Two Android Operating Systems!?

Two Android Operating Systems!?

Summary: Oh please tell me there won't be two versions of Android for tablets. Isn't having Chrome and Android enough for Google!?

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I already think there are too many different versions of Android and associated software stacks for Android's long-term good, then I read that Google may be supporting "two parallel [Android] software paths for tablets." Ack! No! Just no!

It seems that the forthcoming Android Honeycomb will require a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor, such as the NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip, to work. I can buy that. It's tough luck for anyone using a Samsung Galaxy Tab or a Dell Streak, but that's life on the bleeding edge of technology.

To users ready to blow a fuse because they no longer have the newest and best toy on the block, I suggest that they chill out. Does your device still do what you bought it for? After all, I'm still perfectly happy with my first generation iPod Touch, and it will never see a significant operating system upgrade again.

But, if you're a developer, oh boy, would I be unhappy. It's been hard enough to keep up with all those different "current" versions of Android, the chip vendor's different software stacks, and the devices wildly varying hardware, but now to deal with two different flavors of Honeycomb. Ow. Just ow.

It's not going to be any fun for users anyway. For example, there are no established guidelines for where icons should appear on an Android display. My idea of a good time isn't playing "Where's the application!" every time I pick up a new tablet or phone.

I do get it that it's not easy to move a touch-based operating system to a larger format. It may sound simple, but it's not. Just ask Apple how easy it was to get iOS4 to run on the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad Apple is still weeding out design quirks and, as anyone who uses the iFamily knows, not all applications can run across the devices.

It may be hard work but I think Apple made the right decision in supporting iOS4 across its platform family and depreciating the older versions with every new operating system release. It's made its developers lives a lot easier.

If Google does indeed end up support two concurrent versions of Android, I can see some programmers having fits. And, by the by, where does Chrome fit into all this? I still think Chrome is Google's Linux and cloud-based replacement for the fat-client desktop for ordinary users, but how many cutting-edge operating systems can Google develop at one time anyway?

Hopefully one of my compadres at CES will inform me that, "No, no, Google will only support one mainstream version of Android for all tablets and smartphones." I hope so. Boy, do I hope so.

Topics: Hardware, CXO, Google, Laptops, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Tablets, IT Employment

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28 comments
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  • upgrade issues

    Good point. My Droid 1 is over 1 year old now and has seen a couple big updates...but overall not that much has changed...except for maybe the addition of Flash support.

    But compared to the devices of today, mine is lacking and so I would rather get a new device then worry about another android update.
    otaddy
    • RE: Two Android Operating Systems!?

      So you think Google is wrong for actively trying to improve Android?
      Lennatron
  • RE: Two Android Operating Systems!?

    Makes sense to me. One for low powered units, and one for high powered. The mobile market has already shown with Android that consumers are willing play ball in both the high and low price points.

    Stop living in Steve Jobs world. Another tablet OS? OH NO! This is what we call options my friend, hardly another OS. Sure, I know I speak on behalf of all geeks when I say WE can handle multiple OS's. But I could care less what "mainstream" iphone and Android users want or need out of an OS.

    I know what you're thinking, "well buddy, it doesn't matter what you think either cause mainstream drives the market."

    Hardly. I see the OS that works for me and the customization capabilities thriving in the market right now, every day, everywhere you look. Android is here to stay.
    deftdrummer
  • RE: Two Android Operating Systems!?

    Andud's undoing, big FAIL for Google.
    james347
    • RE: Two Android Operating Systems!?

      @james347 Not only did you misspell Android in a shameless and failed attempt to sound witty...But you know Windows makes starter edition, home edition, professional ed, corporate edition, media edition, and server editions of Windows OS and every major application suite they offer and nobody thinks this is excessive. So if Android forks to support essentially larger tablets with fast processors and phones geared more towards battery life separately why do you scream foul and predict Google's Doom? We're being just a little hypocritical aren't we?
      Socratesfoot
  • Better get ready for a lot more versions

    After all, Android is Open Source so any corporation, or government is free to modify, change and market as they see fit. Just think of all those versions of Android supported by non-google related companies! <br><br>It's OpenSource, or in other words, complete chaos.
    The Nasty Old Troll
    • RE: Two Android Operating Systems!?

      @The Nasty Old Troll How is it chaos? I cannot think of any OpenSource project that is in chaos, even the biggest such as Linux Kernel, Firefox and many others. If anything, OpenSource is more organised because it has to be.

