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The Android Invasion Cometh; Is Resistance Futile? 410

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the does-google-live-in-a-cube dept.
DeviceGuru writes "Last month, we learned from Gartner that Android will probably be the number-two worldwide mobile OS this year, and may lead the pack by 2014. With Android's growing use as the OS embedded in phones, in tablets, in set-top boxes, and in LCD HDTVs, it seems like the Linux-based OS could end up dominating the entire non-PC consumer device operating system space. What do Slashdot readers think: Is resistance futile?"
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The Android Invasion Cometh; Is Resistance Futile?

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  • by weachiod (1928554) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @07:54AM (#34023460)
    I think the article is forgotting that there are already many widespread OS that are taking up that market. I and obviously other geeks love Android because it could mean more open devices for us, but we aren't seeing the whole picture either because it's not in news every day.

    The "problem" is the same as with Opera. People think it's not as widespread as it's barely in news and their stuff isn't blastered all over your face all the time. However Opera dominates on embedded devices, televisions (especially in hotels!), mobile phones, even Nintendo Wii.

    Windows variants are also the same. Windows 7, Windows CE and Windows Mobile are majorly used but it's not always so obvious. When you take a flight all the televisions in airports run Windows. When you go to ATM they run special version of Windows CE. Some hotel TV's also run Windows. With the upcoming Microsoft tablets and Windows Phone 7, it will get even more marketshare. Windows is also used pretty much in every organization and company.

    If Android actually wants to take over all of that, it will be a long road. I hope they do, but I'm not so sure they will. Microsoft is good with business relationships and marketing and thats the point. It's not a small market and Windows is already dominating it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by vsage3 (718267)

      When you take a flight all the televisions in airports run Windows.

      Agree with what you said for the most part, but I just wanted to point out that I think Linux is used behind the scenes too. For example, on a long flight back to the U.S. while I was flying with a major European carrier, the entertainment system crashed and I saw the Linux penguin pop up on the screen. I agree though: especially in the states, most of the displays you see on walls in buildings are Windows.

    • by Jezza (39441) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @08:39AM (#34023946)

      Are we sure we want Android taking over all of that? I don't. I think a single OS dominating is a bad idea - like growing nothing but potatoes. I'd like to see Android doing SOME of that.

      • by Dancindan84 (1056246) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @08:55AM (#34024174)

        bad idea - like growing nothing but potatoes.

        I'm having trouble with your analogy:
        boiled
        mashed
        stuck in a stew
        baked
        french fries
        stuffed
        potato skins
        chips
        vodka!

        Maybe if you'd used a car analogy instead...

      • by God'sDuck (837829) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @09:15AM (#34024396)

        You don't have to worry about that. As an avid (and happy) Android user I can tell you: the open market is great, but the operating system is still a bit of a mess. Freezes, crashes and data losses are somewhat endemic. Each version is a little better, but it is years and years behind the iPhone for basic reliability, and all of the non-geek Android users I know plan to buy an iPhone when their contract is up. The geeks are happy and plan to stay.

        My expectation is for smartphones (at least in the US) to eventually take the path of PCs, with Android as the Windows-analogue "most prevalent but somewhat buggy" OS, Apple as Apple, and everything else (Blackberry, WebOS, Maemo) as the "they work awesome but who uses them?" Linux distros.

        • by bjourne (1034822) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @09:31AM (#34024558) Homepage Journal

          You don't have to worry about that. As an avid (and happy) Android user I can tell you: the open market is great, but the operating system is still a bit of a mess. Freezes, crashes and data losses are somewhat endemic. Each version is a little better, but it is years and years behind the iPhone for basic reliability, and all of the non-geek Android users I know plan to buy an iPhone when their contract is up. The geeks are happy and plan to stay.

          How on earth can you be HAPPY with that???

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by anethema (99553)
          What's funny is, iOS jailbroken is actually a nerd's paradise. Much more so than android actually.

          On the iPhone, you have a full apt package system, a terminal running bash, OpenSSH/OpenSSL tools, server, client, etc. a full GCC dev environement, etc.

