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Google Drops Bluetooth API From Android 1.0 167

Posted by timothy
from the first-draft dept.
Ian Lamont writes "Google has dropped Bluetooth and the GTalkService instant messaging APIs from the set of tools for Android 1.0, but says that handsets using the Android OS will work with other Bluetooth devices such as headsets. According to a post on the official Android developer blog, Google dropped the Bluetooth API from the mobile OS because 'we plain ran out of time.' The GTalkService API was removed because of security concerns that included the possibility of applications revealing more details about users than they might want to let out, such as their real names and e-mail addresses."
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Google Drops Bluetooth API From Android 1.0

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  • by bigtallmofo (695287) * on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @12:26PM (#24752607)
    Google: The Microsoft of cell phones.

    If they continue to follow the play book, next they'll drop several additional previously planned features and end by hiring a 90's sitcom star to convince people their product isn't as bad as they think.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by 0xdeadbeef (28836)

      Doesn't this make them the Apple of cell phones? Microsoft has been shipping an embedded OS for close to a decade. It was Apple who tried to claim a web browser was an "SDK" while they make a mad scramble to bring the real SDK to a beta state.

      • by mrsteveman1 (1010381) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @12:51PM (#24752951)

        Apple has in fact severely limited bluetooth on the iPhone, and that includes even specific profiles for external devices. As far as i know the headset is the ONLY thing that works with it.

        • by ptbarnett (159784) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @01:56PM (#24753843)

          Apple has in fact severely limited bluetooth on the iPhone, and that includes even specific profiles for external devices. As far as i know the headset is the ONLY thing that works with it.

          Handsfree Bluetooth devices work with the iPhone. Mine pairs with my car's stereo system.

          However, that's not much different than a headset.

        • by TJamieson (218336)

          As far as i know the headset is the ONLY thing that works with it.

          True. The iPhone only supports HSP and HFP.

          Currently nothing there for: A2DP, OBEX, AVRCP, DUN, SPP, PAN. Though, there are groups working on adding those profiles.

          • by dfn_deux (535506)
            Any links or info about these groups? I've recently been hacking around on my iphone and I've found virtually no reference anywhere to any active work towards enabling additional profiles or even documentation on the phone's existing tools for working with the 2 known supported profiles.
            • by TJamieson (218336)

              http://www.theiphonewiki.com/ [theiphonewiki.com] :-)

              • by dfn_deux (535506)
                Thanks for the link, but the single page on bluetooth there has basically no information, is only 2 days old, and references a development project which AFAICT hasn't even managed to develop themselves a web site to detail their travails. Actually the page even leads me to believe these people haven't spent too much time actually looking at the iphone's existing native bluetooth stack, since the mention the want/need to code a program to talk to the chipset over the driver's provided serial interface; negle
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Paradise Pete (33184)
        But Apple didn't announce it and then drop it. So that would be different.
        • by Ilgaz (86384)

          Also, even die hard critics of iPhone like me understands what Apple targets and understand it. Of course it doesn't mean I agree with it.

          As a very long time, experienced J2ME/Symbian/Smart Phone of all sorts user, I couldn't still understand the point of Google Android. Why are they busy with it instead of giving a huge help to Linux,J2ME, Symbian and WinMo?

          Google classes/Framework Linux(embedded), J2ME, Symbian and Windows Mobile. Apple mobile OS X if Apple changes their mind. That is it. That is all need

      • by 2nd Post! (213333)

        How is that congruent? You have to point to an instance where Apple removed a feature from a product before shipping, something Microsoft is known for doing.

        Apple has dropped features, btw, such as Quartz 2D Extreme or whatever it was called.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Piranhaa (672441)

      How? Okay maybe the Bluetooth API, but Gtalk was left out because of security. I highly doubt that Google would really want to leave out their own chat messenger from an OS they're releasing unless there was a pretty big reason to. That's like Microsoft leaving out Messenger. So, what did Microsoft leave out of Vista? WinFS That's pretty major in itself and was one of the most major marketing points originally. What else? Safe Delete, Start Menu action field.. And the list goes on. It's not like Google's ma

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by andy9701 (112808)

        Lots of companies drop out features before it's released fora variety of reasons or leave it as experimental (just look at ZFS in Leopard and its Read Only capability).

