Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 12th Jun 2015 10:37 UTC
Android

When Android Wear came out over the course of last year, Google promised that the young, new platform would receive updates "early and often". While it wasn't said with so many words, it's easy to read between the lines: Google was going to make sure Android Wear users wouldn't face the same headaches as Android users when it comes to updates. Wear would be a more tightly controlled platform, built in such a way that updates could go straight to users' devices without meddling from carriers or roadblocks thrown up by crappy customisations.

Fast forward to June 2015, and Google has recently released Android Wear 5.1.1, which, despite its humble version number increase over 5.0.1, is a pretty significant update to the smartwatch platform. It enables WiFi on devices that support it, adds new ways to interact with your watch, and makes it easier to launch applications. All in all, it looks like a great update.

Sadly, I can only go by what others have told me, despite owning the poster Android Wear device - the Moto 360.

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Voting with my wallet
by darknexus on Fri 12th Jun 2015 11:45 UTC
darknexus
Member since:
2008-07-15

This situation has gone on long enough now, and it's time we, as users, put our money where our mouth is.

And how do you suggest we do that if we, quite literally, don't have an option to vote for? Should I buy a Nexus 6 even though I find it to be far too large and overpriced on the magnitude of an iPhone? Should I go back to the iPhone, which I can't stand, or go to Windows 10 Mobile where almost none of the apps I use exist? Blackberry? don't make me laugh. I'd love nothing more than to vote with my wallet but, save for buying a used Nexus 5 (which won't make any sort of statement) I do not have anything to put my money into that works for me. In the end I had to compromise and go with a Moto G 2nd gen (and by the way I still don't have the 5.1 update). The only way we can vote, I guess, is to never buy a phone from any carrier, but I do that already as a matter of course to avoid bloatware and expensive long-term contracts. Somehow I don't think carrier or no carrier sends a message to Google, or the phone OEMs. And don't give me any of that custom rom stuff. I know about it already. We're talking about voting with our wallet here, and what rom you install sends zero statement to anyone. Now, if we start seeing a large string of Cyanogen phones hit the market and we get updates on those no problem, then I'll cast my wallet vote there when it comes time for a new phone assuming they're not gigantic.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Voting with my wallet
by gan17 on Fri 12th Jun 2015 13:58 UTC in reply to "Voting with my wallet"
gan17 Member since:
2008-06-03

And how do you suggest we do that if we, quite literally, don't have an option to vote for? Should I buy a Nexus 6 even though I find it to be far too large and overpriced on the magnitude of an iPhone?

Size, price, and overall fugliness aside, I'm not even sure if the Nexus 6 is getting updates as timely as the Nexus 5. I recall reading that Google went back to partnering with carriers for this device (mainly because of the steep price). I assume those that bought it outright directly from the Play Store will get timely updates, but what about those who got it from carriers?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Voting with my wallet
by drcouzelis on Fri 12th Jun 2015 14:00 UTC in reply to "Voting with my wallet"
drcouzelis Member since:
2010-01-11

And how do you suggest we do that if we, quite literally, don't have an option to vote for? Should I buy a Nexus 6 even though I find it to be far too large and overpriced on the magnitude of an iPhone? Should I go back to the iPhone, which I can't stand, or go to Windows 10 Mobile where almost none of the apps I use exist? Blackberry? don't make me laugh.

Get a Jolla mobile! Android application support PLUS you get official system updates BEFORE they're even released!

...Sorry, I know you asked me not to make you laugh but I just couldn't help myself. ;) But seriously, I love my phone.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Voting with my wallet
by darknexus on Fri 12th Jun 2015 22:26 UTC in reply to "RE: Voting with my wallet"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Get a Jolla mobile! Android application support PLUS you get official system updates BEFORE they're even released!

Even if that would work for me, I'm in the states. Damn hard to get them here, if they even support our frequency bands.

