Why I think OEM's are going to be hesitant to upgrade current phones to Android 4.4

ComputerBox34

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Exhibit A: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013...ntrolling-open-source-by-any-means-necessary/

Cliffs:
  • Android is open source but Google Play Apps are not
  • Google keeps power and control over Android by forcing all OEMs who want access to the Google ecosystem (ie. Google Play Store and it's millions of apps) to sign away any rights to develop derivative versions of Android without Google Apps (ie. Amazon Kindle)
  • Over the past several iterations of Android, Google has been increasingly moving core Android apps over from AOSP (open source apps that can be used and modified by anyone) to closed source Google Play Apps (chrome, calendar, music, keyboard, etc, etc)
  • One of the latest major steps has been Google Play Services. (green icon in your app drawer) It has effectively moved control of all Google API's used by developers for Android from AOSP to closed source Google Play Apps
  • If an OEM uses Google Apps it can not pick and choose what apps it can put in their stock build - it must include ALL of them.

Exhibit B: http://www.androidauthority.com/and...oogle-experience-launcher-report-says-283120/

Google has apparently developed it's own launcher (based on leaks) and they intend on bringing that into the Google Apps umbrella.

This is HUGE. The launcher is the glue that brings a user's experience together and is the single most manipulated element for phone makers such as Samsung and HTC who depend on varying their software to differentiate themselves from competitors. Imagine, now with KitKat, if every phone when you turned it on LOOKED THE SAME; Imagine a Galaxy Note with no easy S-Pen functionality due to being forced to use Google's launcher - The list goes on. The quote on Google's website
It's our goal with Android KitKat to make an amazing Android experience available for everybody
adds fuel to this theory.

So through agreements revolving around OEM's putting Google Apps/ecosystem on their phones, Google has effectively locked down Android. They can try removing all of the apps and going it alone without Google, but you lose access to the Play Store as well as the API's that many app developers use in their apps making it twice as hard for them to support apps across multiple little branches of Android.

I'm curious to see what comes of this...if Samsung gets fed up and throws billions of dollars at devs to bring them over to Tizen or if they somehow find a way around this new launcher that preserves all of their little gimmicks they like to sell their phones on. If OEMs need time to figure this out, it will delay 4.4 on many phones (pretty much all except Motorola) since they would have to use the new KitKat launcher if they go forward with their upgrades.

Time will tell...
 

jwcalla

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Nobody should underestimate Google's ability to completely screw things up. They write, at best, pretty mediocre software. I really don't even find the "stock" Android experience to be that great.

Trying to garner more and more power (when is it enough?) through these silly moves and crimping some of the primary goods of Android -- openness and the ability to differentiate / customize -- would only hurt the platform. After all, many of the innovations incorporated into Android over the years have come from third-party sources that had the ability to introduce new features.

If the goal is to just make it another iPhone / WP, it kind of takes the uniqueness away. In that case, why not just get an iPhone?
 

shmo007

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Seems good to me. Users get updates to key parts of the Android experience without waiting 2 years for manufacturer plus carrier ineptitude.

I also read the Google launcher update as being a choice for the user. They will have a choice in using the manufacturer skin or the stock Google experience.

I own a Note 2 and never plan on buying a non Nexus device again after buying a Nexus 7. Having carrier bloat and still running 4.1 is ridiculous.
 

T4rd

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I also read the Google launcher update as being a choice for the user. They will have a choice in using the manufacturer skin or the stock Google experience.

Yeah, I don't see how the launcher requirement is an issue. They will just have to give you the option to use the stock or OEM launcher upon initial setup of the phone, just as Android already does if you already have more than one launcher installed on the phone (if you don't have one set as default already. I'm sure OEMs won't like that, but it's easy to push users to use their custom launcher upon initial setup by adding that little "recommended" tag to it or any other additional verbage to show off its additional features.

I own a Note 2 and never plan on buying a non Nexus device again after buying a Nexus 7. Having carrier bloat and still running 4.1 is ridiculous.

I own a (Verizon) Note 2 and have been completely happy with it despite it still being on 4.1. Though I've ran Jellybean's ROM pretty much since I've had it. It gives the phone an AOSP look while retaining a lot of Touchwiz's features that I actually like (DLNA streaming to my TV, blocking mode, S-Beam to my wife's phone, etc.). I can't think of any significant features that 4.2 or 4.3 would add for me at the moment; maybe TRIM support on 4.3, which the Note 2 is getting next month and there are already leaked 4.3 ROMs from Samsung available for it.
 

Vermillion

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Seems good to me. Users get updates to key parts of the Android experience without waiting 2 years for manufacturer plus carrier ineptitude.

I also read the Google launcher update as being a choice for the user. They will have a choice in using the manufacturer skin or the stock Google experience.

I own a Note 2 and never plan on buying a non Nexus device again after buying a Nexus 7. Having carrier bloat and still running 4.1 is ridiculous.

This is it exactly.

