back to article Google loses Android friends with Pixel exclusivity

Google’s decision to keep premium Android features for itself attracted surprisingly little comment last year - but the dangers are heaving into view. By declaring war on its most important customers, Google risks losing a degree of control over Android, further fragmenting the platform. Platform providers like Google have …

  1. Lamont Cranston

    Given most OEMs' approach to Android updates,

    I doubt there'll be many tears shed over this.

    That said, I can't say I'm particularly happy about the phone market shrinking to just Google v Apple, but then maybe this will be just the push that's been needed for a third OS option to gain some traction?

    1. Doc Ock

      Re: Given most OEMs' approach to Android updates,

      >That said, I can't say I'm particularly happy about the phone market shrinking to just Google v Apple

      Indeed, also in the news Apple raises UK prices by 25% even though sterling has only fallen against the dollar by 15% since January 2016, fortunately I'm not in that camp.

      It is worrying that virtually all phone and desktop operating systems are American and there is so little choice in the commercial field.

    2. localzuk

      Re: Given most OEMs' approach to Android updates,

      Don't forget about Microsoft...

    3. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

      Re: Given most OEMs' approach to Android updates,

      I think that's the issue - Google trying to get other OEMs to sort out updates by leaning on them. So far the only volunteer seems to be BlackBerry, and that's security, not OS updates.

      But from what I've seen of the Pixel so far, if it was the only competition I'd hold my nose and buy an iPhone. The Pixel is a demonstration of just how difficult it is to design a leading edge phone from scratch.

      1. gv

        Re: Given most OEMs' approach to Android updates,

        I would quite seriously consider buying a Ubuntu phone if only the damned things were available rather than just "coming soon."

        1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

          Re: Given most OEMs' approach to Android updates,

          "I would quite seriously consider buying a Ubuntu phone"

          Given the bloat of Ubuntu for x86 I'd be sceptical. But perhaps they have reined in their horses a bit for other platforms? Same problem with Firefox.

          1. AdamWill

            Re: Given most OEMs' approach to Android updates,

            Mozilla already gave up on Firefox OS anyway.

            1. Grumply Old Man

              Re: Given most OEMs' approach to Android updates,

              Not being attentive to everything, has Mozilla really given up on Firefox? Really?

        2. Paul Slater

          Re: Given most OEMs' approach to Android updates,

          You can have my Ubuntu converted Nexus 5 for £90....

      2. dan1980

        Re: Given most OEMs' approach to Android updates,

        Until manufacturers make updates for existing phones a priority, I can see Google's side of it. Vendors are only interested in putting new features in new phones, rather than adding them to existing handsets.

        I understand why they do that - to make upgrading to a new handset attractive - but a vendor complaining it gets delayed access to updates is a bit ironic.

        1. fuzzie
          Holmes

          Re: Given most OEMs' approach to Android updates,

          I'm curious about this phenomenon as well. It's not like Europe, or the rest of the world, lack the technical nous to develop these. My take is that non-US companies appear happy to be local/niche players, i.e. medium/big fish in a smaller pong, compared to US playing the multi-national behemoth end game.

          vKontakte/Baidu/Alibaba/Yandex are arguably as successful as many of the big US brands. Is it just the US marketing skills selling ice to Intuits? Or a fortunate symbioses with the global US-based entertainment industry that sell anything from the US as aspirational/good.

          On the flip side, US consumers are also notoriously shy of things foreign/imported/different/not-home-grown. That makes it hard for anyone else to get a foot in the door. An in the mix of oligopolies running entertainment, publishing, mobile, internet and cable and the US market will always be an uphill.

          Icon: Sherlock, because I'm sucking this out of my pipe

        2. fuzzie

          Re: Given most OEMs' approach to Android updates,

          OEMs already get "delayed" access to Android. Google does all the development internally, typically announces the whole new release at I/O or such. The OEM typically only get a hardware-support-package a week or so before that so they can test their hardware actually boots. The new release hit AOSP a week or so later, around the time that the release starts to get pushed to qualifying Nexus devices. Only at that point do the OEMs get to go through the code dump to find out what's new/changed and reintegrate from scratch.

