Greg's bite: Android, a fractured OS, PlayBook
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Greg's bite: Android, a fractured OS, PlayBook

By Greg Mills

Those of us who are looking intently at the various operating systems out there that can run on smart phones and slate computers are keenly aware of the surge in usage of Google's Android.  

All is not well in that platform, as users are likely to find out, especially as time goes on. While there are benefits to the open source software concept, the devil is in the tendency for divergent flavors of operating software to be developed, that lead to incompatibility issues in various hardware configurations. These problems sometimes can't be fixed by adjusting the software and will basically render recent hardware obsolete, within months of release. This is not good for any platform. 

Currently there are already four versions of Android out there -- Android 1.6, ViewSonic 2.0 and ViewSonic 2.1 and the 2.2 Froyo Android configurations -- likely to be seen on a slew of new tablets. This does not even take into consideration the tweaks various hardware companies have made to Android to run on their phones. Google has Android OS 2.3, called "Gingerbread" in the oven while Honeycomb 3.0 is just showing up in the new Motorola tablet. Are you confused yet?

This incompatibility issue is showing up in Android phones already, and I predict it will be even more pronounced in slate computers running the new Android Honeycomb OS. Piper Jaffray analysts figure Android will soon run on a third of the tablets and half the smart phones out there, so this issue is huge and threatens to break the back of Google's advance. Microsoft's profound failure to provide a viable slate computer OS on time, really opened the door for Google.

While an app written for Apple's iOS are likely to work across the board hardware wise, a new iOS update comes out and, suddenly, issues show up that require tweaking the app to make it work seamlessly on the new system. Apple makes sure an app that runs on iPhone will also run on iPad in the dual platform mode. That will not likely be the case on Android's platform. The new Android OS flavor for slate computers is called "Honeycomb." Motorola, according to rumor, has a 90-day exclusive on it.  

Slight tweaks under the hood in an OS allow different memory chips, microprocessors and graphics processors to do their job better, but these minor changes might not work as well or at all in a different device. Having a dozen different manufacturers producing Android phones is both a dream and a nightmare for Google's Android OS team.  

Rules are written to insure platform compatibility, then these rules are routinely ignored. Break the rules in an iOS app and it may get bounced by Apple until the app complies with Apple's iOS standards. Break an OS compatibility rule in Android and post the app on any of half a dozen independent app stores and who knows or cares until users complain, and then what?

Even Microsoft, with its tiny Vista 7 Mobile OS app store demands strict adherence to protocols they have defined. Android is sort of like anarchy while Apple's iOS store is a dictatorship.  While there are plenty of issues and complaints about Apple's hammerlock on apps it accepts, the compatibility of iOS apps and the lack of piracy make writing apps for Apple a more likely source of income for developers. Microsoft has been the leader in throwing incompatible software out the door. Remember the Windows Vista, Windows 7 and "XP compatible" lawsuits?  Even now, the recently introduced Kin phones are obsolete as they won't run Mobile Vista 7.  

At the end of the day, having written an app that is going viral but mostly stolen, instead of being paid for vs a smaller number of app sales that pay like a slot machine are the two fundamental choices developers have to make. While as many as 90% of apps running on Android worldwide are pirated, with the developers getting nothing, the rate of piracy on the Apple iOS app program is an insignificant, tiny number.  

The RIM PlayBook slate computer coming out soon at Sprint (ouch, writing the word "Sprint" creates pain in my members from vivid memories of torture at their hands) has no GPS chip.  As I read the specs on the unreleased and unpriced "PlayBook," I noticed the lack of GPS.  

Sure enough, as I read up on PlayBook at the RIM web site, I found some notes hidden in customer service feedback files that confirms PlayBook will find locations by triangulating cell towers and comparing WiFi sources. That sucks. I remember the iPhone 1 and the rather poor navigation system it had. There is no substitute for GPS.  

The PlayBook is rumored to have serious battery problems and perhaps that is one reason they left the GPS chip out. While GPS chips cost something, they are not so expensive they can't be included in a high-end device. Make no mistake, the RIM PlayBook will not be cheap and, still, it will have a crappy location system.

Frankly, I am of the opinion the PlayBook is facing a poorly defined market. While calling the PlayBook a business device, it features games and applications that are clearly consumer oriented. Calling a device a business tool perhaps justifies a price point civilians won't pay and only a business can afford. PlayBook is clearly not the iPad killer the PC world is seeking. With the iPad 2 just around the corner and no iPad 1 killer in sight, Apple has lapped the competition and is laughing all the way to the bank.  

That's Greg's bite for today.

