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An Android Tablet Victory May Be Problematic For Free Software 208

Posted by Soulskill
from the all-the-same-and-yet-all-different dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Glyn Moody writes at The H that Google's Nexus 7 tablet seems to be in a good position to shake up the market and pave the way for serious Android competition to the iPad. That said, he's worried about the potential downsides to a market full of mostly 'open' devices: 'Such customised systems are likely to be as locked down as they can be – the last thing either manufacturers or companies want is for users to start fiddling with the settings or installing their own software. As a result, the apps that run on such systems are likely to be closed source, since that's the way vertical markets tend to work. Such systems will also expose a persistent problem with the open source development methodology. While big and general projects find it relatively easy to attract interested developers, smaller, more targeted solutions tend not to thrive as free software.'"
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An Android Tablet Victory May Be Problematic For Free Software

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  • FUD (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:17AM (#40612171)

    Android phones work just fine with respect to OSS.

    QED

    Discussion closed.

    • Re:FUD (Score:5, Informative)

      by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:26AM (#40612211)
      I agree. This article is full of FUD and little off-hand remarks about Android being of lesser quality and implies Google doesn't care about their brand because the Android OS is on low-end devices.
      • Re:FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

        by TellarHK (159748) <[tellarhk] [at] [hotmail.com]> on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:29AM (#40612225) Homepage Journal

        The author pretty much lost me as soon as he said it wasn't clear whether people weren't buying iPads due to size. Really? 7" vs. 9.7"? Is that 2.7" size difference _really_ a make or break feature for people that otherwise might buy an iPad if they're not already turned completely off due to walled gardens, pricing, vendor lock-in and Apple's increasingly frightening track record? Every time I read that argument put out there, I wonder whether the writer is seeking some kind of "balance" where there really isn't any.

        If you want the Apple ecosystem, you buy an iPad.

        If you don't really care about, or care for, Apple's ecosystem, you buy something else.

        That is all there is to it.

        • Re:FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:04AM (#40612389)

          The author pretty much lost me as soon as he said it wasn't clear whether people weren't buying iPads due to size.

          No that's not what he said, he said it wasn't clear whether the interest in the Galaxy Nexus was due to the Nexus' for it's own sake or whether a lot of the interest is being driven by the fact that here is no 7" iPad. He then went on to imply that we'd see which is the case if and when Apple rolls out a 7" iPad 'Mini'. If it really is the case that people are mostly interested in the Galaxy Nexus because there is no 7" iPad we should see a deflation in interest in the Nexus as soon as the 7" iPad hits the market, if not Apple gets a kick in the nuts when their 7" iPad flops. He never claimed that device size is not a selling point.

          • Re:FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

            by TellarHK (159748) <[tellarhk] [at] [hotmail.com]> on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:23AM (#40612457) Homepage Journal

            I think it's a fairly safe bet that when someone is shopping for a tablet, if there's a 7" iPad on the table next to a Nexus 7, they're still going to be making that purchase based on a wide variety of other factors than screen size. It really does boil down to ecosystem vs. ecosystem, or price, for most buyers. The fact there is no 7" iPad has nothing to do with Nexus 7 sales, because I think it's a pretty safe bet that given all the other factors out there to make a tablet purchase decision based on, the availability of one size versus another is pointless.

            The Nexus 7 will primarily sell to people who don't like Apple, or want/need to buy the cheaper offering on the market versus Apple's offerings. If Nexus 7 sales dip when an iPad 7" hits the market, I won't be surprised, but I don't think it will be anything staggering.

            • Re:FUD (Score:5, Interesting)

              by realityimpaired (1668397) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @07:46AM (#40612833)

              The fact there is no 7" iPad has nothing to do with Nexus 7 sales, because I think it's a pretty safe bet that given all the other factors out there to make a tablet purchase decision based on, the availability of one size versus another is pointless.

              Yes, and no. There are absolutely other factors out there, but it becomes a use case scenario. The reason I won't buy a 7" tablet is because I already have an e-book reader and an Android cell phone. I'm carrying the cell phone anyway, and 7" isn't enough of an improvement over the screen on the cell phone for me to want to carry it as well. I'm on the fence right now about whether I want to buy a tablet, when I already own a 13" ultraportable laptop (I do have a specific use in mind, I'm just trying to decide if it's worth the expense when I have other ways of completing the task), but if I were to buy one, it would be a 10" display.

