Being Open Source Is Killing Android

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by HardOCP News, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. HardOCP News

    HardOCP News [H] News

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    As much as I want to disagree with this guy, he really does have a valid point. The real question? How do you fix the problem of fragmentation and slow updates?

    Chances are high that you said that the biggest problems facing Android are fragmentation (too many different versions and device form-factors), and the fact that users don't get updates in a timely fashion. OK, another question. What can be done to fix this? I'm betting that you said little can be done. After all, Android is all about being open, which means that once Google has released a new version, the OEMs and carriers are free to tinker with it to their heart's content.
     
  2. Axiomatic

    Axiomatic Limp Gawd

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    Well before we get ahead of ourselves and try and fix the fragmentation Google needs to just work out how to get ZeroDay exploits plugged by the OpenSource vendors. (Looking at you Samsung.) All of the other stuff can wait.
     
  3. Shmee

    Shmee [H]ard|Gawd

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    The problem with this guy's argument is that the only reason vendors are using Android is because there are no fees and they can do whatever they want with it. If they change now there is nothing stopping vendors from forking the last open source version and then just making their own Android with their own stores, or switch to MS who doesn't charge fees for devices under 8". The result would be disastrous for Google.
     
  4. longblock454

    longblock454 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I don't claim to speak for anyone else, but for me Android is damn near perfect. I started using Nexus devices eons ago, and although I haven't carried a phone in 5 years my Nexus 7 LTE tablet is still a great device.

    Fragmentation, slow updates, I donno, works great with no issues.
     
  5. DejaWiz

    DejaWiz Oracle of Unfortunate Truths

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    Simple. Google needs to simply lay out a Terms of Use plan for all smartphone, tablet, and other Android devices of retail sale implementers that they need to stick with. When any new device is released for sale, they agree to provide ALL the latest updates and new revisions for a period of at least 3 years, with a max of 90 days to roll out the latest update when Google green-lights it themselves. They also agree to make these updates available for a minimum of two years after the final update in the three year period expires. They also agree to make any critical fixes/patches available during that post-active update two year period, if needed.

    1. New device is released for sale (Jan 1, 2016 for example)
    2. Device gets all needed patches, incremental updates, and new OS revisions until Jan 1, 2019
    3. Those previous patches/updates/revisions are available during a "grace period" until Jan 1, 2021.
    4. Any new critical patches needed during the "grace period" to fix issues for previous updates/revision from the three years of active rollouts are actively developed and released until Jan 1, 2021.

    ...this will ensure that everyone with any Android OS device released within the last three years will all be on the same revision and eliminate fragmentation for all devices released during times of overlapping active support.
     
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  6. Vermillion

    Vermillion 2[H]4U

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    Can I have my 5 minutes back? Guys a tool.

    Updates are not Google's problem. They update the source. They notify the OEMs.

    You have a Nexus device you get monthly updates. It's the OEMs and carriers who are failing their users. The general populace doesn't give a shit about updates. They just care that they can read e-mail and check Facebook.

    When their 2 years is up (or JUMP or equivalent is ready) they get a new phone and they go "oh it's shiny and new, OK let's install Facebook."
     
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  7. Gorankar

    Gorankar [H]ardForum Junkie

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    True, however, if you happen to require a removable battery, and/or SD card slot, and prefer the pen on the Note series, Nexus is out.
    I would love for the next Gnote to have removable battery, SD slot, and run vanilla Android.
     
  8. Domingo

    Domingo Skip My Posts

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    They need to lock down what OEMs and carriers are allowed to do to the OS. Make it so there are no forced apps and launchers outside of Google's vanilla build.
    Make it OEM's can provide special apps and launchers, but keep them optional and removable. The days of vanilla android not coming fully baked are over. Back in the Jellybean days, Android was pretty barren without OEMware. That simply isn't the case anymore and that extra garbage does more harm than good thanks to the OS being locked to it.
     
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  9. /usr/sbin

    /usr/sbin Successfully Trolled by Megalith

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    [​IMG]

    Looks grim for android, lol. Article publisher is a tool, next!
     
