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The Shortcomings of Google's Open Handset Alliance

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the modeled-off-the-un dept.

Cellphones 208

eldavojohn writes "Former T-Mobile and Apple executive Leslie Grandy reports some pretty harsh words about Google's Open Handset Alliance. We've heard grumblings before about control in open source projects, but now an unnamed former leader of an OHA member company is calling the OHA 'oligarchical,' and said, 'The power is concentrated with the Google employees who manage the open source project. The Open Handset Alliance is another myth. Since Google managed to attract sufficient industry interest in 2008, the OHA is simply a set of signatures with membership serving only as a VIP Club badge.' But what privileges do they have? Not many. The OHA's problems don't stop there; Grandy maintains that 'many OHA members are developing proprietary user experiences, which they are not contributing back into Android — as is standard for open source projects — for fear of losing competitive advantage in the marketplace.' She goes on to paint the OHA as toothless and directionless, with a nearly abandoned message board. It's been around for almost three years, and while Android has become more prevalent, the OHA's contributions seemingly have not. Do you agree that the OHA has amounted to nothing but a checkbox for manufacturers?"

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The truth comes out. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076078)

Google is FAR MORE CONTROLLING than Apple and android is a less open platform than the iPhone.

Think Different.
Think Better.
Think Apple!

Re:The truth comes out. (-1, Offtopic)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076090)

Be a less obvious shiv, please.

Re:The truth comes out. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076102)

He's not a shiv, he's simple flamebait. Lord. When did the default assumption shift from "troll" to "astroturfing"?

Re:The truth comes out. (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076216)

Trolls play an important part in the Slashdot ecosystem. I know, you think they're just annoying with their repulsive antics and annoying behaviors, but in reality they help keep the delicate balance of idiots with modpoints to sensible mods in place.

Like a lion taking down a gazelle, trolls help keep the number of idiot mods in check, ensuring Slashdot stays an enjoyable venue for geeky internet discussions.

Re:The truth comes out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076870)

Like a lion taking down a gazelle, trolls help keep the number of idiot mods in check, ensuring Slashdot stays an enjoyable venue for geeky internet discussions.

Except that the sick gazelles are the trolls. We wouldn't need the lions to take them down if someone wasn't busy unloading cages of them just because they feel like fucking with the ecosystem.

Re:The truth comes out. (-1, Offtopic)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076132)

shill*. Local joke tainted vocabulary.

Re:The truth comes out. (0, Offtopic)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076154)

Which prison are you in?

Re:The truth comes out. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076766)

Apple uses lube, and tells you exactly how they are going to fsck you.

google let's you search for it and guess which method they will use.

MSFT just straps a 12" dildo onto steve ballmer and says you pay me to do this to you.

Not a checkbox, a shortcut... (4, Interesting)

nweaver (113078) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076136)

Its not a checkbox, but rather a shortcut.

If you are making a smartphone, you need a powerful OS, with a lot of low level features, and as robust as possible an app market.

And if your name isn't Apple or RIM, you need an off-the-shelf OS from someone else. WinCE (or whatever Microsoft calls it this week) doesn't have the app ecology and costs money to put on a phone. So you go with Android.

So its not a checkbox, but rather a necessary shortcut, if you want to bring a smartphone to market, you run Android. But at the same time, of course you customize it: you don't want to be a commodity vendor.

After all, whats the difference between Dell and HP? Not much. HTC doesn't want to be the same as motorola, so in order to preserve a competitive advantage, you try to make your GUI better AND don't feedback your gui changes back to your competition.

Re:Not a checkbox, a shortcut... (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076188)

Indeed. HP bought Palm to differentiate itself from all the other vendors using Android. Its own original efforts failed, so it was their only choice to create a significantly profitable platform and not become yet another Android commodity vendor.

Re:Not a checkbox, a shortcut... (2, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076656)

Want a way to not be a commodity vendor? Make cellphones that are of good quality and can stand the test of time. A few examples:

A decent keyboard on a slider. Blackberry is good at this. The Cliq is pretty decent too, although it would be nice to have five rows of buttons (including the function keys) as opposed to four, so numbers can be typed in without having to hit another key.

A standard USB port. Micro USB is good because it is rated at a ton more insertion/removal cycles than Mini USB, and the springy pieces which keep it connected are on the cord (easily replaced) as opposed to the device.

A 3.5 mm audio jack. Most phones are moving to this, but some use the 2.5" ones.

A decent feel to it. Take a cue from the Palm V which was made out of all metal, and even 10 years later, still is classic and doesn't look/feel cheap.

A decent screen that can be read in both direct sunlight, as well as usable at night. AMOLEDs work.