              Some people buy tablets because they're the cool thing to have. Those people will almost universally buy an iPad, and it becomes a non-issue. Some people buy them because they actually have a need for it, and for those people the form factor of the device (read: screen size) will probably be the main deciding factor. If they can't get a device in a screen size that's useful to them, there's no point in buying the device. The general consumer doesn't really care whether it's iOS or Android, as long as it does what they want it to do. Most people are happily oblivious to the walled garden, and in fact think that it's a good thing as long as it doesn't prevent them from playing Angry Birds or getting on Facebook.

              • Re:FUD (Score:5, Interesting)

                by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @11:31AM (#40615225) Homepage Journal

                I have a 7" tablet and yes it is a big enough improvement over a cell phone.
                A 7" tablet is about as small I want to watch movies and TV on. I can do on my phone but the tablet is much nicer. Also bigger device == bigger battery == longer runtime. I do not want run my phone to zero ever if for no other reason than safety. A second device means that I can keep by phone for communications and my tablet none essential uses.
                I also find the 7" more portable than a 10" and the lower cost makes it less risky to use. If a $199 device gets broken or stolen it is far less tragic than if a $499 device does. Heck at replace cost the Nexus 7 is cheaper than my smartphone.
                For example since the Nexus 7 has a GPS I am thinking about building a mount for my motorcycle for it. I could use it as a nav device as well as for music on long rides. Another option is a car mount.
                I have a Kindle fire right now and it works great as an e reader, media player , and for games.

            • Re:FUD (Score:4, Interesting)

              by mwvdlee (775178) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @08:39AM (#40613231) Homepage

              Actually, for me screen size is an important issue. I wouldn't give any money for an iPad no matter what the size, but I've tried 7", 8" and 10" Android tablets, and the size alone makes them quite different. That 2"-3" difference makes a significant impact on how easy it is to lug around and how well it is suited towards what you want to use it for. Personally I'd prefer 7" regardless of price.

            • The truth of the matter is that right now, people are looking at the wide array of android tablets out there, then looking at the price tags, and thinking "For that price, I could get an iPad." Thus the sale is lost.

        • Re:FUD (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:29AM (#40612481) Homepage

          Actually if I had my choice I would rather have an 11.5 inch ipad. I want an 8.5X11 or A5 size screen. but then I also want to have palm rejection and a wacom stylus integrated. 512 levels of pressure in an accurate stylus. It suddenly turns the tablet into a serious art and business device.

          • Re:FUD (Score:4, Informative)

            by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @07:48AM (#40612847) Homepage Journal

            Actually if I had my choice I would rather have an 11.5 inch ipad. I want an 8.5X11 or A5 size screen.

            A tablet with an 8.5"x11" screen would be a 13.9" tablet. Screens are measured diagonally, for some reason.

            • Re:FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

              by bdcrazy (817679) <bdc_tggr-forums@yahoo.com> on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:04AM (#40613471) Homepage

              Why is I measured diagonally? Why are hard drives measured in 1,000,000s? Because the number is bigger. For 8.5x11, you can truthfully say the max size available on the screen is 13.9". If higher numbers don't mean better, we wouldn't have this problem.

            • Screens are measured diagonally, for some reason.

              For the reason that everyone knows that 4:3 is the right answer, and has done since ancient Greece, and probably before that, so one measurement tells you the rest.

              Unfortunately, Hollywood got in on the act, and now you cant get a decent screen anywhere. I want a Samsung Galaxy S 4:3!

        • Re:FUD (Score:4, Insightful)

          by chrb (1083577) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @08:13AM (#40612987)

          Really? 7" vs. 9.7"? Is that 2.7" size difference _really_ a make or break feature

          Well, I've heard some people complaining that a 7" tablet is too small to read A4 papers on, on the other hand, Kindle seems to be doing fine with it. $199 versus $499 is what most people are going to be concerned about.

          And to flip the screen size thing around, the iPhone 4S has only a 3.5" screen, Galaxy S3 has a 4.8" screen, Galaxy Note has 5.3" screen; for a phone, that does make a difference.