          Granted, dot releases are slightly less painful, but integration and testing has to be done. And after that, off to UL/CE/etc testing and subsequent to that carrier certification. The latter have to be redone, because of the monolithic nature of Android... so any changes could impact/invalidate network/radio performance. And if there's a late discovered latent bug, often battery/Wifi/Bluetooth related, they get to do it all over again while fighting off irate customers.

          As much as I at times loathe the OEMs, they're getting a lot of the sharp end of the stick here too.

      3. Nonymous Crowd Nerd

        Re: Given most OEMs' approach to Android updates,

        > It is worrying that virtually all phone and desktop operating systems are American

        Not to mention database, ecommerce and social networking platforms. The Americans seem to hold all the cards with only half-hearted and desperately slow response from the likes of the EU Competition Commission.

      4. Tcat

        Re: Windows Mobile?

        Yeah I love 10 Mobile. 1) I don't feel like I'm in Curpettino jail. 2) There mistakes have saved a bundle of bucks. I got a new unlocked 950 XL for < $300 USD landed. OTA keeps It relevant. Cortorna works better than Seri, Google Now and Alexia.

        Really what's not to like about saving on the mistakes of a large company?

        I need !how many apps? I got maps, Netflix, even. Chemical Periodic Table. So the millions of apps don't matter to me. I cannot use millions. I own about 700 in the MS store.... most as promoted give aways.

        The last advantage is nobody wants to try to hack a mobile device with less than a <3% share...

        Oh, technically, it's damn efficient too... Yes I have an iPhone (nice, and not as capable) as my Lumia 1020's. <41 megapixel with Zeiss lens, and xexon flash tube>, (battery whore on video) needs camera grip adapters.... and again, buying at discounted..... I'm enjoying MSFT mistakes for years.... need a new AC adapter for my CDMA and GSM Lumia 2520's. They are superior to my iPad 4. At a fraction of the cost.

      5. BlackKnight(markb)
        Pint

        Re: Given most OEMs' approach to Android updates,

        No Idea what your talking about, i've repressed that memory.

    4. TVU Silver badge

      Re: Given most OEMs' approach to Android updates,

      "That said, I can't say I'm particularly happy about the phone market shrinking to just Google v Apple, but then maybe this will be just the push that's been needed for a third OS option to gain some traction?"

      Right now, I can't see Microsoft getting back into the phone market not least because the will to do so just does not seem to be there. Of the other contenders, I think that Canonical with their Ubuntu phone OS is the most promising challenger option since independent developers are working on ways to run native Android apps on the Ubuntu Phone OS.

  2. LosD

    Does it really matter? Price-performance wise, the Pixel phones are shit...

    Oh wait, they DO want to be like Apple.

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Have an upvote!

      Although I like iPhones, they are too expensive. They'll have to start doing some more innovating soon, so I can pick up an iPhone 6 at a reasonable price.

      Just like Samsung. Look elsewhere for value. Or, if you are flush, go for it anyway.

    2. tony72

      All "flagship" phones are shit price-performance wise, compared to what you can get for 1/3 or even 1/4 the price in the midrange. You don't buy a flagship phone if value for money is your primary goal, they're priced as luxury items.

      1. Neill Mitchell

        Check out the ZTE Axon 7. £369 for a Pixel XL spec phone with dual SIM/SDcard slot. Daydream compatible too. You'd be mad not to.

        1. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

          The Axon 7 claims more features than it has. Daydream, WiFi Calling, and bootloader unlock are not yet released.

          1. Neill Mitchell

            It's £369! I can live without an unlocked bootloader for that. Where are they "claiming" an unlocked bootloader out of the box? (What major manufacturer even does that?). Where are they claiming Wifi calling? Even Google are saying it's Daydream ready and if I get that it will be a minor bonus.

            For £369 you get a 1440 x 2560 Samsung AMOLED panel, 64GB storage with SD slot (or dual SIM if you prefer), Snapdragon 820, Adreno 530, fingerprint reader, Quick charge 3, 3250mAh battery, dual AMK DACs with the best speakers currently out there. Android 7 in public beta free of major bloatware (I'm looking at you Samsung!) Glowing reviews everywhere.