Put some type of encryption on memory cards. Windows Mobile 6.0 and newer have a simple, yet secure way of doing things that is transparent to the user. Other ways are to use EncFS, or (best of all) just format the whole card and use LUKS with the key stored on the main memory with a mechanism of securely backing it up somewhere so a hard wipe doesn't mean loss of the memory card's contents.

Now for software. Want to make a phone stand out? Don't stick yet another UI onto Android. I'm sure everyone is tired of spinning cubes and so on. Instead consider one or more of the following:

Have a custom utility that allows for backing up and fast restore of apps. Apps that are copy protected on restore would be batch downloaded from the Market. It is pretty tedious to reload a phone app by app.

Have the phone able to use the machine it is connected to for Internet access. ActiveSync allows this, and generally this is faster than just using 3G.

Don't play games with root access. If people want to root their devices, let them. This is one reason that HTC is doing better than Motorola. HTC puts out the code they use, Motorola seems not to, so guess which vendor gets unofficial Android 2.1 and Android 2.2 releases first? Perhaps consider enabling fastboot on all Android devices, because people eventually will find a way to root the device, so might as well save them the effort and have phones have a vibrant modding community, which gets more people to buy those models. Best of all worlds would be to have a few models of phone which are meant for modders, similar to Google's ADP1 and ADP2. These would have fastboot ability for quick flashing of new stuff, and so on.

Finally, for phones intended for business, honor some Exchange policy features. Like I stated above, have some form of memory card encryption (LUKS is ideal, as it protects the whole card), and not just support remote wipe, but other policies such as remotely wiping if not on the network after x amount of time, wiping if an unauthorized SIM card is inserted, wiping after too many attempts at the PIN, and so on.

Re:Not a checkbox, a shortcut... (1)

socz (1057222) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077016)

Have a custom utility that allows for backing up and fast restore of apps. Apps that are copy protected on restore would be batch downloaded from the Market. It is pretty tedious to reload a phone app by app.

On PPC's we have sashimi! It's awesome and very customizable! That way we load software, keys and other steps we want into it and let it run on boot.

Re:Not a checkbox, a shortcut... (2)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076392)

app ecology and costs money to put on a phone.

So I see you've never owned a WinMobile device ... It had an appstore (a really shitty one mind you) before the iPhone existed, and I can safely say the OS has more apps than android and iPhone OS combined.

Re:Not a checkbox, a shortcut... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076704)

And a lot of it is GPLed.

Every program I have added to my phone except Opera is GPL licensed.

Re:Not a checkbox, a shortcut... (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076902)

With Windows Mobile, even before app stores on the phones themselves, there were Web based stores such as Handango which offered .cab or .exe files for download via ActiveSync. Similar with Palm apps, and those have been around for over a decade.

Times have changed though. App stores are a must on cell phones these days, just to allow for impulse purchases that likely wouldn't happen had someone have to find the app on their home computer, download it, then perhaps register it and put in a registration key while installing it on the device.

Re:Not a checkbox, a shortcut... (1)

Michael Kristopeit (1751814) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076458)

if you want to bring a smartphone to market, you run Android.

if you want to bring a GOOD smartphone to market you write your own OS specific to your hardware. what developers seem to fail to understand is that an operating system for such a device is almost trivial to create. the bigger challenge is with the GUI layer running on top of the OS (which most people are content with also calling the "OS" when it isn't)

again, a functional GUI platform is also trivial to implement for a company already undergoing design and manufacturing of electronic devices on a large scale.

so the real draw of using someone else's GUI is the ability to run programs written for that GUI. so a smart smartphone company should create programs to automatically port programs written for other platforms into their own.

Re:Not a checkbox, a shortcut... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076618)

Maybe 10 years ago. There is 0 reason to do this today, or are you so dim you think those "Designed for Windows 7" PCs were really designed for windows 7?

Simple fact is that OS design on this level is not cheap, and your comment reads like you have very little knowledge of this area.

Re:Not a checkbox, a shortcut... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076848)

i have written an OS in this area, and your comment reads like you wish i didn't say the things i say.

a home pc with a requirement to enable old peripherals is far different than a single handset. you are right about one thing, though... it certainly was true 10 years ago.

also, you're obviously dim enough to think that arguing "designed for windows 7" is the same as "windows 7 was designed for this hardware".

idiot.

Re:Not a checkbox, a shortcut... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077052)

Again you show your ignorance. Go look at all the embedded devices that run some flavor of linux on some flavor of arm.

Have some courage and post logged in if you want to troll. Using AC to save your precious karma is pathetic.

Re:Not a checkbox, a shortcut... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32077096)

Maybe 10 years ago. There is 0 reason to do this today

so optimizing at the lowest levels to maximize battery life is not a reason? it doesn't exist?

good to know you're out there making things better... OH WAIT. YOU SUCK.

not protecting karma... you idiots already ate it all up. i can only post 10 times per day, but your precious site still lets me post without saying who i am. AGAIN. YOU SHOW YOUR IGNORANCE AND FAULTY USE OF ASSUMPTION.

