Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 6th Nov 2013 09:01 UTC
Google

Dieter Bohn, for The Verge:

So for a long time now, we've found ourselves asking the two questions again and again: what exactly is Google trying to accomplish with the Nexus program and what's the strategy with these Android updates? We sat down with three of the four main leaders of the Android team to ask those questions yet again. "Nexus stands for high specs at a really fair price," says Hiroshi Lockheimer, vice president of engineering for Android. "The other thing is the updates come directly from Google. Those are the attributes of Nexus that I think people have really enjoyed and we're not changing that strategy."

Yet while Google's answers to these two questions have been remarkably consistent over the past couple of years (and remains consistent today), the Nexus 5 and KitKat themselves seem to give us a different answer than their predecessors. The hardware and the software tell a more ambitious story: older Nexus devices were Android phones, but the Nexus 5 is the first true Google phone.

Something is happening in the Android world.

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Stock Android > Manufacturer bloatware
by PieterGen on Wed 6th Nov 2013 09:53 UTC
PieterGen
Member since:
2012-01-13

Let's hope the manufacturers now *stop* with their bloatware and sell us devices with Stock Android. If Samsung, HTC, LG and so on think they have useful additions or replacements, let them offer those as apps in Google Play.

The great thing about the PC era was consumer software choice. In the Windows ecosystem, you bought a device and put on the software you wanted (mind you, this comes from a Linux guy).

The manufacturers learnt the wrong lesson from that time. They saw OEMs bleeding but Apple with its vertical ecosystem flourishing, and now they think going vertical is the way. And of course, vertical integration has advantages will appeal to a certain segment of the market, as Apple shows.

But the cause of Windows hardware OEMs was not the model itself; the problem was that OEMs offered lousy laptops: bad screens, bad keyboards, mediocre battery life, choke full with adware. No innovation at all. If you wanted a "nice" laptop and had the money in hand, there were NO Windows machines available. You HAD to buy an Apple, even if you didn't want.

What Sammy, LG, HTC, Nokia (!!) should do is make great hardware, put stock android on it, and have the bootloader open. Let's hope the Nexus line is a wakeup call for the phone & tablet makers: cut the bloat!

Reply Score: 1

anda_skoa Member since:
2005-07-07

If you wanted a "nice" laptop and had the money in hand, there were NO Windows machines available. You HAD to buy an Apple, even if you didn't want.


That's not fully true. While it applies to most OEMs there was always the choice to buy a Sony Vaio.

Given the choice of Vaio vs. MacBook for a Linux system I always went for a Vaio. Even with Sony's tendency to go for some proprietary components quite like Apple, they were still way more compatible.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Morgan Member since:
2005-06-29

Really? I've had pretty much the opposite experience with Sony's Vaio line over the years. I've only bought them second-hand, but that didn't change what was compatible and what wasn't. The last two Vaio laptops I had were full of bloatware in the default Windows install (VGN-CS215J had over 4GiB of Sony crapware alone, not to mention third party BS), and when I wiped and put GNU/Linux on them, all of the major stuff like GPU and wifi were supported. But, things like the trackpad, the proprietary "control strip" at the top of the keyboard, the MS reader on one, and the ACPI features on another, were all broken. I managed to hunt around the 'net and fix all but the trackpad and control strip issues, but it was a hell of a lot of work.

In contrast, since the switch to Intel, Apple machines have become much better supported under GNU/Linux. I don't have as much first hand experience as I do with Sony machines, but it's my understanding that apart from Retina display issues most Apple machines work 100% out of the box with GNU/Linux, and with drivers from Apple, they work 100% with Windows. There's a reason Linus Torvalds chose Apple hardware to run his own OS on.

As for "nice" Windows laptops, what about ThinkPads? They aren't all good looking, unless you like the stark industrial look -- I do -- but they have almost always been rock solid, featureful, and lacking of bloatware. They also tend to be highly compatible with GNU/Linux as well as the BSDs.

Reply Parent Score: 7

joekiser Member since:
2005-06-30

Let's hope the manufacturers now *stop* with their bloatware and sell us devices with Stock Android. If Samsung, HTC, LG and so on think they have useful additions or replacements, let them offer those as apps in Google Play.


