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Google's iron grip on Android: Controlling open source
ArsTechnica article on the Android ecosystem
Robert Charlton




msg:4620891
 8:06 pm on Nov 3, 2013 (gmt 0)

Google's iron grip on Android: Controlling open source by any means necessary
Android is open—except for all the good parts
ArsTechnica - Oct 20 2013
[arstechnica.com...]

Six years ago, in November 2007, the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) was announced. The original iPhone came out just a few months earlier, capturing people's imaginations and ushering in the modern smartphone era. While Google was an app partner for the original iPhone, it could see what a future of unchecked iPhone competition would be like....

...Today, things are a little different. Android went from zero percent of the smartphone market to owning nearly 80 percent of it. Android has arguably won the smartphone wars, but "Android winning" and "Google winning" are not necessarily the same thing. Since Android is open source, it doesn't really "belong" to Google. Anyone is free to take it, clone the source, and create their own fork or alternate version.

The article examines the Android ecosystem, the competitive landscape, and how and where Google is able to maintain control of an open source platform.

 

explorador




msg:4621144
 7:51 pm on Nov 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

I read a few articles like that and I agreed, but lately I've been thinking differently. Android is Open source but the best apps are not, everyone is free to develop apps that are good enough or better than that but few are willing to do it for free. Sure G has more resources to develop killer apps.

Android base is open source, there is a lot of fragmentation on diff flavors. At the end Android is more a trojan horse than a free project.

Robert Charlton




msg:4621162
 9:36 pm on Nov 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

I read a few articles like that and I agreed, but lately I've been thinking differently. Android is Open source but the best apps are not, everyone is free to develop apps that are good enough or better than that but few are willing to do it for free

explorador - I'm curious whether you read the article, or just the introductory excerpt... as I'm not sure what you mean by "but lately I've been thinking differently." As I read it, the article says essentially what you seem to be saying... that "controlling the app side of the equation" is one of the main strategies that Google uses to maintain control. The key apps do require a major commitment of resources.

What I find most fascinating are Google's strategies of dealing with "forked" versions of Android developed by Amazon (and potentially, but probably not, by Samsung). The author concludes that "in nearly every area, the deck is stacked against anyone trying to use Android without Google's blessing."

So, I'm not sure where your disagreement is.

explorador




msg:4621208
 4:27 am on Nov 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Yes I read it completely days ago on my android phone, the link was posted on a tech list of articles.

So, I'm not sure where your disagreement is.

Lost in translation: there is no disagreement. Replace "like that" with "similar" and there you go. If you take a look around there are many comments on threads agreeing or not with the topics, but also commenting on it. It's not just black or white don't you think?

From my point of view Android is very diff to other ecosystems because many fail to see Open source is not equal to free or working for free, and many apps are not worth the "free", it means many suck. And there are not as many companies supporting development as in other open source ecosystems.

When I say to think different lately I mean I don't see Android as Open source or not (the Google Android that was released as such), instead I see it more as what I think it is: a trojan project and it also lacked planning, there is another article around with the story of Andy Rubin and why Google got in. Anyway my vision might be tainted (I think more of "might sound") because I'm familiar with Google not producing or creating, just buying, closing or sharing what others created, G history is filled with failures regarding their own "creations".

explorador




msg:4621303
 2:44 pm on Nov 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

BTW, Google not producing great things vs G having the upper hand on Android apps might sound contradictory, from where I'm standing it doesn't: the value of those apps depends on the comparison with the others. I always wonder why Android lacks the good quality apps I found on Wince and Windows mobile, specially around mapping and GPS, big players never moved to Android and some free apps didn't follow.

engine




msg:4621368
 6:14 pm on Nov 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

For sure, Android users, or for that matter, iOS users get locked into their own ecosystem. Just because it's Open Source doesn't unlock that part of it.

First-time smartphone consumers are attracted to a shiny new piece of hardware, and the OS often doesn't enter into it. They like the hardware, then see that there's many, many Apps that give them fun and productivity enhancers. The fact that Google has a whole bunch of great Apps helps sway the decision.

With all the major hardware manufacturers launching new and exciting hardware based on Android, consumers became sucked in.

The other platforms out there weren't really on exciting phones at that time. Blackberry had its business user base, but seemed to lose direction and failed to capitalise. The World's largest phone maker, at that time, Nokia, had an ageing hardware range, and an OS lagging behind Android and iOS.

Microsoft, of course, was late to the party with Windows Phone OS, although it now seems to be starting to make minor inroads.
Report: Nokia and Windows Phone Continue to Make Inroads, Three Months To September 2013 [webmasterworld.com]

My assessment is that the Android OS and Google came together, and to the market at just the right time.

Getting back to Google's grip on Android: There's no question, anyone that wants to take Android and de-Google it is going to face an uphill struggle. I can see why they might want to do it, but, surely cannot be worth the investment in developing a new ecosystem, and encouraging App developers to play along.

explorador




msg:4621476
 3:52 am on Nov 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

There's no question, anyone that wants to take Android and de-Google it is going to face an uphill struggle. I can see why they might want to do it, but, surely cannot be worth the investment in developing a new ecosystem, and encouraging App developers to play along.

I know a few but it's not easy. There are several problems: Android fragmentation and compatibility, Android it's not like Linux for diff devices sharing some foundations, there are in fact several "forks" of Android not compatible among themselves. I had diff Android devices including droidbooks and there are diff forums with many geeks compiling ungoogled versions that I actually enjoyed, very fast, stable and fun. Some are just fans, some worked at diff companies developing ROMS but the problem is you can't just pick your fav flavor and put it on your device because it's not fully compatible. I actually enjoyed one Cyanogen ROM but my WIFI never worked, it was amazingly fast.

And the other problem remains: apps. I had diff mapping apps on old devices non-android and I'm impressed by the lack of presence (of them) in that ecosystem.

explorador




msg:4633662
 4:02 pm on Dec 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

This sounds good:
[wired.com...]

Cyanogen is growing fast and getting stronger, a nice alternative to Google Android. The link suites the thread: it has info, story, history and comes from a relevant source. Enjoy.

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