            Only thing that lets it down a little is low light camera performance, which I understand has already been improved somewhat - low light performance is all software algorithms these days. Seems okay to my admittedly undemanding needs.

            I'm not a sales rep for these things, I'm just amazed how much the other manufacturers are clearly taking the piss on their margins. Let's face it, they are all manufactured within miles of each other!

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    nothing like pissing off your friends

    as a reason for them to become your enemy.

    Samsung can move to Tizen (keep thinking of Tizer...)

    What about the rest that apart from a few niche players represent the landfill end of the market?

    Something about the tune of 'If I ruled the world' seems to stick in my mind here.

    Obviiusly Google sees a lot of money to be made with creating their own walled garden around Android Services. The question is, will it actually make them money? Can they continue to sell the Pixel at iPhone prices? Can they beat Apple at their own game?

    Interesting times...

  4. Nate Amsden Silver badge

    what does android updates have to do with ads

    People get the ads in the apps regardless of what version of android they have.

    And the global market has spoken loudly that people don't care about getting OS updates (there is a vocal minority that does care of course).

    For me of course I'd like to get security patches(I'd even pay for a subscription service ) but I don't want UI changes.

    Also would be nice to have the ability to roll back any update whether OS or app in the event it causes problems. I think I read on IOS for OS updates people can do this but not android (maybe possible after rooting and unlocked bootloader I don't know)

    From my galaxy note 3 on android 4.4.4. I use another note 3 on a regular basis with android 5 and its quite frustrating to use. Also bought a note 4 recently hoping it would have 4.4.x too but it had 5.0.1 I think which was annoying too. Google was releasing patches for 4.4.4 as recently as sept 2016.

    Some day i won't have a choice anymore, in the meantime I do my best to keep wifi off so ATT can't upgrade my phone to 5.

  5. Baldrickk Silver badge

    hardly anyone upgrades Android from one major version to the next using OTA updates

    Well. That's more down to the carriers/maufacturers than anything else (not sure exactly where the line lies, either can drop support)

    If software updates are availiable, then people will generally take them, unless it is paradigm shifting - iPhone users will usually be running the latest supported iOS because it is easy, and things will generally not change too much. The same is generally true for Android phones.

    As an example of people not wanting to upgrade; Win 7 -> Win 8 -> Win 10 involved a lot of changes in how things work for the user. I'm not going to go into good bad etc here, that's immaterial, but people resist change unless it is attractive.

  6. Thought About IT

    Doesn't make sense

    "hardly anyone upgrades Android from one major version to the next using OTA updates. This poses a mortal threat to Google"

    Surely their programmers can write code capable of delivering adverts to old versions of Android?

  7. Boothy

    OTA OS version updates

    Quote: "New platform features arrive via new phones - hardly anyone upgrades Android from one major version to the next using OTA updates."

    Isn't the issue here the lack of the OTA updates themselves, rather than the users not doing the updates? Which is what the sentence above seems to imply to me.

    Most OTA updates are done automatically, click Yes to a prompt, and you've got an updated phone. Most current Android phones these days get an OTA update every month or two, (although normally just security patches), and most Android phones (at least in my experience) will usually get at least one major OS update in their lifetime (although rarely more the one).

    One issue tends to be that manufactures time their new phone releases with new OS versions, and once the new phone is out, they typically drop support of older models in the same range. Perhaps still supporting one previous model, from the year before, but dropping support for models from 2+ years back (maybe just security patches, but no more OS version releases), even through the devices themselves could likely run the OS perfectly fine!

  8. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    "Google introduced a new virtual assistant that no other Android OEM could obtain: giving Google an exclusivity period of a few months."

    Dang!

    I must get the Pixel IMMEDIATELY!

  9. Mage Silver badge
    Devil

    Why many phones & Tablets have no updates.

    They need maybe 5G to 6G free space. The cheaper Android tablets only have a 3Gbyte free when new.