          A lot of this stuff is stuff you just don't get on Android at any level. You get a terminal out of the box with android, but what do you get? Busybox. Guh. Want SSH? You get Dropbear. The package system sucks compared to APT. I've never tried getting GCC runnin
          • Why jailbreaking ? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by DrYak (748999)

            yes, but to obtain this geekdom paradise,you need to *jailbreak* the device. You have to jump through hoops to get the device do stuff that its makers don't want you to do. And you're at the mercy of the next update bricking your phone.

            this doesn't make much sense,specially when there are perfectly valid alternatives.

            systems which are homebrew friendly out-of-the box,and let you instal stuff out of the walled garden if you want (HP/Palm webOS has tonnes of interesting stuff you can instal on them. Including

    • by rolfwind (528248)

      When you take a flight all the televisions in airports run Windows.

      http://www.foogazi.com/2008/01/25/delta-airlines-runs-linux/ [foogazi.com]

      Delta runs linux.

    • by Nursie (632944)

      Did you miss the important word in the summary?

      I admit that I did on first read.

      MOBILE

      We're talking about mobile operating systems. FWIW, ATMs seem to use a 'normal' version of windows rather than CE. MS do embedded versions of their mainstream OS.

      Also, ATMs, hotel televisions... not mobile.

  • by balaband (1286038) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @07:57AM (#34023476)
    Is resistance necessary?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Of course. A culture of 'one', no matter how open, is bad.

      Having the competition to allow other options makes sure there is advancement in the market, and, if there is a vulnerability in one of the options, the others are available to take up the slack.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by PitaBred (632671)

        Yes. Everybody drinking water is bad. Doesn't matter that you can make juice out of it, or soda, or beer... water as the base for all of it is horribly insecure and dangerous!

    • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @08:39AM (#34023944) Homepage

      At room temperature; yes.

  • Hopefully not (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @07:57AM (#34023480)

    I'd rather see MeeGo taking a sizeable portion of market from Android. With MeeGo, desktop Linux skills suddenly become very relevant in job market, and we'll get more desktop software (eventually).

    With Android, Java skills are everything and... um... we got more people capable of doing Websphere/JBoss stuff? What a victory would that be.

    • Re:Hopefully not (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Craig Ringer (302899) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @08:13AM (#34023648) Homepage Journal

      Alas, Nokia kind of missed the boat with Maemo/MeeGo. They let Maemo idle for years on the no-cellular tablets that were interesting, but never really went anywhere. Then they tossed the N900 out the door - just as they decided to massively rework the OS, effectively EOLing the N900's OS before it was released. Unsurprisingly, app developer interest has been ... limited. *I* know you can upgrade an N900 to MeeGo (when it's properly ready, hopefully) but Nokia hasn't been too clear on this and it's unlikely app devs will want to target a platform where users have to reflash to a new OS to run their apps.

      I love coding with Qt and have wanted it in phones for ages, so I was really excited to see Maemo move over - but the timing, amid a product launch, was horrifying.

      MeeGo would've been great if it (instead of Maemo half-way through an API breaking transition to Qt) was released in finished form at about the time the N900 hit market. Now, by the time it sees real-world products, I think Android will be pretty much unstoppable, especially as it's now allowing native apps, the main advantage MeeGo had. I don't rate it's chances.

      Personally I like MeeGo a lot more as a concept of how a phone OS works. It's my phone, not the carrier's / handset manufacturer's phone that I happened to pay for. Unfortunately, carriers (especially in the US) don't like that, and given the likely higher prices and limited app coverage of MeeGo, I don't see it going far.

      Were I Intel and Nokia, I'd be thinking very hard about offering Dalvik and .apk support for apps without native code, at least for a subset of Android API features. Get some app coverage from the start, but encourage targeting of Qt by offering Qt Jambi from Java and offering better API access via the native interfaces. Be a better Android than Android.

      • Re:Hopefully not (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Lifyre (960576) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @08:44AM (#34024028)

        MeeGo (or in some cases Debian Lenny with MeeGo on top) will live on in some ways as a custom ROM for the Android phones. Many people are currently working on moving it over to phones like the Eris and the Droids. It gives these phones a useful lifetime beyond that of a phone. It can be useful having a phone sized device that can run things like snort or hit the local WiFi for a quick search while still leaving your phone free to make calls.

    • Re:Hopefully not (Score:4, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @08:26AM (#34023774) Homepage Journal

      With Android, Java skills are everything and... um... we got more people capable of doing Websphere/JBoss stuff? What a victory would that be.

      You are free to use the Android NDK, develop your entire app in some other language, and write only the front-end in Java. But let's not let the facts get in the way of a good mad or anything.

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      MeeGo seem to be targetted for the same kind of devices than Android, but as still didnt come out to compete. In cellphones Nokia won't take out cellphones with it till next year, and other devices with it are slow to come out, if any (WeTab? cars?). So so far is only having a good potential, only time will tell.