IDIOT.

Re:Not a checkbox, a shortcut... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076588)

Too bad SenseUI sucks. So glad I did not get an Eris or Incredible. If you are going to make changes they should be good ones.

Re:Not a checkbox, a shortcut... (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076660)

You know you can turn Sense off, right?

Re:Not a checkbox, a shortcut... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076958)

Out of curiosity, how? I have an Incredible, and if there was a way that I could turn the whole thing into a vanilla install of Android, I'd be interested to try it out.

Re:Not a checkbox, a shortcut... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077116)

You should be able to flash another rom onto it at the very least. May not have been hacked for this yet though.

Re:Not a checkbox, a shortcut... (1)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076876)

SenseUI sucks

What don't you like about it?

Re:Not a checkbox, a shortcut... (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077098)

It replaces some default apps.
The unlock on the Incredible moves down instead of to the side, easy to unlock in pocket. I admit I do ten to put the screen side towards my flesh when it is in my pocket.
It means your phone will never see an update, check out the Eris for evidence. I admit not a technical issue.
In general it is change for the sake of change without offering anything in exchange.

Google oligarchy than Apple fascism (-1, Flamebait)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076146)

At least google doesnt send private 'representatives' to ask permission to 'search' people's homes
http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/04/dude-apple/
And, in every open source project there is an 'oligarchy'. There is a vision holder, or vision holders there are those who understand the vision and want to contribute to it, there are other circles around these up until the user. And when any person in any circle doesnt like how vision is implemented or wants to practice another vision, they fork.

This is the way open source works. But, i believe it would be WAY too much to ask for someone who is affiliated with Apple in such a way to understand that.

Re:Google oligarchy than Apple fascism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076262)

At least google doesnt send private 'representatives' to ask permission to 'search' people's homes http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/04/dude-apple/ [wired.com]

Google also doesn't make phone hardware. If someone had left one of Google's servers at a bar and a story about it appeared on Gizmodo, I wouldn't doubt that Google would show up asking a few questions.

That's not fascism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076302)

If they're asking, it's not fascism.

How about we at least pretend that words like fascist continue to have meanings beyond "someone I don't like and want to call a name."

Re:Google oligarchy than Apple fascism (2, Funny)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076412)

At least google doesnt send private 'representatives' to ask permission to 'search' people's homes

Why should they search your home? They already know more about you than your mother does. Or have you not been paying attention to the information Google has been gathering at a dramatic rate?

Re:Google oligarchy than Apple fascism (1)

Zantac69 (1331461) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076462)

Hello Godwin's Law!

HW support is crucial. (2, Insightful)

WiiVault (1039946) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076164)

I love my work Droid- best work phone I've had, but fragmentation really is a problem with the Android eosystem. To show my point check out this site [appleinsider.com] . Now I realize this is an Apple-fansite, but the numbers quoted are from GOOGLE's Admob. One of the smart things Apple has done is make sure old HW is supported. An original EDGE iPhone for instance, runs the same version as the iPad or 3GS. Fragmentation not only affects the user experience, but it makes things a lot harder for developers too.

Re:HW support is crucial. (1)

Imagix (695350) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076320)

Haven't looked at the requirements for iPhone OS 4 ? Old HW isn't supported...

Re:HW support is crucial. (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076662)

iPhone OS 4 is supported, but some features (that will not affect apps that much) will not be supported, like being able to use the multi tasking feature - you'll have to do it the current way the iPhone does it which will be less feature-rich, but not broken. This is similar to moving forwards with things like the 3G chip itself (which the first iPhone does not have) and the magnetic compass (that the 3G does not have) and video recording (that the 3G does not have). Hardware progression is inevitable.

I'm not bashing Android per se, but the concern I have seen from some people here is that two near-identical hardware phones from different handset makers are hit and miss with apps - one will work, one won't etc, for no technical reason. They're both Android phones that should be essentially transparent to the user, so even if you have an HTC Desire you can tell your friend who has a Nexus One to go and grab ($cool_app) and he'll be able to install and use it with no issues.

The fragmentation and open nature of Android's app ecosystem is one of its strengths (you install what you like) but it also has downsides - it's the opposite of Apple's App Store, where you give up the open install ability for a set of apps that are going to work on your phone, with any incompatibilities (like the need for a compass, or the video recording feature) noted specifically ahead of time; it's far less hit-and-miss.

I want Android to be a strong competitor to Apple - (a decent competitor encourages improvements to both product lines), and with the company support it has I see no reason why it won't continue to grow, but it needs to sort out issues like the GP mentioned.

