Over the past few years there has been grumbling among some that Google needs to stop calling Android open source. The argument is a simple one: Google can call Android open source as long as it doesn’t place any requirements on its OEMs to use Android. This article will unpack some of the misconceptions about what it means to say that Android is open source and deal with the two major instances where Google has been accused of violating its own principles concerning Android. (more…)
Back in January of this year I reviewed the state of Android manufacturers up to that point. In January Samsung was the only major Android OEM that was making any money on Android phones. HTC had posted its first quarterly profit decline in two years while Motorola continued its financial decline amidst regulatory approval of Google’s then-proposed, now-approved purchase of the manufacturer. How is the ecosystem doing nine months into the year?
After today’s announcements I got to spend a little time playing with the new 7 inch Kindle Fire HD. Amazon has upped their game by releasing an updating Kindle Fire, and more importantly, two Kindle Fire HDs. Read on for my first impressions of the Kindle Fire HD.
Android used to be the go to option for OEMs fleeing Windows Mobile in search of relevancy in the mobile space, but lately it seems that unless you’re Samsung or Apple you simply cannot make money in mobile. Samsung has been the only Android manufacturer to consistently make money quarter after quarter for the past year. Motorola’s profits plummeted quarter after quarter until Google bought the entire company. HTC has managed to sell a sizable number of devices, but has fallen from being the top Android manufacturer to an equal of LG and Sony. While no Android OEMs pay Google to use Android, most pay Microsoft licensing fees. What is making Samsung successful while other OEMs continue to struggle? (more…)
For years there has been a battle between AOSP fans and manufacturers to hack vanilla Android (or something close to it like CyanogenMod) onto devices instead of the manufacturer’s version of Android. The difficulty with this battle is that it takes a tremendous amount of work to get another ROM working on a device. A developer cannot simply take AOSP Android and load it onto a device because stock Android is actually designed to run on a specific device (currently the Nexus S, Galaxy Nexus, or Nexus 7).
Jean-Baptiste Queru, the technical head of the Android Open Source Project, wants to experiment with how AOSP works. Starting with the Xperia S, Queru has invited the community to experiment with porting AOSP to the device. “In theory, AOSP is designed such that it should be possible to plug in the files related to additional hardware targets,” said Queru in a Google Groups post. “In practice, that has never happened.” (more…)
Samsung copied Apple. There really isn’t another way to put it. Samsung didn’t copy Apple in every conceivable way, but when you compare several of their phones to the iPhone, it’s clear that Samsung wanted their hardware and software to resemble that of Apple’s iPhone.
It’s easy for Android supporters to want to defend Samsung, but the evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of Apple’s argument: Samsung realized that it needed to copy Apple to get ahead in the smartphone space. In terms of what this means for the lawsuit seems trivial, but there are deeper issues at stake. How did Samsung copying Apple damage the Android ecosystem as a whole and why should you care?
With the release of the Nexus 7, Google set its sights on Amazon to try and reclaim control of the Android tablet space. Ever since Amazon forked Android for the Kindle Fire there has been some confusion about what OEM software customization means. There seems to be some confusion in the industry about what TouchWiz and Sense really are. More and more often I have seen articles arguing that the Galaxy S III and the Kindle Fire offer the same non-Google experience. Even more shocking, I’ve heard arguments that AOSP is Android and the Nexus line of phones offers the “Google experience.” The question isn’t whether or not OEMs offer a Google experience (they do); the question is if they’ll keep a Google experience.
Choice in browsers has been an integral part in the history of computing. Mozilla has been at the heart of the push for choice in browsers from its inception out of Netscape to the introduction of Firefox in 2004. Since 2004, Mozilla has been dedicated to giving users a choice in browsers not only on the desktop, but on mobile.
The latest version of Firefox for Android, available in Google Play today, comes in the midst of heavy competition in browsers for Android with Dolphin HD, Opera Mobile, Opera Mini, and Firefox each having been downloaded more than ten million times. Perhaps even more dauntingly, Google is in the process of making Chrome the default browser in Android. Chrome made headlines in the last six weeks as it surpassed Internet Explorer to become the most used browser internationally on desktops. Mozilla is keenly aware that by developing Firefox for Android they are competing with Google in a way that is much less obvious on the desktop.