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Android Phones Delayed 167

CommanderData writes "PC World reports that Google's Android phone rollout is facing delays. Originally expected to have handsets on the market and in consumers' hands this summer, it appears that Q4 2008 or even sometime in 2009 is more likely. Software developers are also complaining that programming is difficult on the Android platform due to regular changes being made by Google." Update 21:14 GMT by SM: Google has (via Google Watch) refuted widespread claims that Android will be late, so I guess only time will tell.
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Android Phones Delayed

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  • by MadFarmAnimalz ( 460972 ) * on Monday June 23, 2008 @04:37PM (#23908897) Homepage

    They are probably waiting for the Duke Nukem Forever port.

  • Huge shocker (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kriston ( 7886 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @04:38PM (#23908911) Homepage Journal

    Everything tagged "beta?"

    Welcome to Google.

    Have you released a product today?

    • Re:Huge shocker (Score:5, Interesting)

      by zullnero ( 833754 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @05:49PM (#23909879) Homepage
      The first thing you should be prepared for in the world of mobile phone development is that, half way through any product development (or especially right when you think you have a finished product), you must be ready for salespeople to burst in at any moment and demand that you "make it faster" or "prettier" or shoehorn in some proprietary technology because mobile phone X just was released and people were lining up to buy it.

      This is what sent Palm into limbo, made people forget about HTC and the WinMob phones, the Motorola Q and just keeps going. I'm someone whose spent his entire career in the mobile arena, and I can say that this is one competitive business considering how much of a pain it is to reengineer a smartphone every year just to keep your head above water. Because if you don't keep improving and releasing, the industry writes you off. Companies as big as Google have been stymied and left behind as roadkill before and it'll happen again for sure.
      • by ystar ( 898731 )

        If it results in getting good phones into American hands, I'm all for this kind of cutthroat competition. If not Google or Apple, someone else will release an open platform with reasonable data rates and top-tier features.

    • All major software projects miss their deadline due to unrealistic expectations.

      More at 8

      Seriously, I had high expectations of android when it was announced but then, after downloading the SDK I discovered that its JAVA only.

      Wtf is the point of having linux running on its core if you can't use C/C++ for native applications?

      • Because you need something running in the CPU's language, and Linux is the best option out there.

        Java was chosen because it is easier for developing and maintaining applications that don't need to care about the OS or hardware.

  • Not really (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kamokazi ( 1080091 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @04:38PM (#23908913) []

    PC World is reporting old news. Q4 08 has been the target for a while now.

    • Then why does the update from Google confirm the target is still the second half of Q2?

      Q4 seems way more realistic to me.

      • Re:Yes Way (Score:5, Funny)

        by Jake73 ( 306340 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @06:09PM (#23910071) Homepage

        Perhaps they meant to say the third quarter of the second half which puts it firmly at the third half of the third quarter.

        WSJ says fourth quarter. Google says second half. Last I checked, Q4 falls in the 2nd half of the year. Perhaps this ass-clown didn't do so well with fractions.

        • Or perhaps their fiscal year doesn't match the calendar year like a lot of companies who operate July 08 through June 09. I know this has caused confusion at a great many places.
  • by ivan256 ( 17499 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @04:38PM (#23908923)

    Google says Android delay is a rumor, launch on target for 2008 []

    Didn't stop the usual attention grabbers from writing knee-jerk I Told You So articles [] though...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 23, 2008 @04:39PM (#23908935)

    This report at PCWorld and WSJ today are *inaccurate*. Google always said that the "second part of 2008" will be the time that the first Android phone will get released, and now these guys are writing article saying that "Q4 2008" is late??? It's right up with the schedule if you ask me! Engadget also wrote about how these articles are either mischievous or simply wrong.