Re:HW support is crucial. (1)

Low Ranked Craig (1327799) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077086)

Uh, yes it is. iPhone 2G is not, iPhone 3G is except for multi-tasking, iPhone 3Gs is... All of that is old hardware when OS 4.0 ships...

Re:HW support is crucial. (4, Informative)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076336)

Well, the original iPhone runs the same OS number but that doesn't mean they have the same abilities. The 3GS is capable of quite a few things the original iPhones just aren't and that leads to fragmentation as well, just not visible through the version number. Look at multi-tasking for the most obvious example of this.

Re:HW support is crucial. (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076474)

I have an edge iphone I don't notice any fragmentation.

Apps that want your location get it through cell tower triangulation rather than GPS, with no help from me. I've yet to install an app that wouldn't run due to the hardware differences, although some are unacceptably slow to me.

I'm not sure what you mean by multitasking. I can browse the web at the same time I have a call going. Or listen to music. My email is downloading while I do those things. Maybe there are things the 3G phones can do in that area I've not noticed, but the edge phone does and always has multitasked.

Re:HW support is crucial. (2, Informative)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076508)

I'm not sure what you mean by multitasking.

He means the multitasking that is coming out with iPhone OS 4, which doesn't support the original iPhone.

Re:HW support is crucial. (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076632)

Thats one significant exclusion in 4 major iterations of hte OS - yup, certainly signifies a major difficulty in developing for the highly fragmented iPhone market...

Re:HW support is crucial. (1)

xianthax (963773) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076516)

You haven't noticed because just like in the App Store just like in the Android Market you don't see applications that aren't supported on your device.

And the edge phone does not support multitasking of applications. All the things you've mentioned are built in applications that play by different rules than App Store applications. App Store applications can not run in the background at all.

Re:HW support is crucial. (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076532)

Multitasking, like using an app while using another app. Such things are impossible without jailbreaking.

Think about it this way, want to use Pandora while checking your e-mail? You can't. Want to surf the web while listening to a YouTube video? You can't. Etc.

Re:HW support is crucial. (1)

dr.newton (648217) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077058)

I'm not sure what you mean by multitasking.

You're lying.

Re:HW support is crucial. (4, Informative)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076382)

Sadly, iPhone OS 4 isn't supporting the 2G EDGE only model.

The fact is though. The HTC Dream/T-Mobile G1 was one of the first mass market Android devices out there, released a few months after the iPhone 3G and it's not getting 2.xx goodness, yet the iPhone 3G is.

Re:HW support is crucial. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076568)

You can run 2.1 on a G1, you have to do it yourself though. It is a hacked nexus rom cut down to make it workable on such old hardware.

Re:HW support is crucial. (1)

TwinkieStix (571736) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077080)

The G1 originally shipped with Android 1.0. It was upgraded to 1.5 which provided for an on-screen keyboard and bluetooth audio, and then to 1.6 with navigation and other useful features.

iPhone OS, on the other hand, is just now getting multitasking, something that has been around since the 1.0 version of Android.

What was once Android playing catchup to iPhone has quickly become iPhone playing catchup to Android, and now that the 3GS is being brought to the level of Android 1.6, then we can't really compare upgrade paths of the two phones in terms of time.

Re:HW support is crucial. (1)

xianthax (963773) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076390)

I agree that the android updating system could be made more simple, thats an issue of who's doing the tech support. Updates = chance of fail = tech support dollars spent. As long as the network provider is covering tech support you won't see much in the way of firmware updates as they want to minimize tech support costs and milk you on the monthly plan payments. This is one of the reasons i waited to get an android phone till the Nexus One came out. I think it will be kept more up to date as google itself is responsible for the handset.

Also remember that the 3gs and the original iPhone are not 100% compatible. There are features/capabilities/applications that are 3gs only. With the addition of the iPad and the new iphone thats coming out apple devs will be in much the same place. They now have to deal with the original iphone, the 3gs, the ipad, and the "4g" iphone with the different on board hardware and screen size issues that android has.

Re:HW support is crucial. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076538)

Except all the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad models do have a single feature they all share: a multi-touch display. There's no "sometimes a keyboard, sometimes a touch screen, sometimes a trackball, sometimes... etc." you get the idea.

It becomes much easier to support a platform where the only differences are the speed, the screen resolutions and the connectivity of the devices.

Re:HW support is crucial. (1)

xianthax (963773) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076728)

Theres much more thats different than the 3 items you listed.

Things the 3gs has that the 3g/edge doesn't:

*Video recording
*Digital Compass
*Voice Control
*Cortex A8 with NEON can run many floating point intensive applications the old iPhone simply can't
*PowerVR SGX engine in place of the MBX-lite in the original

If your app relies on any of those features you are developing purely for the 3gs.