    Only buy gadgets with a SD slot and 16G+ Flash to start with. Note some versions of Android and some apps can't use data on user SD card, only internal Flash. So avoid entry level tablets with older Android and only 8G byte Flash memory.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: OTA OS version updates

      I don't even get security patches: less than two years from purchase date. The model itself was introduced maybe 18 months before, so maybe that's why.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Doesn't make sense

      And Play Store/Services gets pushed down to practically everything anyway, to the point where it slows old hardware to a crawl.

      1. Boothy

        Re: OTA OS version updates

        Unfortunately 2 years seems to be about the sweet spot. Past that and you 'might' get security patches for another 12 months, but most likely nothing after 3 years.

        The Nexus devices can last a bit longer, with support usually only being dropped once the hardware can't keep up, but unfortunately that range is no more (the Nexus devices still for sale are basically what's left of the stock).

        To me the Pixels are too expensive for what you get, and I'm happy with my OnePlus3 anyway.

    3. dajames Silver badge

      Re: what does android updates have to do with ads

      And the global market has spoken loudly that people don't care about getting OS updates (there is a vocal minority that does care of course).

      [Citation needed]

      For me of course I'd like to get security patches(I'd even pay for a subscription service ) but I don't want UI changes.

      That's a problem for the OEMs, because keeping multiple versions of an OS patched and up-to-date costs more than just keeping the current version secure. Upgrading to the latest OS version is seen as the way to get the latest security fixes.

      Also would be nice to have the ability to roll back any update whether OS or app in the event it causes problems.

      I can see the attraction, but given the extra cost to the OEM in keeping the older versions patched I can't see this happening.

      I'd be perfectly happy to update everything to the latest OS version to keep it current, but I would like to see OEMs actually support devices with OS updates for far longer than they currently do. I should like to see at least five years of updates (so long as the hardware supports all the latest features) as a bare minimum.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: what does android updates have to do with ads

      It's the SECURITY issues that make Google nervous. Like it or not, Google is the company most associated with Android...and with Android exploits. Things like Stagefright and so on make the news and get the attention of government officials. So far they've dodged the bullet, but if some major malware starts spreading like wildfire across the majority of Android devices, a lot of eggs could be flying their way...along with potential legal consequences. Say what you will about Apple's walled garden, but because of it, they have the capability to keep most iPhones up to date against potential security issues. Google cannot claim the same thing at this time: they ceded control to the carriers in a move to get Android into the market; now the crows are coming home to roost and they need to do an about-face over OS control.

      1. Nate Amsden Silver badge

        Re: what does android updates have to do with ads

        Citation needed are you kidding me? Just look at the sales of android devices that have a track record of not getting updates. All i read is complaints on how it seems every major android vendor and carrier don't send patches.

        That hasn't stopped sales, so it's obvious it's not a problem for consumers. If updates were that critical then IOS would have larger market share, what is it down to, 15% now or something?

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: what does android updates have to do with ads

          "Citation needed are you kidding me? Just look at the sales of android devices that have a track record of not getting updates. All i read is complaints on how it seems every major android vendor and carrier don't send patches."

          That's simply because a game-changer exploit hasn't hit the wild yet. If you find your device can be pwned over the air with no intervention on your part, that's going to change your opinion of your phone, pretty quickly. Stuff like Stagefright seem to come frighteningly close and make you wonder if one actually can do it.

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: what does android updates have to do with ads

            >People get the ads in the apps regardless of what version of android they have.

            Not exactly. Later versions of Android are more permeated with ads, and ads delivered in different ways, and each new feature or service is a chance to collect more user data (used to generate or match ads). For examples; search for local places in the dialler, Google Now.

    5. Vector

      Re: nothing like pissing off your friends

      "Can they continue to sell the Pixel at iPhone prices? Can they beat Apple at their own game?"

      Probably not. Apple won't be able to maintain their prices either, more than likely.

      Smartphones are a commodity now. If the PC business is any indication (and I think it is), when tech becomes a commodity, the Chinese take over and the margins fall through the floor. We can already see the beginnings of this with phones from ZTE (like the Axon 7 mentioned above), Huawei, Oneplus, etc. They've got phones that do most (meaning the vast majority of) tasks just fine for prices starting at 2/3rds less and going down from there.