      Regarding apps, there the needed skill will be more likely Qt instead of Java. There the apps have the potential to run or be easily ported in more things than just MeeGo, like desktop operating sys
    • by justleavealonemmmkay (1207142) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @08:46AM (#34024046)

      I'd rather see MeeGo taking a sizeable portion of market from Android. With MeeGo, desktop Linux skills suddenly become very relevant in job market, and we'll get more desktop software (eventually).

      With Android, Java skills are everything and... um... we got more people capable of doing Websphere/JBoss stuff? What a victory would that be.

      Nobody cares about you being unemployed with your irrelevant linux skills.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I don't think so.

      I am an iOS fanboy and I will talk a lot of smack about Android. The reality is though, for it's flaws, Android is very good but it's so close to being great it's frustrating.

      What Google needs to do is set some pretty basic UI guidelines for apps or make better UI APIs and to crack down on handset lock down(I'm willing to put up with Apple's walled garden approach because they deliver what they claim. Google can't be hollering about how their OS is open and at the same time require people

    • by Aceticon (140883)

      Enterprise Edition Java (J2EE) is an enormous amount of libraries, frameworks and standards which are designed for large Enterprise Systems and deal with things like Messaging, Distributed Transactions, Clustering and more (much more). Websphere and JBoss are two implementations of a J2EE application server which is a container server within which J2EE applications run. It takes several years of on-the-job experience to be proeficient with J2EE in addition to the time it takes to learn standard Java.

      J2EE is

  • IN B4... (Score:5, Funny)

    by RMH101 (636144) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @07:58AM (#34023488)
    IN B4 "Android Fragmentation"
  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @07:58AM (#34023490) Journal

    The Android Invasion Cometh; Is Resistance Futile?

    Look both options have their benefits. But I happen to agree with a recent survey [readwriteweb.com] that finds developers think Android is the long term solution while iOS is basically the immediate choice because of its dominance it has enjoyed with being the first. Given that the obvious is already happening [pcworld.com], it's just going to take two or three years for developers to really unseat anything else in favor over Android. I was never given a chance to tinker or code for iOS [slashdot.org] so of course I'm biased towards the one technology out there that is actually trying to empower me without restrictions.

    In the end, that sort of empowerment is going to trump any sort of assured device capability or graphical power that Apple can offer me. You may have a different opinion (BWJones did [slashdot.org]) but I simply cannot see how Apple will retain their lead in this fight.

    Resistance is never futile. You could stick to your guns and enjoy immediate sales then moderate sales then fewer and fewer sales. Or you could enjoy moderate sales and then increasingly more and more sales. You might have to do more development if you want to target both TVs and handhelds (inputs get tricky) but I think investing in only iOS at this point is not a prudent decision.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rvelasquez (1419889)
      IMHO the big fight for Android is brand recognition/differentiation. When I look around my large extended family almost all of them are using iPods and iPhones. Even my elderly father knows about iPhone and iPod and has been asking me questions about these devices. Although I haven't, I'm pretty sure that if I asked one of my family members about Android they wouldn't know what I'm talking about. At best they might know it's made by Google. They certainly wouldn't know why Android is better. Even when
    • by molnarcs (675885)
      I agree completely with your post. I just wanted to add that probably iOS as an immediate choice for developers already developing for it. The App Store is pretty much close to being saturated, for a developer just starting out, it is harder to make an impact or get noticed. I'd say that for new developers the fact that Android has fewer apps might actually be an advantage besides having roughly the same market share (or at least being in the same ballpark).
    • In the end, that sort of empowerment is going to trump any sort of assured device capability or graphical power that Apple can offer me.

      In the end, that sort of empowerment is going to take second seat to where the money is. Developers who do it for the passion of doing it will develop for whatever platform they enjoy developing on. The rest, who are trying to keep food on their tables, roofs over their heads, and retirement plans in mind will go where the money is. And, right now, and for the foreseeable future, that's _both_ Android and iOS. The only way that will change in the long term is if and when something unknown enters the market

    • I simply cannot see how Apple will retain their lead in this fight.

      Easy. They sell more hardware than any given OEM.

      Apple doesn't need to pick fights with Google, they need to pick fights with RIM, HTC, Samsung, Motorola, et al.

  • I sure don't see the kind of numbers Gartner is talking about. I see lots of iPhones, not many Androids, and never hear "civilians" talking about the Android. There is a Android kiosk in my local mall - I don't see any lines in front of it.

