Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 9th Oct 2010 10:09 UTC
Google Google's big Android chief Andy Rubin has given an interview to PC Magazine, in which he touches on some interesting topics. Sadly, PC Magazine didn't ask about the patent situation and why Google is seemingly letting its OEMs fend for themselves, but there's still a lot of other interesting stuff in there.
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Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

And don't even start me on Neolander's clone remark... Android a clone of iOS? WTF? I guess you can say that Win7 is a clone of OS X in similar vain... Except there are more differences between Android and iOS than between Windows 7 and Mac OS X. Really, I don't understand where that remark comes from. For instance, it was only recently that iOS added the capability of changing the wallpaper. In Android, you can configure every aspect of the system. Out of the box, they look and behave very differently. Android mandates the presence of the back, home, search and settings button, iOS has home (and reaches different options by tapping it once, twice, et). Their multitasking implementation is significantly different. The languages used for app development are different. From the UI concepts down to the core of the OS the differences are significant. Android is as much a clone of iOS as iOS is a clone of Symbian.

Yeah, that's what I called the "nice stuff". But I think that Android does not go far enough. It's still an attempt to stick a desktop kernel in a mobile OS and the application menu is still a messy stack of applications (I laughed so hard when Apple announced that one of iOS 4's greatest features would be the inclusion of folders...), multitasking still feels a bit crippled (killing a task is not as friendly as it should be, and I'm not sure you can open the same app several times in a comfortable fashion but maybe someone can confirm or infirm this). The home screen, though better than the iPhone's, still has some serious room for improvement (see Symbian or WP7 for an example of a good home screen : gives fast access to information at a glance, no screen estate lost), the phone still feels incomplete out of the box due to lack of very useful bundled applications, UI is quite inconsistent between applications like on iOS...

What I'm trying to say is that Android tried to address some of iOS' design horrors, but they still copied some.

Edited 2010-10-10 06:26 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

molnarcs Member since:
2005-09-10

Ok I agree with that. Info on homescreen depends on widgets you put on it though... I think the homescreen(s) is good as it is, what needs to improve are the widgets.

I hate vendor customizations, but I have to admit HTC did a good job with Sense, at least what I saw on my colleague's desire looks useful and attractive.

For me, "far enough" would be measurably better than iOS. I think Android reached parity with Froyo. It is as good as iOS yet it is still recognizably different in many, many respects. Some apps are really really nice, others need improvement. The Market is a mess, but that's a really difficult problem to tackle. How do you preserve openness while providing more security (for both users and developers)?

As to your question about multitasking - apparently you no longer need to kill apps, if you have enough memory. I've read a fascinating article about this, and I removed Advanced Task Killer since then.* Don't feel any difference. Anything that is active in the background shows up in the built-in "Running programs" option. ATK shows more, but they are all suspended, ie not allowed to run any code on the CPU (so they don't impact battery life). It comes down to how much memory you have. On my nexus, without killing anything in the past week, I have 150-160M free memory on average.

* http://geekfor.me/faq/you-shouldnt-be-using-a-task-killer-with-andr...

Reply Parent Score: 2

Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Ok I agree with that. Info on homescreen depends on widgets you put on it though... I think the homescreen(s) is good as it is, what needs to improve are the widgets.

I hate vendor customizations, but I have to admit HTC did a good job with Sense, at least what I saw on my colleague's desire looks useful and attractive.

Indeed, for what I saw of it, it's one of the sole Android widgets I know of which uses screen estate with excellent efficiency.

For me, "far enough" would be measurably better than iOS. I think Android reached parity with Froyo. It is as good as iOS yet it is still recognizably different in many, many respects. Some apps are really really nice, others need improvement. The Market is a mess, but that's a really difficult problem to tackle. How do you preserve openness while providing more security (for both users and developers)?

Through a better security model at the OS level. The fact that the Market display which of the phones capabilities applications need access to is a good start, Google needs to push something like this further, to the point where most applications are tightly sandboxed and malware is recognizable right away from the fact that it asks for unreasonably generous security permissions. Apple should work on something like this too, by the way, though they may be relucant to do so because of their PR strategy : without access to the source, the App Store review process does not offer any protection against backdoors, and it won't be long before someone exploits this flaw.

As to your question about multitasking - apparently you no longer need to kill apps, if you have enough memory. I've read a fascinating article about this, and I removed Advanced Task Killer since then.* Don't feel any difference. Anything that is active in the background shows up in the built-in "Running programs" option. ATK shows more, but they are all suspended, ie not allowed to run any code on the CPU (so they don't impact battery life). It comes down to how much memory you have. On my nexus, without killing anything in the past week, I have 150-160M free memory on average.

* http://geekfor.me/faq/you-shouldnt-be-using-a-task-killer-with-andr...

Yes, but can you still close an application stuck in a while(1) loop or something similar ? And suppose you're done with writing a message, check it in the "sent messages" folder of the messaging application, then do something else and forget about it. When you open the messaging applications 5 minutes later by tapping on the home screen icon, will you go back to the "sent messages" folder and be confused for a second, or to the main screen of the messaging application ? Third issue I have with not closing applications is that of memory leaks and other bugs that don't have a noticeable effect until the application has been running for a long time.

Edited 2010-10-10 09:49 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2