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High Expectations For Google Android 274

Posted by Soulskill
from the keeping-up-with-the-googses dept.
Several readers have pointed out recent articles discussing the development and features of Google Android. Silicon.com has what is essentially an FAQ for Android, providing the relevant basic information about it. Apcmag questions whether Google can meet the high expectations most enthusiasts have for the platform, and The Register discusses Google's claims that it will be competitive with Apple and worth the wait. We discussed a preview of Android last month. Quoting The Register: "Google mobile platforms guru Rich Miner acknowledged that for the moment, Apple may have an advantage. After all, Steve Jobs and company have actually shipped a piece of hardware, while the first Android handset won't arrive until 'the second half of this year.' But Miner also told the crowd that Stevo hasn't treated developers as well as they deserve. 'There are certain apps you just can't build on an iPhone,' Miner said. 'Apple doesn't let you do multiprocessing. They don't let your app run in the background after you switch to another. And they don't let you have interpretive language in your iPhone apps.'"
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High Expectations For Google Android

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  • First post? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rdhatch (1253652)
    iPhone will be hard to beat. Apple is way ahead of the curve no matter how you cut it.
    • Re:First post? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @07:29PM (#22745608) Journal
      Competition will be good. Perhaps the Feature Nazis at Apple will be forced to loosen the strings a little bit.
      • Re:First post? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by rdhatch (1253652) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @07:44PM (#22745798)
        That would be wonderful. You are right...competition is good. Along those lines...it is interesting that in many ways OS X (and the iPhone for that matter) have made it to the desktop and consumer market and become extraordinarily successful by utilizing open source software that was originally designed to run with Linux and other unices to compete with Microsoft all while the powers that be at Apple have been VERY strict about what goes in to the OS, what makes it to prime-time, etc. In my opinion, Apple has done a great job at both releasing very competitive products (with open source underpinnings and features) and maintaining a balance between the potentially chaotic open-source world and the "real" consumer world in their products...something that Linux unfortunately has failed to do thus far.
      • Re:First post? (Score:5, Informative)

        by KH2002 (547812) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:38PM (#22746360) Journal
        Yes, the new iPhone SDK reveals some really critical shortcomins vs. Android.

        The lack of background processing in 3rd party iPhone apps will hamstring whole classes of new apps. The best summation of iPhone SDK problems I've seen is here:

        Apple's iPhone SDK Prohibits Real Mobile Innovation [whydoeseve...ngsuck.com]

    • by urbanriot (924981) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @07:30PM (#22745618)
      How are they ahead of the curve? They have... a phone?
      • by 2nd Post! (213333)
        Well, let us see:
        Working product: Apple
        Final OS: Apple
        Beta SDK: Tie

        So by the time an Android phone is released, Apple will have had all three (OS and product for a greater part of a year) where Google will not. Sounds "ahead of the curve" to me.
      • by JohnBailey (1092697) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @11:08PM (#22747522)

        How are they ahead of the curve? They have... a phone?
        No.. they have the iPhone... the only phone on the market with it's own built in reality distortion field generator.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I don't think that Google really intend to try beat iphone. There is room in the phone space for more than one phone.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by kemushi88 (1156073)
        I agree. I don't think this has much of a chance of being an iPhone killer, but more realistically a Windows Mobile killer.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Threni (635302)
      Not really. There's nothing special about the iPhone. The touch interface is nice, other than that it's just another phone, and an expensive one. As a company they suck (read the iPod forums to learn what a mess they've made of the iPod Classic). Google can do no wrong, it seems. The only thing which they don't do, and which seems a little strange, is own/endorse a Free (capital F) Linux distro. I can't see how that would fail. They wouldn't have to employ a single person to support it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by 2nd Post! (213333)
        You misunderstand the iPHone if you think it's just a nice, expensive, phone. It's really a small, portable computer that can make phone calls. As a computer, it can also browse the web, take notes, watch videos, listen to music, check your stocks, check the weather, take pictures, and email.

        And with every firmware release and the release of the SDK, it will move further and further from being "just a phone".

