back to article OnePlus vs Micromax: Dream of Google-less Android now further away

An obscure court case in India appears to have dented hopes of the mobile industry weaning itself off Google dependency - and has raised questions about the goals of Cyanogen and its backer, a Silicon Valley VC firm with close ties to Google. In the cosy world of Menlo Park VC firms, Andreessen Horowitz (or "A16Z") is as close …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds like an opportunity for Linux for phones

    Absent the kind of politics described above, perhaps Linux is a better bet for the Chinese smartphone business*.

    * Well either that or a fork of Android, just like Amazon and Nokia.

    1. Tom 35 Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like an opportunity for Linux for phones

      There are already LOTS of China phones (and tablets) with Google free android. That's not a problem.

      But unlike Amazon* they don't have an app store so people google for instructions to install the google apps, or use dodgy app download sites.

      Google free is not the problem. Having something else to replace the Google bits is the problem.

      As Amazon have shown it's possible to build a Google free android device (more the tablets then the joke of a phone). But is Amazon "less evil" then Google, or Apple...

      But don't even think about building a non-Apple IOS device. You could build a WinPhone, but you are going to have one of them there evil secret agreements and good luck with not using the MS app store.

      * Nokia's android was still born, only surprise was it lasted as long as it did.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Sounds like an opportunity for Linux for phones

        >>"As Amazon have shown it's possible to build a Google free android device (more the tablets then the joke of a phone). But is Amazon "less evil" then Google, or Apple..."

        Doesn't matter - they're competition. Helps keep technology open and prices fair and promotes merit. It's largely a distraction to focus on "Good vs. Evil", I prefer to focus on "good vs. bad".

    2. ThomH

      Re: Sounds like an opportunity for Linux for phones

      The problem being that phones are very much about user interaction and Linux is just a kernel. So Linux solves the hardware interaction problem but that's all. It'd be more appropriate to say that FirefoxOS or Ubuntu Touch or Sailfish or something else is the smart choice and leave the Linux component implicit. But even then: where are the apps and where are the cosy carrier agreements you need to launch a mass-market phone?

    3. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: Sounds like an opportunity for Linux for phones

      The problem being that the Amazon and Nokia(?) forks of Android are selling like hotcakes.

    4. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: AC Ree: Sounds like an opportunity for Linux for phones

      ".....or a fork of Android, just like Amazon....." I looked at the Amazon Fire Phone when it came out, hoping it would provide an Android phone free of Google cruft like Faecesbook. Unfortunately it just had Amazon cruft instead, and an awful "3D" interface. I did consider one just for the rage it would cause Greenpeckers (http://www.teleread.com/kindle/greenpeace-deluges-amazon-fire-phone-with-one-star-protest-reviews/) but what I really wanted was a phone that doubled as a Linux phablet with a command prompt (like the old Psions).

      1. Looper
        Thumb Up

        Re: AC Ree: Sounds like an opportunity for Linux for phones

        I still have a Psion Series 5MX in mint condition. What I wouldn't give to have it upgraded with today's tech in the same form factor.

        1. Down not across Silver badge

          Re: AC Ree: Sounds like an opportunity for Linux for phones

          I still have a Psion Series 5MX in mint condition. What I wouldn't give to have it upgraded with today's tech in the same form factor.

          Quite.

          Likewise I'd still like to see same for the old Nokia Communicator. Yes it can still stay bit bulky to ensure long battery life. Decent high res screen on the inside, eink display on the outside.

          Guess there'd be no chance of it being Series 80 with OPL these days (if they ever did release a new version that is) :-)

        2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: AC Ree: Sounds like an opportunity for Linux for phones

          > I still have a Psion Series 5MX in mint condition. What I wouldn't give to have it upgraded with today's tech in the same form factor.

          PalmOS was my own preference, but same idea. The modern-day "smartphone" is a sorely inadequate substitute for the PDAs we used to have. Back then you could synchronize your dta locally, and were in full control of that data. Now you have to use a multitude of apps, each with their own walled-garden data storage, and to sync you have to send your data halfway around the world to some dirt-floor datacenter in a 3rd-world country, only to send it back to a destination device nerelt 2 feet away from the source. USB cable? Anyone??? Bueller??