          • by Imagix (695350)
            IMHO, the Kindle is too small to read A4 pages. That was one of the driving reasons for me to get an iPad. Trying to read an A4 PDF on the Kindle drives me up the wall scrolling all over the page (or having to zoom out so far as to need a magnifying glass). However, if it's available as a real ebook... give me the Kindle anyday.
        • Really? 7" vs. 9.7"? Is that 2.7" size difference _really_ a make or break feature

          A 4:3 9.7" iPad has 45 square inches of screen surface area. A 16:9 7" Nexus has just over 20 square inches of screen surface area, less than *half*. So yes, the size difference is incredible.

        • I don't think this is true at all. A (basically) 10" tablet is significantly larger than a 7" tablet.

          Another justification would be that the new iPad has a significantly better display than anything else out there right now. It's a better experience with anything visual, which is pretty much everything on content delivery devices.

          I don't particularly care for Apple as a company, but the benefit of having all my stuff everywhere all the time makes their ecosystem work for me. Interoperability is a real benef

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by errandum (2014454)

      I think what is meant was that the tablet business model is different from the phone's. A phone is sold as is, with exorbitant prices if not subsidized by a carrier. This table is sold probably at the price it costs to make or even less, since it is supposed to make money by the use of google's store.

      And for google to make money on it, they have to guarantee (somewhat) that you'll be using their services. And that's why these are different than phones, most brands provide easy to root Android phones, since

      • Re:FUD (Score:5, Informative)

        by ozmanjusri (601766) <(aussie_bob) (at) (hotmail.com)> on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:48AM (#40612321) Journal

        This table is sold probably at the price it costs to make or even less,

        The teardown suggests Google is making about $15 over hardware cost on each of the 8GB models, and a bit more on the 16GB version. That's not much margin to pay for development etc, but does mean they're at least breaking even.

        http://www.ubmtechinsights.com/google-nexus-7-teardown/ [ubmtechinsights.com]

      • Re:FUD (Score:5, Interesting)

        by somersault (912633) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @07:05AM (#40612661) Homepage Journal

        I have hardly bought any content for my tablet. Sure I have tried out a few games (which also run on my phone), but I mostly use it for web browsing, email, youtube, and reading Kindle books. The tablet certainly wasn't cheap either, it cost around the same as an iPad or maybe slightly more.

        I find it pretty weird that the summary suggests that there aren't already serious competitors to the iPad. I'm very happy with my Xoom.

        I do think the screen on the iPad 3 is very nice. I was even considering buying one, but in use I just find it a pain in the ass: I'm very used to having a convenient "back" button in Android. It even works to go back to the previous application that you were using. For example if you tap on a youtube link in the browser, it takes you to the youtube app - tap "back", and you will be back where you were in the browser.

        If anyone can tell me a good way to deal with this kind of thing in iOS then I'd be happy to hear it and give iOS another go - but as far as I can tell individual applications often have their own style of UI that means that there isn't always a standard way of moving back to previous screens, and it really just spoils the flow of using the device for me.

        I'm not sure if simply having a better screen would be enough to convince me to upgrade from my Xoom yet though, considering it's running Android 4.1 pretty nicely.

    • Exactly. Can we just mod the article it's-self as a troll and move on?
    • Tell that to Verizon.....
  • It's pretty easy to consider the desktop PC the greatest "open" device out there, and OSS options on it have always had these problems. But instead of the single device manufacturer locking OSS out, it's component makers not releasing driver sources or specifications.

    On the software side, of course the smaller and more focused software solutions are going to get less interest. That's how it's always been, and probably will always be. For every narrow target a project encompasses, there are only X interested

    • But the tablets have the driver problem worse than a PC because there's no standard bootloader, input, storage, or display to fall back on to get the system working while specific drivers are being constructed. PC, on the other hand, has the Basic Input/Output System (BIOS), which provides a standard bootloader, the PS/2 keyboard and mouse (or a chipset based emulation thereof), an ATA controller, and the VESA display.
    • It's pretty easy to consider the desktop PC the greatest "open" device out there, and OSS options on it have always had these problems. But instead of the single device manufacturer locking OSS out, it's component makers not releasing driver sources or specifications.

