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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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RE[2]: Oracle is causing this
By dark scizor on 2017-07-18 06:57:01
> (MS could even produce their own version of Android with Hotmail, Here Maps, Bing etc.)

They actually have dabbled into that, in a way at least. When they had sent Ellop over to Nokia, there was the Nokia X series, based on AOSP with a Windows Phone skin, Microsoft services and apps and no Google Play Services or Google Play Store.

Edited 2017-07-18 06:57 UTC
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RE[4]: Comment by CATs
By CATs on 2017-07-18 07:08:08
> You could feasibly get one of the Samsung Gear S2/3 watches with 4G. Though I am not sure if there is a way to side load apps onto them without a smartphone, but they have uber apps and such for them, can handle your calls (through the watch or bluetooth headphones) and you could even feasibly send/receive messages from them.

They are Tizen based instead of Android.

What?.. Just... What??? Do you have some kind of weird sense of humor? Or are you trying to make fun of me in some weird way with these totally random and unrelated suggestions?
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RE[2]: Android fix
By CATs on 2017-07-18 07:13:50
> How do you update your apps?

How do you backup your apps data?

Ideally, the only data my phone should store is phone book, text messages and call logs. Of those 3, only phone book needs backup, and it should be done via USB cable to PC. You know, how people used to do it before "cloud" craze and shit.
App updating should be once-a-year activity, and also done via USB cable, along with OS updates.

Edited 2017-07-18 07:14 UTC
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RE: Of course...
By CATs on 2017-07-18 07:18:14
> Hey, it's Captain Obvious! And he's making predictions! Don't forget to bookmark the article so that you can come back in a few years to see how right he was.
Hahaha, seems you know Thom very well :-D
Made my day.
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RE[3]: The Good OS.
By The123king on 2017-07-18 07:58:18
Yeh, but most OSes are POSIX compatible in some way. Even Windows NT 3.51 had a POSIX subsystem
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RE[3]: Oracle is causing this
By unclefester on 2017-07-18 08:12:22
> > (MS could even produce their own version of Android with Hotmail, Here Maps, Bing etc.)

They actually have dabbled into that, in a way at least. When they had sent Ellop over to Nokia, there was the Nokia X series, based on AOSP with a Windows Phone skin, Microsoft services and apps and no Google Play Services or Google Play Store.


I remember that. It is a shame MS didn't persevere.
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RE: Not linux that is holding it back.
By ejulien on 2017-07-18 09:27:59
Oh... I can't upvote this enough.

We low-level devs are left with crippled APIs accessible only through the JNI when there are perfectly fine native APIs underneath that horrendous Java layer.
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RE: Dead end... and dead start.
By CATs on 2017-07-18 11:50:40
> Android was, is and will be horrible.
True. Sadly, there are no real alternatives. Basically a duopoly of Android and iOS, which is, in certain important aspects, same shit.
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RE: The Chromebook Android merger is here
By jonsmirl on 2017-07-18 13:57:10
I don't know how far Android apps on Chromebook will get. Oracle is just waiting to pounce on it with a "this is not fair use of the Java API" court case.

Oracle is already trying to litigate this yet again.
http://www.zdnet.com/article/ora...

Oracle's bid for a new trial at the US District Court for the Northern District of California was knocked back in September. Oracle said it deserved a new trial because Google "completely concealed the ARC++ project" to bring Android apps to Chrome OS hardware.
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Still Android. Give it a brand new name.
By dionicio on 2017-07-18 14:41:33
" Android in its current form suffers from several key architectural problems.. "

And will be addressed. Does That Make Android, no longer Android?

What will be done to Android -on differing from Microsoft approach- will break legacy compatibilities. Does it matter to Alphabet schema? Hardly.
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