        Android, in comparison, doesn't exist yet. It's a beta SDK and platform in some developer's hands.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by not flu (1169973)
          >it can also browse the web, take notes, watch videos, listen to music, check your stocks, check the weather, take pictures, and email. How is this functionally different from, say, the 5 year old Nokia 6600? The iPhone is just a phone with a nice screen.
          • by 2nd Post! (213333)
            Hmm, functionally different:
            4gb to 16gb storage, integrated
            Twice the resolution
            Higher resolution camera
            6x the CPU
            Support for WiFi or EDGE (2 to 200x faster)
            Soft-qwerty keyboard (vs number pad)
            The ability to store gigabytes of music and video
            The ability to browse YouTube
            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by not flu (1169973)
              Of course the iPhone's tech specs are better than the 6600's, it's not 5 years old! Other manufacturers have come up with new models since then too. But your initial argument that the iPhone is special in that it lets you do computer-y things was just plain wrong.
          • Re:First post? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by tknd (979052) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:47PM (#22746426)

            There isn't much difference. The major difference is that Apple understands how to market products.

            I had this same argument with a few different people including one of my friends who actually worked in the cell phone industry. He too thought the iphone "is just another phone". Well yes, it is, but that's because you are a knowledgeable about the topic. Consider joe six-pack who finds fox news more useful than any other media channel. He sees an iphone commercial. So what is he going to do if he gets sold on buying a new phone? Is he going to magically buy the product he doesn't know about (Nokia) or buy what he sees on TV?

            You see, when people talk about the iphone, they are not just talking about it from a technological standpoint. When I say, "what about the iphone" I am talking from a business standpoint. That is, Apple is running a successful campaign to the point where they practically get free press on every new product. You are not. How are you going to compete?

            Don't get me wrong, I don't like Apple much, in fact I refuse to buy their products because I think they are overpriced. But you can't deny that Steve Jobs understands marketing to the masses. That is ultimately why the iphone will trump all.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by pohl (872)

              The major difference is that Apple understands how to design products.

              There, fixed that for ya.

        • I'm confused (Score:4, Insightful)

          by hax0r_this (1073148) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:32PM (#22746304)
          It seems like when you say "the iPhone is nothing but another phone" every Apple apologist in the world jumps all over you telling you that the iPhone is actually a full blown computer.

          But as soon as you want to do something crazy like, say, run more than one program at once, you hear "Well, the iPhone is first and foremost a phone. . ."

          So which is it? If I want to quit an application I imagine I am completely capable of doing so, and the iPhone runs OS X which these same people tell me is the most advanced OS around, and it ought to be perfectly capable of not giving a program in the background a lot of resources. Why is security on an iPhone suddenly such a huge deal, if its really a computer?

          I guess I just don't get it.

          *Gets ready to be modded -9999 Troll*
          • Re:I'm confused (Score:5, Interesting)

            by 2nd Post! (213333) <gundbear@NoSpam.pacbell.net> on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:50PM (#22746446) Homepage
            I've read there is an API to enable multitasking within the iPhone SDK; just that by default it is turned off for battery/performance reasons.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by 2nd Post! (213333)
            Evidently you can override "applicationSuspend" so the iPhone doesn't kill your program, letting it run in the background.
          • Re:I'm confused (Score:4, Interesting)

            by colonslash (544210) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:59PM (#22746494)
            >> Why is security on an iPhone suddenly such a huge deal, if its really a computer?

            Let me start off by saying, I tried out the Android api, and I loved it; its event model was designed with switching applications in mind. It was very powerful and a joy to program. It will probably run my first personal smart phone.

            My guess as to why Apple won't treat their phones as computers is because people expect phones to be responsive. People grew up with phones that you can start talking into as soon as you pick up the receiver. A slow phone would look like a piece of junk. The phone market is still quite open, as the iPhone has shown - it has gotten some solid sales numbers even though it wasn't the tried and true. The carriers have been very careful about what goes on their phones, even though it is mostly to protect arpu, so in general mobile phones are still quite responsive. Apple doesn't want to be the slow one.

            Personal computers have the opposite expectation; people are used to slow personal computers. Remember waiting for Windows 3.x to refresh the damn screen? Somehow, the general population has accepted bloated software that keeps our computers much less responsive than they need to be, even as hardware keeps getting faster. When Apple's main competitor's, and the market leader's, OS can't even run on a lot of modern hardware out of cripple-mode, Apple can afford to include more features.
        • Re:First post? (Score:4, Informative)

          by venicebeach (702856) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:35PM (#22746336) Homepage Journal
          Couldn't agree more.

          As the owner of a jailbroken iPhone I can tell you that in addition to being a phone, email & web device, camera and iPod, mine is also:

          - a guitar tuner
          - a scientific instrument. I can ssh into my office computer and start, stop, keep track of my data analysis from wherever.
          - a remote control. using a variant of VNC I use my phone as a remote touchpad to control the media PC hooked up to my television.
          - an IRC client
          - a musical device. The multitouch piano (iAno) is actually quite good and can be used for working out melodies if not more.