(Greg Mills, is a Faux Artist in Kansas City. Formerly a new product R&D man for the paint sundry market, he holds 11 US patents. He's working on a solar energy startup, www.CottageIndustrySolar.com using a patent pending process of turning waste dual pane glass into thermal solar panels used to heat water. Greg writes for intellectual web sites and Mac related issues. See Greg's art web site at www.gregmills.info ; his email is gregmills@mac.com )

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Model 15 (Music)
Model 15 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Music Price: $29.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The Moog Model 15 App is the first Moog modular synthesizer and synthesis educational tool created exclusively for iPad, iPhone and... | Read more »
How to deal with wind in Angry Birds Act...
Angry Birds Action! is a physics-based puzzler in which you're tasked with dragging and launching birds around an obstacle-littered field to achieve a set objective. It's simple enough at first, but when wind gets introduced things can get pretty... | Read more »
How to get three stars in every level of...
Angry Birds Action! is, essentially, a pinball-style take on the pull-and-fling action of the original games. When you first boot it up, you'll likely be wondering exactly what it is you have to do to get a good score. Well, never fear as 148Apps... | Read more »
The beginner's guide to Warbits
Warbits is a turn-based strategy that's clearly inspired by Nintendo's Advance Wars series. Since turn-based strategy games can be kind of tricky to dive into, see below for a few tips to help you in the beginning. Positioning is crucial [Read... | Read more »
How to upgrade your character in Spellsp...
So you’ve mastered the basics of Spellspire. By which I mean you’ve realised it’s all about spelling things in a spire. What next? Well you’re going to need to figure out how to toughen up your character. It’s all well and good being able to spell... | Read more »
5 slither.io mash-ups we'd love to...
If there's one thing that slither.io has proved, it's that the addictive gameplay of Agar.io can be transplanted onto basically anything and it will still be good fun. It wouldn't be surprising if we saw other developers jumping on the bandwagon,... | Read more »
How to navigate the terrain in Sky Charm...
Sky Charms is a whimsical match-'em up adventure that uses creative level design to really ramp up the difficulty. [Read more] | Read more »
Victorious Knight (Games)
Victorious Knight 1.3 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.3 (iTunes) Description: New challenges awaits you! Experience fresh RPG experience with a unique combat mechanic, packed with high quality 3D... | Read more »
Agent Gumball - Roguelike Spy Game (Gam...
Agent Gumball - Roguelike Spy Game 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Someone’s been spying on Gumball. What the what?! Two can play at that game! GO UNDERCOVERSneak past enemy... | Read more »
Runaway Toad (Games)
Runaway Toad 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: It ain’t easy bein’ green! Tap, hold, and swipe to help Toad hop to safety in this gorgeous new action game from the creators of... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Indian Smartphone Market Grows Annually by 12...
India’s smartphone market grew by 12 percent year-over-year, with 24.4 million units shipping in Q1 2016. The top five vendors stayed the same, with Samsung in the lead, followed by Micromax, Intex... Read more
Get Notifications When Your Friend’s Phone Ba...
Calgary, Canada based Stonelight Pictures has announced the release of Battery Share 1.0.1, its new utility for iOS 9 supported devices. The company notes that people are spending more time on their... Read more
11-inch 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for...
Amazon has the current-generation 11″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (sku MJVM2LL/A) on sale for $749.99 for a limited time. Their price is $150 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model... Read more
Price drops on clearance 2015 13-inch MacBook...
B&H Photo has dropped prices on clearance 2015 13″ MacBook Airs by up to $250. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 1.6GHz/4GB/128GB MacBook Air (MJVE2LL/A): $799, $200... Read more
Mac minis on sale for up to $100 off MSRP
B&H Photo has Mac minis on sale for up to $100 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $449 $50 off MSRP - 2.6GHz Mac mini: $649 $50 off MSRP - 2.8GHz Mac mini... Read more
13-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has 13″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for $130-$200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1169 $130 off MSRP - 13″ 2.7GHz/... Read more
Apple price trackers, updated continuously
Scan our Apple Price Trackers for the latest information on sales, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers. We update the trackers continuously: - 15″... Read more
SanDisk Half-Terabyte SSD Optimized for Every...
SanDisk Corporation has announced the SanDisk Z410 SSD, a cost-competitive, half-terabyte solid state drive (SSD) that enables manufacturers to design for a broad range of desktop PCs and laptops.... Read more
Churchill Downs Racetrack Selects VenueNext t...
Churchill Downs Racetrack has announced an agreement with VenueNext to implement its technology platform for the start of Churchill Downs 2016 Spring Meet, which includes the 142nd running of the... Read more
Record 700 Million Pounds of CE Recycled in 2...
The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) reports that a record-setting 700 million pounds of consumer electronics (CE) have been recycled under the eCycling Leadership Initiative (ELI). According to... Read more

Jobs Board

Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation WHY YOU LL LIKE IT You ll be the Big Apple You ll solve problems You ll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description:SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
*Apple* Subject Matter Expert - NTT Data, In...
…in Owings Mills, MD has a 6+ month contract position available for an Apple Subject Matter Expert. TITLE: Apple Subject Matter Expert LOCATION: Owings Mills, Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.