Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 17th May 2013 23:35 UTC, submitted by kragil
Google Ars nails it: "The answer is that Google did announce what amounts to a fairly substantial Android update yesterday. They simply did it without adding to the update fragmentation problems that continue to plague the platform. By focusing on these changes and not the apparently-waiting-in-the-wings update to the core software, Google is showing us one of the ways in which it's trying to fix the update problem."
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If only they could update WebKit...
by brion on Fri 17th May 2013 23:47 UTC
brion
Member since:
2010-11-04

The ancient and buggy WebKit in Android 2.3 is a thorn in the side of many mobile web developers... some new phones come with Chrome which gets updates, but the webview in the old default Browser app, and in for instance PhoneGap-based apps, only updates with the OS.

The new Google Play services look mostly useless for me; I'd trade them all for a mandatory Browser update with SVG support and sane position:fixed, iframes, scrolling etc.

Even if the WebView stayed awful in other apps, if the default Browser app were upgraded -- hallelujah!

Reply Score: 4

shotsman Member since:
2005-07-22

Sadly there are still brand new phones on sale (At least here in the UK) that still run 2.3 AND with no updates available. I know that for a fact as my other half bought one such device last week from Carphone Warehouse. She was not best pleased when she found out that it would'nt run the latest FB app or play Angry Birds.

IMHO V2.3 will become the IE6 of the android world.

I struggled with 2.3 (on both HTC and Samsung) phones for a while. In the end I tried to replace the HTC build with a cyanogen and prompty bricked the phone.

As a software dev of more than 30 years experience and IMHO, this whole Android System thing is a total mess and is getting worse not better.

I fully expect Samsung to declare UDI within the next 6-12 months and go their own way with their own OS. They really don't need Google any more. What then for the Android System?

I've given up with it all and gone back to an old Nokia 6310i. I actually don't miss much from Android as I tend to use my phone, well as a phone.

Reply Score: 5

steve_s Member since:
2006-01-16

So very this.

And so very much the grandparent too.

WebView on 2.3 really isn't very good at all. The missing features are a complete pain.

It's still not great in 4.2 either, not when compared to iOS's UIWebView. What I've been finding it that a moderately complex graphically rich app can end up hitting limits that tip performance off a cliff. Put too many 3d accelerated things into the DOM and then an app that had been animating smoothly will drop down to 3 frames per second. Remove the items from the DOM and performance does not recover - it will still be lousy. The same app on iOS will be silky-smooth. There's no signs, warnings, or any other indicators as to when you'll fall off this cliff. Very frustrating.

Reply Score: 2

protomank Member since:
2006-08-03

Agreed. Google should make a chromeview (chrome support LOTS of features the default webview misses and would make development easier/prettier) and distribute it throught player, including for 2.x devices. But for that, they would have to port it to 2.x, that probally is very hard. Google itself suffers from the fragmentation they created themselves, what is kind of patetic ;)

Reply Score: 1

Hiding the problem...
by Ithamar on Sat 18th May 2013 06:37 UTC
Ithamar
Member since:
2006-03-20

This so called solution will still leave many devices with known vulnerabilities and other security issues...
The only real motivation to do this is regain some control on Android by making AOSP a "demo" version of Android with all real new improvements hidden away in the closed-source, Google sauce components.

So much for an "open platform"..... ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Hiding the problem...
by darknexus on Sat 18th May 2013 08:32 UTC in reply to "Hiding the problem..."
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Unavoidable I'm afraid. Google has finally realized that while open source is excellent for academia and research projects, once you want to actually make money from it you're in hot water as any person or company can take your code, modify it, and benefit from it without giving a damn thing back to you. And don't go on about the GPL, there are plenty of ways around that one too if you're motivated, and cash is one hell of a motivator. Like it or not, Google is a business. They need to profit from projects eventually, and so far Google themselves haven't made much from Android. Can't really blame them for wanting to turn that around. No money, no more Android.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hiding the problem...
by rklrkl on Sat 18th May 2013 08:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Hiding the problem..."
rklrkl Member since:
2005-07-06

> ... once you want to actually make money from it you're in hot water as any person or company can take your code, modify it, and benefit from it without giving a damn thing back to you.

I suspect Red Hat would disagree with you on this one. There's several free clones (why I don't know - you only need one surely?) of RHEL such as CentOS, Scientific Linux, Oracle Linux etc. and yet Red Hat makes a very healthy profit.

