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Android is a dead end
By Thom Holwerda on 2017-07-16 23:26:41

Dieter Bohn at The Verge:

So while Microsoft didn't do itself any favors, I'd argue strongly that all these machinations and flailings weren't a response (or weren't only a response) to the iPhone. The real enemy was the company that had set its sights on Microsoft's phone ambitions since before the iPhone was released.

That company was Google, of course, and it only tangentially wanted to take on the iPhone. Google's real target was always Microsoft, and it hit the bullseye.

This article looks at the past, so let me take this opportunity to posit something that might come as a surprise to some.

Android is a dead end.

I really want to write a far more detailed and in-depth article explaining why I think Android is a dead end, but I can't yet fully articulate my thoughts or pinpoint why, exactly, I've felt like this for months now. All this doesn't mean Google is going to get out of mobile operating systems, and it doesn't even mean that the name "Android" is going away. All it means is that what we think of today as "Android" - a Linux kernel with libraries, the Android Runtime, and so on on top - has served its hackjob, we-need-to-compete purpose and is going to go away.

Android in its current form suffers from several key architectural problems - it's not nearly as resource-efficient as, say, iOS, has consistent update problems, and despite hefty hardware, still suffers from the occasional performance problems, among other things - that Google clearly hasn't been able to solve. It feels like Android is in limbo, waiting for something, as if Google is working on something else that will eventually succeed Android.

Is that something Fuchsia? Is Project Treble part of the plan, to make it easier for Google to eventually replace Android's Linux base with something else? If Android as it exists today was salvageable, why are some of the world's greatest operating systems engineers employed by Google not working on Android, but on Fuchsia? If Fuchsia is just a research operating system, why did its developers recently add actual wallpapers to the repository? Why does every design choice for Fuchsia seem specifically designed for and targeted at solving Android's core problems?

I don't like making broad predictions based on gut feelings and spidey senses, since they can be incredibly misleading and hard to read, but I'm still pretty confident on this one: over the coming two to three years, Android will undergo a radical transformation. This transformation will be mostly transparent to users - their next Android phone won't actually be "Android" anymore, but still run the same applications, and they literally won't care - but it won't be a Linux device, and it won't suffer from Android's core problems.

In a few years, Google's Pixel phone will have a fully custom, Google-designed SoC, and run an operating system that is Android in brand name only.

Bookmark this.

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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-20 -- 21-30 -- 31-40 -- 41-50 -- 51-60 -- 61-70 -- 71-71
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RE: Oracle is causing this
By Bill Shooter of Bul on 2017-07-17 13:48:33
Uhm...Xwindows is already dying. Wayland is actually taking over.
Permalink - Score: 3
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Sounds Familiar....
By The123king on 2017-07-17 13:51:25
> In a few years, Google's Pixel phone will have a fully custom, Google-designed SoC, and run an operating system that is Android in brand name only.

I'm sure a small Seattle-based company did something similar with their OS back in the early 2000's, and i can't remember anyone saying Windows 2000/XP was "Windows in brand name only".
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RE[2]: You Contradict Yourself
By Bill Shooter of Bul on 2017-07-17 13:58:44
Nothing will continue to exist as it does today. If it does it will end up like OS/2, BeOS, RiscOS, etc.

I'm sure Android has technical issues, but I'm not sure I'd take your opinion on what they are. No offence, but it would take some one with a deeper understanding of internals to adequately explain. I suspect it has more to do with policy, than anything else. Apple started from a default answer of NO, where as android was a YES. Its much more difficult to impose necessary restrictions after the fact than before.
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Slaves...
By dionicio on 2017-07-17 14:33:42
Guessing the World, from the shadows.
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In a few words
By jbauer on 2017-07-17 15:19:39
We're waiting for Android NT. In the meantime, we're stuck with Android 95.
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Core problems
By birdie on 2017-07-17 15:20:13
@Thom:

I'd love to see this article linked to "Android's core problems": http://itvision.altervista.org/w...
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RE: Android fix
By birdie on 2017-07-17 15:32:47
How do you update your apps?

How do you backup your apps data?

Edited 2017-07-17 15:33 UTC
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RE: Dead end... and dead start.
By jpkx1984 on 2017-07-17 15:50:00
It doesn't suck more than, say, iOS. Each system has good and bad points.
Permalink - Score: 1
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RE[3]: You Contradict Yourself
By CaptainN- on 2017-07-17 16:24:34
Responsive sites do this already (just make your browser window narrow.

This is a weird post by Thom. He's made the case that the most popular mobile OS running Linux won't be Linux anymore, but if Android changes it's kernel and subsystem, it'll still be Android if it has the same UX and still runs dex apps (and probably NDK apps). I'm not really sure why the need to claim Android is somehow going away here... It does make the case that kernels are a commodity.
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Does it matter?
By jnemesh on 2017-07-17 17:21:40
I am pretty geeky, but most people don't really care WHAT OS is loaded on their phone. They just want to make calls, send texts, and have access to the apps they are used to.

So will it matter when Google moves from "Android" to "Fuchsia" or whatever they are going to call it? Not really...as long as the OS is compatible with the apps people are using, no one will really care what the OS is like behind the scenes.
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