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Thread: Engadget Article On Android

  1. Senior Droid
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    Engadget Article On Android

    Exclusive: Android Froyo to take a serious shot at stemming platform fragmentation


    Exclusive: Android Froyo to take a serious shot at stemming platform fragmentation -- Engadget

    Pretty interesting article on how they plan to get the future OS updates and parts of the OS out. So that they can avoid the hoopla that everyone is going through right now. It sounds like a great idea.

    Couldn't decide if this would be better in the Android section or here because it deals with the things that people are going through right now. Mods, feel free to move it if you would like.
    Last edited by soccerdude6227; 03-29-2010 at 02:10 PM.
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    We had a couple people at CTIA last week -- people whose words carry weight -- tell us off the record that the next major version of Android would take big strides toward stopping the ugly trend toward severe fragmentation that has plagued the platform for much of this and last year. You know, the kind of fragmentation that has already left users running not one, not two, not three, but four distinct versions of the little green guy (1.5, 1.6, 2.0, and 2.1) depending on a seemingly arbitrary formula of hardware, carrier, region, software customization, and manufacturers' ability to push updates in a timely fashion. Put simply, Google's been iterating the core far faster than most of its partners have been able to keep up.

    Thing is, in light of our CTIA conversations, we didn't have an idea of how Google planned on fixing this -- until now. We've been given reason to believe that the company will start by decoupling many of Android's standard applications and components from the platform's core and making them downloadable and updatable through the Market, much the same as they've already done with Maps. In all likelihood, this process will take place over two major Android versions, starting with Froyo and continuing through Gingerbread. Notice that we said apps and components, meaning that some core elements of Android -- input methods, for instance -- should get this treatment. This way, just because Google rolls out an awesome new browser doesn't mean you need to wait for HTC, Samsung, or whomever made your phone to roll it into a firmware update, and for your carrier to approve it -- almost all of the juicy user-facing stuff will happen through the Market.

    The second part of this doubled-edged attack on platform fragmentation comes from a simple reality: we're hearing that Google may be nearing the end of its breakneck development pace on Android's core and shifting attention to apps and features. By the time we get to Froyo, the underlying platform -- and the API that devs need to target -- will be reaching legitimate maturity for the first time, which means we should have far fewer tasty treat-themed code names to worry about over the course of an average year. We like awesome new software as much as the next guy, but Google's been moving so fast lately that they've created a near constant culture of obsolescence anxiety among the hardcore user base -- and in turn, that leads to paralysis at the sales counter.

    How much of this strategy actually materializes -- and how effective it is at changing the direction of the platform at large -- remains to be seen, but it sounds like a promising turn of events. Considering it's been a solid five months since the Eclair SDK premiered, that's an eternity in Google years; time to shake things up a bit, we reckon.
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    This is fantastic.....

    The people who have been so upset about 2.1 (VZW) will be very happy to read this.

    This is great news and what I believe to be a VERY good idea..
    Last edited by cereal killer; 03-29-2010 at 02:28 PM.
  4. Master Droid
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    I think this is a great development. See the thing with Apple is your iphone isnt out of date by iphone standards till they release a new iphone. With android your phone is out of date as soon as they release any new versions of android so that can happen very quickly. Plus developers will be able to get behind android more so now that they dont have to make multiple versions of apps for multiple platforms. Way to go Google!
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    Quote Originally Posted by superglen99 View Post
    Plus developers will be able to get behind android more so now that they dont have to make multiple versions of apps for multiple platforms. Way to go Google!
    Can you imagine the possibilities?

    No 2 devices could look alike and the personal customization options will soar through the roof.

    That in itself will bring even more consumers over to the Platform.

    Talk about an incredible idea. Everyone benefits from the Devs all the way down.

    I'm pretty excited about this.....
  6. Senior Droid
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    Quote Originally Posted by superglen99 View Post
    I think this is a great development. See the thing with Apple is your iphone isnt out of date by iphone standards till they release a new iphone. With android your phone is out of date as soon as they release any new versions of android so that can happen very quickly. Plus developers will be able to get behind android more so now that they dont have to make multiple versions of apps for multiple platforms. Way to go Google!
    I am right there with you on that one. It will be so much easier if google just releases it all. So everyone that has an android device feels as if they are getting the most that is available to offer.
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    Will this mean that Moto will have to free the bootloader on the Milestone?
  8. Droid Ninja
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    Well, it's a step in the right (or at least a better) direction, but it's more a recognition of the fracturing of the Android marketplace than a solution to the problem. (And that might be all that is possible.)

    In the first place, the "fracturing" of the Android market discussed in the article is limited to the various "versions" (1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.1) and hardware manufacturers' and carriers' capacity to keep up with releases of their own. But there is another form of fragmentation that this won't help: the "fragmentation" that stems from running the same o/s on very different devices. Simply reducing android to a bare bones "lowest common denominator" o/s doesn't solve the problem of incompatibilities between apps and hardware platforms; it simply moves that problem into the Market (and into the 'market'.)

    Nor does it mean that a hardware manufacturer (or carrier) can simply throw up their hands and let consumers "choose" among various alternatives. Verizon or Motorola cannot, for example, refrain from putting a (virtual) keyboard on a phone. They will have to integrate some input method into a phone when it's sold. And once Google has "decoupled" the input method from the O/S, the doors will be open for various manufacturers/carriers to make side deals with software developers to add such features to particular devices.

    We're already seeing the beginning of that movement in terms of Swype's contracts with Samsung (a device manufacturer) and T-Mobile (a carrier) for rights to their virtual keyboard.

    The problem for most consumers is not too few choices; it's too many choices. Assembling a device from hardware pieces and software parts appeals to a particular niche market (well represented here), but it doesn't appeal to the majority of consumers who want a "package" that meets a variety of needs without more than a little "customization."

    I'm certainly not opposed to what Google is apparently planning to do. But the overall effect is likely to be apps that are designed to run on particular devices from particular manufacturers and carriers, not the multitude of choices that people may envision.
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    #9
    All this begs the question of why they didn't do this in the first place. Multiple platforms doesn't seem to make sense from a cost or update perspective.
  10. Droid Ninja
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    Quote Originally Posted by allikanbe View Post
    All this begs the question of why they didn't do this in the first place. Multiple platforms doesn't seem to make sense from a cost or update perspective.
    If you mean by "they" Google, "they" didn't do it. The critical difference between the android platform and that of the iPhone is that Google doesn't own or control the devices on which android is loaded.
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