www. O S N E W S .com
News Features Interviews
BlogContact Editorials
.
The insane amount of backward compatibility in Google Maps
By Thom Holwerda on 2018-02-13 00:15:01

I still keep a couple of my favorite old smartphones. Sometimes I use one of them as my primary device for fun. Phones are among the fastest evolving markets, even a year makes a whole lot of differences. One of the biggest challenges with using old phones is the software: they don’t run modern software. And old software isn’t compatible with new websites, frameworks, encryption standards, APIs. Use an old device, and you will find yourself unable to get anything done. Every app crashes or complains that it can’t connect to the server. Even with Apple who is doing a fantastic job of keeping their phones updated, you may notice that many sites and apps have started dropping support for the iPhone 5, which is still a totally capable device.

But there is always an unlikely app that consistently works on all of my devices, regardless of their OS and how old they are: Google Maps.

I have a whole slew of old PDAs and phones, and even something as simple as getting them online through wireless internet is a major hassle, because they don't support the more advanced encryption protocols. Even if you do manage to get them online, they often won't support IMAP or or they'll lack some key email protocol settings. The fact that Google Maps apparently keeps on working is fascinating.

 Email a friend - Printer friendly - Related stories
.
Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-13
.
Not always.
By Alfman on 2018-02-13 01:32:05
> But there is always an unlikely app that consistently works on all of my devices, regardless of their OS and how old they are: Google Maps.

I don't doubt google still supports many older devices, however there are limits to their backwards compatibility.

Years ago I wrote a simple web app using google maps API, it superimposed a car on top of the satellite imagery and allowed you to "drive" it. I was just playing around and it never did very much (ie no collision detection or anything), but I did come back to it only to find that google had broken their API. Just beware that when you depend on 3rd party services, they can and do break, even with google.
Permalink - Score: 2
.
complete BS
By unclefester on 2018-02-13 03:52:26
"Use an old device, and you will find yourself unable to get anything done".

What a load of BS. I run KitKat (2013) on my phone. There are very few new apps it doesn't support.

I know people who are running Gingerbread (2010) or even Eclair (2009).

If anything Android has got worse over the years.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/And...

Edited 2018-02-13 03:53 UTC
Permalink - Score: 3
.
RE: complete BS
By Bill Shooter of Bul on 2018-02-13 06:05:59
Our app supports Donut ...

I actually have an ancient device that came with the old 1.6. Not surprisingly, it still works ( our app). The phone was kinda terrible when new ( cough *SONY* cough).
Permalink - Score: 0
.
RE[2]: complete BS
By unclefester on 2018-02-13 09:19:46
I was commenting on the idiotic suggestion of the author that phones are outdated after a year.

Boost Mobile are still selling new phones with Kit Kat in Australia.
Permalink - Score: 4
.
I wonder how to interpret your previous statement :)
By feamatar on 2018-02-13 11:32:41
"I would prefer other companies, too, take a more aggressive approach towards deprecating outdated technology in consumer technology." - just to remind you. What is your opinion about usecases like this?
Permalink - Score: 3
.
Palm OS app still works
By Pa1m0ne on 2018-02-13 12:57:44
I can confirm that the official Google Maps Palm OS app still works pretty flawlessly, I think the traffic feature is the only thing that doesn't work. I can still search for places, get directions, view map or satellite and if you are using a Centro it can find you on the map using cell towers.
I only wish email worked as good as that (although that is actually possible through the web browser itself)
Permalink - Score: 4
.
Microsoft is going exactly the other way
By PieterDeBruijn on 2018-02-13 12:58:41
Bing Maps do not work anymore on Windows 10 Mobile devices (Dutch):
https://tweakers.net/nieuws/13516...
Permalink - Score: 2
.
RE: complete BS
By jessesmith on 2018-02-13 17:10:03
Lots of people may run those old platforms, but that doesn't mean you can install apps and expect them to work.

For example, last month I met with a woman who has an older Android phone (version 2.x). Virtually nothing installs - no Skype, no Whatsapp, no GPS tools, etc. Almost nothing outside the Google ecosystem of apps will install.

The few she can install usually fail to talk with servers. If she tries to register an account through the app the servers return "Unsupported version, upgrade" messages. The phone works fine, but almost nothing runs on it anymore so she needs to upgrade. Of course the OEM doesn't product Android upgrades for that phone, so she's buying a new phone.
Permalink - Score: 1
.
RE[2]: complete BS
By unclefester on 2018-02-14 03:41:41
Many old Android phones are the mobile equivalent of a PIII. You can't expect them to run modern software. [My old Samsung 2.3 phone had a 600MHz CPU, 192MB RAM and 384MB of storage.]

The cheapest new phone will be orders of magnitude more powerful.

Edited 2018-02-14 03:44 UTC
Permalink - Score: 2
.
RE[3]: complete BS
By ahferroin7 on 2018-02-14 13:02:40
A PIII still works just fine with quite a lot of 'new' software. It just doesn't work with most stuff people think they need (like for example most modern Java applications, brobdingnagian monstrosities that they are). In fact, depending on what you're using, you can still get a lot of those big things people want running.

A Raspberry Pi has about the same processing power as the Coppermine T micro-architecture PIII's, just with faster RAM, and it works perfectly fine as a basic system, and I even know people running Hadoop or Ceph clusters with them.

Hell, even older processors work perfectly fine for some things. Up until about a year ago, we had a couple of mid-90's vintage 400MHz SPARC systems operating as file servers where I work that did well enough that the 100BASE-T network cards they used were the performance bottleneck, and I've seen people run reasonably high-volume web servers on Commodore 64 systems running Contiki.
Permalink - Score: 3

Read Comments 1-10 -- 11-13

No new comments are allowed for stories older than 10 days.
This story is now archived.

.
News Features Interviews
BlogContact Editorials
.
WAP site - RSS feed
© OSNews LLC 1997-2007. All Rights Reserved.
The readers' comments are owned and a responsibility of whoever posted them.
Prefer the desktop version of OSNews?