Android

Biggest complaint we hear about Android? The number of OS versions spread out over the vast number of devices, and the painful wait for updates. We're currently running the gamut from Android 1.5 -- even on new phones like the Motorola i1 -- to Android 2.1, currently on the Nexus One and a handful of Milestones.

But what if that were to finally go away? Engadget says it has on good authority that Google's going to do something about that with the FroYo and Gingerbread releases of Android. And it'll do so by moving some of the core apps out of the ROM and into the Android Market. That's already been done with Google Maps. And it makes sense. Move apps like Maps, Googles and Gesture Search -- to name a few -- into the Market, and the onus no longer is on manufacturers and carriers to test, update and approve them all over again just to push out a ROM update.

Engadget also points to a second track, in that the Android OS development may start to slow as it reaches maturity. Again, makes sense, and it'll make life easier on everybody if we're not seeing major releases come month after month.

This likely will still take some time to implement, so you guys are gonna have plenty of days left to gnash your teeth over when you'll get the latest update. But it may well be light at the end of the tunnel. [Engadget]

 

Reader comments

Google finally to address Android fragmentation with FroYo, Gingerbread?

16 Comments

Me too! Thought the Nexus One would be here already! Better get it out on Verizon before the Windows 7 phone hits! Just want to get rid of this horrible BB Storm phone.

This seems to be a good idea with one exception. By doing this it will take up a large part of our precious app memory space. It's bad enough that that we're limited to small app memory to begin with but adding core apps is only going to reduce that. Of course allowing these apps to be stored on the SD card will fix that issue.

Storing apps on the memory card frees up phone storage, but slows the apps down. I wish they would just give us more app space on the phone. I'm not an app-oholic though. I only install apps that I use at least three or more days a week, and uninstall other apps such as games when I'm done playing them.

Those apps are ALREADY on your phone, this will actually give you more choice since you will be the one downloading the app or not, but you really don't "loose" anything storage wise

Another thing to realize is that when Google removes the app from the OS space, the app storage space increases since the OS has a smaller footprint. This makes it much easier to upgrade the app since it's in the writable location. When you upgrade the app, the only app storage space you'll lose (or gain) is the size difference between the old version and the new version of the app, just like any other app you upgrade on your device.

All I can say is it's about time. Paying that much for a phone and having to wait for it to even be up to date is ridiculous from a consumer's perspective. Luckily I love my new phone and it's definitely the best one I've ever owned.

Simply removing core apps may only have a small affect on the time it takes for the carriers/manufacturers to push out updates due to them not needing to test the core apps, as mentioned in the article already.

Being a developer i can see a better direction that would make even more sense. I cant totally say this would work being android is an embedded system, so anyone that has experience with them your thoughts are welcome. But to me it would make more sense if Google were able to get Android to a point where the development efforts of the carriers/manufacturers was focused completely on the direct communication drivers that sit between the OS and the hardware itself. Similar to how a desktop environment works (same OS just utilizing a set of drivers for the specific hardware).

This would definitely give the Android code more of a service/provider model where the manufacturer would just create a provider for the specific hardware. To make a hardware keyboard work you need a keyboard provider that implements functionality x, y, and z, etc.

Of course something like this would only work for those manufacturers that choose to release a device using plain vanilla android and not for those that customize (Sense, MotoBLUR, etc).

How great would it be at that point where you could get your updates straight from Google and always be able to get your eager hands on the latest/greatest.

Both measures will definitely help to decelerate the rate of the platform fragmentation. We have to see the face value of the proposition though.

The steps Google is about to take will make it easier for phone manufacturers and network carriers to upgrade the pre-installed Android software, which is great. An upgrade is still going to be a major undertaking for all the parties involved and there will still be a lot left behind after each major platform release.

There are other dimensions of the fragmentation such as multiple platform flavors, several screen resolutions, inadequate paid apps support worldwide, that are not going to be addressed by the outlined approach.

Slowing down the pace of platform development and externalizing non-core components are good but insufficient measures. To address the issue at its core Google needs to correlate and coordinate its technical effort with a sound marketing and sales strategy.

Kind regards,
Borys Burnayev
actioncomplete.com
GTD for Android and Web

Both measures will definitely help to decelerate the rate of the platform fragmentation. We have to see the face value of the proposition though.

The steps Google is about to take will make it easier for phone manufacturers and network carriers to upgrade the pre-installed Android software, which is great. An upgrade is still going to be a major undertaking for all the parties involved and there will still be a lot left behind after each major platform release.

There are other dimensions of the fragmentation such as multiple platform flavors, several screen resolutions, inadequate paid apps support worldwide, that are not going to be addressed by the outlined approach.

Slowing down the pace of platform development and externalizing non-core components are good but insufficient measures. To address the issue at its core Google needs to correlate and coordinate its technical effort with a sound marketing and sales strategy.

Kind regards,
Borys Burnayev
actioncomplete.com
GTD for Android and Web

Now they just need need to make htc, moto, dell, sony, etc. put blur, sense, etc. on the market and upgrades will be nexus one style.

Both measures will definitely help to decelerate the rate of the platform fragmentation. We have to see the face value of the proposition though.

The steps Google is about to take will make it easier for phone manufacturers and network carriers to upgrade the pre-installed Android software, which is great. An upgrade is still going to be a major undertaking for all the parties involved and there will still be a lot left behind after each major platform release.

There are other dimensions of the fragmentation such as multiple platform flavors, several screen resolutions, inadequate paid apps support worldwide, that are not going to be addressed by the outlined approach.

Slowing down the pace of platform development and externalizing non-core components are good but insufficient measures. To address the issue at its core Google needs to correlate and coordinate its technical effort with a sound marketing and sales strategy.

Kind regards,
Borys Burnayev
actioncomplete.com
GTD for Android and Web

All I can say is it's about time. This is the one major area that Google is still lagging behind Apple in. I know all the blame doesn't fall on them, but the communication with customers has been pretty horrible.