> And don't go on about the GPL, there are plenty of ways around that one too if you're motivated, and cash is one hell of a motivator.

Nice to you see you don't care about any legal aspects and it should be noted that GPL is actually enforced legally (and extremely successfully - I don't know of any case where it lost, but I couldn't be wrong there).

> and so far Google themselves haven't made much from Android.

Except for the advertising revenue and, er, 30% of all Android app sales. That's probably quite a big pile there.

I think if you quoted Canonical as struggling for money, you might have had a better case - Ubunutu's download page now comes with a donation beg and the Amazon lens tie-up just smells of sellout/desperation.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Hiding the problem...
by darknexus on Sat 18th May 2013 09:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hiding the problem..."
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Why is it that everyone quotes the same tired examples? Red Hat's business model is completely different from Google's. Red Hat's money comes not only from the sale of their os (which is the lesser income by far) but from support contracts. This is common in the enterprise world, where you purchase support contracts so that, should something go wrong with your systems, you can call up someone and demand they figure it out and fix it. This is where Red Hat makes its money and yes, they do it well. However, whether they use open source or closed source wouldn't matter much to them in the end. They target the corporate world, and what the corporate world wants most is someone to bitch at when something doesn't work. In that world, Windows server contractors and Linux are on an equal footing. Suggesting that Red Hat and Google are anything alike smacks of desperation and the inability to form a complete argument.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Hiding the problem...
by rklrkl on Sat 18th May 2013 11:05 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Hiding the problem..."
rklrkl Member since:
2005-07-06

I did quote the part of your claim that anyone can take Open Source code, modify it and benefit without giving back. My reply is entirely appropriate - this is *exactly* what happens with RHEL, particularly with Oracle Linux, who actually charge for their clone. In no way did I imply that the actual business model of Red Hat was identical to Google's, but this is what you seem to zone in on, completely incorrectly.

Android and RHEL are quite similar in that they're both open source and can be cloned/modified/added to by third parties without any restrictions/cost (although you can't use Google Apps unless you get them approved, but they're not core to running Android, plus you have to remove RHEL branding/name from clones of course).

The main difference is that Android makes money for Google via advertising/30% apps cut (and some cut for media like movies/music/books too I presume) whereas RHEL makes money by being sold initially and supported via paid contracts. *Both* make money for their owners, so to quibble over the business model differences seems petty to me.

Getting back on topic, the recent "Nexus" version promised of the Galaxy S4 does sound intriguing - a vanilla Android of the top-end Samsung phone sold in the Google Play store that will get Nexus-speed updates to the next Android release. I wish Google would do this will all the popular makes of phone - or at least offer to help the manufacturers switch a phone between Nexus and Carrier-bloatware mode easily.

Edited 2013-05-18 11:06 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hiding the problem...
by tidux on Sat 18th May 2013 16:06 UTC in reply to "RE: Hiding the problem..."
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

It's called the GPL. If Android had licensed Android as GPLv2 instead of Apache, we wouldn't be having these problems.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Hiding the problem...
by JAlexoid on Mon 20th May 2013 01:32 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Hiding the problem..."
JAlexoid Member since:
2009-05-19

FYI: The copyright owner is not bound by any license. I can release all my code as GPL and then turn around and make a fully proprietary version.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Hiding the problem...
by Fergy on Sat 18th May 2013 17:50 UTC in reply to "RE: Hiding the problem..."
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

Unavoidable I'm afraid. Google has finally realized that while open source is excellent for academia and research projects, once you want to actually make money from it you're in hot water as any person or company can take your code, modify it, and benefit from it without giving a damn thing back to you. And don't go on about the GPL, there are plenty of ways around that one too if you're motivated, and cash is one hell of a motivator. Like it or not, Google is a business. They need to profit from projects eventually, and so far Google themselves haven't made much from Android. Can't really blame them for wanting to turn that around. No money, no more Android.

Yeah completely open projects like Firefox apparently don't exit in your head. Also the money Google has made with Android don't exit in your head.

I wonder what Firefox OS will do. It is completely open like Firefox and smartphone makers can work on it at the same time as Mozilla. Fragmentation is also very hard to get when your platform is web+Firefox.

Reply Score: 2