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  10. Ordeith

    Ordeith Limp Gawd

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    Google's interest in Android is in the data it can collect from the victims that use it, as long as it serves that purpose they won't put much real effort into "fixing" things. Their interest in Open Source is as a free labor pool they can exploit to help them make billions without paying compensation. Google is destroying open source:

    Google’s iron grip on Android: Controlling open source by any means necessary
     
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  11. Quix

    Quix 2[H]4U

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    Android fragmentation is really annoying for app developers, you never know if something will run any particular phone you don't have one to test on. Otherwise it doesn't seem too far out of control right now. It's certainly no worse than it was a few years ago, if anything it's better.

    But, saying that. Part of the reason Android is popular is how easy it is to customize. I'm not sure a closed-source Android would have ever become as popular.

    P.S. Close-sourcing Android isn't an option because of licensing of key components so I don't see what the author is trying to achieve here.
     
  12. Spidey329

    Spidey329 [H]ardForum Junkie

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    In an ideal world, the vendors would use an official Android framework for the OS and the vendor specific drivers, apps, themes, launchers, and so fourth would go on top.

    The issue is that the major vendors don't want users to get these newer versions of the OS. Why? Because it's an incentive to buy a newer phone.
     
  13. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I'm so angry.. I haven't had an update on my Verizon LG G4 since the end of March :mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad::mad:

    /feigned anger

    Carriers are not going to provide never ending updates to phones they sell after a certain point. The updates generally dry up when they stop selling a model or when they feel like it runs good enough.

    I for one have really not had any issues with my G4 since the last update.. or since I got it for that matter.
     
  14. ColdRush

    ColdRush n00b

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    This is definitely what needs to be done, I would never buy a non-Nexus device again after the two phones I had bought were dropped within months of getting them and stuck on KitKat. Too many companies pumping out gimmick phones with no plan of supporting them for any reasonable period of time if they're not required to.
     
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  15. raz-0

    raz-0 [H]ardness Supreme

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    The handset makers and carriers are a shit show. They have ALWAYS been a shit show. The number one thing apple did right with the iphone was to be their own manufacturer, and to set terms where the carriers could go fuck themselves.

    Google has no way out of this that I can see as the cat is out of the bag, and it isn't going back in.
     
  16. Uvaman2

    Uvaman2 2[H]4U

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    leaving it open an option? is it so hard to make your own build and install it.? maybe the thing to do is to provide the tools to the general public and tell oems once you don't want to support the devices.. open the devices so the user can do their own thing in the new "Android os lab" website (on 10$ a year) ... plus first step towards being able to load android on your own generic hardware.
    yes i know about rooting, ive yet to root mine with what i have tried btw... not that it would help, i wouldn't know were to get the os for the device (Chinese low end anyway)
     
  17. Pieter3dnow

    Pieter3dnow [H]ardness Supreme

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    This person has no clue ;)

    The title shows that he has no clue the article
    proves it.

    ZDnet FFS
     
  18. efishta

    efishta Limp Gawd

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    I tried playing the OEM game for a few years, but eventually learned it's not in any of their best interest to update the software on their older headsets,and that there were too many obstacles when it came to testing by both the OEMs and service providers.
    I started with the Nexus One, and currently sporting the Nexus 6 - never touching OEMs again, if I can help it, or until Google enforces more timely updates.
     
  19. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX [H]ardness Supreme

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    Who ever wrote that article is an idiot. Nothing about open source is the cause of the lack of updates. The problem is the phone manufacturers have no incentive to update your old phone. You want the newest Android OS? Then you have to buy a new phone. But why do we let phone manufacturers control how often phones get updated? Shouldn't it be Google who controls this?

    Linux on the desktop doesn't have this problem because Ubuntu or Fedora or Mint is specifically focused on updating and maintaining the OS. HTC, Samsung, and etc are not. They make money through the sale of hardware, and not updating their older products will incentivise you to buy newer ones. In fact, they go through a lot of trouble to prevent you from updating it yourself. Why you think projects like CyanogenMod are so popular with the Android community? And of course, lots of phones are now extremely difficult to put these custom roms onto the phones, cause manufacturers are getting good as securing their devices.