      Except that the open source development community has basically shown that they can reverse engineer hardware and produce their own drivers. There is no worry about breaking the law when you distribute an open source driver. Compare that to the situation with geohot.

  • by gmhowell (26755) <gmhowell@gmail.com> on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:33AM (#40612253) Homepage Journal

    IIRC, x86 computers were far more expensive as a percentage of income than these new tablets, and yet free software found plenty of room to thrive. You should Google this 'Linus Torvalds' guy. He wrote some big bit of free software one time.

    I'm also not sure why free software would have trouble? Isn't GPL v3 software compatible with Google's marketplace? I own solely iOS devices, so I'm not 100% sure. In addition, there is no developer fee. Seems like Free (and free) software should proliferate on the platform.

    Locked down platform? Any vendor would have to have a market or app store comparable in many ways to those already in place by Apple and Google. Otherwise, why buy that tablet?

    Yeah, I guess I could RTFA, but this summary in no way makes me want to read it. Was this picked by Soulskill or voted up in the firehose?

    • Isn't GPL v3 software compatible with Google's marketplace?

      Moreover, anybody who has turned on "Unknown sources" to install Amazon Appstore can install F-Droid, which is all free software all the time.

    • Locked down platform? Any vendor would have to have a market or app store comparable in many ways to those already in place by Apple and Google

      http://www.wimm.com/ [wimm.com]

      Yes, manufacturers are doing this. Yes, they are locking down the device, and yes, GPLv3 is incompatible with such a platform.

    • You should Google this 'Linus Torvalds' guy. He wrote some big bit of free software one time.

      He's the guy who broke PHP's number_format function, right?

  • by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:36AM (#40612269)

    With Apple as the vanguard, companies have already done their best to lock down every device that is not a PC as tightly as possible during the past 10 years. They want to retain all control and make it illegal to hack, alter or use a device in the way you want even after you've bought it. Ideally, they'd wish to put the same software on all devices and make you pay to unlock features. Now they want to do the same on the PC by forcing developers to use their distribution channels and locking down the boot process.

    Bottomline: The damage is already done. We'd need to have customer protection laws to invalidate all these measures and EULAs, but since the industry lobby is fairly strong, this is not going to happen -- at least not in the US.

    • by TellarHK (159748) <[tellarhk] [at] [hotmail.com]> on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:43AM (#40612305) Homepage Journal

      I used to be a naysayer when it came to that kind of thinking, since I figured there was room in the marketplace for open desktop systems and more tightly integrated and locked down mobile experiences. Unfortunately the last year or so have really gone a long way toward making me rethink my stand, and in particular the release of the Macbook Pro Retina tipped the scales. Once Apple starts leading people down a path these days, everyone seems to follow. Instead of getting something nice like a new, smoothly compartmentalized machine, we got one where everything was soldered and glued in place, even worse than tablets had been. Why? To make it a couple millimeters thinner.

      Microsoft's price slashing on Windows 8 may be most simply seen as a way to drive adoption of an otherwise ill-received operating system update, but after having used the preview for several days on my laptop I'm starting to sense where they might really be headed, and indeed that's a "Software as a Service" model.

      It may take another generation of systems or two, but that's where Microsoft is headed. Windows 10 probably won't feel all that much like Windows as we know it, and it'll probably feel a lot more like whatever tablet/phone combination Microsoft's trying to sell than whatever the ecosystem they have today is offering.

      • Windows 10 probably won't feel all that much like Windows as we know it

        Would that leave an opening for X11/Linux systems the way the introduction of the Ribbon in Microsoft Office 2007 left an opening for OpenOffice.org?

    • Not Apple; Nintendo, Sony, Sega, etc. were the pioneers of locking down consumer computers. Before Apple was even a company, people were talking about computation being sold as a utility -- you would only rent access through a terminal to a mainframe.
  • Alternatives (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Meneth (872868) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:39AM (#40612277)
    Android is problematic, yes, but iOS and Windows are far worse.
  • Arrrgh (Score:4, Informative)

    by Psychotria (953670) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @05:41AM (#40612293)

    There is nothing that infuriates me more

    [...] a persistent problem with the open source development methodology.