They are doing what they are doing because the carriers suck at updating their devices. It's not being force on people either. I read that article earlier and I thought the article from Ars was way over the top.

It was like he was bitching about an issue that isn't an issue. The stock SMS app works just fine. Does it integrate with Hangouts? No. Does it have tons of bells and whistles? No. However, it's still there in AOSP and it isn't going away. You don't always get to eat the cake too. Not to mention he only talks about Hangouts and the stock SMS app while conveniently neglecting all the 3rd party SMS apps out there. Android users ALWAYS have a choice.

I don't see him bitching about the stock browser either. Nexus devices come stock with Chrome. The stock browser though is still in AOSP and isn't nearly as full featured as Chrome yet not a single word about it.

The Google Launcher is again something that will be users choice so who cares if they create their own? Plenty of options out there. ADW, Nova, Apex, Buzz, Aviate and many others. Same with keyboards and calendars.

Google has always required OEM's to use the Google apps if they want Google's backing. It's just good business. You can certainly fork Android and create something else like Amazon did but unless you can garner developer support and support that type of infrastructure...well you're shit out of luck but that's their choice.

So overall I give the article a 1 out of 10 and wish I had those 8 minutes of my life back because it was a huge waste of time to read.
 

W.Feather

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I find it hard to believe that they will force all OEM's to look the same, along with killing off custom launchers. Everything ive read leads to point to Google actually releasing a launcher, but not forcing anyone to use it...
 

ChronoReverse

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Erm, this is stupid. Seriously.


Android ALREADY has had the GApps since forever. Stuff like the Gmail app and Hangouts have always been closed off.

Android has also ALREADY had its own launcher. You can replace it and you will be able to replace it in 4.4


So this is all a bunch of hot air over what Android is already like!
 

MrCrispy

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The issue is not separation of apps into Play services (which is good) but in making them closed source. AOSP is not Android anymore, its a poor imitation which never gets updates. Thus anyone who actually wants the Android experience must use Google products and agree to their terms.

Basically Google still wants to maintain the illusion that its an open source OS, yet in practice its anything but. At least for phones.
 

ChronoReverse

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The issue is not separation of apps into Play services (which is good) but in making them closed source.

Again, GApps has been closed sourced since forever. At least three years (I only got into Android with Froyo 2.2) in fact. For example, if you downloaded Cyanogenmod back then, you had to download the GApps separately because they weren't part of AOSP. It's still the same now.


It's always been this way. The Operating System (including the phone app) is free but if you want to use Google Services, then you need the closed source apps. It's pretty easy to qualify for including those apps though as all the skinned beyond recognition Android variations show.
 

T4rd

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Again, GApps has been closed sourced since forever. At least three years (I only got into Android with Froyo 2.2) in fact. For example, if you downloaded Cyanogenmod back then, you had to download the GApps separately because they weren't part of AOSP. It's still the same now.


It's always been this way. The Operating System (including the phone app) is free but if you want to use Google Services, then you need the closed source apps. It's pretty easy to qualify for including those apps though as all the skinned beyond recognition Android variations show.

Yup. Had to flash Gapps seperately on all the AOSP ROMs for my old OG Droid and Gnex. Not sure what people are freaking out about here...
 

ComputerBox34

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Erm, this is stupid. Seriously.


Android ALREADY has had the GApps since forever. Stuff like the Gmail app and Hangouts have always been closed off.

Android has also ALREADY had its own launcher. You can replace it and you will be able to replace it in 4.4


So this is all a bunch of hot air over what Android is already like!
The CURRENT launcher is AOSP.

The NEW launcher is NOT AOSP.

Hence the issue - the launcher can no longer be removed by OEM's as you can not pick and choose what GApps you want to include - it's either all or none.
 

ChronoReverse

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Even if it were not part of AOSP and included in GApps, you can replace those with your own or even have them side by side.

We can do this all day. This whole brouhaha is a whole lot of unsubstantiated noise. It's pretty sad too considering 4.4 isn't even available yet so they can run their mouths without any counter. I bet a month after 4.4 is out on the Nexus 5, there'll be threads running on about how the vendors aren't going to update to 4.4 (when it took upwards of half a year for the vendors to followup 4.2 and 4.3).



In fact, let's put our money where our mouths are. I'm thinking Samsung will in fact have an Android 4.4 phone with good odds that the Galaxy S4 will also be updated to 4.4 eventually (they tend to delay if there's a new phone to get the new Android first).

Would you bet that Samsung won't have an Android 4.4 phone?
 
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Skripka

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, it will delay 4.4 on many phones (pretty much all except Motorola) since they would have to use the new KitKat launcher if they go forward with their upgrades.

Time will tell...

Of course 4.4 will be delayed by OEMs.

Samsung especially as well as all the other OEMs (read: not using vanilla AOSP or 4.4) will NOT get 4.4 our for at least 6+months after it is released. Why? Because the asshat moreons at Samsung (to name one example) insist on COMPLETELY rewriting their overlay code for NO reason at all between every major or minor firmware update. It is fucking stupid. And yes, I mean full root-canal rewrite. When there's no reason to.