    Simplie put, Google needs to take control and centralize the updates. You know like how Windows, Mac OSX, and Ubuntu works. Or, Google could make it so owners of phones have easy access to put their own OS onto the device, like CyanogenMod. I vote for the latter personally.

    As for Adrian Kingsley, he needs to think about the subject of these articles before making a clearly click bait article. Bet he's never put a modded rom onto his phone. The issue is clearly a phone manufacturer issue, not an open source issue. If we closed source the OS's it'll be far more fragmented. Either that, or we'd end up using Windows only with tons of crapware preloaded onto our devices, and we'd still never get updates, cause again what benefit do phone manufacturers gain from doing so?
     
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  20. DejaWiz

    DejaWiz Oracle of Unfortunate Truths

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    I'm seriously considering moving off my LG G3 D850 to a Nexus or a Pure Android/GPE phone. The G3 is still a little powerhouse, even compared to some brand new makes/models emerging now...but, the last patch AT&T rolled out (5.0.1) has some issues, and my biggest complaint is my phone will randomly lock up and reboot, regardless of what I'm in the middle of. The problem did not exist until AT&T deployed the Lollipop update. Tried a factory reset multiple times, but that does not resolve it.

    We G3 D850 owners have been "promised" a Marshmallow update for about a year now...but haven't gotten anything since the 5.0.1 rollout. Owners of other G3 models (especially outside of the US/NA) have reportedly gotten some kind of Android 6 update, but I can not find anything really definitive about that.

    This will likely be the last LG product I own...to be added to my "go fuck yourself" list already populated with Sony, General Motors, Toyota, Apple, OCZ, AMD, EA, and quite a few others.
     
  21. Lifelite

    Lifelite 2[H]4U

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    Android doesn't stand a chance! Look at that Apple growth!!!
     
  22. silent-circuit

    silent-circuit [H]ardForum Junkie

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    ROM it. The G3 is simple enough to get rooted, then get a copy of TWRP on it and pick your poison. Tons of good G3 ROMs out there.
     
  23. Semantics

    Semantics 2[H]4U

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    It will be a problem as more people carry virtual wallets and banking on their phones. Android devices tend to be a few generations older and their OSs are even older than that. iOS updates push to all apple phones pretty much the day of security issues get resolved in iOS they don't under android. It will only take a couple of high profile exploits and hacks on people's phones that exclusively target old android OSs before people become weary. Open source isn't the issue it's that security issues don't get dealt with in Android phones outside of 1 year old phones. It only took a year or two of terrible Internet Explorer Security with slow updates completely trash IE reputation by the time IE7 came out. IE reputation was down.
     
  24. GoodBoy

    GoodBoy [H]ard|Gawd

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    I think most of the blame is on the device manufacturers. I know my old Galaxy 3 had I believe 1 major update in the 4 years I used it.

    Went to a Galaxy 7 in march, its had 2 or 3 main updates already, along with the new Google app updating "Galaxy apps" thing. That has updates very regularly as well, and it's for the main apps in the phone.

    So I would say that Samsung is finally onboard in a responsible manner. And I'm loving this phone.
     
  25. dandirk

    dandirk [H]ard|Gawd

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    I guess I don't really understand.

    Open Source is part of the problem because the OEMs are using the open source nature to basically fork their own versions of the OS with their own apps, launchers etc and then abandoning it after they release a new model etc. This is compounded because the OEMs does it AND then the carriers can also do the same thing. Either one stop support you are dead.

    I don't think linux ubuntu etc is a similar comparison. Those are OS projects of course they offer updates, just like Google offers updates to Android. A more similar comparison would be if IBM had their own flavor of ubuntu on their hardware and redirected updates only IBM built updates. Cyanogen Mod is closer to a "ubuntu" in the android world... they offer updates I believe and have a large list of supported hardware etc.