    Methodology is the "study of method". The correct word is method

    Thanks

    • by Chrisq (894406)

      There is nothing that infuriates me more

      [...] a persistent problem with the open source development methodology.

      Methodology is the "study of method". The correct word is method

      Thanks

      It seems to be a prevalent trend in spurious metaisations in English. "Method" becomes "methodology", "existing conditions" become "pre-existing conditions", "language skills" or simple "languages known" becomes "linguistic skills".

      • And to make matters worse, for all intensive purposes [lascribe.net], most people could care less [youtube.com]!
        • It's so exponentially annoying that it literally makes my blood boil.

          Rising up the charts: "Eek out".

      • "language skills" or simple "languages known" becomes "linguistic skills"

        This one annoys me to the point that when asked about "linguistic skills", I start going on about my (admittedly limited, but not non-existent) knowledge of comparative linguistics; etymology; grammar constructions; and so on. It usually gets strange looks, followed by, "Uh, we meant what languages do you speak?"; at which point I point out the difference between linguistics and languages, vainly hoping (but hardly expecting) that they'll actually learn something.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by mister2au (1707664)

      Nope ... methodology is in fact the correct word here, meaning a system or set of methods

      "open source development methodology" refers to a framework or system not individual steps or methods so is absolutely fine to use

      your definition is by far the minority usage of the word

      • Nope ... methodology is in fact the correct word here, meaning a system or set of methods

        "open source development methodology" refers to a framework or system not individual steps or methods so is absolutely fine to use

        your definition is by far the minority usage of the word

        I may be in the minority but there is no escaping the meaning of the suffix "-ology".

        • Re:Arrrgh (Score:4, Informative)

          by Aighearach (97333) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @07:13AM (#40612681) Homepage

          I may be in the minority but there is no escaping the meaning of the suffix "-ology".

          In English, suffixes that are part of complete, known words do not have meaning. The word as a whole has meaning. The meaning of the suffix is relevant mostly to the etymology, not the definition. That the suffixes are consistent and have isolated meaning is very useful, though. Normally. But in this case rigid and over-simplified rules are getting in the way of vocabulary. Methodology is not only the study the methods. Like many -ology words, it also covers formalized, repeatable, or characteristic patterns in addition to study. Or you could say, it embraces both the academic and applied systems with a single word. So you may be doing something using a certain method, but regardless of any study or lack of study, if you are doing something using a method known to you that you already decided on or learned, and presumably (though not necessarily) named, that is a methodology.

    • by Exitar (809068)

      It's both.

      From dictionary.com :
      methodology
      1. a set or system of methods, principles, and rules for regulating a given discipline, as in the arts or sciences.
      2. Philosophy
            a. the underlying principles and rules of organization of a philosophical system or inquiry procedure.
            b. the study of the principles underlying the organization of the various sciences and the conduct of scientific inquiry.

    • Methodology is the "study of method". The correct word is method

      And "chemistry" is the study of chemicals, but one talks about a particular battery "chemistry". "Christology" is the study of Christ, yet one talks about a particular Christian sect's "Christology". Likewise, a "methodology" appears to refer to a set of related methods.

  • All devices will tend to use more OSS and be less locked down, because it's a potential well in terms of market competition (less investment, longer duration, better image, ...). The gradient may be smooth now (and has been close to 0 in the past) but in the long term the world will be mainly OSS.

    • by cdrguru (88047)

      I assume that you are a knowledgeable computer user with the ability to administer multiple devices without any problems caused by rogue software, malware and such.

      Sorry to burst your bubble but the average user of a PC today needs one of two things: either a completely locked-down environment that cannot be broken into to install rogue software, malware and such or a system where someone else is administering it (and cleaning it peridocally). There is no other way - the third way, left up to the user, res

  • by Flipao (903929) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:02AM (#40612375)
    I'm sure the success of an Open Source OS in the market would clearly doom us all, Preservinig MSFT's monopoly on the other hand is the path to salvation because well, better the devil you know, right?
    • I'm sure the success of an Open Source OS in the market would clearly doom us all

      Since the article is complete trash, let me suggest that people who are interested in the way these markets proceed read The Innovator's Solution [amazon.com]. Long story short: first movers maximize profit by being proprietary and competition forces them into being open (which lowers profits).

