Should Google release its own high-end Android phone?

Also in today's open source roundup: antiX 16 released without systemd, and Tobias Mueller discusses the history of changes from GNOME 3.0 to GNOME 3.20

android tree shrub green
Credit: Derek Walter

Google might challenge Apple with a high-end Android phone

Google has long envied Apple's perch atop the high-end of the smartphone market. Apple's iPhone has sucked in most of the profits in the smartphone business for years, despite having less market share than Android phones. Now it looks like Google might be following in Apple's footsteps by releasing its own high-end Android phone.

James Titcomb reports for The Telegraph.com:

Google is planning a shake-up of the smartphone market by releasing its own handset, a move that would tighten its grip on mobile software and see it compete directly with the iPhone.

The technology giant is in discussions with mobile operators about releasing a Google-branded phone that will extend the company's move into hardware, sources familiar with the discussions told The Telegraph.

Although Android runs on the majority of smartphones sold globally, Apple still dominates the lucrative high-end of the market. The proliferation of Android device makers, many of which apply the software differently, means Google has struggled to ensure consistency, with some smartphone owners waiting months for updates, and some manufacturers relegating Google's own internet services which are included in Android.

Its own phone would allow Google to control the software, securing the future of services such as the Google search engine and Google Play app store that run on it.

More at The Telegraph

News about a Google branded Android phone caught the attention of redditors and they shared their thoughts about it:

K5cents: "I would kill for Google a phone with the quality and aesthetics to match my 2015 Pixel CB."

BabyGotTheBends: "I'd definitely be interested in a Google branded smartphone. I'm assuming it would be a Pixel?"

Neutralgreengiant: "It'd take a lot to get me to upgrade from my 6p, but I'd be lying if I said a Pixel phone wouldn't make my ears perk up."

Jumykn: "The more likely outcome is Google does the theory and outsources solely production to a manufacturer. Google doesn't have the capacity to take advantage of economies of scale and that's part of the reason why Pixel products are so expensive. It's been rumored for a while that Google will be releasing a phone through another manufacturer that is completely designed and spec'd by Google. I think early speculation pegged HTC as the company but that was a good while ago. "

Thatalien: "Android is too Samsung dominant for Google to be comfortable about its future. Makes sense for Google but I wish it were other companies trying to better Samsung in the smartphone race. No other company has been consistent enough to take on the rise of Samsung in the Android market."

Iwantatrophy: "If this is true, I hope Google distributes Nexus and Pixel into different set of phones, i.e. Nexus could the Low/Mid and Mid/High while the Pixel could be a competitor to iPhone and the S Series. I don't want to see a Nexus vs Pixel match."

Izick: "I think this would be a genius move by Google, if true.

Put Android out there, allow third parties nearly full access so the platform can grow through the sheer power of the numbers game, and then come back in with a more Apple-esque approach to reap the benefits.

The problem they face though, is that they're likely not going to close Android up to third parties (which is good), but they are going to have to figure out a way to get people to buy their phone over the newest Samsung phones. Samsung phones have always been solid choices for the average consumer, but now with the premium hardware and refined software, it is harder than ever for competition.

Google is going to have to either come up with some amazing exclusive features or have an incredible marketing push that rivals Apple or Microsoft's (not Windows Phone; Xbox) best."

Boo_baup: "So how's that any different from the Nexus line? Just the co-branding?"

MeanestPhlebotomist: "Nexus phones are designed by third party companies (like LG or Huawei), with some input from Google. Pixel devices are designed completely by Google."

More at Reddit

antiX 16 released without systemd

Systemd has caused enormous controversy in the Linux community, but not all distributions have included it. antiX 16 has just been released, and it does not contain systemd.

Marius Nestor reports for Softpedia:

Based on the latest Debian GNU/Linux 8.5 "Jessie" operating system, antiX 16 is one of the few distros that ship without the modern systemd init system, nor systemd-shim. It is powered by the long-term supported Linux 4.4.10 kernel that has been customized with a fbcondecor splash, and includes many updated core components.

antiX 16 comes with many popular open-source software projects, among which we can mention the LibreOffice 4.3.3–2 office suite and Mozilla Firefox 45.2.0 ESR web browser.

Additionally, antiX 16 ships with applications like Claws Mail 3.13.0 email client, XMMS audio player, GNOME MPlayer video player, and SMube 16.3.0 YouTube player. Streamlight-antiX utility is also present for those who want to stream videos on machines with very low RAM resources.

…users will find three different flavors, antiX-full, which contains a total of four windows managers (IceWM, Fluxbox, Joe's Window Manager (JWM) and Herbstluftwm), antiX-base, which includes three windows managers, namely Fluxbox, JWM, and Herbstluftwm, as well as antiX-core-libre, which is the smallest of them all and has not graphical system.

More at Softpedia

Tobias Mueller: From GNOME 3.0 to GNOME 3.20

GNOME 3 was a milestone in GNOME development when it was released five years ago, and it generated quite a lot of feedback from users. Tobias Mueller traces the history of changes between GNOME 3.0 and the current version 3.20.

Here's the official description from YouTube:

GNOME 3.20 has just been released on 21st of March. With that release, many visible improvements will be delivered to users around the world. While many people already excitedly use GNOME 3 with the new user experience, some features of the new and elegant desktop like LibreOffice integration or editing photos with non-destructive GEGL operations are not yet wildly known. We also did many things on the plumbing layer such as allowing GNOME to run Wayland.

The talk will introduce to some of the design philosophies inherent in GNOME 3 as well as the main changes brought to users and developers. Also, since GNOME 3.20 is another step of a long lasting incrementally improved user experience, the future of GNOME's development will be speculated on.

More at YouTube

Did you miss a roundup? Check the Eye On Open home page to get caught up with the latest news about open source and Linux.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

To comment on this article and other InfoWorld content, visit InfoWorld's LinkedIn page, Facebook page and Twitter stream.
From CIO: 8 Free Online Courses to Grow Your Tech Skills
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.