Virtualization doesn't fix all of Android's ills

Virtualization doesn't fix all of Android's ills

Summary: There are still serious issues that virtualization doesn't solve.

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Virtualizing Android would certainly help solve some of the problems facing the platform, but it's not a magic bullet that will eliminate all ills.

ZDNet's Jason Perlow believes that Google will virtalize Android during the coming year:

Android fragmentation and update lag is a very real problem. It undermines consumer as well as developer confidence in the long-term sustainability of the platform, this despite the fact that Android now occupies the lion’s share of the smartphone market.

...

The actual solution to the Android update problem has been materializing in the background for the last two years and will almost certainly show its face sometime in productized form in 2012. And that's Android Virtualization.

There's no doubt that fragmentation and non-existent updates for handsets is a serious problem for the Android platform. And there's no doubt that virtualization would help make deploying the Android platform to handsets a lot easier. A virtualized OS would be far offer a far more platform-independent platform than the current offering allows. But there are still serious issues that virtualization doesn't solve.

  • Virtualization doesn't guarantee forward-compatibility While virtualization solves a lot of problems related to hardware compatibility, there's no guarantee that a hypervisor installed on a handset today will be compatible with future Android code. It should work for updates within a major version, but for version jumps, problems would still remain.
  • There's a performance hit Virtualization comes at a price ... performance. Not much of a performance hit, but it's not a zero-cost solution.
  • OEMs will still want to add their own branding and crapware One of the delays in getting Android updates out onto user handsets is that handset OEMs want to add their own branding and crapware to handsets.
  • Carriers will also want to add branding and crapware The carriers will also want to have their oar in the update process.

Virtualization is only part of the answer. As I've said before, Google needs to step up and fix Android:

To achieve this, Google may well have to throw all the OEMs under the bus and go the Apple route, leveraging Motorola (assuming that deal doesn't go belly up at some point). If |Google got serious about creating a range of quality Android handsets, other OEMs would be forced to follow suit.

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Topics: Storage, Android, CXO, Cloud, Google, Hardware, Virtualization

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27 comments
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  • For Heaven's Sake you are like parrots

    And, judging by the pure sales volume of Android devices, no one cares about this.
    It's a non-issue.
    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
    • But what are the profits of the handset makers?

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate
      That is the important thing. From all indications, Apple makes nearly 100% of the profit in the smartphone market and more than 100% of the profit in the tablet industry.
      toddybottom
      • RE: Virtualization doesn't fix all of Android's ills

        @toddybottom <br><br>And joe Android consumer don't care what APL makes. Otay.
        Return_of_the_jedi
      • Quarterly/Annual Reports

        @toddybottom
        Read the SEC filings. OEMs are quite happy with the current state of affairs. Android works, they have complete control of scheduling, branding, roll-out.

        Say what you will but Apple sales of handsets pales in comparison to sales across all OEM Android handsets.

        Android rulez. :/
        Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
      • RE: Virtualization doesn't fix all of Android's ills

        Yeah, Motorola was really happy with Android. Oh wait, no, they weren't.

        Say what you will but OEM Android handset profits pale in comparison to Apple handset profits.
        toddybottom
      • RE: Virtualization doesn't fix all of Android's ills

        @toddybottom<br>What is the real choice for a consumer? <br><br>Stop thinking as a techie, that thinks they know everything.
        daikon
      • Real choice is nice

        Consumers do not have real choice in the smartphone and tablet markets.
        toddybottom
      • RE: Virtualization doesn't fix all of Android's ills

        @toddybottom Bugatti Veyron profits are probably enormously more than Hyundai Elantra profits, but that doesn't mean every car maker's going to be upset and want to build supercars instead, does it?
        jgm@...
      • RE: Virtualization doesn't fix all of Android's ills

        @toddybottom , With Apple making 100% of the mobile device profits, how do you think the other 45 manufacturers and carriers are paying their bills? You sound almost happy and proud that you pay FAR TOO MUCH for your fruit-bling, hip candy, Yuppy-tech, zombie pad and phone. Apple has become the profit hungry corporation they originally set out to bring down. Back then it was IBM. Fact is, trying to make large profit margins per item sold died out a couple decades ago and Apple seems to be about 30 years behind the times. The economy sucks, and sensible people don't waste money, which begs the question, what kind of people buy Apple products? Android buyers are now the ones bucking the fruit-bling system. Apple is the establishment now, and they have become the evil empire they once sought to dethrown! I have six kids who now have kindle fire tablets and android phones. Cost? $200 bucks each.... TOTAL. Apple makes 200% more profit than they should and the blind following continues to support that, blame yourselves for their profit margins, but don't try to flaunt it like it's a good thing because that just makes you look less intelligent. Wake up dude, quit paying $1.30 for a song that costs $.60 and then having the cash-rapist that sold it to you tell you what you can or can't do with it! Then quit bragging about his profit margin while he has you bent over and he's working you!Android may not be perfect, or completely open. But from the O.S. prison your in it should be looking pretty darn GOOD! Or are you looking?.... I was, thats why I buy Android!
        tjmajka
    • RE: Virtualization doesn't fix all of Android's ills

