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Sony Ericsson Head Android Developer Tweets - 'in favor of rooting if we do it right'

Discussion in 'Android News' started by dgstorm, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. dgstorm
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    dgstorm Editor in Chief Staff Member Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    The head Android developer at Sony Ericsson, Simon Walker, recently made an interesting statement about rooting, via Twitter. He indicated that he is "in favor of it if we do it right." Perhaps this could be the seed of change at Sony Ericsson which leads to easier rooting and custom ROM development. Maybe it could even spark interest for other companies to follow suit. Motorola seems to be flip-flopping on the issue already, as indicated by their recent announcement of the Xoom coming with an unlocked/relockable bootloader. It would be amazing if this turned out to be a start of an industry trend.

    Source: Android.net via AndroidCentral
  2. kodiak799
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    kodiak799 Well-Known Member

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    Saw this and it absolutely made me laugh. I don't think they could have made a more hypocritical statement, considering what is going on with PS3 hacking.
  3. seanjohnja91
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    seanjohnja91 New Member

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    He is not apart of Sony Entertainment, he is apart of Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications two different companies. And just because Sony Ericsson or Sony for that fact lock there devices doesn't mean there aren't people who work for the companies that favor it.
  4. kodiak799
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    kodiak799 Well-Known Member

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    That's a bit facetious given that Sony owns 50% of Sony Ericsson. And when the PS3 came out, Sony embraced the Linux community and indeed it was part of their sales pitch.

    Sony might be the most aggressive/litigious protector of its intellectual property out there, and it's a major reason they've locked down the PS3. I don't believe for one second that any business interest of Sony is going to embrace truly open platforms.
  5. billjohnson
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    billjohnson New Member

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    I'm sure all the major players in the Android device market are fully aware of rooting and custom ROMs. However, they don't all seem to accept it as openly. Some reasons I can understand, such as they pay programmers to create a custom UI, but they have to realize many will appreciate the hardware, but not the UI itself. I seriously wish Motorola would embrace it more openly. I think they would increase their market-share exponentially, especially if they released a custom ROM SDK or the like. I really dig the Bionic but anymore I'm not sure Moto will ever make a phone like the OG Droid.....
  6. kodiak799
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    kodiak799 Well-Known Member

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    I agree and disagree. People who flash roms are probably less than 1% of the market, which is only 900k globally (assuming 90M Android sales this year). That's nothing to sneeze at, but at least a few phones are/will be open and even then there's no guarantee of capturing all or even most of that 900k, so the incentive simply isn't there.

    However, I would agree a savvy company might embrace the rom community and work with developers a bit more closely and they could really up customer service/satisfaction while reducing maintenance costs by pushing some of that off on developers. You make it a very seamless and easy process to flash roms (read: like installing any app from the market) and then you maybe have a strong selling point.

    On the other hand, with Google planning to slow down updates to 2 a year it becomes less critical. But I still think it would be in the OEM's interest to take VZW out of the loop, which only serves to add another layer of complexity to the update process.

    Root adds some value, and most of these phones can be and are rooted. But to be honest, I don't see a lot of value-add from custom roms, beyond getting the latest version of Android and propping up the underpowered D1 (which is mostly a non-issue with what news phones have under the hood).
  7. SixStringTheory
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    SixStringTheory New Member

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    There's an intrinsic value to opening up your hardware to devs and seeing what they do. It's a bit of an off-topic analogue but in games like World of Warcraft and WAR which had robust APIs available for UI mods it was VERY common (to the point of almost beings standard practice) for the game developers to adopt variations of user created addons into their stock UI.

    Crowd sourcing is nothing to laugh at. And if rooting is easy, and ROMs easily installed, then all these manufacturers are basically getting an extra 1M free developers.

    I'm still not 100% sure why things get so locked down. I guess it's about warranties and protecting pre-installed bloatware. Everything's about money so I usually assume some suits that don't really know anything make these decisions. But that doesn't mean that everyone who has a say in a company is 100% aligned with what the company ends up doing.
  8. billjohnson
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    billjohnson New Member

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    Right. I agree. Especially with leaving VZW totally out of it as all they do is f#$@! up Android's OS. Bing for example. Nonetheless I'm waiting to see what all is offered before I upgrade. I'm probably gonna jump on the Thunderbolt bandwagon just because of the screen size but the Incredible 2 would be sick.....

    I'm with you on the crowdsourcing. As my degree is a dual-major with one major in Administrative Business Analysis, crowdsourcing in my opinion (depending on the situation) can be the best option for a new software implementation as everyone feels like they shared their part.
  9. SixStringTheory
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    SixStringTheory New Member

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    Exactly. Plus people that work for Sony Ericsson work for Sony Ericsson. For better or worse their vision will be somewhat confined to that particular environment. Mod developers will definitely see things differently than engineers at a SE office. Not better or worse, but just different.

