Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

Summary: Size (of the market share) isn't everything

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TOPICS: Android, Google
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Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, there's no doubt as to who's winning the mobile war.

"Android is ahead of the iPhone now," Schmidt told an audience at LeWeb in Paris. The room fell silent and Schmidt had to explain:

"Unit volume, Ice Cream Sandwich, the price is lower, there are more vendors."

Currently there are some 200 million Android devices in circulation with some 550,000 being added daily, but Schmidt thinks that Android 4.0 (aka Ice Cream Sandwich) will give Android an extra boost, both in terms of sales and developer interest.

"Ultimately, application vendors are driven by volume, and volume is favored by the open approach Google is taking. There are so many manufacturers working to deliver Android phones globally," Schmidt said. "Whether you like Android or not, you will support that platform, and maybe you'll even deliver it first."

[UPDATE: Here's what Schmidt actually said: 'Whether you like ICS or not, and again I like it a great deal, you will want to develop for that platform, and perhaps even first.']

But is size everything?  Getting Ice Cream Sandwich out of the door and onto handsets is only part of the equation. Let's take a look at some of the challenges facing Android that Google doesn't seem willing to address:

  1. What about updates? Data pulled together by Michael DeGusta back in October showed how seven of the eighteen Android phones had never run a current version of the Android OS, and how most current Android handsets will never see the Ice Cream Sandwich update.
  2. Android handsets also top the hardware failure listwith 14% of all Android support calls related to hardware failures. These Android device returns alone is costing mobile operators a staggering $2 billion per year
  3. Then there's the problem with apps. A sucky game is one thing, but what about the free Android anti-malware scanners 'near to useless,' with most products achieving 0% detection rate? Also, despite security researcher claiming that Android is not the major target for malware, Chris DiBona, Open Source Programs Manager at Google, continues to refer to security firms that warn of Android malware as 'charlatans and scammers.'
  4. What about Flash support? Currently there's no Flash plugin for Ice Cream Sandwich, and after this update is released, that's it from Adobe. No more.
  5. While Google continues to offer Android to handset makers free of charge (don't worry, Google still pulls in some $2.5 billion a year from ads displayed on Android devices), patent issues mean that handset OEMs are having to hand over millions of dollars every year to Microsoft. The only company that seems to be willing to leap to Android's defense is Barnes & Noble.
  6. Oh, and there's also that issue of bloatware installed by the handset manufacturers is making Android insecure. And that whole CarrierIQ thing.

I'd like to see Google put a little effort into addressing these issue. I know that the size of market share is important, but I think that these issues are also important for both Android users and handset makers.

If you're an Android user, what issues matter to you?

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Topics: Android, Google

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142 comments
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  • RE: Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

    1,2,3, and 6 were definitely factors when I decided to go iPhone after the most recent failure by RIM. Android has some cool stuff going on, but there are a lot of concerns about how the platform is managed.
    ncted
    • RE: Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

      @ncted What failure by RIM?

      The new BlackBerry phones and the Playbook are wonderful and still much more productive than an iPhone.
      John Hanks
      • RE: Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

        @John Hanks worldwide server outages. repeat of a year before.
        jokila
  • RE: Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

    #1. Many people don't bother upgrading even if it is available. Many just don't care about grabbing the update like a crazed fanatic. If it works ... why update? Then again, Apple has the same issue that older hardware can't support the new OS yet it isn't being declared a problem for them. Android simply has way more phones out there so for them there's more models affected that people can point at and go "look look!".

    #2. Hardware quality is not Google's responsibility and they shouldn't be expected to fix it. If Apple didn't make their own hardware they'd be in the same boat.

    #3. Is that the malware available from sketchy websites being Google's fault?

    #4. Google can't force Adobe to keep developing flash. Get over it. Unless you're shitting on every phone OS for this issue you're padding your list.

    #5. And? Your point is? What MS does, and what deals they reach, is not Google's responsibility. Since the manufacturer's haven't dropped Android I can only assume they're making good money overall.

    #6. CarrierIQ wasn't a Google responsibility and neither is bloatware. Even Apple was using CarrierIQ and that was clearly their choice.
    Ididar
    • RE: Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

      @Ididar <br><br>This is why things will never get fixed....google doesn't have to take responsibility for anything because no one expects them to.<br><br>That's why android is the way it is.

      Google passes the buck onto the OEMs because it's 'free', when the OEMs get hauled into court for 'IP theft' due to android functionality on a mobile handset google provides no indemnification.

      It all comes down to one simple, but important reason....