          This is obviously just the tip of the iceberg of what is possible considering all this was made without the SDK.
        • Re:First post? (Score:5, Informative)

          by -noefordeg- (697342) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:45PM (#22746420)
          I've got a 16GB iPhone right here... And I want to beat the crap out of Steve/Apple.

          At work earlier today this happened:
          Usually I bring along my iPod. At the office I plug it into the USB of my MacBook and just use iTunes to play music from the iPod. Well, today I brought along the iPone (with all my music on) and what happened? You can't play music from the iPhone! I can't do anything in iTunes, transfer movies/music from my office MacBook.
          As I was about to go home, I had to bring with me some rather large files. Usually I just use Finder and drag the files over to the iPod. Does my iPhone show up in Finder? No!
          Is my iPhone broken?!

          It's not a small computer. It's a pretty black box, with very limited use. Yes. It has a great interface and good screen. But there the good things seem to end.

          "As a computer, it can also browse the web, take notes, watch videos, listen to music, check your stocks, check the weather, take pictures, and email."
          What videos? Only those you get from YouTube or the ones you transfer from the one special chosen Mac?
          What if you want to transfer videos/music from another computer?
          Can it watch my chosen stocks and notify me when they hit a certain limit? Can the stock-program do this in the background?
          Where is MSN for iPhone?
          Browse the web with which browser? Opera? Firefox? Lynx?
          SSH? I often use SSH clients from my computers to log into and manage my servers. A computer should do this. Does the iPhone?

          All the things you mention my previous phone could do too.
          It's a rather new Sony Ericsson. Difference was the screen and the UI on the iPone, -and- the SE's ability to transfer files with IR, BlueTooth and USB, use exchangeable SD cards for storage, ability to use mp3 files as ringtones, or just play ordinary mp3 files.
          • by 2nd Post! (213333)
            Your iPhone doesn't (yet) have the feature of mass storage. Most Windows computers don't either. My Mac does.

            Your Sony Ericsson sounds much more capable than an iPhone.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Threni (635302)
          > You misunderstand the iPHone if you think it's just a nice, expensive, phone. It's really a small, portable computer that can make phone
          > calls. As a computer, it can also browse the web, take notes, watch videos, listen to music, check your stocks, check the weather, take
          > pictures, and email

          Like I said, it's just another phone. Or have you not been paying attention to the spec of mobile phones over the last 5 years or so? Perhaps you're in the US, where phones (range, price, coverage, usage)
          • by 2nd Post! (213333)
            Yup, stuck in the US. Most phones here suck in comparison to the iPhone. The ones that don't, they cost about as much.
  • by Wesley Felter (138342) <wesley@felter.org> on Thursday March 13, 2008 @07:35PM (#22745706) Homepage
    I'm all in favor of openness and thus I don't plan to buy an iPhone, but it sounds like Google has to look pretty far to find advantages for Android. These "flaws" in the iPhone are obscure enough that I don't think most regular people would even understand them.

    It's interesting to note that iPhone doesn't allow interpreted code... while Android doesn't allow native code. Which one of these is more "open"?
    • by tgd (2822) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @07:50PM (#22745870)
      Android is. The reason is the intent behind it. Android wants to keep binary executables from limiting platforms for Android phones, and as Java and .NET have shown, these days there is little reason to use native code except when the "interpreted" (which is a bad word for it) code can't access all the native APIs.

      Apple wants no interpreted code so there is no way any software can get onto the iPhone that they haven't approved -- and they aren't going to approve a lot of the types of software that regular people are going to want (IM that works when they're on a phone call or surfing the net, for example).

      Apple's made a huge mistake in their lockdown and with any luck Google will either beat them or force them to stop being... well... Apple. (And I say this as an iPhone and Mac user...)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Apple's made a huge mistake in their lockdown and with any luck Google will either beat them or force them to stop being... well... Apple. (And I say this as an iPhone and Mac user...)
        Apple is Apple, it is why I returned my iPod Touch. I saw the greatness the hardware had, but couldn't stand the uphill battle with Apple to use the hardware in the way I wanted to. The iPhone is incredible, but I'm hoping Android will be literally awesome.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by svnt (697929)

        Apple wants no interpreted code so there is no way any software can get onto the iPhone that they haven't approved

        Apple wants no interpreted code so there is no way any iPhone software can be used on another phone that they haven't created.