    And in an era where innovation often equates into profits having as varied a culture as possible is always a good thing. But that's hard to get when you're relying on a small group of employees compared to thousands of independent minds.
  10. kodiak799
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    kodiak799 Well-Known Member

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    The main reason I suspect OEM's are locking down bootloaders is they want to own the UI and some specialized apps. Competition is going to drive down margins on the hardware, and it's already very difficult to differentiate on hardware. That's why I don't really see them "outsourcing" the UI and letting go of that opportunity for differentiation. This is partly why Apple doesn't license IOS or OSX and probably never will.

    Everyone clamoring for the OEM's to embrace truly open and unlocked are asking them to accept a future of 5% margins. While it may be inevitable, don't expect them to go without a fight.
  11. SixStringTheory
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    SixStringTheory New Member

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    I wonder if this is what the Desktop OS scene would be like if Windows and Mac fell out of favor and Linux was mainstream? Interesting to think about.
  12. billjohnson
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    billjohnson New Member

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    Tru dat. Obviously that is impossible but it's nice to theorize about.
  13. MERB
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    MERB New Member

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    i pray for the day
  14. MERB
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    MERB New Member

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    Being a Linux user myself i would love for that to happen, and i feel as though if people were to adopt Linux and try it out they would find that it isn't as difficult as its stereotyped to be. (assuming the user doesn't decide to go with Gentoo and compile the whole OS from source)

    I don't know about impossible... i believe that open source is the future of technology, but thats just my two cents. Like i said above if one begins with Ubuntu or openSUSE at first, they don't ever have to touch the command line if they don't want too (assuming that that is their greatest fear, of course). Any Linux distribution can be as *easy* or as *difficult* as any other operating system, But just like OS X and Windows, there is a learning curve one must pass first and with a distro like Ubuntu, that learning curve is often short and well documented (Ubuntu Forums).

    Good points, guys.
  15. billjohnson
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    billjohnson New Member

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    I'm a pretty hardcore Linux user myself and there's many applications where it fits in the corporate environment. But I've also been in corporate IT long enough to understand the Linux will always be objective and never nab the entire desktop marketshare. I honestly believe at some point (just to stay on topic) that Android will replace iOS and RIM in the corporate smartphone market. But most businesses aren't willing to take the risks that come with pushing an Open Source OS into a mission-critical environment. As for me, Imma dual-boot Linux tell I die yo. :D
  16. MERB
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    MERB New Member

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    thats a good point, big time companies will most likely refrain from putting much money and time behind open source operating systems for one main reason (in my opinion): profit.

    its no lie that it is harder, although far from impossible, to make money from open source operating systems when their closed source counterparts like Windows and OS X, or IOS and Windows Mobile are equal or better in terms of end user experience as well as *more disciplined* in their advances.
  17. UltraDroid
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    UltraDroid Super Moderator Staff Member

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    The principle value to rooting is that it frees the phone from being dependent on Verizon or the phone manufacturer for updates that enhance the features of the phone. All three of my android phones are rooted, and two of them have Gingerbread (Android 2.3.2) installed. The Gingerbread is courtesy of custom roms, and it runs just fine on my D1 and Droid Incredible. So I've got the best features of the yet to be released update right NOW. When they finally *do* get around to the official OTA release, I'll block it (rather, CWRecovery will do the blocking), because I don't need it - "Been there/Done that".

    In a word, think FREEDOM, when you wonder about rooting. :)

    -Mike
  18. kodiak799
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    kodiak799 Well-Known Member

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    Not root, which almost every phone to come out has been rooted. You are talking about an unlocked bootloader. I don't disagree that it's nice not to have to worry about updates, but the process, simple as it may be ultimately, is far from ready for the masses.
  19. GodfatherIP
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    GodfatherIP New Member

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    I love hearing stuff like this from the manufacturers. It shows that the rooters may not be as small a group as we think and that even if manufacturers aren't coming around yet at least we have made enough noise that they are addressing the issue. I think that Motorola Youtube PR blunder caused enough of a ruckus that some manufacturers are taking a serious look at the potential gains from opening up at least some of their devices for the modding community. Plus they want to keep us tech people happy so we will tell the ignorant masses to buy their products. I've got my eye on that Xperia play phone so hopefully it will be one that Sony designs to allow the modders to play.
    Hurray for manufacturers not going out of their way to screw us over!