Android losing its mojo fast

Android losing its mojo fast

Summary: Android started off being a great idea, from a great company, with lots of support from carriers and manufacturers, and an awesome $10million contest to get developers drooling. With some stiff competition from Apple, and loss of developer morale, I'm afraid of what the future might hold for this platform.

TOPICS: Google

Android started off being a great idea, from a great company, with lots of support from carriers and manufacturers, and an awesome $10million contest to get developers drooling. With some stiff competition from Apple, and loss of developer morale, I'm afraid of what the future might hold for this platform.

The new Apple iPhone 3G is awesome -- but more specifically, the App Store is what might be giving Google a run for its money. The quantity and quality of applications available through the store appear to be fairly healthy, whereas the applications being developed for Android were probably all created by people looking to make some quick cash from the contest -- which may have impacted the quality of submissions. There is no word on how many "good" applications were submitted in the Android contest, but if the top 50 winners list[pdf] is an indication, I'd say there's a better chance of an application being "average" than anything else.

ADC Entrants,

We're pleased to announce that SDK build 84853 is now available on your private download site. This will be the last build released for ADC Round 2 and is the build that you will need to submit your final application under.

In addition, the final ADC deadline has been extended to Tuesday, August 5. This is the final ADC deadline.

Thanks! Android Developer Challenge Team

This letter was supposed to end up going to those 50 people -- it clearly mentions that there is a private download area where only the winners can download the latest SDK to code against. Unfortunately, it was sent to everyone who submitted an application. In case Google forgot, there are lots of Android developers besides those 50 that won the contest, and would appreciate new versions of the SDK. developerMorale -= 1.

The concept behind Android was that it was an "Open Platform", however Google's own actions are challenging their vision. XMPP, an open protocol that Google used to support in earlier versions of the SDK has been completely replaced by Gtalk. This means that all XMPP traffic must go through Google's servers -- so much for choice. developerMorale -= 1.

[Android] is now becoming just a Google platform for mobile, as forcing Gtalk on developers has a chain effect of enforcing Google ID’s on users and all communication to pass through Google servers. -- TechCrunchIT

I'm skeptical that Android will give the iPhone a run for its money -- what do you think?

Topic: Google

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  • Forcing GTalk != do no evil

    You can't get more lame than that...
    Johnny Vegas
    • lame == you

      Sorry buddy, gtalk is based on jabber which is itself an open source protocol. This means you can use any client that you want that supports jabber, write your own, or be thankful Google puts out high quality software. The only thing more lame than your false comment is this blog and zdnet making me sign up just to post a comment.
      • But will it need Google's servers?

        The main takeaway from the blogger is the requirement to have a GoogleID and go through Google's servers. If it's just Jabber that I can connect to any server of my choice, using any authentication provider of my choice, then I agree with you completely, names don't matter - XMPP or Gtalk - Openness is openness.
      • Hah.

        <i>The only thing more lame than your false comment is this blog and zdnet making me sign up just to post a comment</i><br/><br/>

        You just made my day.
  • A note on iPhone apps.

    Apple would do well to remove the restriction where any non Apple application must exit (not stay resident) when another function is used (like answering an incoming call). This will make many realy cool applications a pain. IM that exits, GPS that exits, etc and must be manually restarted.
    [B]"Applications should not stop working when you go away," he said. "For a game, you shouldn't lose where you are." [/B]

    On the story, Google is relatively smart. If they see this restriction will not allow it to succeed, they may well relent.

    • At what price?

      If the price of allowing applications to stay resident is loss of stability for the whole OS (as on Windows Mobile and Palm OS), I'll deal with the limitation for now.

      Apple did relent on allowing some limited background processes. I expect that, in time, Apple will open up the OS more to allow more full background processing, like the iPod feature that continues to play music in the background. They're giving mobile OS X more time to mature and gain stability, first, which is smart. That's clearly what they did before allowing native third-party applications in the first place. It's also what they're doing with Mac OS X Snow Leopard on the desktop.
      • Just an observation.

        I would think that it would be quite easy to limit (nix based, trivial) CPU for any background app to 3-5%, allowing it more when brought to the foreground, only allow for 3 background apps. The stability of the main phone functions are guaranteed then.

        Then again, I have only dedicated 41 seconds to developing a kind of app jail. :D

  • Worse than a bunch of little school girls...

    Havce you noticed tha over the past week or two all kinds of articles have popped up saying Android is going nowhere and that everone is giving up hope? It's like some rampid junior high rumor mill. Someone has a slow news day and writes that storyline and everyone else (reporters, bloggers, etc) grabs it and regurgitates it. Android is a tremendous ontaking that is quite likely to cause a paradigm shift in the mobile industry. You don't pop that out carelessly and overnight.