    So, pardon me if I doubt.

    • Here are the only numbers that matter:

      Phones that use Android [wikipedia.org] (spoiler: ~80, ~110 including tablets)
      Phones that use iOS [wikipedia.org] (spoiler: 3, including tablets)

      Number of Android carriers: 4
      Number of iPhone carriers: 1

      The fact (and it is a fact) that Android outsells iOS should come as no surprise.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by thestudio_bob (894258)

        The fact (and it is a fact) that Android outsells iOS should come as no surprise.

        It's kind of hard to compete with market share when the other guys are doing 2-for-1 specials.

        • by Duradin (1261418)

          Prepare to be modded to hell.

          Droidbois have issues with anyone that mentions BOGOs and their precious OS.

        • Re:Numbers. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by DragonWriter (970822) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @10:04AM (#34025016)

          It's kind of hard to compete with market share when the other guys are doing 2-for-1 specials.

          2-for-1 specials are basically equivalent to selling at half the price. Being overpriced compared to the competition is no virtue, though I can understand how Apple fans would see it that way (or, rather, I can see how people who see it that way would tend to become Apple fans.)

           

  • desktops next (Score:5, Interesting)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <circletimessquar ... m minus language> on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @08:07AM (#34023592) Homepage Journal

    most people reading here are desktop-centric, and the smartphone os is a secondary platform, in terms of work, play, and psychological orientation

    but we are rapidly entering a world that is smartphone-centric, and the desktop os is a secondary platform, in terms of work, play, and psychological orientation. the whole desktop segment will be marginal

    google can ride this psychological shift to get android/ chrome os onto the desktop market. the shift will be second nature, not an alien intrusion. and it will happen with a whimper, not a bang: who cares about the desktop except old people?

    the only people making noise about this "big deal", this great promise of unseating microsoft in the desktop market, chattered about on slashdot for over a decade, will be old people. the idea of using a desktop will be a fossil idea, that only fossils will care about. like looking at greybeards from the 80s with their funny unix command line interfaces

    in which case, "resistance is futile" is a good allusion, because google will be the new microsoft. cue bill gates slashdot borg icon morphing into a sergey brin/ larry page borg icon. nevermind that even the idea of "the borg" is a silly scifi notion from last century that only old people even care or know about

    slashdot, we're showing our age

    • by vlm (69642)

      but we are rapidly entering a world that is smartphone-centric

      So I've heard, for about ten years, from the "tech journalist" crowd. But only from them, not the rest of the world. Most folks simply nod their head in unthinking agreement, or simply ignore them, but no one believes them.

      slashdot, we're showing our age

      aka wisdom

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by bwintx (813768)
      Hmm. Write back when your vision is no longer 20/20, particularly for near-vision. You'll probably get there sooner than you think. Not everybody can or will get Lasik (or even bifocals). Small-screen devices have their purposes and a growing audience, but it is short-sighted (pun unintentional) to imply that users of larger devices are dinosaurs. Unless you propose killing everybody who passes the age of 40, of course.
      • I doubt that the reason desktops will stay relevant. Most people will probably have a keyboard/screen combo they connect their smartphone to, which would take care of that problem, and even use the TV for other content.
        The Acer Stream (Android phone) already has an HDMI port, so you can plug it to your TV or TFT screen, no need for a full desktop.

    • I disagree that desktops will disappear. They'll probably turn into professional only devices, that work with one all day and have more requirements than a smartphone can provide (and no, a smartphone will *never* be as powerful as a desktop, by the simple fact that you can put more components into it).

      Someone has to produce that massive platform the smartphones/TVs/etc rely on.

  • Its not about what is dominating right now... its what new product comes out that the masses buy.

    I hate to use ESX as an example, but its hard to say "no" to a VM farm. Skewed analogy, but if you have those brain cells rubbing together yet (I don't - stupid decaf) then you'll get my drift.
  • by alen (225700) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @08:10AM (#34023626)

    i take the subway and lately i've been seeing more iPhone 4's than Android phones. i've noticed that a lot of android phones look like an iphone 4, but overall i see a lot more iCrap than Andoid. could be all the people with ipod touches i see have android phones in their bags they aren't showing, but then what is the point of 2 devices?

    when people ask me what they should buy i tell them that it doesn't really matter since they are 90% the same

    • NYC subways for whatever reason seems to present a very different ecosystem than the rest of the country.

