Category Archives: Android

Google needs some “developers, developers, developers”

Battle Of The Tablet Business Models: Windows 8 And The Microsoft Surface:

As an aside, compare Microsoft’s stewardship of Windows with how Google has treated Android. Google has created a world class operating system in Android but they have done their hardware licensees a disservice when it comes to platform. Their software updates are severely fragmented, their store is difficult to navigate and lacks content and their app store is clogged with clones, pirates and viruses. As a result, Android owners buy less content and apps and Android app developers make far, far less money than do the developers for competing platforms.

This, I think, gets to the heart of the issue with Android: Google’s failure to court developers and provide a genuinely compelling platform for them to create great software. Google has relied on “open”, because that’s a selling point to some developers – but not to the majority.

In which Andy Rubin digs a hole just a little deeper

Andy Rubin’s definition of “open”, October 2010:

the definition of open: “mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make”

Andy Rubin replying to Alibaba’s John Spelich, September 2012:

“Aliyun uses the Android runtime, framework and tools.  And your app store contains Android apps (including pirated Google apps).  So there’s really no disputing that Aliyun is based on the Android platform and takes advantage of all the hard work that’s gone into that platform by the OHA.”

From “open to everyone to use” to castigating people for “[taking] advantage of all the hard work that’s gone into that platform by the OHA.”

Either it’s open, in which case everyone gets to take advantage of the work, or it isn’t, in which case Rubin needs to say it. 

If Rubin believes, as he say, that Aliyun “contains pirated Google apps”, then they should sue, rather than pressuring partners not to work with them. 

The end of Android Tablets?

The end of Android tablets: can Google match Amazon’s success before Microsoft closes the window? | The Verge:

“What the Fire has taught us before and will teach us again this week is that the biggest threat to Android tablets isn’t necessarily the iPad — it’s that the companies which make the devices aren’t totally invested in ensuring the Android platform succeeds.”

I’ve argued before that other companies in the Android eco-system aren’t Android’s best friends – this post makes that point well.

The putative 7in iPad versus the Nexus 7

I'm not one for comparing products which don't exist yet to products which are already on the market, but James Kendrick has written what I think are a good set of reasons why he'll be first in line for a 7in iPad, despite liking the Nexus 7:

Using an iPad is so much more pleasant compared to the Nexus 7 that I am confident that the rumored iPad Mini (or as I prefer to call it the iBook) will capture the small tablet market and quickly. The pricing Apple puts on the smaller tablet will certainly be a factor, but knowing the company I believe they will get it right.

James is right. I own both the N7 and the latest iPad, and while I like both a lot there's a big difference between the two in terms of experience. Even though the N7 is much smoother than previous Android devices (thanks to Jelly Bean) it's still not as responsive as the iPad.

More importantly Android's still lacking in quality applications built for tablet sized screens. There's still no killer Twitter client, although a couple come close. There's a few decent games, but not many. There's no writing app as good as Pages, or presentation app as good as Keynote. Android has occasional quality tablet apps; iOS has depth in quality.

With friends like Samsung, does Google need enemies?

Android 4.0 Forces Samsung To Delay Galaxy Tablets:

Google released Android 4.0 in October. Samsung released the global variant of Galaxy Nexus with Android 4.0 on board in November, followed by the U.S. Verizon version in December. Other OEMs didn’t gain access to the Ice Cream Sandwich source code until November, about a month after Samsung got its hands on it.

Samsung has had the source code to Ice Cream Sandwich for five months. So far, it has not released a single ICS upgrade for its tablets, and has continued to release products with older versions of Android.

With “partners” like that, no wonder Google ended up buying Motorola.

2012 could be a dangerous year for Android

Google exec hints Android 5.0 will launch in the autumn:

Speaking to Computerworld, Hiroshi Lockheimer, vice president of engineering for mobile at Google, suggested Android 5.0 will launch in the fall. He stated “In general, the Android release cadence is one major release a year with some maintenance releases that are substantial still.”

Since its launch, Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) has got just one percent of the overall Android market. It’s currently shipping on a handful of phones, with a few tablets also announced. Few existing phones or tablets have got upgrades, beyond the “Pure Google” Nexus devices (and if you have the Nexus One, you’re out of luck).

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That’s some leaky firewall, Mr Rubin

Andy Rubin on the “firewall” between Motorola and Google.

Rubin said he was “painfully aware” of concerns, but stressed that Google has “literally built a firewall” between the Android team and Motorola. “I don’t even know anything about their products, I haven’t seen anything,” he said.

Given that Motorola needed Google’s explicit permission to launch its patent attack on Apple, that’s some leaky firewall, Andy.

(via Google building ‘firewall’ between Android and Motorola after acquisition | The Verge)

Is Andy Rubin playing a clever bluffing game, or is he stupid? My bet’s on the former

Andy Rubin of Google on the issues facing Android tablets:

Of course, one of Android’s biggest challenges in the tablet market is the lack of high-quality apps designed for the larger screen, but Rubin was somewhat dismissive of those concerns. “Android’s unique in that it’s a single platform that spans device types,” including tablets and TVs, Rubin told me. “Fundamentally you shouldn’t have to have a third-party developer build his app twice.” Pushed about the different interface requirements for tablet apps versus phone apps, Rubin admitted that “there has to be an education process and developers have to do the work” of making their apps tablet-aware on Android. “They’re already doing that work for other platforms.

I’m not sure if Rubin is bluffing, and just trying to gloss over one of the biggest weaknesses in the Android tablet eco-system (the lack of proper tablet-dedicated apps), or he’s simply blind to the problem. I suspect that it has to be the former, because to assume the latter would mean Rubin is dumb, and that’s something I’m pretty sure he’s not.

Of course, the other problem Android faces related to tablet apps is that even when a developer puts the effort into creating a tablet-optimised interface, there’s a plethora of size screens to deal with, and what works well on a 10.1 inch screen won’t work on an 8.9in. And, as long as Android vendors like Samsung keep adopting the “throw enough stuff at the wall and see what sticks” approach to creating hardware, developers are going to have a nasty moving target for their interface designs.

(via Google to ‘double down’ on Android tablets in 2012, says Andy Rubin | The Verge)