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Android Cellphones Google Handhelds Upgrades Technology

Google Rolls Out Official Android 4.0 ICS Update 92

dell623 writes "Google is rolling out an OTA upgrade to Ice Cream Sandwich for the Nexus S. GSM versions can already be updated manually. An early review is largely positive and comments on the significant visual and performance improvements. The Nexus S upgrade allows for a direct comparison against Gingerbread on the same hardware, and the likely improvement in current phones that will receive the upgrade."
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Google Rolls Out Official Android 4.0 ICS Update

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  • by Colonel Korn ( 1258968 ) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @02:52AM (#38407026)

    Despite improvements, ICS isn't quite as smooth and responsive as iOS was four years ago on the first iPhone, and it's really becoming quite an annoyance that Google hasn't yet solved this.

    This is true, but I think it's interesting to look at it in context. Android phones usually have performance advantages over the current iPhone when it comes to things like loading web pages, but UI smoothness can be done on very little hardware if it's your OS design priority, and the iPhones have been designed with that in mind from the start. Looking even further in this direction, a single core first gen Windows Phone 7 has an even smoother UI than a much more powerful iPhone 4s - MS definitely focused on being iPhonelike this time around. That weaker hardware manifests itself in poorer computing performance, but the majority of what people do on their phones is swipe around different screens and run applications designed for the lowest common denominator hardware on its platform.

    In my experience, OSX, Windows 7, and any flavor of Linux are somewhere between Android and iOS in their UI smoothness even when running on vastly more powerful hardware. Since we use those operating systems for content creation, though, we care about other types of responsiveness. I always disable smooth scrolling in a web browser, for instance, because it induces a slight delay. Scrolling is then jerky but instant. As mobile devices become more suited for content creation (and yes, I know that they're severely crippled for most non-consumption roles) I think we'll see users shift their priorities away from dropped UI frames and toward things like time to run a photo processing filter, which will largely favor the more powerful hardware.

    That said, ICS looks pretty smooth to me.

  • by peppepz ( 1311345 ) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @03:13AM (#38407090)
    You're making an unfair comparison. The first iPhone wasn't even a smartphone in the sense that it wouldn't allow third party applications to be installed - of course its performance were guaranteed, when all the software it ran was perfectly calibrated to run on that specific device by its manufacturer. Install more recent iOS versions on older iDevices, or run applications intended for different screen sizes, and voila lags and sub-optimal adaptation.
  • by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Saturday December 17, 2011 @04:22AM (#38407276)

    Windows is a great analogy in this case.

    Windows beat Mac OS because it was more open and it created a giant ecosystem of companies creating cool products for it.

    Android beat iOS because it was really, really more open and it created a giant ecosystem of companies creating cool products for it.

    The great part is that Microsoft didn't learn from their past successes and they're following the Apple model in an attempt to beat back Android.

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) * on Saturday December 17, 2011 @04:25AM (#38407282) Journal

    People don't choose Windows. They take it because it's the only thing offered. Microsoft has worked very hard the last two decades to ensure that desktops aren't offered without Windows, and Windows is the only thing offered. In the most recent case, netbooks, they achieved this goal by killing the market for netbooks. Linux netbooks launched the category, and Windows 7 killed it. Microsoft has worked hard to prevent choice, and that's working against them now because people like to choose. It makes them enjoy the fantasy that they have some control over their course.

    Now we're going mobile and Microsoft isn't coming with us because they forgot to let us pretend we get to choose.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 17, 2011 @04:56AM (#38407364)

    I'm not sure your analogy works the way you stated it. The original MacOS died a well-deserved but slow death because it was closed, but not in that it was closed to software products: rather, because Windows was more open to hardware, while MacOS was restricted to Apple hardware. OSX is still tied to Apple hardware (the small Hackintosh community excepted), but its ecosystem has grown dramatically on the software side. Plus, Apple ships a developer kit and IDE with every copy of the OS (now available on the AppStore for free), which is a strong check on the openness side.

    Microsoft's failure to gain a strong footing in the mobile arena against Apple and Android is more of a marketing failure than anything else. MS is haunted by the ghosts of CE and Zune, and they just don't have the consumer confidence that Apple has by the bushel. Android's relative success in the market is all the more remarkable for not having the marketing team that Apple enjoys. MS is going to have to learn how to sell themselves and differentiate themselves from the rest of the market with some nifty tricks if they're ever going to gain traction. Windows 8 and Metro are big parts of that strategy, and a lot is riding on the popular acceptance of Metro: if it tanks, so do MS's hopes of getting into the tablet/phone market big-time this decade.

    That the market is different also points to a MS weakness: they grew partly because of openness to (and shady deals with) hardware vendors, but also because of the consequence of that hardware support: they were *the* business platform in the 90's. You had a PC at work, you had Word (or WordPerfect or Lotus AmiPro/WordPro) at work, you had grown used to thing being a certain way at work, so you got all that at home too. Phones and tablets are different, and Apple got the first-to-market advantage of being able to set the tone for what tablets and smartphones should feel like. Android hasn't beaten iOS yet, although they've certainly established themselves as a fierce competitor. MS is coming to the game without experience in the arena, with a corporate culture that's geared towards making business products (and failing on the domestic/personal side -- Works, Bob, etc.). The tablet and smartphone market isn't a business market; businesses use them on the side, but their main computing needs are still the laptop and desktop. MS may be overextending itself with respect to its own culture by trying to get into the mobile field.

    In the end, it'll come down to consumer perceptions. MS has shown time and time again that its marketing team isn't up to the task of making a household name for itself: the place it held/holds in domestic computing was a side benefit of its dominance in the corporate world and a lack of competition. Apple's marketing has eroded that considerably, at least on the laptop side (How many MacBooks do you see in every coffee shop and classroom?), while not really even trying to dent the corporate market (OD/AD support is second-rate, as are many of the necessities of managing an enterprise installation base, and their office products like Pages are very much geared to the individual consumer rather than the corporate, although Keynote kicks everyone's ass). MS would be wise to refocus on the desktop market (it's not going away soon), try to recapture some of Apple's gains in the laptop market, and leave iOS and Android to duke it out over the market they already dominate. Oh, and fire their entire fucking marketing department twice over and then try to lure in some of Apple's UI designers.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"