Better yet: give a choice to Android users at the first boot whether you want Google's ecosystem, or Samsung's, or Nokia's, or whatever. Some of us are still reluctant to play in Google's ecosystem.

Also, since I'm here, let me express my disappointment at Google for dropping updates for the Galaxy Nexus, a device that was still available for new purchase in their Play Store last October (ask me how I know). We purchased a Nexus 4 as the price dropped, but this poor showing of support for the "pure Android experience" has left us open to other products for our Christmas tablet purchase.

Reply Parent Score: 2

woegjiub Member since:
2008-11-25

for lines like the note series, there is a need for some OEM-bundled software.
S-note and their handwriting recognition are superb, as are the gestures and hovering etc.

Reply Parent Score: 3

majipoor Member since:
2009-01-22

If Samsung, HTC, LG and so on think they have useful additions or replacements, let them offer those as apps in Google Play.


Problem is that from a business point of view (because, you know, companies are here to make business) it makes no sense.

Those are hardware companies making money from selling hardware. Software additions are here to allow them to differentiate their hardware from other manufacturers and to allow them to sell this hardware at a premium price eventually.

Today, it is almost impossible to make hardware which is so much better than your competitor that you can successfully compete against Samsung behemoth or chinese OEM. And if you do so, your competitors are fast at copying your ideas.

Today, long term success for hardware companies will come from exclusive software and the ecosystem (which are extremely difficult to replicate for competitors).

Even Samsung is smart enough to understand that they need to improve their own services and software to be able to stay competitive in the future, and to keep this software exclusively for their own models. Not sure they will succeed, but it is definitely the right strategy.

Google case is quite different as Google is an ad company. I don't know what will happen in the Android world, but it makes no doubt that Google will do whatever necessary to make THEIR own business successful. And considering that Samsung and other Android OEM are partners but also competitors, Android market should become quite brutal soon.

Edited 2013-11-06 12:52 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

f0dder Member since:
2009-08-05

hose are hardware companies making money from selling hardware. Software additions are here to allow them to differentiate their hardware from other manufacturers and to allow them to sell this hardware at a premium price eventually.

Today, it is almost impossible to make hardware which is so much better than your competitor that you can successfully compete against Samsung behemoth or chinese OEM. And if you do so, your competitors are fast at copying your ideas.

Haven you ever met somebody who bought a specific smartphone, tablet or laptop because of "vendor-added quality software"?

The techies I know tend to prefer the "barebones" versions, whereas regular users decide based on price or "oh it's so pretty". Never heard any praise the quality-added crapware, while several have said they disliked it.

Companies should fire all those cocaine-snorting social-media-savvy marketing droids and perhaps, y'know, listen to their users.

Reply Parent Score: 5

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

This will never happen, because OEMs require differentiation and many carriers also subcontract OEMs for carrier specific models, regardless of which OS we speak about.

Vertical integration only works in the cases were the companies control both hardware and software, which is a model most companies besides Apple, have abandoned.

Nowadays creating specific software, means taking out BSD, Android, GNU/Linux, Windows and creating a Frankenstein with their specific extensions, as there is no money to be made in own OS research.

Edited 2013-11-06 13:50 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

Ithamar Member since:
2006-03-20

Let's hope the manufacturers now *stop* with their bloatware and sell us devices with Stock Android. If Samsung, HTC, LG and so on think they have useful additions or replacements, let them offer those as apps in Google Play.


Please note that Stock Android (e.g. AOSP) means no maps, no gmail, and lots more. I think (following TFA) you mean Stock _Google_ experience ;-)

I also do not see why Google should be allowed to ship apps as "Stock" while other vendors could not....

Stock Android is pretty useless these days....

Reply Parent Score: 2

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

But the cause of Windows hardware OEMs was not the model itself; the problem was that OEMs offered lousy laptops: bad screens, bad keyboards, mediocre battery life, choke full with adware. No innovation at all. If you wanted a "nice" laptop and had the money in hand, there were NO Windows machines available.


Virtually all laptop design is outsourced to specialist companies in Taiwan who subcontract manufacturing to China. There is little input from the "brand" owner.

Reply Parent Score: 3

crhylove Member since:
2010-04-10

Or better yet contribute code to aosp and fdroid apps.

Reply Parent Score: 1