    Moreover, I don't think that there is a mass conclusion among developers that Android is losing its mojo, it momentum, or any of the others things these articles tend to suggest. Neither myself, or any developers I know feel that way. They're creating a unique platform with huge ambitions and Google and friends will have it out and ready faster (and better) than anyone else. At least in my opinion anyway. ;)
    • A Paradigm Shift..?

      [b]Android is a tremendous ontaking that is quite likely to cause a paradigm shift in the mobile industry. [/b]

      Uh.. I doubt it. Seriously.

      While Android MAY indeed wind up being a really cool mobile phone OS, thinking it will cause a major rethink on how cell phones are designed is a bit of a stretch.

      If anything, it would likely help the members of the alliance catch up with the almighty Jesus Phone quickly and cheaply.

      But to say it will surpass what's currently on the market - that may happen SOME day.

      The core of the problem is that the OS is based on Linux. Not that there's anything really wrong with that. I have a Linux based phone - a Motorola A1200 Ming and you'll likely have to pry it from my cold dead fingers. But even still, there's LOTS of room for improvement. Given the way that Linux development works, I just don't really see it happening in the current time frame.

      While the Linux community can all pull together and sing "kumbaya" and bask in the glow of how great OSS is, there ARE advantages to having a development team that's paid to work on a given project (as with both of the "evil empires" - Microsoft AND Apple). Things like those companies have standards for who they hire onto a project and they DO tend to hire top notch programming talent. They also tend to actually give really good incentives - namely benefits, pay, etc... that you just don't find with Linux programmers who may only be working on a given project part time. Even they have to eat and have a roof overhead. As a programmer, you tend to take stuff a bit more seriously when you're working for those kinds of perks.
      • Actually, Google has a paid development

        staff and Google pays quite well. Not all Open Source Projects are just made up of amateur programmers who don't get paid for a living. There are Open Source programmers that do get paid to develop on specific projects.
        • Well, yes, but...

          how many of this "paid deveopment staff" are working on Android? And are they eligible for the contest? I would think not.

          So in that case, it could be that Garrett has relied on a biased sample to judge the Android development community. But if this paid deveopment staff" working on Android is too small, then it makes no difference. Or if their work is not public enough, then it still makes too little difference: they could still lose the PR war with Apple.

          After all: one thing we should all know by now: Steve Jobs is very good at marketing and PR.
          • My point was to counter the previous poster's

            argument that all Open Source software is not developed by paid professionals. Not all companies that produce or use Open Source software rely exclusively on amateur programmers. Some companies even write both proprietary and open source apps. For some companies, the software complements the services or hardware that they sell, so they open source the software. Paid developers have developed the code and maintain the open source project. If all open source apps were developed by amateurs then it's about time for me to give up programming. I've seen and used some the apps that have been developed and they're good quality products. I write custom/proprietary code, but I'm not arrogant enough to say that Open Source code is junk, nor ignorant enough to believe that it's produced completely by amateur programmers.
  • Apple's app store is nice...

    ...but it's Symbian going open source that will kill Android.
    Sleeper Service
    • I agree

      I don't see the iPhone as a threat for Android as the fact that Android won't be locked to one form factor and one model is a hughe advantage over the iPhone.
      This mean that it will target a much wider range of customers and eventually much more customers.
      However Symbian going Open Source is a significant threat for Android whom main competitors were Symbian and Windows Mobile anyway.
      • form factors

        ((( "...the fact that Android won't be
        locked to one form factor and one
        model is a hughe advantage over the
        iPhone." )))

        Not so huge an advantage, methinks.
        Can you name another phone with a
        better form factor than the iPhone? I
        can't. It's like trying to improve on the
        circle. There's a reason that so many
        companies are cloning the look and
        layout of the iPhone.
        • You are kidding, right ?

          For those who like to type on small virtual keyboards without feedback, there are is better form factor than the iPhone.
          Fortunately,they represent only a minority of phones users >:)
          I personnaly don't know anyone who think that the iPhone is the best form factor, to the contrary.
          • Not at all.

            The near infinite choices of hardware will prove to be Android's downfall (like WM before it). Software will be
            designed for the lowest common denominator.

            As for form factor,,,, I know many that really like the iPhone
            like form factor. From the virtual keyboards to the all screen
            like design. I also know people that don't care for it.
    • Not likely

      After all, it is nice that Symbian finally went open source, but they have a LOT of fixes to make to the Symbian s'ware before it can compete with Android or iPhone. And I am not sure all those can be made easily in OSS, since it is hard to change the architecture of an old system, especially if you open source it and rely on the bazaar to do it. After all: major architecture fixes are always difficult, they require someone to spearhead the effort. But this is better done by the cathedral than by the bazaar.
  • RE: Android losing it's mojo fast

    LOL, an IPhone Wannabe I guess.

    • why

      So, did you use "LOL" because you were worried about not appearing stupid enough?