Google Adds a Bit More Fragmentation to Android with Custom Features on Nexus 5

Discussion in 'Android News' started by dgstorm, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. dgstorm

    dgstorm Editor in Chief
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    From the beginning of the Nexus line, Google has always been good at making sure the Android experience on Nexus devices remains in its purest form. The idea is that stock Android shows the full capabilities of the OS on Nexus devices without any customized features. If you take that stock Android and put it on another device, it should have the same features as any of the Nexus devices. Unfortunately, that is no longer true with the Nexus 5. It turns out there are a few custom features found on the Nexus 5 that will not be available if you install Android 4.4 KitKat on other devices. Here's a quote with more of the details,

    It's possible that some of these custom features can be implemented on other devices, but it's still a strange change of pace to see Google basically fork their own OS on their Nexus device, even if it is ever so slightly. What do you think of this odd move by Google which seems to increase fragmentation?

    Source: ZDNet
     
  2. kodiak799

    kodiak799 Gold Member

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    lol....people have been beating the "fragmentation" drum since Android had like just 10% of the market
     
  3. johnomaz

    johnomaz Silver Member

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    that kind of sucks. I wanted the "Ok Google" part on my 2013 Nexus 7. I tend to use it the most while watching TV and usually use voice commands during that use too. Its like when Apple brought out Siri but limited it to the newest of devices even though it ran just fine on past devices with a hack. This is why my devices are unlocked and rooted, so I can add these things a day or so after release.
     
  4. gadgetrants

    gadgetrants Senior Member

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    Seems like a bit of tempest in a teapot to me. I wouldn't call it fragmentation per se -- we need a kinder, more gentler word -- how about "uniquification" or "device diversification index"? I'd put those few "special" features that Google reserves for its own devices on the same level as the skins that most manufacturers layer over the UI. Those aren't fragmentation so much as variations in the user experience. Guess I reserve the word fragmentation for when multiple OS versions exist over the population of devices, which this is not.

    -Matt
     
  5. dgstorm

    dgstorm Editor in Chief
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    Thanks for clarifying that for us gadgetrants! I knew I could count on you to offer a more complex, yet oddly compelling argument! I love it!
     
  6. gadgetrants

    gadgetrants Senior Member

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    Aw shucks. ;)

    Actually I reread the OP and...in my first reading I thought everyone was getting the "OK Google" feature...and now realize THEY DON'T! ARGH...if that's one of the ones being held back I may need to rethink my position!

    -Matt
     
  7. PereDroid

    PereDroid DF News Team Reporter

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    That's now how I understand it. Everyone can get "OK GOOGLE" like my RAZR HD has, but the difference is you can say "OK Google" without having to open the GOOGLE NOW app.
    Which I still don't get because isn't that already on the Mto X?
     
  8. mountainbikermark

    mountainbikermark Super Moderator
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    If you can't beat em join em?
    Google joining the carriers and manufacturers. Bummer

    Support Our Troops!!!
    <><
    s pen aholic in Beast Mode (Notetoo)
     
  9. acousticshade

    acousticshade Active Member

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    Competition is getting tougher. Gotta differentiate if you want market share when the G2 and S4 are $50 on contract.
     
  10. jstafford1

    jstafford1 Super Moderator
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    It's marketing not fragmentation. In the end they still gotta try and sell units and having something the others don't is a selling point.

    Sent from my SM-N900V using Tapatalk
     
  11. johnomaz

    johnomaz Silver Member

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    Motorola probably made their own way of having that happen which is unique to Moto phones. Google is doing it so its integrated with their launcher and system wide. Though my Nexus 7 will be 4.4 very soon, that integration, though possible, is being left out so you have to launch Google Now first. I want to be able to say Ok Google no matter what my phone is doing and have it pop up.
     
  12. gadgetrants

    gadgetrants Senior Member

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    While we're discussing the always-on voice feature, I do have a minor complaint: it's taken me a while to realize that the function is routed through Google Now, which means it's pretty much designed/optimized to do search-y type things, like:

    - Navigate to X
    - Find phone number for Y
    - Get song lyrics for W
    - Find an image of Z
    - Get the weather/time

    You can also say things like:

    - Email Fred
    - Call Mary
    - Text Joe

    Strangely, what I eventually discovered is you CANNOT do or request a whole bunch of really basic system things, like:

    - Turn on/off wifi...sound...GPS...data...etc.
    - Check remaining battery life
    - Check if there are text/email/voice messages

    I wonder why. I can say, "OK Google, what time is it?" but I can't say, "OK Google, turn off wifi," or "...do I have any email messages?"

    WAIT, CHECK THAT...I just took a peek at "Car Mode" on my phone and first, WOW is it clumsy, and second, OK yeah I can do a bit more with voice (e.g., there is a "check for new messages" option but it appears to only work for SMS and guess what I use Google Voice and it didn't see those messages). Overall not very impressive.

    So one more ray of hope -- my wife has the Moto X which comes with some additional hands-free options. I'll play with those tonight and see if I can do more than generic Google searches and send texts or call.

    -Matt

    PS I realize (assume) that there are several hands-free voice-recognition apps out there that are a heck more versatile. I'm not saying "the features don't exist" but rather "why so severely handicap what the Google Now voice integration can do?"