      Android users aren't Googles customer. They, or at least their personal info, their data, their 'digital DNA' if you will, are simply the crop that is harvested for Googles real customer....Advertisers.
      exspyguy
      • RE: Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

        @exspyguy
        You basically laid out why Google has nothing to do with the list above and they shouldnt. Most of what was stated above are either carrier or manufacture issues not android or gogle. I havent seen a failed android phone yet and I do repair and refurbs as my business. i do get tons of iphone ipods and ipads in though very fragile devices. On iphones it mostly digitizers, batteries, and ear phone jacks...ipods are same hardware issues and ipads usualy broken lcds and dented backs... The carrierIQ which is all the providers install i dislike the no opt out option but I removed it from my evo last week takes about 3 minutes to do.Updates for android are given but carriers drag their feet adding their crap before releasing but if it was arrainged that google could release just os updates that dont have to have carrier bloatware it would be very fast..flash well thats all adobe as all mobile devices will have to deal with it...So really the list above should be labeled 6 carrier.manufactures or android device issues as they all have nothing to do with google. Thats like being made at walmart because your chevy car engine is acting up.
        Fletchguy
      • RE: Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

        @Fletchguy Based on your post history it's very unlikely that anybody apart from Apple haters are going to believe anything you say in regard to Apple products. While the list isn't items that Google currently has control over that was the point, Google needs to push the OEMs and the carrier's to step up their game.
        non-biased
    • RE: Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

      @Ididar
      1. The iPhone 3GS from over two years ago runs the latest iOS. There are Android phones as young as nine months that don't have the latest upgrade. Big difference - that's why it isn't being declared as a problem for Apple.a

      2. You're right, it isn't Google's responsibility. But if customers jump ship, then they jump ship. And well, Apple isn't in the same boat. "If Apple didn't make their own hardware" is irrelevant. And who cares? This is a discussion of Android, not Apple.

      3. You seem to be obsessed with whose fault it is. That doesn't matter. It looks bad for the Android platform, so it looks bad for Google. Nobody else but Google is in a position to fix it.

      4. Agreed. Flash is irrelevant. I'm sure you said that even when Adobe supported it, right?

      5. The point is hardware manufacturers have a choice - if Android costs them too much money, they might switch to something else.

      6. Again, irrelevant whose fault it was? It's who it looks bad on that's important. And Apple's carrierIQ was paltry compared to Androids, since you insist on comparing them. Apple only collected memory and usage statistics, but not identifiable information, unlike on Android.
      hayesk
      • RE: Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

        @hayesk and your facts come from .....????
        liveTexas
      • RE: Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

        @hayesk

        MY ipad 1 alsof runs ios5 but I would love the choice of going back to ios4.
        It's soo slow. With android I just load a custom romantic on it. Not with Apple.

        I also have Friends with the third generation ipod touch, it's even slower as my ipad, so you think it's good to force customers into something? (you can't go back without shsh blobs)
        Florejaen
      • RE: Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

        @hayesk <br>1. there are android devices designed specifically to not run the newest updates, because it is CHEAPER! not everyone wants to spend $200+ on a new device, the only way to offer a $650 phone for less than $100 is to SKIMP ON THE HARDWARE. I really get pissed off at people for this issue. it is the main reason Android is doing so WELL. They have VARIETY. You don't have to spend your ENTIRE paycheck to get a cell phone (unlocked) you can get one at half the price or less, and imaging that, it does less! This is like people complaining that they bought a smart car and they can't fit all 6 of the their kids in it with the 3 dogs 7 cats 4 gerbils 2 snakes and a flying squirrel when they go on vacation across the country on a single tank of gas for a 3 week vacation! my answer to that is "No (rhymes with the past tense of light...)". Maybe you should have bought one of those two story bright red tour buses they use in England... another good (most likely better) example is buying a 25 year old 13" black and white TV and complaining that Avatar in 3D doesn't look very good on it! get a brain people. Vendor issue, not the OS.<br><br>2. have you ever heard of Toyota? how about Ford? again, vendor issue, not the OS<br><br>3. I have not had any malware on my phone, I've been using Android for just over 2 years now, I think most apps are malware in the sense that they do whatever they can to get information from you that they can use to make money. You don't find that on iOS because Apple already has your entire life in it's database. Google can do something about this, but it would require them to hire a testing team and demand all apps provide source code instead of compiled binaries for the market, and let google compile the code after testing it. Then you will have a long delay before any apps hit the market.<br><br>4. Flash will be around on the internet for another 20 years, there are too many websites that are not maintained, or were built using a hosting companies "auto site builder software" and the owner has no idea how to fix it, update it, or do anything else. Most don't care either. another issue, not up to google. <br><br>5. there is a reason it is the handset vendors going to court over this, and not google, has something to do with the USA's crappy law system...<br><br>6. Carrier IQ was on nearly every single phone OS, and it doesn't matter what Apple was collecting with it, the owner of said software had a backdoor setup to retrieve all the data directly without the hardware vendors support. This is why Apple ditched them, the software did not meet their code required for all applications that run on iOS. Not valid here, also from what I understand it is not found on Google Phones, only other handset manufacturers devices, so again, not a Google issue, take it up with the hardware vendors and service carriers.<br><br><br>so in the end, your only valid point here is #3 malware on the Android Market, not an easy issue to resolve and not something worth the expense at this point, unless all the lawsuits magically disappear.
        aiellenon
      • RE: Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