  • Excellent.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Propagandhi ( 570791 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @04:40PM (#23908945) Journal
    A constantly changing platform is the only way to ensure that the software living on it remains robust and well written. Cull the herd, I say! This is like if we took all the people in the world and put them in a giant dome with some sort of floor which constantly changes directions. Only those with stable enough legs (good foundations) would remain standing, while the rest would be deleted! By failing to stabilize their interfaces Google has created an environment where only the strong can survive! Three cheers for Google!
  • by xmas2003 ( 739875 ) * on Monday June 23, 2008 @04:40PM (#23908949) Homepage
    Here's the WSJ article [] that is the source for the PC world writeup ...
  • Documentation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @04:41PM (#23908955) Homepage Journal

    Software developers are also complaining that programming is difficult on the Android platform due to regular changes being made by Google.
    And incomplete documentation. On the surface the documentation seems pretty robust. But while I tried to build an app on Android I ran into a number of roadblocks with details missing from the documentation. Maybe commercial enterprises can get something more complete, but the online docs are lacking in certain details.
    • by eln ( 21727 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @04:49PM (#23909101) Homepage

      Well what do you expect, it's not scheduled to be out of Beta until 2057.

    • by e2d2 ( 115622 )

      I noticed this myself but no worries on he docs, the .Net SDK had the same problem when the PDC version was released. The documentation is still playing catch up in some newer sections, but it's always the last thing to be updated.

      Also missing is of course the features that haven't been rolled out yet.

      But this is all normal for any large first release, particularly an open source community effort. For instance, how much has changed in any major open source release such as GNU/Linux, Apache, etc? Developers

    • Well, there's already one book out on Android development [] and 3-4 others in progress by various authors.

      And, in the interests of full disclosure, I wrote the book I linked to above.

  • by geoffrobinson ( 109879 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @04:41PM (#23908957) Homepage

    While I'm sure Google is talented, providing an OS and API is new ground for them. I'm not sure what their culture is like, but I would think time to iron out the kinks would be expected for this type of thing.

    Apple/Next has been developing APIs for developers for years and have lots of lessons learned. Google is new to this. Give them time.

    • That's all well and good, but they should have waited until they had their act together a little more before they announced anything. If you're going to create hype you need to make sure you're in a position to live up to it.

      • by pmontra ( 738736 )
        The FOSS guys say "release early release often" and maybe Google just did it so. I add: if you make a lot of mistakes you learn a lot, but it helps if you're big enough to survive them.
        • Except that that philosophy is a bit more problematic when you've got such a significant hardware component as part of your master plan. Maybe it's not impossible to figure it out, but asking people to put down money to buy an unfinished phone and carry it around with them is different than asking a bunch of computer geeks to download some free software and screw around with it to find bugs.

          • by pmontra ( 738736 )
            I agree, this is the "if you're big enough" part of my post.
            This also answers the reply of iznogud below.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by iznogud ( 162711 )

          The FOSS guys say "release early release often"

          Well, it's good to "release early release often" when you're writing code for existing device (read: PC or some other common hardware). It's totally different game when you're trying to lure hardware developers to make hardware for your platform, while changing that platform on weekly basis.

          I don't have doubt that Google is full of very smart people that wants to build the best platform possible, but they need to put their act together and understand simple fact - they can't put everything in release 1.0,

        • by LarsG ( 31008 )

          Agreed. I think Google did the "release early release often" on purpose. They are new to the OS/API platform building game and probably wanted as much community feedback as possible before v1.0.

      • Have you actually looked at the demo videos available online. I would say they definitely live up to and possibly exceed the hype. Notice this article says SOME of the phones may be delayed. They don't mention the HTC dream that has been expected as the first android phone for quite some time. That article is purposefully vague so people start talking about Google not living up to expectations. Seems like worthless rumor mongering to me.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Only one carrier is currently planning on supporting Android phones, anyway: T-Mobile. (Otherwise known as the most open cell carrier in the US market anyway.)