      And whats wrong with allowing people to take the source and create their own version of it? Thats the entire premise behind Open Source. Thats the reason it exists and as long as it does people at least have options available to them.
      garethmcc
    • Firefox (Open Source) overtakes IE in Europe...

      @The Nasty Old Troll <br><br>...according to Stat Counter, with Chrome on a steady rise.<br><br><a href="http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser-eu-monthly-200912-201012" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser-eu-monthly-200912-201012</a><br><br>Yes, Open Source is complete chaos!

      Also if you look at break down of browsers FF 3.6 is ahead of IE8

      http://gs.statcounter.com/#browser_version-eu-monthly-201010-201012
      DevJonny
    • RE: Two Android Operating Systems!?

      @The Nasty Old Troll At least you let everyone know your a Troll before posting your opinion. That was nice. I don't have to go into all the reasons your wrong.
      Socratesfoot
    • RE: Two Android Operating Systems!?

      @The Nasty Old Troll

      "Out of chaos comes order" - Friedrich Nietzsche
      MisterMiester
      • RE: Two Android Operating Systems!?

        @MisterMiester
        Unfortunately, experience with Open Source says otherwise. The chaos remains and rarely becomes order in the large scale. Every now and then a small scale bit of order comes about, but the large scale never seems to appear.
        Cynical99
      • RE: Two Android Operating Systems!?

        @Cynical99<br><br>Nothing large scale except for internet servers, super computing, financial institution servers including most of the world's major exchanges, NAS boxes, routers, ... etc.<br><br>/sarcasm off
        MisterMiester
  • SJVN gets it wrong, again...

    Who said anything about two versions of Honeycomb? Please read the article you referenced again. It only mentions Froyo and Honeycomb, not some mysterious second version of Honeycomb. Google has made it clear that Honeycomb is the only version of Android intended for tablets. If companies like Samsung choose to disregard this fact, they can, but that doesn't mean Google is supporting some alternate version of Android for tablets. Get your facts straight.
    ALISON SMOCK
    • &lt;+&gt;1 with one small addition...

      @stebidri

      ... Honeycomb is meant for "high-end" tables running Dual-Core processors, Gingerbread for the rest.<br><br>SJVN seems to have bee in his bonet about Android at the moment, without any real reason!<br><br>When Android developers start complaining then Google with have an issue.
      DevJonny
    • RE: Two Android Operating Systems!?

      @stebidri <br>Exactly right. Google has been asking manufacturers to delay tablets with G and wait for H before moving forward. As far as I can tell, we're not going to have parallel projects -- F or G will just be the end of the line for all current hardware and will remain in maintenance mode for quite some time.
      daengbo
  • LISTEN!

    Did no one hear what Andy Rubin said at DIM? The programming logic is going to work basically like iOS, where the apps behave differently depending on whether they're running on a tablet or a smartphone.

    Besides that. a smartphone is only good, after all, for about 1 - 1 1/2 years from its release date. The developers should only worry about the last three versions which, when Honeycomb hits the market, will only include Froyo, Gingerbread and Honeycomb. Windows developers are still testing their stuff on Windows XP, right? Come on, it's really not that bad. I'm a software developer, and I remember when Windows Vista was released; THAT was a nightmare.
    mortodestructo
    • RE: Two Android Operating Systems!?

      @mortodestructo It takes lies and fear mongering to make an effective unruly mob. Please stop trying to use facts and logic to diminish the author's dislike and trolling of the Android OS. He needs something edgy to write about.
      Socratesfoot
  • RE: Two Android Operating Systems!?

    I fail to understand how multiple flavours and "stacks" of Android are bad for developers? The base Operating System will stay the same. As long as developers use the OS API available to them as part of the Android stack it doesn't matter what others bolt on.

    Of course if vendors want to piss off their customers they are free to alter the source of Android but thats just pointing a gun at yourself and waiting for someone to pull the trigger.
    garethmcc
  • RE: Two Android Operating Systems!?

    Microsoft Windows, Although I am no fan and feel force to use their inflated behind the curve sluggish products the truth is Windows in many formats is the most successful operating system and yet the company continues to roll out and support many versions, sizes and flavors.
    wkbode
  • RE: Two Android Operating Systems!?

    actually this is a better idea than having just one OS for phone and tablet. as long as they have one OS for each it can work out well enough. probably better than the rest. But i agree.. too many things at one time and no sense of stable direction


    ps - If you think iOS developers don't face issues you need to read the blogs a bit more. plenty of people having problems with iOS 3 and 4 and Apple not supporting 3 anymore.
    eddyrox1@...