    5. ckm5

      Re: Sounds like an opportunity for Linux for phones

      Android is Linux - the main difference is that all of it's apps run on a bastardized version of Java

    6. solo

      Re: Sounds like an opportunity for Linux for phones

      or Firefox OS? I hate it for its looks but it has all the spices from a true open source land.

  2. Spindreams

    Wasn't he in coneheads? http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/93/Coneheads_Poster.jpg

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sources are quick to point out the mobile industry has itself to blame for its Google dependency.

    You could say exactly the same about the PC industry but just swap Google for MS.

    1. Dick Pountain

      Or indeed about any firm that opts not to spend a decade writing its own proprietary operating system (or for that matter any citizen who fails to build their own subway or sewage system). Let's all "disrupt" those smelly old common goods!

    2. h4rm0ny

      >>"You could say exactly the same about the PC industry but just swap Google for MS."

      That's the point - Google is the new Microsoft.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That Photo is Proof Positive

    That Marc Andreessen is from Remulak.

    And that Google Glass really is the Leisure Suit of the 21st Century.

  5. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    My little Google all grown up

    And now even more evil than Microsoft

  6. .stu

    OnePlus have already announced that they are developing their own rom and will ditch cyanogen once it is ready.

  7. fuzzie

    Android xor AOSP

    I believe it was Acer which, as an Android licensee, got slapped down for wanting to release an AOSP-based phone. The prevailing wisdom was that Google threatened to revoke their Android licence/certification if they went ahead with the product launch.

    Apparently, the look and feel requirements that comes with an Android 4.4 & 5.0 have been ratcheted up a big notch, i.e. no more blanket SD Card access, search bar required on every home screen and even the placement of the Google apps in the app folder.

    Most of the AOSP stock apps have been left to rot and have been replaced with closed-source Play Services dependent versions. This is a significant gap to fill for anyone wanting to build a competative AOSP-based handset, cf. Amazon's FireOS.

    The Far East definitely have the nous to roll their own. I'm surprised they've not yet pulled the same stunt as with Symbian...common base OS/services, FOMA on top. At least then they own the application level and, at least for now, Dalvik and ART are still AOSP.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I the only one childish enough

    to be staring at the conehead in the photo?

    1. Turtle

      Re: Am I the only one childish enough

      One could not think of a better way to ridicule Google Glass than that photo.

  9. Rainer

    Personally, I'd say that the Open-Source, Google-free Android is as good as dead.

    No commercial vendor will touch it.

    They'll rather build Windows Phones.

    Or rather, get out of the phone business all together.

    Because while it gets cheaper and cheaper to build a phone (hardware-wise), it gets more and more expensive to build a good phone that lots of people are willing to spend more money on than a cheap Chinese Android phone costs.

    Top Tier: Apple

    Middle Tier: Windows Phone

    Low-End: anything Android

    In three years, nobody will build high-end Android phones anymore - simply by virtue of the fact that almost nobody wants to buy them!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A picture so ludicrous it must always be published at least twice.

  11. DougS Silver badge

    Google is now outsourcing their evil

    Much like Microsoft back in the day had shadowy industry organizations to do their evil bidding, Google has a shadowy VC firm do theirs.

    Well, not "evil", exactly, just "business", since if non-Googley Android was to succeed it would destroy Google's whole reason for buying and developing Android. But regardless of what you call it, it is anti-consumer as it gives the Android community less and less variety the more Google tightens their grip around Android.

  12. ratfox Silver badge
    Holmes

    why did A16Z-backed Cyanogen insist on territorial exclusivity for a platform, if it seriously wanted that platform to succeed?

    If I had to guess, I'd say Cyanogen was offered a large sum of money by Micromax for exclusivity in India.

    Or possibly, they absolutely wanted an Indian deal, and they proposed exclusivity to Micromax, who was afraid of getting its feet wet then finding a field crowded with competitors.

    The more I think, the more I believe the second hypothesis. After all, even Apple offered exclusivity to AT&T in order to get the iPhone out the door.

    This might show poor judgment from Cyanogen, but it's hard to believe in a nefarious plot from Google on this one.

  13. jelabarre59 Silver badge

    R-Daneel

    Time to fork Android. I use the working product name "R-Daneel" because it's a more intelligent android...

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