      From looking around, you'd think that Sony PSP are absolutely dominating the Nintendo DS. However, in reality [vgchartz.com] the DS has sold more than twice as many as the PSP.

  • As a de-facto standard cheap embedded OS for reasonably high resource devices, it is pretty hard to see Android doing badly. Mostly linux guts, so it runs on plenty of stuff, Google has been pretty aggressive about improving it, freely available(if you don't want Google's blessing and proprietary apps). Runs basically-java, so there are plenty of developers available; but also has the unixy underpinnings such that, if your horrid legacy application supports the architecture, you can run it natively and just
  • by ewhenn (647989) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @08:19AM (#34023694)
    I honestly don't care what wins as long as I can install anything on my phone that I want without needing to get "approval" from some corporate app store with "Christian" morals as part of their app approval policy. Personally, I'd buy a technically inferior product if it was open and the makers didn't try to shove restrictions down my throat.

    The way I feel about it is: It's my phone, I payed for it, if you don't like what I'm doing with my own property, well, that's just too bad for you.
  • Resistance to Android is futile, however, if you can build something better you can exploit that and compete.

    Symbian, RIM, Windows and Apple are all going to have to come up with something better, or collaborate to survive.
  • by ArhcAngel (247594) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @08:23AM (#34023740)

    This is the year of Linux on Everything! *

    * Everything excludes the desktop

  • Palm WebOS (Score:2, Insightful)

    by doramjan (766519)
    There will be resistance from me as long as I am able to purchase WebOS devices. I *MUCH* prefer WebOS over Android.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Gizzmonic (412910)

      You and me both, pal. A consistent interface and a fully open Linux-based phone that you can root with the developers' blessing. And yet, it seems to be an also-ran for most geeks. Maybe the Pre2 will change that.

  • My guess it will be tough to have one OS that spans many device types simply due to the complexity and permutations of hardware/software that occur as devices get more complex. That is, I have a very different expectation of a home PC and it's capabilities vs. a workstation or a so-called smartphone. Writing an OS that spans that gamut of hardware/software reliably and with a user experience that can be described as acceptable should be difficult for the time being. I see Android slowly gobbling up market s

  • Since android sources are available to the open market, a fork (or more, or better) will come one of these days and the compatibility nightmare will come true...
  • At least not if you ask Oracle's lawyers.
  • by 10Ghz (453478) on Tuesday October 26, 2010 @08:58AM (#34024210)

    ...this "either/or" mentality. That if Android succeeds, everyone else has failed.

    Let's look at computers. Microsoft and OEM's that use Windows have about 90% market-share, while Apple and OS X has a bit under 10%. Does that mean that Apple has "failed"? Not really. They seem to be having highly succesful computer-business, happy users, and lots of profits. Apple earns more money on their computers than HP, the market-leader, does with theirs. yet for some reason some people say that Apple should be like HP and Dell, since licensing OS from someone else is "the way this business works". Even though it seems that the OEM's are not earning that much, while Intel and Microsoft are the companies that reap the profits.

    If we look at phones, we can see that Apple is earning lots of money there as well. More than Nokia is earning, even though Apple is a lot smaller. It seems that people are expecting Apple to gain iPod-like dominance in the phone-business, and if/when Android overtakes iOS, people decide that iOS has "failed", since history did not repeat itself. Well, Symbian dwarfs both iOS and Android, yet no-one is calling iOS or Android failures because of that fact. And gaining iPod-like share in a mature market like phones is quite hard, if not impossible. When Nokia was at it's biggest, it had something like 60-70% share of the market. But that was a market that wasn't all that mature yet. and they managed that for only few years.

    What if Android gets 50% share in few years? Great! Android is a good OS, and we need more good phones. does that mean that everyone else has failed? I don't think so. It seems that people have this strange idea that there must be a clear winner and a clear loser(s). We got that in computers, when Microsoft ended up dominating the market. So we MUST have something similar elsewhere as well, right? I don't think so. And even in computers the "niche player" is earning quite nice profits. Even though they have single-digits market-share does not seem to be hurting them. You do not need to be big, biggest or dominating in order to have a good business.

  • I have been a person who has been getting upset with my iPhone. I hate the huge bills, I hate the restriciton that Apple places on the app store.

    Or rather, I hated.

    What changed my mind? Had a friend who picked up an android phone a couple of weeks ago, and we played with it. Suddenly, I love Apple. The Android app store seemed to rarely have what I was looking for, and when I did find something, it was either a generic clone, or a virus, according to the comments. There seems to be zippo quality control. Ot

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