"To all the apple fanboys: the emulator code is open source. Go ahead and fix it yourselves.
Apple doesn't provide a multi platform SDK. If I want to develop an app for iPhone I must own an Apple PC. Now, that's messed up!."
The conventional wisdom was exactly the same 2 years ago concerning android phones vrs the iPhone. Android has since moved to match the iPhone for market share. The same will probably happen for tablets. It'll just take a few years. I think the android tablets aren't very good right now, but I felt the same way about the android phones when they first came out.
>The conventional wisdom was exactly the same 2 years ago concerning android phones vrs the iPhone.
The difference is that the iPad doesn't have the same constraints (namely available only on AT&T) that the iPhone had. Would Android really have had the same success it had if the iPhone was available on Verizon, Sprint & T-Mobile (and assuming Apple could keep up with the volume) from the start?
Anecdote: everyone I know who has an Android phone really wanted an iPhone but didn't want to leave Verizon. Now that the iPhone is on Verizon, most of those folks intend to switch to an iPhone once their contract is up.
(FTR I don't own an iPhone, iPad or an Android device)
Good question, what are the Android/iPhone market numbers outside the U.S.? I suspect that Android might have a lead in undeveloped countries since there are lower cost models available. I'd love to see the data.
According to some numbers I can find for Sweden (which probably doesn't classify as an undeveloped country), Android caught up with iPhone during Q1 of this year (1), and is currently growing faster than iPhone.
I think I've read this exact article dozens of times since almost since I began writing mobile applications in 2003. The message is always the same 'Web Apps are Coming! They're going to take over! Steve Jobs thought so!'
In reality, we'll probably see something that's half-way between a web-app and a mobile app. In the meantime, can we stop predicting the doom of mobile software and get on with fixing what's broken about it?
Android is always a late bloomer. The G1 sorta, for lack of a better word, sucked. Later incarnations of the devices ironed out a lot of the UX issues plaguing the early Android builds. Don't write off Honeycomb or Moto yet. It's still got a lot of growing to do.
As someone who's been working with Android from the beginning, I have to say: About Time.
This is a required step if Google wants the platform to be taken seriously. The only way to keep fragmentation out is to exert a fair amount of control over the OEMs and Carriers who wish to differentiate (or Fragment) Android for their own purposes.
It's going to be a fine balancing act for Rubin. If he pushes the carriers/oems too far, they'll walk. If he doesn't push them hard enough, the platform will disintegrate Java ME style.
Google is using the only leverage they have (early access and the google apps) to make the platform one worth developing for. I, as someone who makes his living doing it right now, am all for this move.
As much as people online complain about fragmentation, there is no evidence (yet) that the general consumer cares that much. "Google experience" devices are not outselling the customized devices.
People need to tone down the rhetoric, in my opinion. Android already is being "taken seriously". Let's not make small problems out to be big problems. Android doesn't have any big problems, as it's being adopted by manufacturers and consumers at a rapid pace.
Perhaps that statement came out slightly more hyperbolic than I meant it.
The fact remains that Android's fragmentation is something I deal with on a daily basis. Any time spent fixing issues that crop up on particular phones is time I don't spend adding features to our application. Keeping customers from knowing the joys of fragmentation is one of the things I spend a lot of thought and work at.
Yeah, that's fair, and I don't want to fall on the side of "there's nothing to see here" either. Talking about a platform's deficiencies is essential. I'm just speaking to the general "fire! fire!" rhetoric that comes out a lot of the time.
Is fragmentation really the issue? I think the issue is quality. Every android phone I've used was very different from the last. My friends G1 isn't a lot like my Vibrant and my Vibrant isn't a lot like my old EVO. Three different GUIs! Heck, Samsung decided to put in their own filesystem on the Vibrant and all Vibrant owners suffer from random lag.
Each phone has a different camera app, different gallery, different everything. Its annoying. They're all more or less phoned in - if you pardon the pun.
What google really needs to do is address its ugly stock GUI and put some shiny on there. Put in a decent media player. Put in lots of Apple-quality apps so that OEMs don't feel the need to completely redo everything because the stock android looks like something a defense contractor would make.
Maybe they can even make custom GUI enhancements run in userspace so that updates don't require redoing them. There should be a skinnable layer on top of system widgets. Heck, once you have that then google can start pushing out its own updates to phones and OEMs won't need to wait 8 months to port them over.
One can dream, I guess. Or I can buy an iphone again or move to Win7. My little Android experiment isn't really going anywhere. Its just as locked down as an iphone in practice and I suffer with Samsung's or HTC's low quality enhancements.
> "Google is using the only leverage they have (early access and the google apps)"
Walking isn't such a big issue these days. Which is likely why Google feels secure doing this. Windows CE is dead. Phone 7 is struggling. Nokia essentially gave up, removing MeeGo as a concern.
So where does, say, HTC go if Google pushes them to drop the Sense UI?
They certainly don't have the software expertise to fork and run. None of the Android OEMs do. At the rate mobile is advancing, they'd be irrelevant in 18 months. And there is literally no-one else who is delivering a product they can use to maintain their sales.
I honestly wonder if Google isn't more concerned about Amazon than the OEMs.
As for carriers... they're only a real issue in the US; where Android's growth isn't that strong anyway. I mean, is it even possible for AT&T and Verizon to support Android less these days? I haven't seen a single Droid ad since January.
HTC in particular has a long history of keeping a few different systems in their lines. They can prioritise Windows Phone more. But with Nokia there already they might want to keep it approx. 50-50 anyway.
Others like Motorola and Samsung, I'd expect them to stick to Android whatever happens, at least for the high end. This is why Google is doing this.
The source will be released when Google is happy with the product. For people to be up in arms that they aren't releasing the source to an unfinished product is ridiculous. Seems like they are damned if they do, damned it they don't.
>The source will be released when Google is happy with the product. For people to be up in arms that they aren't releasing the source to an unfinished product is ridiculous. Seems like they are damned if they do, damned it they don't
The Motorola Xoom is already out.. so how is Honeycomb an unfinished product if it's in consumers' hands? The basic spirit of FOSS is that users and developers should be able to modify the code. The article you linked to says this:
>The lack of Honeycomb code availability is especially bad for enthusiasts who were hoping to be able to install custom firmware on their Android tablets. Without the code, it will be difficult for the modding community to produce custom builds that fix the software problems that plague the Xoom and other upcoming Android tablets. Users who were looking forward to better Honeycomb builds for the Nook Color and other budget devices are also going to have to wait.
>For now, only a privileged few hardware vendors will have access to Honeycomb while the rest are left with uncertainty about the future of the platform. Even after the matter is resolved, the fact that Google is willing to withhold source code at its whim for competitive reasons is going to continue to cast a dark shadow over the company's increasingly hollow claim that Android is an open platform.
I don't see how the above is wrong.
>The source will be released when Google is happy with the product.
Doesn't Android use the Linux kernel which is GPL'ed (among other parts)? Can they legally withhold code for a shipping product by saying the software isn't finished?
> The Motorola Xoom is already out.. so how is Honeycomb an unfinished product if it's in consumers' hands?
It's unfinished because it doesn't ship with major features that it claims to support such as LTE and Adobe Flash. Every review has said that the Xoom feels like a beta at best and it is simply not ready for the masses, and a large part of that is due to Android 3.
The anger is explained in the introduction to that article. Google presented Android as an open gift to the world in a fight against strictly controlled platforms, yet Google is now withholding source code and requiring final approval over modifications to the operating system.
That they're allegedly holding up Android phones which utilize a rival search engine, Bing, is especially troubling. Is Android supposed to be an open platform or a Google platform?