    Sprint deserves a dishonorable mention at this point, because while Sprint is a MEMBER of the "Android Alliance" they currently have NO plans to allow Android phones on their network, 2008 or 2009. Plus they're Sprint and they'll "fire" customers over attempting to use the features they were sold, so even if they did offer Android phones, don't expect

    • by afidel ( 530433 )
      How can Sprint or AT&T stop you? If you have a SIM that's active just pull it from whatever smart-phone it's in and drop it into an android phone. Assuming it's tri-band you should have zero problems and there isn't really anything the telco can do about it, ain't open standards great.
  • News flash (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @04:46PM (#23909061)

    Large companies tire quickly of trying to hit a constantly moving target which breaks applications every time they get a new build.

    In other news, developers still prefer to deal with the mess that is Win32 rather than constantly changing interfaces of open source software. Shocking youtube video at 11.

    Theres a reason companies don't all jump on the open source bandwagon ... its too much damn effort to support and maintain when none of the core developers give a damn about keeping things compatible. Spend countless man hours supporting every revision of open source software, and pay no up front licensing cost, but a fortune in support ... or ... pay a large up front chunk of change, write it once, and know it will work for several years assuming you followed the spec properly and didn't do anything blatently against the API documentation. Try them both, see which one is more profitable and less nerve racking.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by ivan256 ( 17499 )

      You don't write successful software, do you?

      Reverse "Win32" and "open source software" in your post, and it will get more accurate... You'll still need to throw things like .NET, and JDK, and POSIX in there to get an even more accurate picture, but it'll be an improvement.

      Companies that develop for open source platforms don't spend effort on supporting "every revision". They do, however, enjoy selling into a market with less worry about being embraced and extended by one of the handful of successful Windows

      • Reverse "Win32" and "open source software" in your post, and it will get more accurate... You'll still need to throw things like .NET, and JDK, and POSIX in there to get an even more accurate picture, but it'll be an improvement.

        Um, fail. I can still write code for 64-bit Vista that's binary compatible with NT 3.0.

        All of the later acronymic bells and whistles were optional, and remain so.

        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Sponge Bath ( 413667 )

          I can still write code for 64-bit Vista that's binary compatible with NT 3.0.

          Hello world! :-)

          • by afidel ( 530433 )
            You'd be surprised at the amount of code many businesses still run where the GUI obviously dates the program to the Windows 3.1 days, those won't run on XP/Vista x64 or 2003 x64/IA64 but they will on every other version of Windows supported today. I'm not sure many linux packages that old would even compile today due to changes in libc.
        • by ivan256 ( 17499 )

          I can still write code for 64-bit Vista that's binary compatible with NT 3.0.

          You say that like it's a novel feature... Have you ever used any BSD variant? Or Linux, for that matter?

          Regardless, that matters less and less as more applications run in virtual runtime environments like a JVM, or in a scripted environment like PHP, Python, or Ruby... and has been true for a long time with Perl.

          More and more applications are web-based or browser based. Most of these applications run on non-windows based platforms.

      • Everybody I know who has tried both agrees. People who say otherwise are usually trolls

        How very convenient: everyone agrees with you, except for some who don't, but they must be trolls anyway. Must make me a troll too, then - I did development on both Windows and Linux, and the former still wins both by documentation availability and maturity of development tools (I dare you find a better C++ IDE than Visual Studio). One thing that comes closest in the OSS world is Qt, which also has excellent docs, and pr

    • by 21mhz ( 443080 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @05:12PM (#23909453) Journal

      I think you're barking up the wrong tree here. GNOME has been kept backwards-compatible for years now (the last platform ABI break was generally at 2.0). Same for KDE, at least they don't break compatibility inside stable branches. Now take, Apache, Eclipse, or just about any open source project with a sizable third-party developer base, and you'll see they take great care in maintaining backward compatibility.

      • Really? So I can pull pretty much any binary from 5 years ago off a CD and it'll just work on a modern machine?

        I don't think so. While I don't use gnome gui libraries in my applications, I do use libxml2 in almost all of my applications, and there is pretty much no way any of them would work if dynamically linked to a libxml2 from 4 years ago.

