One of the biggest problems with Android has been fragmentation. It has caused many headaches for developers who need to support different device configurations, and for users who may get updates late or never at all. And some have blamed this on Google not retaining more control over Android after its initial launch. Google has taken a different approach with watches, TVs and cars by keeping a tight grip on Android. But re/code reports that that might not last forever.
According to re/code:
Google is taking its versatile Android operating system into new places, like cars and watches and TVs. As part of that process, it’s also severely curtailing the degree to which hardware makers can tinker with the core parts of the software.
Lockheimer acknowledged that hardware makers have less flexibility to customize Android for use on watches, TVs or in cars, but said that is not necessarily a permanent situation. He said Google wanted a bit of time to make sure it had the basics right in these new areas before allowing deeper customization of the software experience.
I have very mixed feelings about Google giving up control over Android in TVs, cars and watches. Yes, a lot of Android device manufacturers would certainly prefer it that way. It lets them put their own brands and apps first, and it may give them the opportunity to add some value to stock Android.
However, there's a downside to this if it affects Android updates. With Android phones we've seen that some devices take forever to get updated to the latest version of Android, and some never get updated at all. This makes for a very poor user experience, and it has the potential to sour some users on Android.
I hope that Google takes it slow when it starts letting manufacturers change Android on these other kinds of devices. Their primary concern should be the overall user experience in Android and not what other companies want to get for their own selfish reasons. Google should take great care or they may end up regretting it later on.
Is the Nexus 6 worth the money?
Google has announced its new Nexus 6 phablet, and it has spurred some passionate debate among Android users. Some feel that it is not worth paying $649 for, while others think it's well worth buying. Reddit has a reaction thread with posts from both sides.