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> Google has tried and failed to make phones (Motorola/Android)

But Google tried and succeeded in making a phone operating system that ended up becoming dominant, that gives the rest of their services top billing. Imagine if Apple had kept a near-monopoly on the high end, and/or if the company that leveraged the gap they left at the low end had been Microsoft or BlackBerry.




Every time I am fighting with the Android SDK, and specially with the NDK since they deprecated Eclipse CDT or a new Support Library or Android Studio version comes out, I wonder how many of "the smartest engineers on the planet" do actually work on Android.


I know some of those Android engineers, and I've also done (and loathed) Android development, and I do think they are some of "the smartest engineers on the planet". The only problem is that they're optimizing for their success, not yours (which, if they're smart, is exactly what they would be doing).

At Google, you get promoted for launching something that is technically difficult. So most engineers will seek to implement the most technically difficult feature they have a chance of launching, and then do everything they can to ensure that it actually launches. Nobody gets promoted for not launching things and ensuring API stability. Nobody gets promoted for fixing bugs their managers doesn't know about. Few people get promoted for writing documentation (and if you do, you're probably a techwriter who doesn't call the shots on API design). Nobody gets promoted for doing mundane stuff that might improve the user experience, but isn't technically difficult.

It's the standard big-company modus operandi: hire the best, and incentivize them in ways where it's easy to define the incentives but those incentives don't necessarily add value to the customer. Usually by the time you get to that size, it doesn't matter anyway, since you're working on problems that no startup has the resources to tackle.


It's hilarious, I tried and failed to build an Android project that I'm pretty sure still built just fine 6 months ago. So much useless churn.

Then they announced the new CMake support and it's basically a CMake toolchain file they copied from an older OpenCV initiative and didn't notice it no longer worked with the new NDK, or anything other than GCC, which they have deprecated. It's insanity.


Yeah and apparently ndk-build support on the stable plugin is only meant for backwards compatibility purposes, but you don't see it described as such anywhere, only a few hints on commit messages.

I had to dig out how it all works with the new cmake plugin from their samples, because the new stable plugin still doesn't manage ndk-build properly.

Also there are quite a few features, like OpenMP, that the clang NDK doesn't support, yet GCC is already deprecated.


I think it's a question of culture. For as may things as people fault Microsoft for they sure do know how to build good tooling.

But yeah the NDK is a mess and the whole environment around it is incredibly painful. Android Studio improved things but they still have a long way to go.


By breaking the law to do it, yeah. And now they're under investigation for antitrust in almost every major market worldwide. And the product isn't even that good. It's a security-ridden mess[0] where common sense things like security updates aren't a thing because of the compromises they made to get the widespread vendor support.

[0]Source: I carried an Android (or several) as my primary device for seven years.


Disclaimer: I'm an iOS user so I'm no Android fan boy.

The largest suit that has been brought against them for Android has just been settled: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/05/google-wins-trial...

While the product might not even be that good, it has clear dominance of the mobile smartphone market in every country other than the US. In the US it's 43.1% market share (which is very strong).

There's no doubt that Google has managed to win this very important market.


The copyright infringement lawsuit isn't what I'm speaking about. They're under investigation for antitrust by a large number of government entities across the globe. Russia just ruled against them. The EU case is proceeding. I believe there are antitrust investigations in India, South Korea, and Brazil. Rumor has it they're back under investigation by the FTC as well, though the FTC tends not to announce such things.


i don't think you read the comment you're replying to...




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