      iPhone, literally implements their suggested course of action for RIM to take w/ Blackberry (this was written c. 2003). Google saw that Apple had t

  • Nonsense (Score:5, Informative)

    by should_be_linear (779431) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:03AM (#40612381)
    I work as developer of specialized Enterprise Android applications. So, we order tablets with pure ICS and we put selection of our apps that we need to have there. Yes, for end-users it is "locked", but it is not locked by Google, it is locked by anyone who wants to create such tablet, and it is locked in way end-user demands. If there is demand for whatever style of tablet, however open, there is company that will provide it, Android is fully open-source, there is no limit to customization. And I am not talking about 'jailbreaking" here, Chinese cheap and fully customizable (including hardware!) tablets are completely legal (minus nonsense on rectangular shape in US, etc.).
    • by AmiMoJo (196126)

      Spot on. Our customers demand we lock down our tablets so that their employees don't spend all day on Angry Birds and are not tempted to steal them. A competitor tried to release an iOS app based system and the shear number of devices that got "lost" in the field quickly killed it.

    • I think it's interesting that the Android device he cited is one that widely comes rooted. (eg: I have the Onda version of this device; it comes pre-rooted. In addition many "manufacturers" sell similar A10 tablets with Mali GPUs & there are a number of firmwares on ICS at XDA for them.)

      Outside the enterprise, it appears that most (cheap) android tablets come pre-rooted & getting an alternate firmware is relatively trivial.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @06:12AM (#40612415) Homepage

    Android has already won.

    If you look at the history of the PC vs Apple vs Commodore/Amiga, you will remember the remarkable success that cheap, ubiquitous success the PC (and clones -- this is important) had over the others. As countless discussions on the topic were held in those days, people kept citing the superiority of the others. The famous bouncing, spinning sphere... I miss that thing. It was representative of the future of gaming... fast computers and smooth, realistic graphics. (Just took a break to change my screensaver to "Boing" hehe) We, the engineer-technophile types were oblivious to how populations work and behave or what their needs were. We had toy lust and that was just about the extent of it.

    Meanwhile, Apple did everything they could to prevent clones of their products and were quite successful, thus ensuring that no market forces other than lust could influence people to buy Apple products. And while that was going on, lots of other product makers out there made awesome little things out there which were also rather proprietary in nature and just didn't get how important that compatibility was... back then, I didn't get it either. My step-father asked me when I bought my first computer from Radio Shack, "what's it compatible with?!" I cluelessly said "itself!" and asserted that I got this thing for me, not for others. This was at a time before modems and networks and all that... data was shared by floppy disk and sometimes even cassette tape. He got it, back then and I didn't... but then again, he was a business-minded guy... (but after he died and I was digging through some of his stuff, I found Wang and some of the other stuff that was fighting for a place in the business market... stuff superior to the DOS systems of the day... even in business, cheap won over awesome/cool/better.)

    And here we are again. Apple is still playing its "exclusivity" game and will lose in the end again. It's insanity. If someone makes something that "EVERYONE Wants!" and then try to control it, you will find that it will be hard to stop everyone from having it. Apple wants to be the sole provider of "cool stuff" and all the other makers out there want to play too. Meanwhile, people are picking up more and more android things, buying fewer Apple things and eventually Apple will not be able to support its legal assault on the world defending what it considers to be its turf. (Here's a clue Apple: It's only your turf as long as you can defend it... and that won't be for much longer. I don't care if you're right or wrong because it doesn't matter. People want what you made, but you made it too hard to get it. So what are people to do?? That's right! They give their money to someone else instead of to you and your lawyers. Death to Apple for being stupid and arrogant enough not to figure that out.)

    And here we are again... RIM and HP and Nokia among others were the "other guys" making cool things that were kind of like the thing that people wanted but they were "single vendor only" devices and locked down and that's not what people want. Sure, business WANTS to be the sole supplier of a thing, but that's not the way capitalism works in the long term. (And look at RIM... they have been king of the business phone world for a LONG time in some contexts... unstoppable and untoppable.) It's history repeating itself while no one remembers what happened before.

