Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 8th May 2012 17:55 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless This is fun. The number one iOS carrier duking it out with the company behind the world's most popular smartphone operating system. Last month, Google's lead for the Android Open Source Project, Jean-Baptiste Queru, more or less blamed carriers (see comments) for Android's upgrade woes. Yesterday, AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson retaliated, blaming Google for the delays. And yes, Google already responded to that, too.
Thread beginning with comment 517395
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: Excuses, excuses
by Neolander on Wed 9th May 2012 00:09 UTC in reply to "Excuses, excuses"
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

Well, as you point out yourself, Google have shown that the very strategy that Apple is using (focus on one phone per year) can work in the Android ecosystem, through the Nexus family of phones.

I'd like to see this happening to every Android phone out there too, but this would require a significant change in the way the ARM ecosystem works, so that OEMs don't have to work on updates on a per-phone basis as much as they do today. Right now, the fact that the Cyanogenmod team cannot provide equally good support for every device due to a lack of high-quality drivers and major differences between SOCs highlights the biggest problem of Android IMO.

An alternative option could be to use the "one single family of SOCs" approach of Microsoft with Windows Phone 7, but well... we can see how well it works in practice.

Edited 2012-05-09 00:25 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Excuses, excuses
by dragos.pop on Wed 9th May 2012 10:03 in reply to "RE: Excuses, excuses"
dragos.pop Member since:
2010-01-08

While I do feel that some OEMs do create too many smartphones I don't believe this is the real problem.

The problems phone manufactures have are in theory:
1) Too many different hardware components between phones (different SOCs, cameras, GPS chips....)
2) Customisation

But this have solutions already implemented (in PC word)
1) Drivers provided by component manufactures - this means once a phone with a chip gets an update, all phones have access to that. So drivers needs to be modified only for exotic components, very custom to a phone, like camera. This code is generic enough anyway, only small adaptations need to be made when an upgrade is available.
Complex components like SOC and GPS are shared anyway.

2) I don't really understand the problem here. I use Go Launcher EX and there are a lot of other launchers that update really fast to new android releases.
And they work on a lot of phones. So why is so problematic with producer customizations?

You (Samsung,Htc,Sony...) have to do the modifications anyway for the new phone, what is the problem to port them to other (older) phones.

Now there is still a problem: just because it is easy to make the drivers and the customizations portable (PC proved it), it is not 100% reliable (also PC proved it). For this test are important.

Now I am sure that if I thought of this, the phone producers also did so I think the real problem is the testing part and interests. From experience a nokia phone (not smart) bought free got updates, while under contract didn't (only small customizations, like default settings were made carrier.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Excuses, excuses
by phoehne on Thu 10th May 2012 11:29 in reply to "RE: Excuses, excuses"
phoehne Member since:
2006-08-26

See my comment above for a phone specific analysis, but what you're suggesting won't work. The economic model is called 'monopolistic competition.' The phones are slightly different, but 95% the same, like laundry detergent. If you walk down a laundry detergent aisle you see "new improved" on several products with very minor differences in formulation or packaging. If you like, it's the physics of the market and the manufacturer that didn't come out with a model every few months would be seen as "stale" by the market. They would only lose market share.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Excuses, excuses
by Alfman on Thu 10th May 2012 13:49 in reply to "RE[2]: Excuses, excuses"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

phoehne,

"If you walk down a laundry detergent aisle you see 'new improved' on several products with very minor differences in formulation or packaging. If you like, it's the physics of the market and the manufacturer that didn't come out with a model every few months would be seen as 'stale' by the market. They would only lose market share."

Haha, that reminds me of shopping at CVS for toiletries I've bought for years. The products never change (which is what I want), yet just about every single item is always labeled "new and improved". It's totally meaningless marketing drivel.

It makes me wonder whether the population really is so fickle as to react to the presence or absence of the "new and improved" label, or if it is just the result of corporate employees who are desperate to justify their jobs by changing formulas by a few parts per million and collecting their paychecks.

Edited 2012-05-10 13:54 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Excuses, excuses
by Neolander on Thu 10th May 2012 17:28 in reply to "RE[2]: Excuses, excuses"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I do not say that phone manufacturers need to be forced to stick with "pure" Android here, but that unmodified Android should work on all Android-compatible cellphones out of the box, in a reduced functionality mode, just like OSs do on x86 PCs.

Imagine for a second what installing a Windows or Linux distro upgrade would be like if the x86 ecosystem was anything like the ARM ecosystem.

First, you have to find out how OSs are installed on your specific computer, since there is no standard Esc, Del or F1 key that you can hold pressed to boot from an external storage medium. It is at least manufacturer-specific, and often model-specific. No indication displayed at boot will help you.

Then, you have to acquire the full documentation of the SOC that inside your computer uses, and spend weeks tweaking the source code of your freshly bought OS until it merely boots and displays a crappy command-line shell.

After that, you will finally be able to install hardware manufacturer-provided drivers (the OS manufacturer cannot include all of them, since due to ARM fragmentation, the result would be waaaay too big for an embedded NAND chip), praying that these have been adapted to the latest OS ABI. If not, you will also need to write wrappers, and spend hours debugging them and optimizing their performance until they behave reasonably well.

And at the point, all you have is a working install of the vanilla OS. OEMs still have to port all their customizations to the new OS, making use of the new APIs etc... Under these circumstances, is it so strange that Android updates take so much time after Google have released the latest source ?

Edited 2012-05-10 17:48 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2