Reply Score: 2

It's not that bad, really
by ekollof on Fri 12th Jun 2015 11:50 UTC
ekollof
Member since:
2013-09-25

The Moto 360 might not have gotten the latest, but it had pretty weak hardware right out of the gate. The LG G-Watch which came out before is running 5.1 now, and so is the Samsung one that came out at the same time. Just because your 360 isn't updated isn't strictly Google's fault, but Motorola failing in speccing it correctly (and hyping the damn thing as *the* watch to have). LG did a way better job in providing more future-proof hardware.

I never liked the 360 (flat tire, booo), and rocked my G-Watch for quite a while, and it works fine to this day. I gave it to my wife and caved in to buying the Urbane. Yeah, specwise it is the same as the G-Watch R from LG, but it is a thing of beauty.

Reply Score: 2

RE: It's not that bad, really
by WorknMan on Fri 12th Jun 2015 17:20 UTC in reply to "It's not that bad, really"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

The Moto 360 might not have gotten the latest, but it had pretty weak hardware right out of the gate.


Yeah, it's hilarious that he keeps calling it the 'poster Android Wear device' when it was clearly underpowered to begin with. That's what you get for going with looks above all else, Thom.

Edited 2015-06-12 17:21 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Sigh
by timby on Fri 12th Jun 2015 12:49 UTC
timby
Member since:
2015-06-11

This is why I moved to the Apple eco-system. While it has downsides, I'm at least "current".

Please fix this Google, and I may come back...

Reply Score: 2

RE: Sigh
by Morgan on Fri 12th Jun 2015 15:09 UTC in reply to "Sigh"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

I'm in the same boat. Lack of consistency and stability with Android, combined with Microsoft's "we forgot how to release a flagship Windows Phone" has pushed me back onto the iPhone for the first time in several years. And to be honest, it has improved greatly as a platform. So far I've been pleasantly surprised. Still, I wish I had held onto my Nokia N900; for what I paid for this iPhone I could have put in a pre-order for a Neo900 board.

Reply Score: 3

v RE[2]: Sigh
by rubberneck on Sat 13th Jun 2015 20:56 UTC in reply to "RE: Sigh"
RE[3]: Sigh
by Morgan on Sun 14th Jun 2015 13:50 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Sigh"
Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

iOS was always superior to android and still is.


That's highly subjective, and not at all what I was saying. For me personally, right now iOS is the right tool for the job. Previously it was Windows Phone, and technically still would be if my phone hadn't died. Microsoft/Nokia for some reason has refused to release a really nice WP device for two years now; I'm assuming they are holding out for Windows 10 Mobile but I couldn't wait that long, and I wasn't going to touch the HTC One M8 Windows with a 10 foot pole after briefly using the Android version.

I went back to Android late last year, but even Lollipop didn't fix the long-standing issues that make using an Android device as an actual phone possible for me. The dialer still crashes, the interface is even more obtuse, and the only way to have a synced contact list is to use a gmail account. No thanks. After trying out my sister's old iPhone 4s with iOS 8, I was sold on going back to iPhone for the foreseeable future.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Sigh
by zima on Sun 14th Jun 2015 22:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Sigh"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

with apple, what greatly matters is also when was the END of device sales. iPhones are pushed byApple on consumers obscenely long (I think I've seen ads for that 4s quite recently)

Reply Score: 3

Comment by sb56637
by sb56637 on Fri 12th Jun 2015 12:54 UTC
sb56637
Member since:
2006-05-11

Very interesting (and depressing) post.

I'm not a developer, but I gather that Android development is very much a closed-development ecosystem, despite its guise of openness. As a matter of fact, it would appear that there are actually *two* layers of closed development in Android compared to Apple's one layer. In the case of Android, Google develops a new Android release behind closed doors, throws a ball of code over the fence, and then the OEMs start a new round of development/modification/integration/uglification behind THEIR closed doors.