Re:HW support is crucial. (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076778)

The items you mention are all low-level details typically handled seamlessly by the OS. When was the last time you couldn't use a trackball because the application didn't have special trackball code?

Re:HW support is crucial. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077140)

Android has that too.
I use pinch zoom all the time in the browser.

Re:HW support is crucial. (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076406)

Apple's "solution" doesn't scale. A mainstream vendor has to offer support to a variety of handsets.

Re:HW support is crucial. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076822)

Apple's "solution" doesn't scale. A mainstream vendor has to offer support to a variety of handsets.

The money is in smart phones. Q1 2010 stats - Nokia 21.5 MM, RIM 10.6 MM, Apple 8.8 MM. These 3 account for 76% of the market. About 1/2 of Nokia's sales are devices without full keyboards so the "true" smart phones are very close between the top 3. Seems like Apple is doing ok for not having a variety of handsets.

Re:HW support is crucial. (2, Insightful)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076484)

We're learned this the hard way. I know a lot of weekend coders who rant and rave Android because they can open eclipse do their thing, and go and be cool, but when you have to produce apps commercially and guarantee quality in contracts Android looks a lot less attractive compared to the iPhone. In the last two years we've spent about $3k in test hardware from Apple. We've spent twice that since last August on droid phones for testing. We're now quoting android development costs at 4x's that of the iPhone because of QA. With the iPhone, generally you test against the last two point releases of iPhone OS and make sure that nothing drags on the 2G iPhone. But generally if it works on one, it works on all.

That is just simply not the case for android. You've got to test it against 1.5, 1.6, 2.0, 2.1 and on different hardware specs, different screen sizes (and some of our clients are anal about pixal perfect), and the fact that some have keyboards, others are touchscreens only and you have to ensure user experience is clean and effective for both types of users. Frankly it is starting to remind me of trying to develop applications for Linux 10 years ago when every distro would place their libraries in a different location for some reason or another. (Okay, not quite that bad, but bad enough).

I have friends (husband and wife) who both got Driod phones for christmas. One has the motorola, the other HTC and sometimes they'll go to download and app and find one can download it, but the other can't because of differences in the phone.

Shocking! (3, Insightful)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076908)

You mean supporting phones from four different makers costs more than supporting one?

Re:Shocking! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32077010)

I will alert the media!

Re:HW support is crucial. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076492)

I've heard rumors that much of this will be addressed with Android 2.2. Of course that still leaves the problem of getting existing phones up to 2.2 (which rumors say can be modularly updated without the involvement of delinquent carriers).

Re:HW support is crucial. (1)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076536)

My understanding is that Google realized this (albeit a bit late in the game) and has addressed [engadget.com] this with the Froyo (Android 2.2) release, by making more pieces of the OS itself into the Market auto-updating framework, and apparently reducing their release frequency to once a year or so after Froyo.

Whether it all works out that way, we'll see.

Re:HW support is crucial. (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076582)

There's been a few changes from 1.5 to 2.0, but most of the developer changes are quite small/obscure.

Re:HW support is crucial. (1)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076746)

So what? If you want the largest install base, use the lowest API set. After all, not everybody *wants* to upgrade. Especially in a commercial setting, you need a business justification to change something. You don't fix what ain't broke.

Have Google broken any APIs between versions? Not that Apple would never do that... *cough*

Apple employees off the meds? (2, Insightful)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076170)

First Steve, now Leslie - OHA is still a hundred times better than anything Apple has come along with - at least for users.

Also all the article does is spread FUD about Android.

Re:Apple employees off the meds? (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076448)

OHA is still a hundred times better than anything Apple has come along with - at least for users.

Yet, based on the market numbers, the users seem to disagree with that assertion. I wonder why... Perhaps it's because engineers don't necessarily know what consumers want. Being the best does not always equate with being desirable.

Re:Apple employees off the meds? (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076658)

What market numbers? Last I heard Android was poised to take over the iPhone's spot in 2012. Lets look at some facts:

* Pretty much every carrier (in most countries even - friend sent a photo from the middle of nowhere in the Philippines of an Android Ad for some phone company) has an Android phone of some sort.
* Every US/Canada carrier has at least one android phone offering - and there are many with multiple offerings from multiple carriers and manufacturers.

Again - all this article is showing is that Apple is running a bit scared at the moment. Here's a smartphone OS that is on par with features, performance and usability that is fast becoming ubiquitous.

Re:Apple employees off the meds? (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076722)

all this article is showing is that Apple is running a bit scared at the moment.

How do you figure this article implies that, in any way. A _FORMER_ employee of the company offers her thoughts and you view that as an entire company running scared? Ok. Sure.

Re:Apple employees off the meds? (1)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077150)

The rate of rise with Android is pretty shocking. AdMob are already delivering more ads to Android handsets than to iPhone. Apple's market share was flat last quarter (with Android rising 5%+).