        Fixed that for you.

        We agree that Apple wants control over their hardware. I don't think that is their primary motivation here, as there is nothing I've seen to imply they might not later provide the interpreter and allow (Apple-approved) apps on it. In fact, provided

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by tgd (2822)
          What?

          That doesn't even make any sense.

          Apple stands to make 30% of every iPhone app that goes onto the phone.

          You better damn well believe they're doing everything they can to ensure there is NO way to get any other software on their but through them.

          Scripting, plug-in modules, extensions, etc all mean that there are ways to get code onto the phone after Apple has approved the software and taken money for it.

      • by nbert (785663) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:50PM (#22746448) Homepage Journal

        Apple wants no interpreted code so there is no way any software can get onto the iPhone that they haven't approved -- and they aren't going to approve a lot of the types of software that regular people are going to want (IM that works when they're on a phone call or surfing the net, for example).
        The last sentence is not true as of now. Quoting from here [macrumors.com]:

        I'm a programmer and I just tried it [using the iPhone SDK] and you can keep your app running in the background in the normal way ApolloIM and iFob do it. I.e. overriding applicationSuspend.
        If they approve such apps for their new store is a different story. However, neglecting certain appls like IM would be outright stupid.

        I don't want to judge Apple's practice, but I see a trend here: Reduce functionality and make sure that things work the way they are supposed to. Instead of designing the ultimate device they deliberately skipped features which would cause trouble: GPS, 3G, battery replacement. The same applies to software: Instead of implementing a feature list with many broken things which don't work too well on a mobile phone (Flash being the most prominent), they made sure that the key components work as well as they can. Mobile browse and e-mail use statistics prove them right after all. Applying the same limitations to 3rd party software just seems to be the next logical step - why would you enable them to ruin the main selling point, which still is ease of use?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sootman (158191)
        Apple's made a huge mistake in their lockdown and with any luck Google will either beat them or force them to stop being... well... Apple. (And I say this as an iPhone and Mac user...)

        Fellow iPhone and Mac user here and I'd say... doubtful. How many times does this have to be proven? Apple does not care what geeks want. Ever since the "No wireless, less space than a Nomad" days, Apple has been mostly ignoring the geek community and making bales of money despite this. Or maybe even because of it--despite how
      • by macslas'hole (1173441) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:49PM (#22746962)

        Apple wants no interpreted code


        I don't believe this is correct. Apple wants no interpreters other than those that they approve/install. To quote the iPhone SDK Agreement

        No interpreted code may be downloaded and used in an Application except for code that is interpreted and run by Apple's Published APIs and built-in interpreter(s).
        emphasis added
    • by PotatoFarmer (1250696) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @07:51PM (#22745882)
      It's interesting to note that iPhone doesn't allow interpreted code... while Android doesn't allow native code. Which one of these is more "open"?

      From what I've seen so far, the limitations in Android are mostly technical, whereas the limitations in the iPhone SDK are mostly business. From that perspective I'd say that Android probably has a higher ceiling.
    • Android. Just think of it this way, it all likelihood, about a week after an android phone comes out, the "open" version of the firmware/os will come out. The iPhone was Jailbroken, and clever people figured out how to program for it. What do you think the limit will be with Android phones? I'm pretty sure that it will only be hardware, unless you stick with the original firmware/os. Time will tell.
    • by mmurphy000 (556983) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:05PM (#22746064)

      These "flaws" in the iPhone are obscure enough that I don't think most regular people would even understand them.

      As written, yes, those flaws aren't going to make sense to Joe or Jane Six-Pack.

      For example, "won't let you do multiprocessing/won't allow running in background", near as I can tell, means "your IM chat session goes kaput if a call comes in", as your application will be shut down, causing your sockets to close, causing the IM provider to assume you've gone bye-bye. Likewise, multiprocessing will be key for any alternative music players (vs. the built-in stuff) or anything else that needs to be at least partly running when other applications come to the foreground. Android has the same freeze-and-kill-the-app logic, but only invokes it when memory is low, and you can set up independent services (think daemons) that won't be subject to those effects.

      It's interesting to note that iPhone doesn't allow interpreted code... while Android doesn't allow native code. Which one of these is more "open"?

      Android, in that it allows more handset makers to adopt Android without forcing as many dependencies on the underlying hardware. Phone vendors can choose from multiple Android-ready chipsets, or assist in porting Android's Dalvik VM and APIs to yet another chipset if they so choose. To Mr. and Mrs. Six-Pack, this means more phone options and, hopefully, lower prices.

