Android: A House Divided

Discussion in 'Android News' started by This Green Machine, Sep 25, 2010.

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  1. This Green Machine
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    This Green Machine DF News Team Premium Member

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    (This is a guest post by Michael Heller from ThisGreenMachine.com. The original article can be found at this link.)

    It has come to my attention that I am too much of an idealist, too much of a dreamer, and the vision that I hold for the future of Android is flat out impossible given the corporate-run world in which we live. I have dreamed of an Android system where developers, manufacturers and carriers all cooperate to create the perfect open system in which everyone is uplifted. This is not just a crazy ideal, but also quite Anti-Capitalist, and of course, that kind of idea cannot survive in this America. As much as I may want to see everyone cooperating for the greater good, I am constantly reminded that carriers are evil, and manufacturers are self-serving.

    Unfortunately, the real future of Android is not unification, but more fragmentation. Google may have been able to alleviate some issues of OS fragmentation by decoupling Google apps from the OS, but the growing problem of fragmentation of the Android Marketplace remains. The announcement of proprietary app stores from Verizon V-Cast, Cisco, Vodafone, Acer and NotionInk are the true danger to the Android ecosystem.

    Google has built a fantastic ecosystem within YouTube by forcing copyright holders to self-monitor for infringement, but that theory simply doesn’t fly for the Android Market. With 24 hours of video added to YouTube each minute[1], policing YouTube is physically impossible for one company, even one as big as Google. At approximately 80,000 apps, policing the Android Market is possible, even if that means a minor review process to weed out copyright infringement and spam apps. Besides, why do you think content creators have been so hesitant to bring paid content to YouTube? Lawlessness has created a toxic arena that kills any opportunities of success, and the same issues plague the Android Market. Why would a big name developer enter the Android Market if their content could be outright stolen, copied and re-released? Why would developers strive for quality if their apps get buried under the piles of spam and crapware[2] that floods the Market every day? Why would a developer come in when the anti-piracy controls are still woefully inadequate?

    Open does not mean lawless, and open does not mean no curation. Users want to be able to find good apps, but on the flip side developers want their apps to be found. We have alternatives like AppBrain to help with this problem. AppBrain has a great community of users who add comments to those pulled in from the Android Market. AppBrain also filters out spam apps, and has a number of tools to allow users to discover new apps, as well as ways to share your list of apps with friends. Google needs to borrow ideas from these alternatives and take some control of the Android Market for there to be any chance for the system to evolve. If the Android Market cannot compete with more controlled proprietary markets like the Verizon V Cast Store, then what chance does the system have as a whole? What good are open standards if they can simply be corrupted by big corporations who then fragment the system for their own gains?

    I don’t want to see an iPhone-like walled-garden come to Android, but I also don’t see the current “wild west” Market as the right solution. The best solution lies somewhere in the middle, and it seems that may be what these independent app stores are trying to accomplish. Unfortunately, those stores will all be too far towards the walled-garden side of the spectrum which further divides the Android house, and that cannot and will not stand.

    References: [1] YouTube [2] The Register
  2. IanG
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    IanG Member

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    I *really* don't want to sound like a troll, but I don't see how this is news. More of an opinion, no?

    I know Android is fragmented, but I don't see what this article is trying to accomplish... the fact that it's fragmented, or someone's dream of what Android "could be"?
  3. *22899
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    *22899 Premium Member Premium Member

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    I get it. In todays society you can't say play nice, with out expecting the bad kids to take advantage of everything they can. Really if you look at the Market its a filthy dirty place. If you don't know what your looking for there is no point in opening it. Its flooded with junk. I like porn as much as the next guy but those apps aren't even that, there just named in a way to try to get people try them.
  4. DanDroidX
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    DanDroidX Member

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    Dude it is an article, like the newspaper. Duh.
  5. racooper3
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    racooper3 New Member

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    Michael (and all Droid fans),

    I find it very strange that everyone would bash Apple/iPhone ecosystem, but nobody on the Android side is proposing a similar App Store. Google seems to be run by a lot of idealists and they just don't get app store model. Everyone should stop bashing Apple and follow their model. It isn't closed to developers. It just doesn't let you put out crap that doesn't work or "do no evil." Gee where have I heard that.

    I have a Droid X because I was not going to wait for iPhone on Verizon any longer. I'll get it next spring. Right now I cannot think of a better phone than Droid X. I love my DX. dancedroid I spend more time picking out apps due to the fact that the system is so open and nobody is checking for the "crap." I look for reviews and check things out even before I download a free one. It is such a waste of my time. I too am a believer in open systems, but I don't like developers prying into my device and my life.

    Google and the whole Android community better get a grip soon or the whole thing will cease like the NexusOne. Difference between Google and Apple is Maturity. Google better grow up fast and start showing the leadership around this platform. Somebody better tells Schmidt and the Boys to get to it quick. IMHO.
  6. hookbill
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    hookbill Premium Member Premium Member

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    Interesting first post. Welcome to the Forum.

    You make some good points, I'm sure some people would like to see a Market similar to Apples. I'm not one of them, but I do wish we had some of the apps that iPhone has.

    As far as you getting an iPhone on Verizon in the Spring, good luck with that idea. That's what they said last Spring. And the Winter. And the Fall.