Anecdotally, a lot of friends of mine are waiting for their iPhone contracts to go Android.

Re:Apple employees off the meds? (1)

uniquename72 (1169497) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076748)

Yet, based on the market numbers, the users seem to disagree with that assertion ... Being the best does not always equate with being desirable.

But being first can seriously skew one's interpretation of what users seem to want. Apple had a significant head start, but iPhone adoption has slowed while Android's is still growing. In 3 years "what users want" will be more clear. For now, it's not. (How many of my iPhone-owning friends are waiting for their contracts to expire in order to get an Android? At least one, but who knows?)

Re:Apple employees off the meds? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076948)

consumers do not know what consumers want, beyond what some talking heads say that consumers are buying, and therefor want. Mossberg praising anything apple to high heaven probably do more for apple sales then any ad campaign or real product quality.

the half eaten fruit have become tech fashion. Either for "tweens" (a mental state as much as a age, imo) combing it with skullcandy headsets, or suits that want to appear a bit more "renegade" then the blackberry packing mainstream.

Re:Apple employees off the meds? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076786)

I think that in terms of usability, it is one area where the iPhone soundly competes with the OHA.

Knock the app store ecosystem all you like, but the actual experience of *using* the hardware is very similar on the iPhone and iPad vs hardware from the OHA.

What did you expect? (3, Insightful)

MadKatAlpha (1393157) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076182)

Did anyone really expect the OHA to be a real collaborative effort? By getting the big names on the OHA list you bolster OEM and consumer confidence in Google's platform. It doesn't really matter if the members of the OHA have not made any meaningful contributions other than their names. The names were enough to get the product out and get people using it.

Not Familiar with OHA... (5, Insightful)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076198)

I am not familiar with OHA at all, but doesn't it seem like someone who once worked as the CEO of two of Google's competitors might just be biased a little bit? I guess what I am asking is why should I take Grandy to be anything other than an astroturfing shill?

Correct me if im wrong... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076204)

but isnt the Android UI just an APX application that can be closed source from the rest of the OS(why Helix and other UIs exist in the marketplace).

Pot? Kettle? Black? (2, Insightful)

tzenes (904307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076206)

So Apple's main complaint against OHA is that its mostly proprietary?

This is kind of like Steve Job's open letter about flash where he warns that Adobe could make it proprietary at any time.

Meanwhile no apps can be accepted at the App Store if they even mention Google...

Mr. Pot meat Mr. Kettle

Re:Pot? Kettle? Black? (2, Funny)

Yamata no Orochi (1626135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076296)

Mr. Pot meat Mr. Kettle

Sounds like a stag film.

Re:Pot? Kettle? Black? (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076760)

probably wont get that app on an iPhone then.

Re:Pot? Kettle? Black? (2, Insightful)

AresTheImpaler (570208) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076476)

So Apple's main complaint against OHA is that its mostly proprietary?

For the love of God, the first 5 words of the damn article say that she's not part of Apple anymore... "Former T-Mobile and Apple executive"

This is kind of like Steve Job's open letter about flash where he warns that Adobe could make it proprietary at any time.

Steve Job's never said anything like that. Please re-read the SJ letter. Although I disagree with the App Store being so closed, what you are saying is just completely false.

Meanwhile no apps can be accepted at the App Store if they even mention Google...

Agains, completly false, there are even 3 apps developed by google (not to mention a youtube client that is included with every iphone/ipad/ipod touch).
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/panoramio/id331007973?mt=8 [apple.com]
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-earth/id293622097?mt=8 [apple.com]
http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-mobile-app/id284815942?mt=8 [apple.com]
I understand that Apple hate is crazy high in Slashdot lately, but I'll say about 50% or more is all about blind fanaticism. Facts be damned.

Re:Pot? Kettle? Black? (1)

BarryJacobsen (526926) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076594)

For the love of God, the first 5 words of the damn article say that she's not part of Apple anymore... "Former T-Mobile and Apple executive"

I parsed that as (former T-Mobile) and [current] Apple Executive rather than former (T-Mobile and Apple) executive. The phrasing is ambiguous.

Re:Pot? Kettle? Black? (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076950)

She may be hoping to be rehired by Apple.

Re:Pot? Kettle? Black? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076726)

So Apple's main complaint against OHA is that its mostly proprietary?

For the love of God, the first 5 words of the damn article say that she's not part of Apple anymore... "Former T-Mobile and Apple executive"

Yeah, just like Hank Paulson was former CEO of Goldman-Sachs when he took the job as Treasury Secretary. All ties were completely cut...

Re:Pot? Kettle? Black? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076814)

you can't mention android in Apps Store apps.