      Apple and Google might get some traction from status since smartphones are something you carry with you and can wave around smugly, but I doubt that will last long.

      1. Philippe

        Re: nothing like pissing off your friends

        "Apple and Google might get some traction from status since smartphones are something you carry with you and can wave around smugly, but I doubt that will last long."

        10 years and counting...

    6. Philippe

      Re: hardly anyone upgrades Android from one major version to the next using OTA updates

      As an example of people not wanting to upgrade; Win 7 -> Win 8 -> Win 10 involved a lot of changes in how things work for the user.

      Very good example, the main difference thought, is the ability to roll back to a previous OS.

      People went back to XP when Vista was out, and then went back to Windows 7 when 8 or 10 was out.

      We cannot do that with phones.

    7. fuzzie

      Re: OTA OS version updates

      Another big culprit here is Qualcom which end-of-life's chips really quickly. They then stop supplying board-support-packages and/or drivers. A recent example: Sony Xperia Z3 was running Nougat up to RC4, IIRC, but Nougat on Z3 was killed because Google change requirements to include OpenGL 4.3 and Qualcom refused to supply an updated driver for the chipset, which was barely two years old.

  10. tony72

    Non-story?

    There doesn't seem to be much behind this. Huawei made the choice to go with Alexa over Google's assistant for it's own reasons, according to Andrew's source; "It’s likely that Huawei made the decision in order to be in Amazon’s good graces, given that Amazon is an important seller of Huawei phones to U.S. customers." The post also mentions that Google has selected a single partner for the Android One (probably LG), and the blogger speculates "You’d have to think this is going to cause even more friction with Android OEMs. The smartphone market is slowing down (in the US as much as anywhere) which could mean some wondering whether it’s worth competing if Google isn’t making the field level (as well as playing in it the game itself)."

    So we have one probably unrelated decision by Huawei, and some idle speculation from some blogger. No real information to support it. And even if he's right, as others have pointed out, the OEMs are the ones causing major problems in the Android ecosystem, with their inability to provide updates, and their insistence on stuffing their phones with bloatware and crapware that does the same job as the Google defaults only worse, and completely unnecessary clunky UI overlays.

    I can only applaud Google's making sure that there are at least a couple of "clean" Android handsets on the market (fair disclosure; I'm a long term Nexus and now Pixel user). I'm pretty sure Google would play ball with any OEMs that were willing to return the favour, but they mostly want to preserve their ability to crapify Android, and try to divert users away from Google's ecosystem. That's their right, but you can't expect Google to be entirely happy about that.

    1. bazza Silver badge

      Re: Non-story?

      Android is in a mess because Google didn't plan it out at all. Applauding Google for making sure that there's at least a couple of clean Android phones out there merely illustrates the problem. In a proper ecosystem all phones running the same underlying OS should be 'clean'. Instead they shoved it out there without a thought in the world and, worse, made the most important part proprietary (Play Services), and basically left everyone else to do whatever they thought best. Fragmentation was inevitable. Rubbish.

      Microsoft did it properly. They set a hardware standard on which their binaries would run. Manufacturer diversity, OS sanity across the board. Neat, but clearly not of itself a market draw. Apple and BB10 BlackBerry merely defined their own ecosystems and did the whole thing alone. Neat, but no choices.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Non-story?

        Google couldn't do clean images at the time because all the carriers demanded they put their stuff in the same "untouchable" area, or they wouldn't play. At the time, Google was playing catch-up with Apple, and if they didn't concede, carriers would just stick with their existing products (eventually to include iPhones). Basically, Google's ONLY option to get Android on the cell phone map was to cut loose; otherwise it would never had the support it needed to overtake Apple.

  11. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Happy

    Go Google !