    • by sogoodsofarsowhat (662830) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:11PM (#22746118)
      Why do people keep mis-stating the facts.... The SDK from Apple default is no-background running a simple flag set allows you too.... If your gonna spew hate, at least get your facts straight... Oh wait this is /.
      • by hitmark (640295)
        link please?

        and even if the sdk allows it, the hig prohibits it. and with appple as the doorman to the appstore...
      • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Friday March 14, 2008 @12:29AM (#22748016) Journal

        When you accuse others of not having their facts straight, it helps to, well, have your facts straight: [boygeniusreport.com]

        The quote above is pulled from the iPhone Human Interface Guidelines document available on the SDK site. Translation: no true multitasking.... Apparently however, third-party app developers will not be granted the necessary rights for their apps to make use of background processes.... Symbian for example, grants developers rights to restricted attributes for additional fees.

        I apologize for not linking directly to those guidelines mentioned, as it appears you have to be registered in some way...

    • by weg (196564)
      It's interesting to note that iPhone doesn't allow interpreted code... while Android doesn't allow native code. Which one of these is more "open"?

      Windows Mobile allows native code as well as interpreted code (.net, tcl/tk)...
    • by MightyYar (622222) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:20PM (#22746700)
      I think that if Google makes Android too open, it will end up like Windows Mobile - kind of a mess. Think about it - if you let developers install instant messengers as background tasks, how will you handle that in the UI? As you are typing an email, a big popup box jumps in your way? Or maybe you clutter the screen with little taskbar-like icons blinking and flashing and beeping? Then you wonder why the battery life sucks compared to when it was new, and why you keep locking up as the phone runs out of memory...

      I think that limiting the device's features to keep it usable is a reasonable thing to do. Especially since usability is the main iPhone advantage. Sure, a few hard-core AIM'ers might not buy an iPhone without a backgrounding AIM client - but if the phone remains usable as a result then it is still a plus. Perhaps Apple can come up with a scheme to make exceptions for well-behaved apps...

      As for interpreted languages - Apple isn't going to stop you from using Python to make your application, so long as your application cannot run arbitrary Python code. They just don't want to have an in for malware. It should be pretty easy to attack iPhones - they will all have IP addresses falling within a narrow range - only 4 carriers. If you have a signed application that simply executes arbitrary code... that sort of blows away the whole point of signing applications, doesn't it?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The iPhone absolutely does allow interpreted code -- it's called JavaScript.

      Which makes it all the more bizarre that they won't allow a native app to do what Safari does... but then, didn't they also dictate that you may not write a browser?

      Oh, and one advantage to Android: If you really want to write native code, I don't think anything stops you getting a phone which lets you do that, and also supports the Android API.

      But it seems to me, with Android, you can build any app you want, as long as it'll run in
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Angostura (703910)
        There's nothing really bizarre about the decision at all. It is clearly there to avoid people using VMs or interpreters to circumvent the Apple AppStore's monopoly on application distribution. Whether you think this is a good or bad decision, it is not a bizarre one.
  • by The End Of Days (1243248) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @07:37PM (#22745722)
    Using my many years of reading Slashdot as a gauge, the enthusiasm for the Android handsets, and lack thereof for the iPhone, that are evident on this site lead me to believe that Android will flop and the iPhone will take over the mobile market. Large-scale market trends always seem to defy the common wisdom brokered by the denizens of this site.

    Of course, I'm not making a prediction. Just a hunch, based on self-selected observations. My take means nothing, ultimately.
    • by Cyno (85911) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @07:45PM (#22745806) Journal
      iPhone will take over? When is that going to happen?

      OpenMoko will put all the pretenders to rest.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by lelitsch (31136)

        OpenMoko will put all the pretenders to rest.
        Damn, I'm out of +1 Funny
    • by dbcad7 (771464)
      So because you post that it's going to flop.. now it's going to succeed ??

      Oh wait, now I've posted that it will succeed, nullifying your attempt to make it succeed by posting failure.. so It will fail..

      but wait...
      (post canceled due to slashdot psychic loop)

    • by AGSHender (696890) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @08:07PM (#22746078) Homepage
      No, I think you're largely right. I've watched so many "for sure" predictions become patently false on this site I've begun doing the exact opposite most of the time.

      Example 1:

      "OGG is the new hotness and will rule the compressed music formats."

