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

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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Comment by sb56637
by sb56637 on Fri 12th Jun 2015 12:54 UTC
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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

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