    I am not an expert but linux/ubuntu etc are more like generic OSes and Android is not (at least realistically). Custom ROMs generally have to be built for most Android hardware. I am not really aware of an Android iso you can just load onto most phones and maybe install some missing drivers and be done. I just don'd think the devices are treated similarly enough to allow that? Like I said I don't know, but it seems like a lot of work has to go into getting an ASOP ready for a device, much more so than Ubuntu/Windows etc.
     
  26. DejaWiz

    DejaWiz Oracle of Unfortunate Truths

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    Can't...it's my only means of phone communication for home and work. Don't want to risk anything and certainly don't feel like shelling out $600+ on a new non-contract phone (I'm on Cricket), so I have to stick to official OTA updates.
     
  27. jwcalla

    jwcalla 2[H]4U

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    I'm surprised people are still grinding this axe even at this late hour. How come nobody complains about the "fragmentation" of the PC market? Is there some strong desire out there for every PC to be identical with a single name and controlled by a single entity? If so, I don't see it. It seems to me that there is actually a strong consumer preference for variety and differentiation.

    The irony is that it's not the "open source" nature of Android that makes updates difficult. It's all the closed-source proprietary driver crap that the vendors license from third-parties that makes it a pain in the ass.
     
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  28. csgill75

    csgill75 [H]Lite

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    Still waiting for MM on my Note 5........ It hasn't had a OS update since it came out other than security patches. It was on 5.1.1 when I bought it and still is on the same version. MM has been out for the Note 5, the carriers need to speed up the process of releasing the updates
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
  29. DukenukemX

    DukenukemX [H]ardness Supreme

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    Remember Windows Mobile? Not Windows Phone. It was the same problem, except not open source. I remember putting Windows Mobile 6 on some of my phones cause nobody cared enough to release an update.

    If you know how to root and install a custom recovery on your phone, then you have plenty of new updated Android OS choices for your phone. So in a sense, open source at least helps in this situation. If the code was closed, it wouldn't be closed for OEMs. They'd continue to avoid updating their devices, but with the benefit of nobody else having access to the code.

    Open source good, closed source bad.
    You're thinking this too hard. Ubuntu is like many other OS's in that it has incremental updates. It works because of those constant stream of updates and you can put it in any device that it can run on. Android is all or nothing. This is why projects like CyanogenMod were created cause more often than not, it was nothing. But older devices didn't secure the bootloader or have SoN/SoFF their devices like today.

    Think of it like routers. The software loaded on your router is pretty good, but quickly forgotten because no value in updating a static device. The community responds and creates projects like DD WRT and OpenWRT. But it's a shit solution when 99% of people out there have no idea how to update such an important device. Android phones are no different.

    What?
    It requires a lot more work because of the kernel. Because these devices are limited in storage, the kernel is built specifically for the hardware in the phone. For example you don't need the driver for PC sound cards in a smart phone.

    But anyway, a lot of people make custom OS's for Android devices, specifically with the intent to update and improve the device. Visit XDA-Developers and you'll see that nearly all popular smart phones have ASOP and CyanogenMoD's. And CyanogenMoD does make official releases for certain phones. Some phones even come with CyanogenMoD.

    But none of this is a solution for JoeSixPack. You want Android phones to be updated than Google needs to step up. Making a closed source Android would only make the problem worse. Google should enforce updates or enforce the option for people to open their devices to load roms easier. Easy enough that JoeSixPack can do it.
     
  30. hexamon

    hexamon [H]Lite

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    It's sort of true. I think that Google should make it partially open source while keeping the core of it under their control. I got a S6 edge in Japan, a country that is not a fan of Samsung. There was a OS update(From Google) in the first week of launch that fixed a battery issue. My phone just got it's first update 2 weeks ago. It took over a year for me to get one update.
     