    And here we are again... Google is the new Microsoft. They didn't want to make the devices leaving that to the cheap hardware makers making clones... that was their plan. But the phone carriers kept spoiling the fun with their reluctance to release control of and upgrade the software on the devices they sell. That's a big problem for Google and its plans. So now Google has to show people the way... show them what they should expect from hardware vendors (which include phone carriers) and then they will wake up and say "oh, we are losing business to Google... we need to give people more of what they want instead of trying to control the market." Google will NOT offer devices forever. They are just trying to show the market (which is 99.9% the consumers and 0.1% the manufacturers and carriers) the way.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Swampash (1131503)

      Android has already won.

      Apple: 50+% of the phone industry by revenue, 80+% of the phone industry by profit, and the tablet industry? hell, let's just call a spade a spade and call it the iPad industry.

      Yep, Android's winning all right.

      Look, I'm a Linux nerd from way back. I love what Linux and open source have done for the world. But saying that Android has won ANYTHING is just crazy talk. Thanks to Google, Android is just another tool to enable phone manufacturers and telcos to fuck me in the ass.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by gl4ss (559668)

        ..wtf does the profit have to do with winning userbase?

      • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @08:21AM (#40613073) Homepage Journal

        Apple: 50+% of the phone industry by revenue, 80+% of the phone industry by profit, and the tablet industry?

        But a minority of the market by volume, and declining, and as volume share continues to drop, revenue and profit shares will follow. The problem with owning the high end and letting others own the low end is that as low-end device capabilities improve the high end gets squeezed out.

        the tablet industry? hell, let's just call a spade a spade and call it the iPad industry.

        The Nexus 7 hasn't even started shipping yet, but there's every reason to expect that it will significantly change the tablet market. Apple doesn't want to sell $200 devices with basically no profit margin, but it's very likely that huge numbers of people will want to buy a powerful tablet for $200. There really hasn't been a low end of the tablet market for Apple to worry about, because all of the cheap tablets sucked. The Nexus 7 is very likely to change that, sparking a fierce competition that Apple doesn't want to play in. It's very likely that the result will be that Apple will again find itself owning the lower-volume, higher-value part of the space.

        Unlike the late 80s and early 90s, I think there is room today for more than one winner, because the big, complex apps tend to be based in the cloud, with phone and tablet apps primarily being small, simple pieces of software, so it's not unreasonable for software makers to implement their mobile apps twice (I'm not sure they're going to want to do it three times, though; sorry, Microsoft). Even in the PC era, Apple was largely able to hold onto a high-end, profitable niche, and it seems likely that they'll be able to do that even better today.

        But Apple's single-manufacturer model is pretty much guaranteed to end up getting squeezed out of most of the market in the long run. I predict they'll be able to maintain around 25%.

        • There really hasn't been a low end of the tablet market for Apple to worry about, because all of the cheap tablets sucked.

          True, the Chinese no-name tablets sucked, as did things like the Archos 7 Home Tablet, but what sucks about the Kindle Fire? I see the Nexus 7 as a more direct replacement for the Kindle Fire.

          • by cduffy (652)

            True, the Chinese no-name tablets sucked, as did things like the Archos 7 Home Tablet, but what sucks about the Kindle Fire? I see the Nexus 7 as a more direct replacement for the Kindle Fire.

            My girlfriend has a Kindle Fire, and loves it -- but their decision not to participate in the ecosystem was a deal-breaker for me: If I buy an Android application, I want it to show up on all my devices (without being dependent on rootability and availability of 3rd-party firmware). Amazon's decision not to play nice w

        • by Swampash (1131503)

          Apple has almost 100% of the market that counts - people who spend money. See: http://brianshall.com/content/are-android-users-simply-cheap [brianshall.com]

          how come, with its huge market share, with the (well promoted) 10 billionth Android Market app download and the millions and millions of Android users, that there's so little actual *money* for Android app developers? Yes, I know Google doesn't like to share, but still, not even a few pennies for developers?

          I mean, there's almost no money in the Android app business.

          So

          • by cduffy (652)

            Until Android stops being a fragmentation fuckfest, it's always going to be the platform of choice for poor people, hackers, and freeloaders. That's not a market that matters to a business.

            Speaking as a committed Android user (and occasional developer), this is perfectly fine.

