Feeds

back to article Google cracks open Android's closed development

Google will crack open more of Android's development process but keep new versions of its mobile OS closed for competitive reasons. The giant will change Android's Native code Development Kit (NDK) so that contributed code joins the publicly available Android source tree rather than going into Google's private tree. There's no …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Anonymous Coward

Open Source Mobiles

I look forward to the day when all mobiles will be running 100% public domain LInux stack outside of the control of the vertical markets that is the currentl cellphone coffin.

3
0

Silly Google

That's a stupid excuse for keeping development closed. If a OEM ships pre-release code, it'll lose money an customers abandon it. Market forces will fix up stupid practices in the OEM market. Android development should be fully open.

3
5

yes but...

while that handset maker might get bad press so will android....so while it's not ideal I can see why they'd do that.

4
0

Public perception

Much as I can see and endorse the idea of fully open development, I can see Google's point too. The general public wouldn't just see a dodgy Android implementation as a problem with a particular OEM, but with Android in general. One bad apple spoiling the whole barrel, so to speak.

6
0

Except you're wrong

Except that if someone buys a "broken" Android phone, the chances are they will never buy another Android phone again as they will just associate Android with "it's broken, I don't want it".

It would be like buying a Cadbury's Caramel, and then throwing up. You're not going to avoid Cadbury's, but you'll probably avoid all products with caramel in it. (Sorry, couldn't think of a decent car analogy)

2
0
Happy

"This secondhand Prius is a stack of crap"

"So I'm never buying Toyota"

1
0

Vitani

How about if you buy a Toyota that doesn't brake when you need it to?

0
0
Silver badge
Boffin

I agree with your conclusion, but not your premise.

The Cadbury's analogy doesn't make sense to me. If I buy a branded food item with a commodity ingredient, and that makes me sick, I'm more likely to avoid the brand rather than the ingredient -- at least until I get sick eating a product from a different brand with the same ingredient.

If you got food poisoning from a burger at a fast food joint, would you think ground beef is the cause of your illness, or poor food prep by the restaurant?

More to the point, Android is not a commodity ingredient as in the above examples, but a branded feature of branded phones. So, a better analogy would be in personal computers. People who buy Apples, for example, often cite "it just works" as a reason to buy, even though my experience has been that the Apple computers I've used have been less reliable than the Dells and HPs I've used (but more reliable than, say Packard Bells). On the other hand, I won't buy a Hitachi hard drive because there was a string from 2003-2008 where every Dell laptop we purchased had a Hitachi drive, and every drive failed within six months -- even most of the warranty replacement drives failed. I'm sure Hitachi has addressed this issue, and I doubt that their failure rate is any worse than the average, but the irrational association is still there.

So if Android is seen as part of the brand by consumers (which it will be because both the OEM and Google will make sure it's marketed as an Android phone), then a flaky OEM phone will reflect badly on the Android brand.

1
0
B 9

And the realization dawns on people. . . .

Funny how Google is allowed to do this and people see the real point. Without maintaining some control they run the risk of ruining their brand. Now Apple does the same thing, to a greater extent mind you, and Apple is evil.

I know all the arguments about Jobs being a control freak, they just want your money, etc. I'm sure there's a grain of truth in them too, but the real reason Apple does it with Mac, iPhone, etc. is they want to maintain the user experience with their products and maintain their brand.

Nothing against Google doing this, I see why they do it, but maybe the world could calm down and not rip on Apple for having the same motivations.

0
0

hmm

I think you overstate the similarities of the amount of control exercised by both companies just a tad. The levels of control employed by both companies are similar only in the broadest sense in that you can say they both maintain some restrictions on their products. The specifics and the amount are where the differences in philosphy arise.

How you view the argument about Apple controlling the user experience by locking down their device/computer etc as ostensibly only maintaining a user experience or just a way to milk them as often and as hard as possible depends I guess on what you think their motivations are, and/or how you think they see their users. Being a cynical bastard I lean towards the milking scenario, but I seriously doubt they are as rabidly mercenary as some anti fanbois would have you believe.

At the end of the day you make your choice for whatever reason is important to you, open, closed or something in between, personally as long as there is a clear viable choice I don’t really care.

0
0

Open Android? In your dreams.

Android has only one purpose in life...

To send as much user data back to Google as possible to feed their advertising machine.

Do you really think that Google give away Android for free out of the kindness of their hearts?

Of course Google are not going to open Android up. Last thing they want is people poking around inside exposing their snooping techniques.

0
9
Silver badge

Google in "We are a busienss" shocl

Of course they are not giving it away because they can. Of course they want to make money. So what? If we, the consumer, end up with a better OS because of this (and I think we will) then I am all for it. Isn't that how businesses works - they do stuff, we use, they make profit.

And once the code is released, it becomes OpenSource anyway (you did read the article, didn't you? It means the development code remains closed to prevent prerelease before its ready), so, where exactly is the problem?

1
0
Black Helicopters

paranoia

http://source.android.com/source/download.html

Go review the code if you want.

Android is open source, it just has a closed development cycle, you crazy paranoid.

0
0

Re: Silly Google

In one sense, I couldn't agree more. Any OEM that thinks it's a good idea to realise a product with a pre-release operating system should be given all the rope that they need to hang themselves.

On the other hand, if I was unlucky enough to buy one of those phones (like the SE Satio I bought) and be stuck with it for two years, then I would be thoroughly pissed off. I don't blame Google for not wanting to be associated with crap (millstone) phones.

2
0
Thumb Up

Absolutely right

As an Electronic Engineer I can fully understand where Google is coming from.

0
0
Linux

Could they do a 'Fedora'

& have a bleeding edge community OS that no phone maker would use, but I could download & install it on my phone? Are there any FLOSS phone OS's in existence now?

2
0

Microsoft to the rescue! *watches you cringe*

Well, you could buy a Windows Mobile device and boot it in to some Linux variant, such as Ubuntu, using HaRET -- unlike flashing most other devices (including Nexus One), this won't even invalidate your warrantee, as it doesn't reflash anything.

I suppose that isn't technically a phone OS, but it works. On quite a few Windows Mobile devices, you can even boot in to Android like this, giving you a nice choice of OS.

0
0
Bub

Isn't it more a brand thing?

I think Google could draw a distinction between brand and the actual product though. As they own the Android trademark they could just prevent anyone who ships prerelease code from calling it "Android". This would prevent negative impacts on Android's reputation whilst still allowing development to be open (in much the same was that anyone can distribute a buggy broken version of the Firefox code base, but not necessarily call it "Firefox")

4
0

Dual boot then?

Lots of open source software is available with both "stable" and "preview" releases, sometimes for quite a long time.

And a lot never has a version number above 0.9, which I assume means still a beta release, or does it?

0
0
Happy

This doesn't seem very evil...

...sure this was Google?

I think they've got this one right!!

I'm not sure who it really hurts for the bleeding edge version not to be publicly available.

0
0
Thumb Down

Android = Java

Wonder how long before The Larry sues?

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.