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate Hence, the content farming. Wow, another negative Android article from this site, who would have thunk it? Five million a week in activations, plus 3.7 over the Christmas holiday. Android devices did so much volume they linked Apple sales to it to ride the wave. In a very poor attempt to veil Android is dominating the market and Apple is in 2nd to last place right above RIM in latest Comscore which didn't conveniently make it onto this site.
      techenduser
    • RE: Virtualization doesn't fix all of Android's ills

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz * Your Linux Advocate

      ....... It was a non-issue, no longer.
      Woned B. Fooldagan
  • RE: Virtualization doesn't fix all of Android's ills

    Zdnet, give it a rest, will ya? Pls.
    <br>Did Zdnet ever mention Android have 700K+ activation per day.<br>Let see they mentioned: Android has:<br>a situation<br>a problem<br>now ills<br><br>You can only get the latter here.
    Return_of_the_jedi
    • RE: Virtualization doesn't fix all of Android's ills

      @Return_of_the_jedi It is kind of amazing that despite all of the ills with Android that Adrian calls out seemingly every day, it's still outselling the Jesus Phone by nearly 2 to 1. Maybe the average person just isn't perceptive enough to pick up these subtle cues that Mr. Kingsley-Hughes finds so grating.

      A good thing though he's here to set Google straight. For sure they'd never get from 50% market share to 60% without implementing his valuable advice. Too bad he wasn't around to advise them early on, or their rate of progress would not have been such a long hard slog.
      symbolset
      • RE: Virtualization doesn't fix all of Android's ills

        @symbolset "Publish a minimum hardware spec that handset makers must follow... Cut carriers out of the equation... possibly go as far as cutting the hardware makers out too... Discourage carrier branding..."

        The only thing left off the list is discourage end user customization. Most of the items on the list seem designed to kill off every advantage/appeal Android has all in the name of faster updates for phones that users shouldn't be encouraged to expect are updatable and which would lower future phone sales and produce no revenue for the carriers!

        The STRENGTH of Android is that you can get big phones, little phones, keyboard phones, tablet phones, PMPs with no phone, etc. Standardizing the hardware, dictating to carriers and phone makers, etc. will kill that off or cripple it. Unlocking boot loaders is nice, but encouraging homebrew projects doesn't gain much for Android so long as the development is done behind closed doors and flies in the face of all of the other lockdown ideas floated here (including becoming the sole Android phone vendor, from the "go the Apple route" line regarding Motorola).

        I just don't understand what pressing problem with Android Google is supposed to be fixing with all of this. I can't run Windows 7 and Batman Arkham Asylum on my HP laptop from 2006, but this doesn't seem to be a "problem" that HP has to fix, other than suggesting I buy a new laptop. If the phone still does everything it was supposed to do when you bought it, then there's nothing to fix other than the idea that the carrier or handset vendor is supposed to upgrade your phone for you and for free. Either do it yourself or buy a new phone, just like I have to do with my laptop. When laptop vendors start updating your OS for you for free, then maybe I'll concede there's an Android problem.
        jgm@...
    • RE: Virtualization doesn't fix all of Android's ills

      @jgm
      When techies start thinking like consumers they may understand, good luck with that wish.
      daikon
  • RE: Virtualization doesn't fix all of Android's ills

    Wp7 has failed.

    Even Samsung Bada outsells wp7
    Sultansulan
    • Hey Dietrich, speaking of parrots, have you met Sultansulan?

      @Sultansulan
      All he can do is say the same thing over and over again. Kind of like you.
      toddybottom
      • RE: Virtualization doesn't fix all of Android's ills

        @toddybottom
        He is a crap egyptian troll(translateit27) from engadget .
        vivianvein
      • RE: Virtualization doesn't fix all of Android's ills

        @vivianvein
        That???s step back a little bit, how is WP7 doing?
        daikon
      • RE: Virtualization doesn't fix all of Android's ills

        @toddybottom
        What did Dietrick say?
        daikon