If Samsung and other OEMs don't want their fucking proprietary shit broken by Google's update doings...Hey! I know! How about they NOT tie so much shit to their shitty OEM overlays that most people at best hate. OEM's problems getting updates out in a timely manner have only ONE person to blame for their tardiness and difficulty pushing updates out to carriers/customers -their own fucking selves.


Hopefully Google can do something to force OEM OS overlays/launchers to go the way of the DoDo bird. They do NO one any good whatsoever, not the OEMs, not Google, not the carriers, not even the cutomers. What is funny is that the OEMs are so fantastically stupid to not figure this out on their own and do something about it. If the OEMs went AOSP or vanilla android, imagine how much cash profit they could save from software R&D/QA alone.
 

jwcalla

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Of course 4.4 will be delayed by OEMs.

Samsung especially as well as all the other OEMs (read: not using vanilla AOSP or 4.4) will NOT get 4.4 our for at least 6+months after it is released. Why? Because the asshat moreons at Samsung (to name one example) insist on COMPLETELY rewriting their overlay code for NO reason at all between every major or minor firmware update. It is fucking stupid. And yes, I mean full root-canal rewrite. When there's no reason to.

If Samsung and other OEMs don't want their fucking proprietary shit broken by Google's update doings...Hey! I know! How about they NOT tie so much shit to their shitty OEM overlays that most people at best hate. OEM's problems getting updates out in a timely manner have only ONE person to blame for their tardiness and difficulty pushing updates out to carriers/customers -their own fucking selves.


Hopefully Google can do something to force OEM OS overlays/launchers to go the way of the DoDo bird. They do NO one any good whatsoever, not the OEMs, not Google, not the carriers, not even the cutomers. What is funny is that the OEMs are so fantastically stupid to not figure this out on their own and do something about it. If the OEMs went AOSP or vanilla android, imagine how much cash profit they could save from software R&D/QA alone.

lol @ your opinion

But getting back to the Android updates thing... If an Android update includes a kernel update, it isn't so easy to just whip up and push out a phone update. Regardless of whether the vendor is using stock Android or some custom skin.
 

Skripka

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lol @ your opinion

But getting back to the Android updates thing... If an Android update includes a kernel update, it isn't so easy to just whip up and push out a phone update. Regardless of whether the vendor is using stock Android or some custom skin.

"It isn't so easy"...and yet there are lots of individual people on the internet who working on their own without any access to device driver or OS source code reverse engineer their own ROMs to work with stock kernels and 3rd party kernels....in days or a handful of weeks.....rather than the 6-12 months it takes teams of OEM professional devs, that in addition to having teams of people and money also have source code in their hands. Then there are the people who dev their own kernels to work with those ROMs.


It ain't easy....but it is nowhere near as superhuman an effort as you imply. Especially if like OEMs, you have all the source code for easy reference.
 

jwcalla

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"It isn't so easy"...and yet there are lots of individual people on the internet who working on their own without any access to device driver or OS source code reverse engineer their own ROMs to work with stock kernels and 3rd party kernels....in days or a handful of weeks.....rather than the 6-12 months it takes teams of OEM professional devs, that in addition to having teams of people and money also have source code in their hands. Then there are the people who dev their own kernels to work with those ROMs.

Yeah but these unofficial ROM developers don't update the kernel or the drivers. They just try to squeeze the Android user space and other OS stuff into the existing kernel and drivers, or pull drivers from other devices w/ the same hardware that have already been recompiled. And that comes with all the subsequent opportunities for bugs and crashes. You can do that when you're an unofficial ROM. But if you're a Samsung or whatever, if you push out Android 4.4, it has to be the full Android 4.4. Not Android 4.3 drivers and kernel with some 4.4 software mixed in. And it has to be thoroughly tested and working.

E.g., CM9 on my TouchPad runs "Android 4.0.4". Sorta. But it's actually running atop ancient kernel 2.6.35-whatever that HP compiled many moons ago so that the drivers work. I don't even think it's a kernel from the Android source tree.

It ain't easy....but it is nowhere near as superhuman an effort as you imply. Especially if like OEMs, you have all the source code for easy reference.

The OEMs don't necessarily have the source code for all the hardware in their devices. While I'm sure that Samsung has Exynos source code and the source code for the touchscreen drivers (if they manufacturer that) and maybe the flash memory or whatever, but wi-fi radios, cell radios, bluetooth, nfc, GPU parts, accelerometer, gyroscope -- anything that is third-party they probably have some kind of license agreement to get drivers. They probably don't even have all that source in-house.
 

dandragonrage

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Uhh, this isn't a reason to not update to 4.4, because they can still use the older apps if they want, or OEMs have their own versions of some apps anyway.

I don't support what Google's doing here, but it 4.4 doesn't change much for us overall.
 
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