        @hayesk <i>4. Agreed. Flash is irrelevant. I'm sure you said that even when Adobe supported it, right?</i><br>Yeah, I have been wondering what tune all those that said Apples lack of Flash support was killing iOS are going to be singing now.

        @Florejaen My wife's iPad 1 runs faster with iOS5 and her 3GS does as well but that is really irrelevant because your iPad didn't come with iOS5 and nobody forced you to upgrade.
        non-biased
    • RE: Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

      @Ididar
      Its not about who fault it is....its about whether that results in developers not supporting the platform.
      global.philosopher
    • RE: Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

      @Ididar #3. Funny how MS always gets the blame for malware and virus vulnerabilities. Why shouldn't Google be treated the same.
      compsrt
      • You never used Linux did you? nt

        @compsrt
        Joe.Smetona
      • RE: Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

        @compsrt: It depends on if the vast majority of the malware has gotten in thanks to vulnerabilities or through tricking users.
        Natanael_L
    • RE: Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

      @Ididar

      "Then again, Apple has the same issue that older hardware can't support the new OS yet it isn't being declared a problem for them."

      As hayesk points out, generally speaking Apple does support older hardware than Android. Granted, if you go too far back, you will still reach a point of no more updates, however that's the case for any hardware capable of runnning a full OS.

      "If Apple didn't make their own hardware they'd be in the same boat."

      Which is precisely why Apple makes their own hardware.

      "#3. Is that the malware available from sketchy websites being Google's fault?"

      Which is why I prefer the app store model. It's not perfect, but it's much better.

      "#4. Google can't force Adobe to keep developing flash. Get over it. Unless you're shitting on every phone OS for this issue you're padding your list."

      Agreed.

      "#5. And? Your point is? What MS does, and what deals they reach, is not Google's responsibility. Since the manufacturer's haven't dropped Android I can only assume they're making good money overall."

      Agreed.

      "#6. CarrierIQ wasn't a Google responsibility and neither is bloatware. Even Apple was using CarrierIQ and that was clearly their choice. "

      Although Apple was already beginning to pull away from it before the news hit. Apparently they were wise enough to see the problems coming.
      CobraA1
    • RE: Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

      @Ididar

      In regard to #1, it doesn't seem many people are even given the opportunity, since it's entirely (short of rooting) dictated by Android OEMs and/or carriers. "If it works, why update?" Security, stability and new features for starters. After all, don't we hear every day from the Android advocates here how the next version of Android is the greatest thing since sliced bread?

      The fact that Android OEMs and the carriers are so slow to make updates available is telling. They don't view there to be any incentive to release updates, because it may delay you from buying a new phone (and renewing your contact in the process). It amazes me how much crap Apple got for only making Siri (in beta, mind you) available only on the 4S, even when they made iOS 5 available for older iPhones. They were accused of doing it simply to force users to buy the 4S, yet here we have Android OEMs and carriers by and large intentionally ignoring Android OS upgrades.

      Whether you want to admit it or not, Apple got this right. The kept the control over whether and when to update or not in their users hands. And regardless of your perception of their support of older devices, New versions of iOS are generally pretty compatible with older devices.

      And to pre-empt the "but Android users can always root and use any version they want" argument, I am very confident in speculating that of all Androids sold, the number that are rooted lie in the single digit %. A large majority of Android users don't have the slightest clue on how to root, nor the b***s to try.
      TroyMcClure
    • RE: Six Android issues that Google doesn't want to address

      @Ididar
      "Hardware quality is not Google's responsibility and they shouldn't be expected to fix it. If Apple didn't make their own hardware they'd be in the same boat."
      You are correct but Google gets the blame. I have seen it 1st hand, and like it or not and it's a bitter pill to swallow, Google gets the blame for most of these. And yes they know it.
      ItsTheBottomLine
      • That's the problem with using their name 'Android' as the rallying banner

        @ItsTheBottomLine
        People will tend to associate problems with it.
        Patanjali