Re:Pot? Kettle? Black? (1)

tzenes (904307) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077104)

Forgive my use of hyperbole. Apparently everything I write must be a "fact."

There have been a large number of Google based apps that have been banned from the app store
http://www.pcworld.com/article/188696/apple_bans_the_word_android_from_app_store.html [pcworld.com]

Now let's examine Steve Job's letter:

"Adobe’s Flash products are 100% proprietary. They are only available from Adobe, and Adobe has sole authority as to their future enhancement, pricing, etc. While Adobe’s Flash products are widely available, this does not mean they are open, since they are controlled entirely by Adobe and available only from Adobe. By almost any definition, Flash is a closed system."

Closed system?
Property?
Future pricing?

Perhaps you should reread it...

I get that you want to make fun of other people on the internet, but taking an off the cuff remark as a series of "facts" seems a little excessive.

Re:Pot? Kettle? Black? (1)

qortra (591818) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077134)

I understand that Apple hate is crazy high in Slashdot lately, but I'll say about 50% or more is all about blind fanaticism.

Funny, most of the "Apple hate" that I've seen at Slashdot lately has been perfectly cogent and justified. Of course, that could be due to the moderation system filtering out the cruft. I admit that the grandparent post was sensational and misleading, but in at least one case, it was a minor correction away from truth.

Meanwhile no apps can be accepted at the App Store if they even mention Google...

If you replace "Google" with "Android" in that quote, there is at least some precedent. This page [maclife.com] claims that an author was asked to remove an [innocuous] Android reference from his iPhone application.

Re:Pot? Kettle? Black? (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076850)

The Google app on my iPhone would beg to disagree with you. Do you even look any of this garbage up before you spout it as "fact"?

Also, this commenter is no longer affiliated with Apple, so anything she says are not "Apple's complaints".

Reality, meet tzenes and the person who modded him insightful - they have been gone for a while.

Whiner (3, Insightful)

buback (144189) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076288)

So google is doing all the contributing, but they have undue power over the direction of the platform?

Shouldn't those that contribute have the most influence?

If they want to take the OS in a different direction, why don't they just write the code themselves and fork?

Oh, right. Because it's easier to whine and complain than to actually write good code.

Created with no power. (3, Interesting)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076292)

Google's Android specific code is released under an Apache license which has no restriction on creating proprietary derivative works. Members of the OHA were not required to commit to releasing open handsets, and in fact some mobile companies are already planning on shipping versions of Android that will only run signed code purchased from their app store.

This is what happens when you don't demand reciprocal behavior in your contracts and licensing - the freedom you give to others will be used to restrict the freedom of end users and third parties.

Re:Created with no power. (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077002)

"the freedom you give to others will be used to restrict the freedom of end users and third parties."

No, because if you don't give that freedom to others you're already restricting the freedom of end users and third parties.

Re:Created with no power. (2, Interesting)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077136)

if you don't give that freedom to others you're already restricting the freedom of end users and third parties.

I hardly believe that denying corporations the ability to abuse their customers is truly restricting freedom.

Differnt phones for different folks (4, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076330)

many OHA members are developing proprietary user experiences, which they are not contributing back into Android

So you are saying that every smartphone in the market will not have the exact same UI?

Say it ain't so!

Why does a teenager who is concerned with facebook and twitter have to necessarily want the same user experience as the corperate employee who is more worried about Outlook sync and calendering?

Having a diverse platform ecology, while still maintaining a consistant underlying architecture to enable a vast application ecosystem, is the main strength of the Android platform (especially compared to the iPhone or Windows Mobile), it is not a weakness.

Re:Differnt phones for different folks (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076456)

Many Android buyers are stuck with Android 1.5 and 1.6 because that's what not only the phone shipped with, but with what the vendor's willing to support through out the supply chain and if they want the new version OS, they've got to upgrade their entire device.

The strengths of the Android ecosystem are largely the weaknesses of the Android ecosystem as well. You really don't expect an end-user to manually upgrade their device and potentially brick it do you?

Re:Differnt phones for different folks (3, Insightful)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076550)

Yes, but Google has already committed to fixing those shortcomings in FroYo (at least that's the implied release timeframe). Basically, they are going to uncouple everything from the core OS they can, and provide updates through the market just like for apps. So then it would do dependency tracking. So even though your phone is using an older "core" OS, it can update many of its libraries and "core" applications without the need for a full ROM.

There's really a fine line between the major player's stances on open source...:

Apple: Proprietary and Open Source can live together! Just as long as the Open Source is in our interests!

Google: Proprietary and Open Source can live together! Just as long as the Proprietary is in our interests!

RIM: Proprietary is where the money is, so we don't really care about Open Source at all...

Palm: I'm still here guys, don't forget about me!

