wildly impossible data, as has lately been the case on both platforms. Perhaps it also depends on weather conditions during each outdoor activity; this was a nightly walk under what seemed like calm, cloudless dark skies.

The Android phone started acting up during the saving operation, and the saving screen briefly went away altogether, so that it seemed like all data were lost forever; but after half a minute or so, the saving screen suddenly reappeared. This at a time when the most recent iPhone versions of Runkeeper have been hopelessly buggy in terms of Facebook sharing, with Runkeeper developers even refusing to recognize that anything is wrong or illogical, and, therefore, refusing to fix the bugs/inconsistencies.

Also, the support software on Runkeeper’s site has the “wonderful” feature of marking all bug reports submitted by users as “Solved” after a few days, even if they are not resolved at all, for years on end, as is the case with some bugs I’ve been reporting to Runkeeper for years now. They continue being unresolved, yet are all marked as “Solved” on the support site. Sigh. To comfort me, I was given a free Runkeeper Go subscription for a time, which is a very nice gesture, but I’d much rather see long-standing and new bugs actually squashed, and pay for my subscription instead. (Subscription is not even strictly necessary to make Runkeeper useful in your life. I’d purchase it, though, if only to show appreciation for the developers’ effort to iron out bugs, especially long-standing ones. But as it is…)

Below is a picture of the return walk as tracked by the Android phone. The two red lines separate at times, although the exact same sidewalks were used in both directions. That’s where the imprecision comes in – but it’s anyone’s guess as to whether it was the iPhone or the Android phone that was more imprecise this time around. A reasonable conjecture is that the slower speed (iPhone) was closer to reality, because increased, “flattering” speeds in Runkeeper are often the results of erratic GPS rather than one’s physical prowess.

Walk tracking courtesy of Runkeeper for Android.
Walk tracking courtesy of Runkeeper for Android.

The payment via the Android phone and Tatra banka’s app failed in the Kaufland supermarket; I made three attempts. I then gave up and paid via a Tatra banka contactless card, which took a split-second. During my previous visit in the same supermarket, the payment via phone succeeded at the third attempt after many struggles and exasperated looks from everyone waiting in the line behind me. For iPhones, no mobile payments are currently possible in Slovakia; Tatra banka claims that it’s Apple’s fault, due to allegedly non-standard NFC implementation by Apple.

Mobile technology is wonderful, but still very much buggy and unreliable.

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Alexander Avenarius

Prekladateľ, korektor, tlmočník, učiteľ jazykov, správca serverov. Milovník elektronickej literatúry a mobilných prístrojov (čiže digitálny knihomoľ), študent filozofie a filmov, polyglot, hobby-recenzent. Tvorca alternatívneho rozloženia slovenskej klávesnice. Môj alternatívny blog je na adrese extempore.avenarius.sk. Svoje knižné, filmové a iné recenzie posielam – vzhľadom na prehlbujúcu sa nefunkčnosť portálov IMDb a Amazon – aj do blogu kritik.avenarius.sk.