        While I agree with your other points, in this case I don't think Apple has ever announced that ZFS would be in OS X - it was all rumors and hearsay, IIRC.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Gtalk was left out because of security. I highly doubt that Google would really want to leave out their own chat messenger from an OS they're releasing unless there was a pretty big reason to.

        I'm not convinced that it was due to security concerns. I'd be willing to bet it's due to pressure from carriers. If Android's messenger were to catch on, carriers would say goodbye to text messaging revenue.

      • by rtechie (244489) *

        The problem is that the primary push behind Android is the ease of third-party development. Anything that reduces third-party functionality is a major blow from this perspective. I personally believe that Android will have major problems due to it's general lack of polish compared to Windows Mobile and iPhones. Also, the relatively small install base won't attract the third parties. I really believe that Android only has a future in Asia, where manufacturers will adopt it solely because it's cheaper than S

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by shitzu (931108)

        I highly doubt that Google would really want to leave out their own chat messenger from an OS they're releasing unless there was a pretty big reason to.

        Nobody said they will be "leaving out their own chat messenger" - they said they will not include GTalkService API. I.e. you can not code a program utilizing gtalk services easily. That does not mean THEY (Google) can not code a chat messenger.

    • by volpe (58112) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @12:45PM (#24752879)

      Google: The Microsoft of cell phones.

      You think Microsoft would drop a feature due to security concerns?

    • by gad_zuki! (70830)

      >previously planned features and end by hiring a 90's sitcom star

      I'm picturing Kathy Griffin annoyingly promoting Android. *shudder*

      Perhaps Woz can make an awkward guest appearance.

    • Uh, Push notifications? Dropping features is in Apple's play book lately, as well.

      • by 2nd Post! (213333)

        They haven't dropped the feature if they haven't shipped it yet. What they did is disable it from the latest beta build!

    • by Tweenk (1274968)

      Check this out, [thedailywtf.com] specifically the illustration halfway down the page. Axing features is sometimes the only way to avoid failure.

    • by B3ryllium (571199)

      Sure - but it would be Will Smith, not Seinfeld ...

    • by DECS (891519)

      I am compelled to point out that the premise of Google's Android being the "DOS of smartphones" was examined in:

      Will Google's Android Play DOS to Appleâ(TM)s iPhone? [roughlydrafted.com]

      ... a followup to

      Will Windows Mobile Play DOS to Apple's iPhone? [roughlydrafted.com]

      • by lokedhs (672255)
        While Roughlydrafted is a very good, well-written and informative blog, you always have to remember that it's being written with an extremely pro-Apple mindset.

        I could write a lot about where a lot of his Android comparisons doesn't really work, but that would just make me seem like I don't like the blog, which I actually do.

  • Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @12:26PM (#24752619)

    Google dropped the Bluetooth API from the mobile OS because 'we plain ran out of time.'

    I don't get it. Aren't they going to Beta it for a couple of years?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Piranhaa (672441)

      I'm actually very surprised that Google has a version "1.0" now. I was afraid they would just add revisions to their v 0.9 and start calling it 0.9.445, 0.9.334454, 0.9.12314434, etc. Just pray they don't change it to b1.0 in the actual OS ;-)

    • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Van Cutter Romney (973766) <sriram.venkataramaniNO@SPAMgeemail.com> on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @12:52PM (#24752969)
      Seriously, they can afford to Beta hosted applications running on their website and claim that if it crashed it was in "Beta". But software running on consumer devices? I don't think so.
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ghoti (60903) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @01:15PM (#24753259) Homepage

      They have to get FCC approval to be able to run their OS on consumer devices, this isn't some little program that people download and run on their machines. The idea of an open source mobile OS is a neat one in theory, but in practice it's just not that simple. The potential for exploits is huge, and with very severe consequences. The way Apple has locked down the iPhone may look draconian, but it also protects its users from all kinds of stuff you really don't want to worry about on your phone.