    (I appreciate I may have to retract this ....)

    but right now, giving the market a slap is probably a good thing. MrsJP has had 2 Android phones that were doomed to obsolescence the day they were shipped, thanks to a rapacious alignment between Motorola/HTC and Tesco. As a hardware platform, the phones were both perfectly adequate. But as for updates ... unless I rooted them and did all sorts of monkey business, that's how they stuck.

    (Compare and contrast with my Wileyfox which has been updated via CyanogenMod several times since Jan 2016).

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      Re: Go Google !

      "Compare and contrast with my Wileyfox which has been updated via CyanogenMod several times since Jan 2016"

      A whole year after!! ;-D

      Presumably your other half got an older model? Not that I disagree that we should get at least security updates. (My old Moto G 2nd gen got one recently.)

    2. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Go Google !

      And the problem with that is that more apps are becoming root-aware, meaning there will soon be serious tradeoffs of functionality.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Go Google !

        CyanogenOS phones aren't pre-rooted.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Go Google !

          You gotta buy the phone to get COS, which does diddly for those of us already owning a phone, which is part of the problem here.

          1. JimmyPage Silver badge

            Re: Go Google !

            So ?

            Make sure the *next* phone you get suits your requirements. If enough of us did it, the networks and operators would have to accommodate us. But why bother ? There are plenty of ways to get a non-network phone in the UK. AFAICS the only reason to use a network is to get a contract phone you couldn't otherwise afford.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Go Google !

              Or to get carrier-exclusive features like WiFi Calling (which in the US is pretty much only done by T-Mobile), which at this point can only be baked into the firmware. They won't provide it by an external app, and none of the other US carriers seem to offer it at all.

        2. JimmyPage Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          CyanogenOS phones aren't pre-rooted.

          Bingo !

          One of the key reasons I chose it.

          The HTC my wife used, I did root (have to practice somewhere) but it caused no end of trouble. Updating the ROM is certainly not a beginners task.

          I want MY phone to be MINE. With only software I choose. I have yet to see a branded phone without a significant amount of unremovable (and unremarkable) cruft.

          I have oft-recounted how - thanks to network locks - I found myself with 12 fully working phones, not one of which could be pressed into service. After that I vowed I will never buy a network branded or locked phone again.

          (p.s. thanks to the PP for the Axon heads up - I'm off WileyFox due to their non-existent customer service).

  12. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Motorola Nexus 6 user

    I have used virtually every Nexus phone to to the Nexus 6 which was the last one to support wireless charging - since then I support the new pixel phones (work, wife, daughter etc) but I've stayed with my Nexus 6.

    While Google is slowly adding junk to the phones - in terms of assistants that I don't need, want or use - they are so much better than the other phones I have to work with, each of which has it's own little tweaks, mail clients, music players etc that are tuned to the suppliers services.

    Android - you were once a beautiful, virginal system, but now, as you have aged, I'm staying with my old Motorola phone.

  13. Andy The Hat Silver badge

    Browser lock-in?

    The inference from the final graphic is that Android device producers are financially (if no other way) pressurised into installing Google search and Google chrome by default on devices. As Google/Android is in a position of significant market leverage, how similar is this situation to the 1990's MS Windows/IE lock-in case? Feels to me like Goggle are treading on increasingly thin ice.

    1. fuzzie

      Re: Browser lock-in?

      Oh, the situation is nearly identical. That's why the EU's competition commissioner has been making noises. Since you mention the browser... Chrome is/was a pretty niche desktop browser, but then Google stopped developing the Android browser, which is part of AOSP, and mandated Chrome the default. Overnight Chrome had an "installed footprint" of hundreds of million.

      The manufacturer's agreement by which OEMs have to abide, specifies in detail the list of Google Apps that have to be included, as well as their placement in the home screen and application folder. A core set is not allowed to be uninstalled. And Google Play Services, the binary blob that's slowly ingestion Android base services, is one of those. It even updates itself when/where it feels like.

  14. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Meh

    The price of security

    I just made the transition from a Samsung phone running CyanogenMod to a Pixel, and I'm quite happy with the choice, despite the price. One of my key reasons for running Cyanogen is one of the reasons I went Pixel: security updates. Getting my phone straight from the source should ensure a consistent flow of updates to Android, whereas Samsung were more laggardly. The reason I've moved away from Cyanogen is stability; in order to get ongoing security updates in a timely fashion, I had to run the nightly builds, which was about the same experience as running bleeding-edge Linux builds back in the 90s.

