Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 15th Feb 2012 23:36 UTC
Google Forget patent trolling - Android's biggest weakness, and most daunting obstacle to overcome, is its complete and utter lack of updates. Motorola has detailed its upgrade plans for Ice Cream Sandwich - and it ain't good. If the company Google just bought can't even update its phones properly, what can we expect from the rest?
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RE: ARM lock-in
by Neolander on Thu 16th Feb 2012 08:05 UTC in reply to "ARM lock-in"
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

It's even more stupid than that actually : to get a consistent hardware architecture, Microsoft mandate that all devices running Windows Phone 7 use a single family of SoCs from a single manufacturer (source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_phone_7#System_requirements )

On their side, Apple partially design their SoCs and support an extremely small number of phones, so they are also able to keep a good level of hardware consistency.

No matter how much Microsoft try to make this mess look like innovation in their blog post (they probably don't want to piss off their hardware partners too much), the success of ARM is the worst thing that ever happened to OS manufacturers. I'm surprised that this exercise in postmodern hardware design still features standard instructions to access RAM.

If Google really wanted to improve the Android update situation, they should probably choose one of the following paths :

* Mandate use of a specific family of SoCs, like everyone else. Ideally those from Ti, since their specs are publicly known and can be supported by the AOSP code itself. But it pisses off hardware manufacturer in the short run, and puts Android in a dependence situation with respect to the chosen hardware manufacturer in the long run.

* Develop Android in the open. Makes Google lose a major part of its leverage on hardware manufacturers, may mean total loss of application compatibility between devices in the long run. Not necessarily such a good idea.

* Work on the new driver-OS interface first and publicly release the specs as early as possible. Google keep maximal control on the OS itself while giving hardware manufacturers more time to work on updates. But it requires some amount of developer discipline that Google employees may not have ("Stable driver ABI in an unreleased version of a Linux-based OS ??? Shocking !"). Nevertheless, I think that this is what they should do.

Edited 2012-02-16 08:46 UTC

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