      • Re:Huh? (Score:5, Funny)

        by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @01:26PM (#24753405)

        The way Apple has locked down the iPhone may look draconian, but it also protects its users from all kinds of stuff you really don't want to worry about on your phone.

        Like reliable reception?

        • by Sentry21 (8183)

          You mean electromagnetic death waves? I, for one, am glad Apple is looking out for us, protecting us from the alien technology in use by the KGB even today!

        • by n3tcat (664243)
          the iphone is a tin foil hat replacement?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lussarn (105276)

        The idea of an open source mobile OS is a neat one in theory, but in practice it's just not that simple. The potential for exploits is huge, and with very severe consequences. The way Apple has locked down the iPhone may look draconian, but it also protects its users from all kinds of stuff you really don't want to worry about on your phone.

        As taken from the DRM lovers textbook. OSS software has been on unsecure networks for decades and if anything it's been more secure than the locked down stuff.

        • by Sentry21 (8183)

          Sorry, can you point to an open-source mobile cellular client device that has been in widespread use on cellular networks for decades? or at all?

          OSS has been used on physical networks, sure, and wireless ones, but cellular networks are infrastructure. You can't just connect any random device to the cellular network unless it follows the applicable standards.

        • by Ilgaz (86384)

          So do you think Symbian OS will magically lose all DRM functionality when its open source?

          It won't happen. You can embed binary DRM frameworks to open source operating systems. Of course if you are Nokia, you have to be open about it, you just say "To protect content providers rights", you and your fans don't claim ridiculous things like the one you replied to.

          For security, the perfect example is "Symbian Signed" which is in fact a mixture of Java sandbox idea and "good side" of Windows ActiveX. It took yea

      • by lokedhs (672255)
        How are users more protected in the iphone than they are on the Nokia phones (which happens to allow you run any applicaiton you want?).

        I happen to be using Skype, and various IM apps [fring.com] over the 3G network with my Nokia. The integrity of the mobile networks seems to hold up pretty well in spite of this.

    • Here it goes. It starting to sound a lot like Windows Longhorn development. Feature being removed step month by month. Until it becomes a sub standard product. And people realizing "Oh the reason it hasn't been implemented before is because it was a lot harder then it seems."

      Part of the problem with prerelease buzz about products is that people expect more by the time it comes out they get disappointed.

  • But is it coming in September or not? Last date I heard was November. I got an expired T-Mobile contract thats ready to get 'upgraded', for now I still got this ancient Sidekick III.

  • So they say (Score:5, Funny)

    by bockelboy (824282) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @12:34PM (#24752729)

    Plain ran out of time? ... or CRAZY CONSPIRACY THEORY!?!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Otter (3800)
      It's that mojo they lost yesterday... can't implement Bluetooth without it!
      • It's that mojo they lost yesterday... can't implement Bluetooth without it!

        Mr. Morrison has his mojo rising, perhaps they should ask him if they could borrow some?

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      Considering that the 1st models are about to go to the market (HTC Dream?) out of time is a pretty good explanation.

      The good news is that all of this seems to be about software, not hardware. You buy an android phone now, and your phone could have full bluetooth support and gtalk when they release it.
    • by Adambomb (118938)

      or CRAZY CONSPIRACY THEORY!?!

      I can believe it being simply time constraints for their first launch, but i definitely hope they intend to implement the full bluetooth api eventually. I'd hate to see google fall into the "Hey we can fail to implement bluetooth file transfers and force subscribers to send data only over our network with our happy fun usage fees (Subcribe for one of our BndOVR Packages to avoid RedEye)!" camp.

    • by Ilgaz (86384)

      I tell you the crazy conspiracy theory. The Android's target is APPLE!

      Apple iPhone has some kind of bluetooth that only allows you stereo headsets and nothing else. So they are copying iPhone!

  • Why not put up a poll?

    1. Delay launch but have x feature
    2. Proceed with launch date and remove x feature.

    That way you can get a feel of what the majority of buyers want, and their decision can be based on what the consumer wants.

    • by jonnythan (79727) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @12:51PM (#24752953) Homepage

      There's a reason companies don't just put up polls for decisions about how to develop products.