Re:Differnt phones for different folks (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076892)

It's a major strength, but it is also a weakness - it's all swings and roundabouts, when Johnny Handset A user suggests an app to Sally Handset B user and she can't use it, despite both using android and having similar phones (in terms of hardware).

Fragmentation is a concern for Android and the plethora of phones it runs on at the moment - it's not insurmountable, but it needs to be addressed.

Re:Differnt phones for different folks (1)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076980)

Gratuitous car analogy: Why should a teenager who drag races want the same brake-on-the-left-gas-pedal-on-the-right setup as a bus driver?

Re:Differnt phones for different folks (1)

Arccot (1115809) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076990)

many OHA members are developing proprietary user experiences, which they are not contributing back into Android

So you are saying that every smartphone in the market will not have the exact same UI?

Say it ain't so!

Why does a teenager who is concerned with facebook and twitter have to necessarily want the same user experience as the corperate employee who is more worried about Outlook sync and calendering?

That's a false dichotomy.

Ideally, the user would be able to decide which device to select, AND which UI to select for their needs. The UI does not need to be tied to the device. Making all of the UIs available and as interchangeable as possible is the best option.

Proprietary UIs are anything but a good idea on an "open" platform.

Simple Question... (5, Insightful)

16K Ram Pack (690082) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076480)

... how many shares does she still own in Apple?

That article reads like pure FUD to me.

"Look and feel"s are shared too... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076504)

I can easily install the HTC look and feel on the Nexus One and can use the original Android 2.1 on HTC Desire too.

So, what "not sharing the UI" ?

What the hell is OHA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32076576)

I know about OMA though.

Android needs more openess (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076670)

Quite honestly, Android needs to be -far- more open to end users. For example, take a look at the Motorola BackFlip. It has an interesting hardware design, runs on AT&T, is pretty cheap on contract, but fails in a few main areas.

A) Uses Yahoo search.

Ok, if you want to make Yahoo the default and get a few bucks, fine. But let me change it to Google or whatever I want. Really, I think Yahoo is a crap search engine. I don't want it on my phone. I prefer Google to Yahoo/Ask/Bing/Live/AltaVista/whatever.

B) Doesn't let you use non-market apps by default

If I want to use non-market apps I should be able to without having to download the SDK and load them on that way.

C) Has crap software.

If you are going to ship a phone, computer, etc. use the most recent OS version. Android 2.1 has -many- advantages over 1.5 and many say it runs -faster- than 1.5. This isn't like Vista, this is a true upgrade. Don't screw customers by offering the equivalent of Windows 98 in 2010.

Google should make their software and require members of the Open Handset Alliance friendly to OSS developers and power-users. Let us change the OS, let us install what we want, etc. Perhaps make it kind of hard, but just let us do what we want with our devices and in exchange Android will get multitudes of innovation, new applications, and more marketshare.

Re:Android needs more openess (1)

ianare (1132971) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076784)

Let us change the OS, let us install what we want, etc.

This will never happen in the US, at least not on a subsidized phone. The carriers will see to that.

Re:Android needs more openess (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076940)

Which really I don't think I will ever understand. Why would Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, etc. really care what my phone has on it? If people are using too much data, don't advertise unlimited and spend some time upgrading your towers (I'm looking at you AT&T who would rather battle on maps with Verizon than add some more 3G towers).

Also, is it really worth pissing off a few of your most influential customers? How many people are going to re-flash their firmware to a custom update? Not many. How many people get their reviews from the people who would do that? A lot.

If its to promote certain services there is a really simple way they can do that. By being the best. If AT&T music was the best music player out on Android, people would get it and perhaps buy it if they were on Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, etc. giving AT&T income.

Re:Android needs more openess (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 4 years ago | (#32077042)

"Uses Yahoo search"

I have the same problem on my PC - I have to use a browser if I want to use Google search.

Innuendo (4, Informative)

ArtDent (83554) | more than 4 years ago | (#32076700)

Ugh. Both articles are pure innuendo. For example:

Technical Glitches

The biggest challenge for Google may be to improve its software and ensure that it can adapt to the mobile market, said Maribel Lopez, an analyst at Lopez Research LLC in San Francisco. Google is on its fourth revision of Android in the past year, in part because of software glitches and missing features, she said.

Golly! Missing features and glitches...that sounds really bad! But wait, aren't all new revisions of software always to add new features and fix bugs? Seriously, in the four revisions over the last year, Android has far surpassed the firmly established competition in just about every respect. I don't know if I've ever seen such a rate of innovation in a platform before.

Thought they're written to sound alarming, there's nothing surprising about anything in either of these articles. We already knew that Google's doing all the development in the core platform, so why should we be concerned that they are the ones making the decisions about its direction? We already knew that Android is designed and licensed to allow pieces of the system to be replaced by OEMs and users, so why should we be concerned that they're doing that?

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