I honestly don't understand why Android devices aren't upgradeable in two big atomic chunks: an underlying kernel/hardware layer, and a frontend GUI that can be updated apart from the underlying OS. With desktop Linux, I can install/remove any number of desktop environments on any of my very different laptops, despite their diverse hardware components, without touching the kernel or the underlying system. This allows me to run cutting edge Linux on systems that are more than a decade old. So why can't Google let the OEMs provide the underlying kernel tweaks and drivers specific to their hardware, while Google just releases a new GUI with new userland features?

Edited 2015-06-12 12:57 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by sb56637
by acobar on Fri 12th Jun 2015 15:34 UTC in reply to "Comment by sb56637"
acobar Member since:
2005-11-15

gather that Android development is very much a closed-development ecosystem, despite its guise of openness

Nonsense, if it was closed we would not have projects building different images.

why Android devices aren't upgradeable in two big atomic chunks: an underlying kernel/hardware layer, and a frontend GUI that can be updated apart from the underlying OS. With desktop Linux, I can install/remove any number of desktop environments on any of my very different laptops, despite their diverse hardware components, without touching the kernel or the underlying system. This allows me to run cutting edge Linux on systems that are more than a decade old

Actually, this is not true. There are packages that rely on more up-to-date libraries and you just can't install them without upgrading also the libraries. It, actually, may trigger a cascade effect at which point your best option is to upgrade to a new version of your distro of choice. Been there, done that, don't botter anymore. It the thing is too old to accept a new distro I just give it to someone and buy a new one. Didn't have to do it in like 4 years, though.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by sb56637
by PieterGen on Fri 12th Jun 2015 16:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by sb56637"
PieterGen Member since:
2012-01-13

I think that with distributions such as Gentoo, Arch or Slack you can run cutting edge stuff on older hardware. It depends on what parts you want to be cutting edge. You may not be able to have btrfs as a file system, run the Gnome 3.14 desktop environment or use the latest cutting edge graphics applications on your 10 year old laptop. But perhaps that old beast is perfectly capable to run the latest kernel, vim or python.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by sb56637
by moondevil on Fri 12th Jun 2015 17:15 UTC in reply to "Comment by sb56637"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

That is one reason why my hobby development on Android is done in C++.

My hobby development is mostly geared towards gaming, so although constrained, I can survive with the NDK.

Additionally, by using external C++ libraries I can enjoy the same APIs, regardless of the Android version and also port the code to iOS and WP devices.

There is a price to pay though, as each APK tends to be much bigger than a Java only approach, plus one needs to either replicate UI Widgets or use JNI.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by sb56637
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Mon 15th Jun 2015 15:08 UTC in reply to "Comment by sb56637"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

There is more to an operating system than just a kernel, device drivers and a gui. I think this is where you're misunderstanding lies.

With that division, I think everything you'd care about that you didn't name would be in the "GUI". And we'd still be stuck in the same place we are now. Can't just update the "GUI" without consequences.

Reply Score: 2

Look at FirefoxOS
by Lennie on Fri 12th Jun 2015 13:08 UTC
Lennie
Member since:
2007-09-22

When FirefoxOS was shiny and new, they tried to do it right.

FirefoxOS had a bottom layer, the kernel and video drivers.

And a top layer, the runtime, renderer, GUI and system apps.

Mozilla tried to make it so that the Mozilla would do updates of the top layer and the botton layer would be handled by the manufacturers or providers.

But they just couldn't get manufacturers and providers to go along with these ideas.

Now remember that the Android situation is much worse.

Maybe it's just me, but if FirefoxOS with their great plan can't succeed. How do you think Android is every going to succeed with getting this, right ?

Edited 2015-06-12 13:09 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Look at FirefoxOS
by leech on Fri 12th Jun 2015 14:57 UTC in reply to "Look at FirefoxOS"
leech Member since:
2006-01-10

The reason we have the situation now is... why upgrade the OS and breathe new 'life' into older devices when they can get people to sign up for a new contract and get a new device?