  31. Nytegard

    Nytegard 2[H]4U

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    From a developer's standpoint, Android is a nightmare. It's at the point now where at work, we shifted to a Windows tablet halfway through the development cycle just so we can get the product out the door, and Android will come later. Which OS? Which System Platform? Which gradle? Which NDK? Which Android Studio? Every single major update breaks at least something, and it's not necessarily our fault. One update didn't allow any non owner accounts to run apps. One update broke threading and mutexes. Etc. The list of problems is never ending. When we tested on a Marshmallow device, boom, accessing the file system crashed the app because now you have to ask permission for the user for certain permissions rather than being able to naturally include them. (I actually do agree with that.) Google also removed the ability to acquire the MAC Address for security reasons in a later update, which then caused issues. There is a workaround, but even that's going away in the future. And then, that all is just on the base Android platform. When you actually start getting to other vendors, you have to hope and pray that the vendor allows certain things, as some vendors are more open than others. You can have everything working on the Nexus device, and things will break on the Galaxy. And then, after you get the Galaxy working, you have to do regression testing to make sure the Nexus device still works.

    With iOS or Windows, we don't have to worry about any of this. Sure, certain things are more locked down, but if there's a workaround, it pretty much works for all of the devices and not just a select few. Also, the program looks the same on all of the devices, sans the resolution and screen layout. On Android, certain controls can have different appearances on different devices. And for the most part, when an update comes out for iOS or Windows, we never have to worry about the program crashing. Android might be beloved because it's open, but every update seems to close it more and more.
     
  32. gigatexal

    gigatexal [H]ardness Supreme

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    Meanwhile iPhone users are laughing from afar in their walled garden at the fragmentation and slow updates.
     
  33. Gorankar

    Gorankar [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Are they? On average, they replace their phones every year or two, same as Android users. People are getting their updates, by getting a new phone.
     
  34. atom

    atom Gawd

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    Hogwash. The biggest improvement updating my phone brought me was changing my back arrow, home screen, and menu button into a triangle, circle and square. Yeah I wish patches would come out better, but if consumers really cared about that then they would flock to the vendors that release the updates faster. Nonetheless, the fragmentation is a great thing. You can buy the phone that will give you a drastically different experience that you want that will still run the exact same apps as others.
     
  35. DPI

    DPI Nitpick Police

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    IPhone is fragmented just the same, but Apple has created the perception that it's less so. Reality is older iPhones can't run the newest features.
     
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  36. gigatexal

    gigatexal [H]ardness Supreme

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    Only the oldest phones can't run the latest of iOS. And even then those that can while they can't run the latest glitz they still get the security upgrades that can't be said for the Android phones and tablets on OSes generations old.
     
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  37. BreezeDM

    BreezeDM Gawd

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    Only buy Nexus devices. I get monthly security updates. Samsung on the other hand does whatever they want with Android. As a result, about 20% of my users are from Samsung, but about 60% of the bugs are from Samsung. In addition, their latest Android 6.0.1 completely broke my App in a way that is not easily fixable, if it is at all. Nexus devices after 4 years work pretty good, but Samsung crawl. The Samsung device is factory reset and clean and has better specs then the Nexus phone of the same age, but for some reason is practically unusable.
     
  38. gigatexal

    gigatexal [H]ardness Supreme

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    that's the thing there are many people with non-nexus phones. I have nothing against android, i just choose to be on iOS and since it plays well with my other apple hardware i am happy to give into vendor lockin. That being said if i did go android it'd be to a nexus phone with stock android.

    i don't understand why the other OEMs think they can derive value from spinning android their own way? it'd be cheaper to go with a stock nexus style phone and have google manage all the upgrades and glitzy things. oh well what do i know
     
  39. Vermillion

    Vermillion 2[H]4U

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    Cheaper? Possibly but it wouldn't differentiate the OEM from another. Differentiation is the whole point of HTC Sense, Samsung TouchWiz, and LG UI. Personally I think there are better ways to do the theme stuff that wouldn't muck with the framework which would allow faster updates but what do I know? ;)

    However, there is stuff that is worth it. Samsung's Knox for example. Samsung has really done a great job in securing their devices and making them Enterprise ready. You hand me an LG G5, HTC 10 or a Galaxy S7 and say pick one for Enterprise work and it's the S7 every single time.

    We need to find a happy middle ground honestly. The problem is getting the OEMs and the carriers to the table to discuss and find that reasonable middle ground.
     
  40. Todd Walter

    Todd Walter Gawd

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    Does vanilla Android have pen support? I thought it only had touchpad.