        Since libxml2 is used all over Gnome, I can safely call bullshit.

        • by 21mhz ( 443080 )

          there is pretty much no way any of them would work if dynamically linked to a libxml2 from 4 years ago.

          Are we talking about backward compatibility or forward compatibility? There is no way your Windows application would work on stock Win2K, if you're using any new APIs from XP or Vista.

          Conversely, your libxml2 application from years ago could work against a modern libxml2, unless you had been relying on some buggy or underspecified behavior.

    • We developed a PoC on Silverlight in January on version 1.0. It's now June, and the Silverlight SDK has seen four revisions, each revision being completely backwards-incompatible with the previous.

      What's worse, last week Microsoft quietly pulled the rug on earlier versions (1.1 alpha in particular); all our previously developed apps suddenly stopped working. Whether this was built into the original redistributable or whether a Windows Update did it, is something we'll never know; the fact was that all our

  • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @04:47PM (#23909075)
    Never keep an anthropomorphic robot from the latest tech gadgets.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Good news for OpenMoko.

  • by lymond01 ( 314120 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @05:04PM (#23909339)

    I think this was why Apple wouldn't allow programs on their iPhone. They were updating the core too often after release and they knew it would likely break most third party code. Now that their core is stable, they'll release the 2.0 version with an SDK.

    Android could've gone the same route: released, but not allowed 3rd party apps until stable. But I think that would be as frustrating as it was for iPhone users.

  • by Khopesh ( 112447 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @05:06PM (#23909369) Homepage Journal

    With Nokia's acquisition of Trolltech (makers of Qt and Qtopia []), Google is set to butt heads against a VERY large competitor, who is all-in on re-entering the US cellular industry.

    Nokia is roughly the same size as Google (bigger in some ways, smaller in others), but more importantly, it's got more at stake. Qt/Embedded (a.k.a. Qtopia) is a heavyweight competitor to Android which has had far more design time, with a much more solid basis (Qt and Qtopia are both many years old, though Trolltech only recently aimed at cellular technology, which should be quickly rectified by Nokia's massive development teams). Google's dot-com mentality allows them to toss megabucks at an idea, like throwing things against a wall to see what sticks. If Android doesn't stick, whatever; they can afford it. If Qtopia doesn't stick, Nokia is back the drawing board and fighting a losing battle against LG.

    Google's only merit is that they've been working on Andriod for longer than Nokia has been working on Qtopia (Nokia only finalized the Trolltech purchase last week). Google's only chance is to bring Andriod to dominance before Nokia manages to release Qt-powered phones. While they appear well-poised for this, the setback of this and other delays hurt the Andriod line more than you might think at a quick glance.

    The cellphone platforms of tomorrow will be Apple iPhone, Google Andriod, and Nokia Qtopia. The other players (Motorola, Erickson, LG) will be left in the dust (or they'll adopt one of the above platforms rather than squeezing as much as they can out of standard J2ME). We'll see where Palm fits in with their revamped platform; they could easily go either way.

    Can Google really face Microsoft on one front (office apps) and Nokia in the other? What about its bread & butter of web searching (their original front against Yahoo)? What's next, a car [] to take on Ford and Toyota? :-p

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Have you ever worked with Qtopia Phone Edtition? I bet some of your attitudes would change. While QT is a fairly nice set of APIs everything in the phone edition seems like it's been designed with only one platform in mind (The Greenphone) and porting it to a different set of hardware is horrible without breaking APIs.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Khopesh ( 112447 )

        The Greenphone was ditched in favor of better options. The current development platform of choice is the Neo1973 [], the same platform used by the OpenMoko folks. Nokia hasn't yet announced a new development platform (i.e. one that they actually make) for Qtopia Phone Edition.

        As to portability, that's one of Qtopia's biggest merits. It was so extreme that before the Greenphone was nixed, people were finding better support on other platforms (since Trolltech had no idea of how to design cellphone hardware).