      How's that market domination working out for you? I'm glad I didn't invest my personal collection heavily in that format. Does it have a use? Absolutely. Will it ever come anywhere near matching the ubiquitous MP3 format? Nope.

      Example 2:

      "This is the year of Linux on the desktop!"

      Mind you, this was said in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001...and so on. Are there players? Sure. Microsoft's missteps with the delays of and eventual bad user experiences with Vista and their stopping sales of XP opens a door for companies like Ubuntu, but no one's quite gotten their foot in despite your personal experiences to the contrary. Apple's been the real winner there, doubling their market share in the last few years while Linux has remained constant.

      My take on Android versus iPhone (disclaimer: I'm a very happy unjailbroken iPhone user) is that they're not meant to compete with each other, at least not directly. Google offered a platform that depends on vendors to customize. Lots of potential? Sure. Lots of potential for suckage? Absolutely. Look at some of the stark differences between different Symbian and Windows Mobile devices and then tell me that Android is going to win hands-down. Hell no. Some company might be able to make phone with an interface and functionality to match the iPhone, but saying that it's better just because it's open is ridiculous. Better for who? Better for the consumer? Or better for you?

      Apple offered not just a platform, but an "experience" where everything, if you'll pardon the over-used expression, just works. 99% of iPhone users aren't going to care less that software isn't GPLv3'd and you can't do whatever you want with your phone, and the sales they've racked up so far pretty much indicate that.

      By the end of 2008, Slashdotters may find that they have 10 million so-called "pretentious hipsters" to deal with while they're still bitching about how bad the iPhone is. Yeah, that's me all right, a pretentious hipster. Windows/Exchange admin posting on Slashdot.
  • Time will tell. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ultramk (470198) <ultramk&pacbell,net> on Thursday March 13, 2008 @07:47PM (#22745830)
    Get back to me when you have an honest-to-god product to sell me, not a plan for a product. Right now it's all promises.

    Keep in mind that the road is littered with the bloodied corpses of alleged "iPod killers", and that the iPhone is undoubtedly the chosen scion of the same clan.

    However, I do welcome any competition to the space, since a competitive market benefits everyone. Right now the competition is a wee bit on the pathetic side.
    • First off, there is no such thing as an iPod, what you got is everything from the iPod shuffle to the latest iPod touch and what a LOT of people forget is that it is the lower end models that sell best.

      This makes the iPods of which Apple sells most very simple single purpose devices. Play music.

      Now ask yourselve just how many people actually use iTunes to BUY music and not justas a way to put music they already have on it on to the iPod as nothing more then a extremely bloated uploader.

      By definition almo

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by greg1104 (461138)

        look at Apple itself, has it really learned from past mistakes?


        All Apple has to do here is look at every decision they made when designing the Newton, then not do that.
      • You're placing too much emphasis on one aspect of it, "openness". Nokia already has a platform, it's called Symbian. It is open.
      • "Now ask yourselve just how many people actually use iTunes to BUY music"... just an fyi:

        http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2008/02/26itunes.html [apple.com]

        CUPERTINO, California--February 26, 2008--Apple® today announced that iTunes® (www.itunes.com) is now the number two music retailer in the US, behind only Wal-Mart, based on the latest data from the NPD Group*. Apple also announced that there are now over 50 million iTunes Store customers. iTunes has sold over four billion songs, with an incredible 20 millio
  • by speculatrix (678524) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @07:50PM (#22745864)
    you can buy consumer hardware and run android on it today.. there's a good summary of what has been done at http://www.linuxdevices.com/news/NS4262102607.html [linuxdevices.com]

    I am running the zaurus version which uses Poky linux as its base, and it looks quite cool. Admittedly, it is a bit of a hack, as it's not fully working, but it's much better than using a desk-bound virtual machine!
    • yeah - but they are not the *phone*. you need to test your apps on target hardware, if you can't it is a real problem as each handset has it's own capabilities. also, i am interested in building applications that utilize the on board camera but i cannot do that until there is hardware. so... now that apple actually has an SDK (and private frameworks that i now nearly have legitimate access too) i can do all that i'm after. w00t.
  • The Linux phone space is currently very fragmented and needs a big player to help bring it together. Without commonality, there will be no portable 3rd party apps etc (like there are for Symbian phones etc).

    Taking a page from the history books, the Linux phone space is currently where MSDOS computers were in the pre-IBM compatable days. Before IBM came along and made a standardised platform, MSDOS programs were very clunky and typically not portable between different MSDOS machines. What made the difference

    • IMPOSTOR! YOU ARE NO GEEK!