    Now your last paragraph is real interesting because at that point you lose all logic. How in the world does the current situation concerning fragmentation have anything to do with the Nexus One. Nexus One failed because of no promotion, no customer service and because it was only available over the internet directly from Google. It was a very good phone. Fragmentation had nothing to do with it. Maybe you should back track a bit on that and see what really happened to the Nexus.

    Anyway, thanks for your point of view. It is interesting to say the least.
  7. kodiak799
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    kodiak799 Silver Member

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    I still maintain this issue is overblown.

    I have very, very little difficulty finding quality useful apps on the market. I now use helpful apps I didn't know existed or that I needed, but found easily by searching (or more often from forums such as this one).

    I realize the issue and understand I'm a "free rider" benefiting from the wasted time others expend searching and trialing. But those people always exist and do that leg work, no matter how begrudgingly. For 90% of people, I imagine the market works just fine if they understand some simple concepts.

    Also not sure about the contention developers won't waster their time because quality apps get buried or stolen. Don't buy that at all. Seems to be plenty with good (and useful, that's probably the key) apps that become popular. Plenty of blogs and forums out there, along with word of mouth - all far more powerful than better quality control and search features on the market. IMO this is nothing more than a chicken-little argument.

    On an unrelated note, kind of funny how this site frowns on piracy but all these developers are including ad blockers on their roms. Philosophically both are stealing from my perspective, though you can argue otherwise for apps that don't offer ad-free with a donation.
  8. jntdroid
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    jntdroid DF Super Moderator Premium Member

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    Regardless of the Android Market, the author is right - capitalism and corporate america + "open" systems only goes as far as that "openness" benefits the bottom line.
  9. mtpacker
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    mtpacker New Member

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    It is sad to see a great technical forum turn into to political soapbox using terms like "corporate-run world in which we live". It is that corporate-run capitalism which has brought us the Droid and even the iPhone.. Let's keep to the 1's and 0's and leave the political opinions to the blogs.
  10. Tanknspank
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    Tanknspank Beta Team Premium Member

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    Matter of opinion. This is a private forum and they have the right to run it however they want to. I actually like articles like this and read them more often than not.

    Sent from my Droid
  11. brianes99
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    brianes99 Member

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    AMEN. I get tired of people, who have clearly benefited from the use of all the things capitalism and competition and the corporate world have given us bash the same institutions that offer the benefits. Yes there are many worthless (in my opinion) apps, and far too many porn apps with no way to filter them out(which is why I won't get a droid for my neices/nephew as they so much want me to do). However, that is why there is the rating service. Read through the reviews, it doesn't take long to find out which programs are not very good.

    Case in point: I geocache with my droid, I very much want to use the program that recently came out from the web designers who run the geocaching web page, however the review for this app tell me to stay away from it, yet I will keep going back from day-to-day to see if an update or more positive reviews have started to show up.
  12. portermac
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    portermac Member

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    Same here, I have around 100 apps on my droid. All have 4 or 5 stars, and I haven't gotten a bad app yet.
  13. kodiak799
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    kodiak799 Silver Member

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    Bingo. Have about 115 or so, don't know that all are 4 or 5 stars but all seem to work great.

    As for "capitalism", profits create jobs and make the world go round. Google is actually disruptive technology and we are getting all kinds of free stuff because of Google. The writer apparently lamenting that corporate profits are going to prevent EVERYTHING from being free is misguided at best.

    Interesting how perspectives can be so different on different goods/services. There seems to be a mentality that because software doesn't incur physical mass production costs that it should somehow be free or much cheaper than something like a car or tv. Well, you still have to pay the developers. Nor should we overly frown on cell providers and mfrs finding additional revenue streams as that ultimately helps to defer hardware and service costs. If they can make a buck off this app I don't use and charge me 50 cents less on my phone/service that's a win-win. Well-run companies create value by providing such win-wins.
  14. Michael Heller
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    Michael Heller New Member

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    I have no misconception that all apps must be free. I fully support good devs and pay for good apps. What I worry about is corporate profits are going to change Google's open system to one where you can't get some of the best apps unless you are on Verizon, or unless you are using a Motorola phone. How does it benefit the Android platform that even now, you can only use Skype if you're on Verizon? Once Verizon launches their proprietary app store, the pattern of locking off sections of the Android community from the rest will only continue, and more quality apps will become exclusive to certain carriers and devices.

    What we in these forums forget is that while you and I may have 100+ apps that are great to use, many many more users out there aren't as tech savvy as we are. Not everyone gets the great recommendations from AppBrain, or different site RSS feeds. Many people only get what they can find in the Google Market, which, because of the chaos there, usually means just the Top Apps and Top Games, and that leaves new devs or new apps with a struggle to get noticed.
  15. kodiak799
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    kodiak799 Silver Member

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    I think people are savvier than you give credit for. I would suspect it is commensurate with usage - people who are power users are going to tend to be pretty savvy about searching for and finding apps.

    I'd also add a different perspective to the "evil" of VZW and that having exclusive apps: if they put money behind developers that directly offsets some of the negative impact you are talking about. Phones and service are becoming commoditized so apps are ultimately going to be a source of differentiation.

    Don't know, I just don't share the concern for this. It could actually end-up being a positive development. Apps/smartphones are also still in their infancy and I suspect the "pie" is not as large as people think. Necessity and usage I don't suspect are anywhere near levels where people would be shelling out significant money for apps.
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