Android Usability

Hi, I’m looking for some information on android usability. Specifically, I’m curious about how successful the basic navigation of android devices are using the back, option, home and search buttons. Some device manufacturers choose to modify the standard android navigation framework for their products and remove standard android buttons. I’m not sure if device manufacturers are doing this because they believe standard android is inadequate and they need to fix it or they are just looking for a way to differentiate. Unless there are serious usability concerns, It seems like it would be better to keep the standard android experience consistent from device to device. I’d really appreciate it if anyone could point me in the right direction of research in this area. Thanks.

There are some issues with it. In some apps the back button functions as home button, meaning it’s exiting the app instead of going to previous screen. The settings can be hard to find because sometimes you press “options” and select setting. But once you’re inside settings you can press “options” again and get more settings! You also have different options on different “pages” inside the apps, which you wouldn’t know existed unless you tried every single one.
The search button I’ve never used. I guess I do it the old school way by opening the page (like google, wikipedia) that I want to search and then type it in the bar.

I had an iPhone for 2+ years before going Android (nexus one), and I found Apples system much better. I would def move the back and settings buttons to the GUI, and get rid of search.