      Customers don't know what they want, and most of the responders will not be people who have any intention of buying the product anyway.

    • by ghoti (60903) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @01:11PM (#24753207) Homepage

      This isn't some CowboyNeal nonsense, this is about getting a product out in time for the Christmas buying frenzy. They have to get things done on time or there won't be any sales. A few missing features can always be added later, but if they don't sell any of those phones, they're done.

      • This isn't some CowboyNeal nonsense, this is about getting a product out in time for the Christmas buying frenzy. They have to get things done on time or there won't be any sales.

        Absolutely! All these nay-sayers are acting like they did not know that Christmas 2008 is the last Christmas ever! I am being told that everyone who God is talking to daily in a loud voice (or even a chorus of voices) knows that there will be no sales after that, ever again!

        Btw, ghoti, since this is Slashdot I gotta ask: do you h

        • by ghoti (60903)

          You obviously have no idea how a company works. They can't just say "oh too bad about this Christmas, maybe we'll get our stuff ready for next year. Happens. Let's just sit around for a year and hope Google can finish all those great features!" A real company needs to sell stuff, and needs to milk Christmas as much as possible to have money to spend on R&D, etc. Skipping Christmas will kill a company, even a large one.

          • You obviously have no idea how a company works. They can't just say "oh too bad about this Christmas, maybe we'll get our stuff ready for next year. Happens. Let's just sit around for a year and hope Google can finish all those great features!" A real company needs to sell stuff, and needs to milk Christmas as much as possible to have money to spend on R&D, etc. Skipping Christmas will kill a company, even a large one.

            Right, because a typical well-run company depends on 100% of its revenue to come from

    • by athakur999 (44340)

      If it's easy to upgrade the OS on the phone after you bought it (meaning something I can easily do at home and not have to go into a store or send it somewhere to do it...), I'm all for option 2, especially in this case where both of these features are in the "nice to have" category instead of reguired features.

  • Not Google (Score:2, Interesting)

    Running out of time... doesn't seem very Google like to me. There certainly is something that Google is trying hard to bury here, possibly a leak. I think they'll rewrite it from scratch and include it in the next version.
  • by jsharkey (975973) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @12:38PM (#24752789)
    Android 1.0 phones *will* still have working Bluetooth and IM. This announcement is specifically referencing developer APIs that would allow hackers like us to do awesome stuff. Bluetooth headsets, etc and normal IM will work on Android just like we've always expected.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by jtolds (413336)

      I think another good clarification is whether the first GPhone hardware (i.e. the G1 from T-Mobile) will allow software upgrades. I assume that's the case. Is it?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @12:59PM (#24753053)

    Does the iPhone have a Bluetooth API? Nope. Whats the big deal?

  • ...unless I get word that I can sync over Bluetooth. Cables are so yesterday, and IR is 90's...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Beale (676138)
      That'll probably come built into the Contacts app or whatever - the basic apps that come with the phone. It's only third party app developers who are affected by this.
      • by rickb928 (945187)

        Seeing as I was hoping to become a third-party app developer, it looks like core functionality will have to be addressed before the geegaws and doodads work.

        Oh, wait, it's really mostly about geegaws and doodads.

        You heard it here first - Google is just another corporation. Evil is intrinsic. Do no evil, do no business.

  • It sounds as if the Android team is trying to meet a deadline and do so responsibly. This is a welcome departure for Google!

    Now if only they could add a task list to Google Calendar as part of the Android rollout...

  • Verizon (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zubikov (1172699) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @01:12PM (#24753221)
    Verizon has consistently limited Bluetooth capability in all of their devices up to date. They do not want you to send messages and transfer files to/from their devices without charging you every step of the way. It's that simple. Oh, Verizon also happens to be a major backer of Android and is in cahoots with Google. Does anyone think there's a chance that there are external influences to this decision?
    • by milamber3 (173273)

      NO, not at all. The loss of the API's will not stop you from transferring files off of an android phone. I'm sure you will be able to email, ftp, or move them in 10 different ways through the wifi, 3G, or USB connections to any computer you want.