            I'm part of the "freeloader" category (have money, hate spending it), and... well, I don't care if the newest shiniest paid app isn't available, because I wouldn't be buying it anyhow! So -- it's perfectly fine if companies building pa

    • by grahamm (8844)

      If you look at the history of the PC vs Apple vs Commodore/Amiga, you will remember the remarkable success that cheap, ubiquitous success the PC (and clones -- this is important) had over the others.

      And even with the PC, look at how shortlived IBM's closed MCA based PS/2 was. Following the success of the 'open' PC architecture, and the clones, they tried to regain control with the closed MicroChannel architecture - and it was a flop.

    • by Kergan (780543)

      I'm not sure you can say Android is winning, even less that it has already won.

      For tablets, we're currently discussing an iPad market, rather than a tablet market. Google's new tablet and the Surface might arguably change this. Until then, Android is being trampled.

      For phones, the dynamics aren't directly comparable to those that prevailed when the PC won over the Mac. The PC won at a time when, each year, new desktops sold outnumbered all existing desktops sold to that year. Smart phones are enjoying the s

  • by Zigurd (3528) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @08:26AM (#40613117) Homepage

    The trend in Android has been, up to now, in the right direction.

    For example, the Android Open Source Project originally did not have a development platform build target or reference hardware. Now it does. That means you can take the entire Android Open Source Project and built it and run it, instead of having to "root" a commercial device and port Android to that device before you can start playing with Android on real hardware.

    It is in Google's interest to make Android progressively easier to port because Google wants faster and more-consistent updates to Android across all the OEMs using Android. A vibrant and useful AOSP is important to that goal.

    Moreover, when faced with a competitor using the Android Open Source Project to build a competing platform and support a competing ecosystem, Google did nothing to thwart AOSP, or to make it harder for Amazon to use AOSP.

    Android is partly-open because Google uses a suite of applications and services that are not open source to create commercial Android products with the Google Logo, and OEMs and carriers add their own software to products. There may be room in the market for a more-open mobile OS that isn't tied to big e-commerce ecosystems. Tizen might be one such system, and Jolla might bring Meego back. If those systems prove to be more open, and under less pressure to provide exclusivity to their sponsors, they could turn out to provide truly open, hackable communications devices.

    Open communications devices, with open hardware and software, are important because they would enable communications privacy, among other qualities.

    • by oakgrove (845019)
      I hear what you're saying but I just don't see how Google adding their software and services to what you get from AOSP after the fact makes Android any less open. I have several Android installs that do not have the Google apps suite and while there is a large amount of value to Google's proprietary offerings, they aren't necessary for Android to function in any way. The only real argument that I have to Android being somehow less than truly open is the need for proprietary binaries to utilize all of the
  • But does he dine at the Y?

  • by pmontra (738736) on Wednesday July 11, 2012 @09:19AM (#40613641) Homepage

    I look at the home screens of my Galaxy S2 where I place the icons of the apps I use most. I see some stock Android/Samsung apps plus K-9 Mail (OSS), Cool Reader (OSS), Jota Text Editor (OSS), KeePass (OSS) and other 15 closed source apps. Among them I use regularly Dolphin HD and il Meteo, Chrome sometimes, the others less often. I use the four OSS apps very often but not as much as Dolphin HD.

    So based on my limited experience open source is doing well enough on Android, but I remember using only open source programs on Windows years ago, before switching to Linux. Mobile is apparently more closed than desktop but let's give it some time to grow. Windows applications were much more closed in the '90s before people started rewriting them as OSS. Then we got the web, which is basically a frontend to closed sourced backends. Mobile starts from there: most mobile apps are fat clients to remote services and in many cases there is little incentive to open source them.

    So I think that there will eventually be more general purpose open source mobile applications but we'll also have many more closed source apps than we have on the desktop.

  • Assuming the Nexus 7 is the big iPad killer, or even some other android tablet. If it is locked down as the summary suggests, somebody will release a tablet that isn't locked down. Once the iPad has been knocked off the pinnacle of tablets, others will enter the market. If the market wants an unlocked tablet, they will get an unlocked tablet. Plain and simple strategy: First get people to realize that there are quality alternatives to Apple. Next offer them products that they really want. Finally offer t

  • One need only casually peruse Google Play to see how different some devices are and how apps may or may not work on all of the various Android devices.

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