    • The cellphone platforms of tomorrow will be Apple iPhone, Google Android, and Nokia Qtopia.

      I hope you're right. Because if that happens then I won't even care who wins; they're all infinitely better than the locked-down stupidity that's available now.

    • Oh yeah. That will matter.

      I'm not putting any bets on that. Nokia's name isn't meaningful (at least here in the US). The name Qt is completely meaningless to a consumer. I'm not going to pick a phone because it has Nokia software on it. I don't think most Americans would. Google is different. Google is a big brand here. People know Google. They like Google. That has sales power. Nokia may have more mindshare in Europe, but I'd imagine that Google still has a very strong brand there, so things may be more equal.

      Of the two, I'd put far more stake in Google's effort. Is Nokia trying to get other cell phone companies on board?

      Now I think the iPhone will kick both of them. I hope Google does good, but I frankly doubt it. The carriers are far too corrupt. Read the WSJ article that this story is based on. They talk about Sprint's problems integrating and branding all their stuff in, T-Mobile's problems, etc. In other words all the carriers are taking the software that exists and trying to turn it into their normal drivel that they sell. Apple stood up to that. The iPhone isn't covered in bad AT&T interface. Yet an Android phone will either be "Googly" or look quite a bit like any other Verizon phone.

      Every story about the iPhone since first word last year has been "Wait for OpenMoko", "Wait for Qtopia", "Wait for Android". Apple is out there doing it. It may not be fully open, but it's there and it's rather open (in how easy it is to get an application up, compared to what you have to do with normal carriers and normal phones).

      Google talks a nice game (and I trust them), but they are still up against the carriers who will have enough freedom to crush their ideals on every "Android" phone they release.

      OpenMoko doesn't have the push either the iPhone or Android have. Qtopia may end up just another platform (like Symbian or Windows Mobile) that fails to take over the mobile phone world.

      All in all, I don't care. I don't trust the phone companies. I love the iPhone interface (and will be buying the next version mostly because of it). But if the iPhone and others (like Android) can push the phone companies to better interfaces, I'm all for it. Just about every phone I've touched has a poor to horrid interface. The Samsung Instinct seems to have an improved interface, until you get to web surfing where it's just as bad as just about every phone released in the last couple of years.

      • I'm sorry, but how do I put it:- the American market simply does not count, when it comes to mobiles. As much as I don't mind cheering US to win in other respects, you folks have an aging infrastructure and have a very very small footprint in terms of actual growth metrics.

        Look at it this way. Nokia now sells fourteen mobiles every minute worldwide. Most of Africa's new boom is because of mobile-commerce; people barter talk-time for actual commodities. In comparison, in the US, you still pay for text messa

      • Qtopia may end up just another platform (like Symbian or Windows Mobile) that fails to take over the mobile phone world.
        Given that vast majority of the more advanced phones out there run either some version of Symbian, or Windows Mobile, your statement sounds rather strange. iPhone is still a very minor player by comparison.
    • I'm not ready to call Android the second coming, but if Google stays true to form, it is likely to be a very good product with an amazing marketing drive behind it. Nokia is really going to have to make something happen to make Qtopia more than just another cell phone platform, and so far it doesn't seem like a lot of people are convinced- especially the rival cell phone manufacturers who probably feel better about licensing software from Google than from a competitor. My guess is that Android and Qtopia wi
    • I will probably never buy a Nokia phone. Every Nokia device I've ever used has been a cheap piece of shit. They may in fact make good phones, but if they want me to believe that they have to stop making the world's shittiest phones, too. It also says a lot about a phone's software when I deliberately will pick a Motorola phone not just on the basis of hardware, but software as well (given that I narrowed my choices to Motorola vs. Nokia ahead of time, this statement makes some sense.) Nokia can go piss up a
      • by Skye16 ( 685048 )

        I can't say a thing about Nokia phones, but Motorola phones? Talk about utter trash. Q. Razr. Shudder.

        Those phones are an abomination upon mankind.