      Seriously, do you have no idea the story behind MS-DOS? Microsoft sold it to IBM before Microsoft EVEN HAD IT.

      To quote Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

      In the early days of the IBM PC it was more-or-less assumed that Digital Research's CP/M-86, based on their successful CP/M for the earlier 8080 and Z80 processors, would be the operating system for the IBM PC. There is a story that IBM executives went to visit the headquarters of Digital Research, only to be told that owner Gary Kildall was flying h
      • I don't need the history lesson. I was there. There were a lot of different MSDOS machines out there before IBM's emerged as the dominant, and only, architecture. I programmed a few myself and had to deal with the differences.

        The standard MSDOS interface was completely useless for dealing with hardware (eg. the screen and keyboard), so you'd have to bypass MSDOS and access hardware directly. That worked, but was not portable across machines. Some machines also came with special BIOS and BIOS extensions whic

  • How does it feel when your product is totally pwnt before it's even released? Hundred thousand downloads of iPhone SDK within 4 days is A LOT of downloads. By June we should see some serious appage showing up, running on a real device, with a business model, brand and strong distribution channel behind it. Stakes are high, so GOOG can't throw in the towel now, but one core mistake that companies often make is they assume their competitors will stand still while they catch up. And that's just not the way it
    • by pavon (30274)
      Okay, this iPhone pwns all mantra is getting a bit ridiculous, especially in the context of Android where it is almost completely irrelevant. The iPhone has been quite successful - it has surpassed sales of Microsoft, and could very well overtake sales of RIM in time after the enterprise apps are officially released. But even if it does that is only a fraction of the cellphone market.

      Do you honestly think that Nokia, Motorola, LG, Ericson, Samsung, Kyocera, and more all going to be put out of business by a
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Another is to assume that cos they have a head start they will keep the lead, Apple had the head start on MS with PCs, but who won that one?
    • by Obsequious (28966)

      How does it feel when your product is totally pwnt before it's even released?
      If it ever happens, I'll let you know.

      - Dan
    • by zsau (266209)
      Why would the Gargantuan Object from Outer Georgia throw in a towel at any point? aka Would it have killed you to release the shift key three letters earlier and tacked on "le"? PSSGAE. IDHU, which is all writing is really about. ("People should stop gratuitously abbreviating everything"; "it doesn't help help understand".)
  • Insane expectations (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ecavalli (1216014)
    Personally I'm just hoping Android will allow users to merge the innate genius and usability of the current iPhone with the freedom of OSS software creation. My only gripe about the iPhone is that the applications released for the thing are all under the totalitarian control of Apple (making my dreams of an easy to use SNES or NES emulator attached to my phone/music player/organizer/Internet appliance almost impossible).

    Of course, if it also lives up to the expectations that the rest of Slashdot seems to
  • If they want to win the market, they'll make sure that Android is super easy to port to existing phones. They'll immediately have market saturation at no expense to the end user. Doing this will require a really close relationship with the FOSS community with all the necessary tools and code available. I'd put Android on my crap Q9c in a heartbeat. Once this is done, it becomes a defacto standard and people naturally lean toward buying new phones with Android installed.
    • by 2nd Post! (213333)
      Doesn't that describe Linux to a T?
      "If they want to win the market, they'll make sure that Linux is super easy to port to existing PCs. They'll immediately have market saturation at no expense to the end user..."

      Yet Linux is arguably less successful than Microsoft and Apple in the PC space.
  • by stokessd (89903) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:01PM (#22746522) Homepage
    The iPhone is a great phone, and IMHO without peer in the US. But being the best cellphone in the US is like being the valedictorian of summer school.

    My prediction is that the iPhone will always be more stable and have a more consistent interface and user experience. It will always be a great phone. But Apple is about giving you the core features you need and knowing what to leave out. That leaving out bit burns we basement dwelling robot building slashdotters. But Apple's brilliance is giving you a great user experience, and I don't see that ever changing. To apple the iPhone will always be a closed platform (sure you can put some apps on it, but don't try to fundamentally change it). It will always be a phone or/and ipod, not a computer.

    The Android is whatever people think it should be. So it's a phone, a computer, a bottle opener. etc. It will have lots of uses in lots of arenas that apple doesn't want to play in. It will allow other countries phones to really kick ass. It will also be much less consistent as lots of people code for it. To a lot of people, this is insanely exciting, and provides the first glimpse of a unified geek tool in your pocket (are you glad to see me?).