That's been my whole problem with the smart phone 'revolution' in general. It's as bad as the computer industry not too long ago, where software would continuously be coming out but they'd require the latest hardware to run decently so you'd end up having to upgrade your computer every year or two. Now a 5 year old system can still be useful, which is why there are so many "Oh my god, PC sales are down, no one buys PCs anymore, they're dying!' uhm, no, they don't sell as much because no one needs a new one constantly.

But as far as alternatives to the big two... Damn Jolla, why did you have to skip the USA... I'm still looking forward to my Jolla Tablet ;)

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Look at FirefoxOS
by Lennie on Fri 12th Jun 2015 22:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Look at FirefoxOS"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

The reason we have the situation now is... why upgrade the OS and breathe new 'life' into older devices when they can get people to sign up for a new contract and get a new device?

That's been my whole problem with the smart phone 'revolution' in general.


Don't get me started on that. I just hate it when smartphones can't have their batteries replaced and so on.

Let's just call it what it is: consumer economy and planned obsolescence.

These are just concepts that were created by people and didn't exist a long time ago. The modern consumer economy was created by economists and modern advertising was created by psychologists. Don't be fooled.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Look at FirefoxOS
by darknexus on Fri 12th Jun 2015 22:45 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Look at FirefoxOS"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

These are just concepts that were created by people and didn't exist a long time ago. The modern consumer economy was created by economists and modern advertising was created by psychologists. Don't be fooled.

I don't know which is worse. The fact that it was even invented or the fact that it works on most people.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Look at FirefoxOS
by Lennie on Fri 12th Jun 2015 23:32 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Look at FirefoxOS"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

Don't get me wrong, consumerism can be good for the economy.

It's really all very crazy when you think about it.

Let's say the economy grows with 2% per year, every year. That means a doubling time of 35 years. It really means the economy is producing twice as many goods (denoted in money, GDP). And when it's below 0%, it's a recession, everybody panic !

But it's all 'controlled', at least they try. For example the government 'controls' inflation. Their ideal is actually that same 2% I mentioned above.

So that means, the same dollar, pound, whatever over 35 years is worth exactly half.

So that mean that 2% and 2% is actually 4% ? So a doubling time of 17.67 years ?

Let's say you are buying bread and in a little over 15 years the prices have doubled ? Could that be true ?

If not, I'll have to watch Dr. Albert A. Bartlett lecture again:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5iFESMAU58

Reply Score: 4

Instead...
by patrix on Sat 13th Jun 2015 14:58 UTC
patrix
Member since:
2006-05-21

Instead, it would have been better if Motorola had pushed out a half-baked update that performed poorly or destroyed even more battery life? Just so you could get the update at the same time as everyone else?

Or perhaps ALL the other smartwatches updates should have been delayed because the 360 needed more optimisation?

Reply Score: 2

I concur
by Badelhas on Sat 13th Jun 2015 15:50 UTC
Badelhas
Member since:
2015-06-13

Very funny and sarcastic article and I totally agree with everything you said.

Reply Score: 1

Why
by Treza on Sat 13th Jun 2015 16:21 UTC
Treza
Member since:
2006-01-11

Apart from security fixes, who really cares for updates ?

My Nexus tablet got the update from 4.4 to 5.0+, and I really preferred the KitKat version.

There is the strange expectation than it is acceptable to buy half baked products with the assumption that free updates will be available shortly. This is particularly true with video games.

Were updates expected on mechanical watches?

Reply Score: 1

Comment by hobgoblin
by hobgoblin on Sat 13th Jun 2015 23:07 UTC
hobgoblin
Member since:
2005-07-06

Google is perhaps the posterboy of "devops", a constant churn of developer "shiny" over actual products.

It is a term originating in web development, supposed to symbolize a closer collaboration between ops (or sysadmins if you like) and developers.

But for my point of view at least it seems closer to devs gets a big club to hit ops with until they ok the use of some shiny new framework or language on production servers.

And on web you never "release" you just iterate. You write some code, push in front of people, and if something breaks you write and push more code. You don't do stable, maintenance, or anything like that.

And the web attitude is spreading to other parts of the IT world.

Reply Score: 2