        • I have a RAZR V3i, it gets 2+ days of standby (depending on signal) and has survived more concrete drops than I like to admit to causing. The interface is not so great there either, and I have to reboot once a week or so, but like I said - I'd rather reboot a motorola than have to use a nokia. The RAZR has about the sweetest form factor for a phone that there is. I want the linux-based RAZR 2, but have no particular reason to buy one, so I haven't.
    • by Ilgaz ( 86384 )

      Google already tries to re-invent wheel since there is J2ME, everyone including their Youtube can ship successfully in J2ME to huge number of devices. Yahoo themselves gave up the native C++ (on S60) for J2ME on "Yahoo Go!" 2.x+ . Why? Well, it seems it serves them what they need.

      The biggest problem of J2ME is the very advanced coding needed for the UI. SonyEricsson seems to have a solution: []

  • ...was just was an underhanded Google stunt to maintain status quo for handset vendors to lock people into their versions of 'Droid.

    "The ASL will allow individual handset makers to develop proprietary customizations for the platform as needed to accommodate the unique technologies in their individual products."

    So even if people decide to fork into FreeAndroid under the GPL we're screwed cause the drivers to make the phone freaking ring will be proprietary with a different interface for Motorola, Nokia
    • Well I think we'll have to wait and see how much of a problem that becomes, I personally don't think carriers will lock down too many things or else they can't take advantage of the fullest range of software. Carriers will be carriers though...

  • spin being spun (Score:5, Informative)

    by trybywrench ( 584843 ) on Monday June 23, 2008 @05:28PM (#23909667)
    FTA "Google has said since it unveiled Android Nov. 1 that there would be phones based on the OS in the second half of 2008. The Wall Street Journal, citing Google as a source, is reporting that the Android handsets "won't arrive until the fourth quarter."

    Confused, I asked Google for clarification. Will the Android phones be delayed as the WSJ reported? The answer was a resounding, "no."

    "We remain on schedule to deliver the first Android-based handset in the second half of 2008 and we're very excited to see the momentum continuing to build behind the Android platform among carriers, handset manufacturers, developers and consumers," a Google spokesperson told me today."

    um 4th qtr '08 is still "second half of '08" *head asplodes*
    • FTA "Google has said since it unveiled Android Nov. 1 that there would be phones based on the OS in the second half of 2008. The Wall Street Journal, citing Google as a source, is reporting that the Android handsets "won't arrive until the fourth quarter."

      Which, by my count, is indeed part of the second half of 2008. Is somebody's calendar broken?

    • Depending on their accounting, "fourth quarter" could mean 4th quarter fiscal 2009, which is Jan-March 2009 at my company. Something to do with taxes and where you make your money during the fiscal year.

      • I would be surprised, though, if someone used that sort of convention in a press release instead of just internally. "4th quarter 2008," generally speaking, really does mean the 4th quarter of 2008. I'd be surprised if a public relations officer didn't realize that; if he didn't he would be grossly incompetent.
  • Google is not going to finish consumer appliances. They can tinker & experiment with unrelated pieces of software & release software betas. They got the search & Adsense finished. A finished consumer gadget with all the hardware & software functionality debugged & perfected is a different story. They couldn't possibly finish it without outsourcing a lot of it.

  • Openmoko FreeRunner [] Why settle for anything less?
  • On a small university project porting a gps app to android. Because of the GPS/android interface the project won't be properly tested until I can get my hands on some hardware.

    I keep seeing prototype systems running android in videos from conventions, I've been assuming they were modded in (after just working with the Symbian API an overlay seems possible).

    Can anyone fill me in on purchasing from Google or the hacker's guide to Android?

    Disclaimer: IWOT (I want one too). - Z
  • bad strategy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by speedtux ( 1307149 )

    I think Google should have focused first on getting something out quickly: partner with just HTC and T-Mobile, for example, and get a single model out. That would have built buzz and given developers something to work with.

"Marriage is low down, but you spend the rest of your life paying for it." -- Baskins