    Android being free will be super attractive to phone makers, and to consumers. It will gobble up marketshare in many markets. And I suspect that Apple is just fine with that. Apple is in a great place taking the top portion of the markets they play in.

    Sheldon
  • CPU on smart phone/PDA has capped at 600MHz for the past 6 years. This is quite sad. This has been 4 gens of Moore's Law and nothing has improved. Resolution has gone to VGA, but has dropped to QVGA. Until the smart phone processors go > 1GHz, smartphones just won't achieve the promise of the convergent device.
  • by zullnero (833754) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @09:10PM (#22746608) Homepage
    What it really comes down to is how polished the developer tools are. I've written professional apps for about 5 different mobile operating systems so far, and I can tell you that it's not so much in the languages and OS that it uses, but in how refined the tools are.

    Right now, I don't like the Android emulator one bit. It's not an emulator. It's a marketing demo that pretends to be a phone, and tries to comfort me by adding "developer tools" as an option. An emulator is supposed to be able to run a ROM image of the OS taken from a machine. If the Google people put the OS on a piece of hardware and dump an image, THAT is what I want for testing my apps. Not some fake toy app for salespeople to be wowed by. I should be able to right click on the thing and load another ROM, save a ROM, and encapsulate a ROM for testing. Palm did that with their original emulator, and while it had lousy network support (I believe you could get a third party app called Mocha PPP that fixed that), it was easily my favorite mobile OS emulator for development that I've worked with. The Windows Mobile emulator is great for debugging and communication, but is crippled in a zillion other stupid ways. I disliked the Symbian and Brew emulators I've used as well, and most of the Java emulators out there have been equally bad. Folks always forget about how important emulation is, they just think that we can just buy a dozen phones and test on all of them. THAT is why homebrew apps don't get made, and those are the kinds of apps that build the entire economy around your OS.

    The development environment needs to provide extensive command line support for automated scripting along with a system that makes it brain dead simple to debug and build apps. I don't honestly care if I'm writing an app in Java, C#, or C...I just want an IDE that lets me hit a simple, easy to remember control sequence that builds, debugs, runs, checks code into the repository, whatever. I don't want something that barks at me because it wants me to do things IT'S way, I want it to be flexible enough to do things MY way.

    If Android can't deliver this, and a whole lot more, it's going to be only one of many mobile Linux OSs currently hitting the market. Everyone and their mom is releasing mobile Linux OSs. Like we saw on the desktop, it doesn't matter if the big corporations (like Novell) are backing you.
  • Apple's NDA Nonsense (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Ilan Volow (539597)
    iPhone developers are not allowed ask each other for help on the SDK

    http://lists.apple.com/archives/Cocoa-dev/2008/Mar/msg00567.html [apple.com]

    Meanwhile, Android developers are free to give each other advice

    http://groups.google.com/group/android-developers [google.com]

    The only thing that this NDA is protecting is Google's ability to get more functional apps to market sooner.
    • by tfoss (203340) on Thursday March 13, 2008 @10:02PM (#22747056)

      iPhone developers are not allowed ask each other for help on the SDK
      Actually, they are not allowed to talk about a beta version of the SDK they agreed to an NDA to use, on a public list. That is quite different from what you imply. I'd be willing to wager a pretty decent sum that come an actual release of the SDK, the NDA will not be in effect (or perhaps there will be lists that require you to log in to the dev center to see).

      The only thing that this NDA is protecting is Google's ability to get more functional apps to market sooner.
      Really? You think that come June there will be more Android apps available than iPhone apps? Care to make 3 month bet on that one?

      -Ted
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Zebra_X (13249)
        Actually, they are not allowed to talk about a beta version of the SDK they agreed to an NDA to use, on a public list.

        Read the post - it's still really counter to any sort of openness, even for a beta. One would think that you would want to support discussion around any sort of beta product, under any forum so as to spur enthusiasm for the platform. This continues to be a problem with Apple, HI 1990 called and it wants it's business strategy back!
  • They don't let your app run in the background after you switch to another.

    Yeah, that sucks. I was hoping to run SETI on my phone. Thankfully Android will let me continue the search for ET while I'm on the go, even while talking with Aunt Gracie in Connecticut. You can't do that with the iPhone. Apple sucks!

  • It may take awhile, and it will take a Jailbreak of some sort...

    But someone will port Android to the iPhone.

    That's my prediction, anyway. I also predict that when it happens, hardware will become irrelevant -- although Apple may well win on hardware, I'm not sure they'll be able to compete as effectively on software.

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