    For a similar price, I could, of course, have bought an iPhone, which would have addressed these issues as well, but I have never been enamored of Apple products, so Pixel it was.

  15. FrankAlphaXII
    Holmes

    Y'know maybe....

    Google wouldn't be doing this if Android OEMs actually updated their phone's software after about a year. Most of which, especially anymore, are perfectly capable of running new versions of Android hardware wise. The vendors aren't compelled by anything to support their older products so they don't, and there are millions of vulnerable devices which should not be vulnerable for any reason but forced and highly artificial obsolescence.

    Its like if Dell or HP sold you a server and less than a year later told you, "Welp, if you want some semblance of security, like the current version of whatever, you'll need entirely new hardware, and if not, tough shit". In that realm it would not be tolerable, and should not be tolerable on a phone that for all intents and purposes is a computer and a pretty powerful one.

    I don't give a flying fuck about multibillion dollar Samsung and their supposed "pain" and difficulty doing something that the AOSP and the forks have no issue with. Because of that alone I bought a Pixel. I get software updates as they come out. I'm not paranoid, but I did live through the 2003/2004 era of Windows when worms and trojans were king and MS didn't do shit. Its nice to see the OS vendor actually trying to fix an issue, instead of ignoring it or pushing onto third parties or users.

    1. James Hughes 1

      Re: Y'know maybe....

      Most people who have never had to work with the underlying architecture think this, but porting from one android version to another is unbelievably painful. Which equals very expensive. Under the skin Android is a horrible mess, almost incomprehensible to those without years of using it. It changes dramatically from version to version which means experience on one is hardly a help when you need to port your code to the next version.

      Of course, maybe as a softie of only 30 years experiences in development I am biased towards code you can actually understand with documentation that makes sense, rather than how shiny it is, but YMMV.

      1. sted

        Re: Y'know maybe....

        but thats partially their own fault if they diddnt modify/skin/add crapps to android and just ran it vanilla like the nexus/pixel lines i suspect it would be much easier at least for minor updates granted testing going from a v6 to a v7 is needed but if its just vanilla android should need anything like as much fir just security updates etc

        Perhaps its time 2 have 2 android sku's a vanilla one with guaranteed update support for x time and a chepo one so you know the situation when you bu the device

  16. Kaltern

    I wouldn't worry about Assistant anyway - it literally doesn't work properly.

    I have a Pixel (not the XL, I'm not the King), and while it is a very good phone, the assistant is shit.

    One of it's many issues is the infuriating way it doesn't connect to ANY other calendar except the main Gmail account - AND it only connects to the MAIN calendar. Not any others that you import from say, a scheduling website. Oh no. Oh and you can't actually ADD any entries via Assistant. You have to go do that manually.

    Not a great start really.

  17. irwincur

    Friends in High Places

    Well for the last eight years Google has had the close ear of the president and most Dems in congress. Hell they pledged thousands of workers in a quid pro quo to get him elected twice. They also visited the Whitehouse more than any other person or company during that time. I suspect that after throwing their weight behind Hillary they might have reason to be concerned. Their tactics are questionable at best and have been for some time.

  18. Planty Bronze badge
    FAIL

    Give it a rest

    Come back when there is a real story, say when there is a specific pixel API level in android development SDK.

    Until then, this is just tied fragmentation clickbait, that we have been hearing for years but not seeing. You write for API 21 and later you cover petty much every device out there, and can support the others using Google compatibility libraries. The stuff in API 21 onwards is nothing to shout home about anyway.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Give it a rest

      Have to agree with you on this. Google is already beta testing the assistant on world & dog in Allo and will no doubt release it as a standalone app in due course.

  19. x3mxs
    FAIL

    " It has a price to match the iPhone"

    I think I can see one issue right there!!!

  20. Kaltern

    I quite like Allo... the interactive quiz things are quite clever.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019