      The IM is also not gone, just the API is delayed. I'm sorry that your friends wont get automatic IM's from all your programs, you might have to take the time to type something out. The Horror!

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by louks (1075763)

      On the contrary, Verizon has intentionally shunned Android and went with the LiMo Foundation.

      References?

      Here. [arstechnica.com]

      The other articles you likely read are now old.

      I left Verizon and went with my wife's T-Mobile account for two reasons: the one you mentioned about Verizon closing out everything they can to squeeze money out of their customers, and T-Mobile's founding support of the Open Handset Alliance.

  • Will be supported at launch? They mention handsets, but what of OBEX?

  • It's interesting (Score:3, Informative)

    by greentshirt (1308037) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @01:32PM (#24753507)
    How many stupid "smart" people there are on here. Reading skills ftl. The API's have nothing to do with the base functionality, as has already been stated a dozen times.
    • by dhall (1252)

      This is slashdot.

      That's like saying you read Playboy to read the articles.

      It just doesn't happen...

  • Meanwhile, other manufacturers have been able to ship phones with a Bluetooth API [jcp.org] for six years or so... A reference implementation and test suite [motorola.com] is available under the APL, and has been for a very long time. Just shows how utterly stupid it is to create new standards when perfectly good ones already exist.
    • Very very very few phones support JSR-82. Only a handful of Nokias do last time I went to look at developing things that work over Bluetooth. Blackberry's also have a bluetooth API, but you can only access the Serial Port Profile, and not publish new service records which is a very annoying limitation.
      • by bjourne (1034822)
        You are wrong. Most mid to high-end handsets released in the last two years do support JSR-82. Find out for yourself at Nokia's site [nokia.com] or at Sony Ericsson's site [sonyericsson.com] or search for yourself [google.com].
        • This was back in early '06. I'm aware S60 phones though, but I was excluding smartphones since most people who code for a smartphone environment do it natively, and not via J2ME.
      • by Yokaze (70883)

        > Only a handful of Nokias do last time I went to look at developing things that work over Bluetooth.

        A handful? If I see it correctly all Symbian mobiles after S60 2nd Ed FP1 (without OBEX) and Nokia OS S40 3rd Ed seem to have JSR-82.The support must have been there from around 2004-2005, so I guess you looked to early.

        A search today revealed a handful of pages with mobiles supporting JSR-82 [nokia.com]

  • by zullnero (833754) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @01:39PM (#24753619) Homepage
    But they're competing against mobile OS's like WinMob, Symbian, and Palm that have been around for about 10-14 years now. They've been doing Bluetooth for about 6-7 years. It's no longer a special, cutting edge feature...it's just expected by companies looking to port their applications. If it's not there, companies don't port their applications and don't support the phone. Customers of said company get marketed into buying the phone, find out that the app they need for their job doesn't work, they return the phone and are upset about it. I've seen this before years ago with the Motorola Q, when a company I worked for did not want to port their app to a non-touch screen device. They're going to have to deliver that Bluetooth API pretty quick if they don't want to tank their OS right out of the gate...some of the largest penetration of non-Apple smartphones are into vertical industries where the application provider really makes or breaks the success of a platform.
    • They're going to have to deliver that Bluetooth API pretty quick if they don't want to tank their OS right out of the gate

      Why? Which of these other OSes (WinMob, Symbian, and Palm) has a bluetooth API? None, I think. Of course they all support Bluetooth, but we're talking about a software API to it. Maybe Symbian does, I know next to nothing about it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by sadida_333 (160109)

        >Which of these other OSes (WinMob, Symbian, and Palm) has a bluetooth API? None, I think.

        Actually, they all do.

        Windows Mobile Bluetooth API [microsoft.com]
        Symbian Bluetooth API [symbian.com]
        Palm Bluetooth API [geekzone.co.nz]

  • Why would you put your email address and real name onto your phone if you didn't wish to transmit that information to other people?
  • by ishmalius (153450) on Tuesday August 26, 2008 @03:47PM (#24755399)
    When they dropped exposing XMPP service, they basically said that GTalkService was going to be better anyway. What now? IM as a transport is very important to 3d party apps.

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