Well, that's why I asked about the sideloading. I wasn't aware that Google was allowing Play services on generic/unbranded devices like that. Good to know, and I'll probably be getting one. Thanks!
Can that thing access the Play store or do you have to sideload all the apps?
This was posted yesterday.
I'm glad the UO folks are getting another shot at this. You might even call it a second life.
Flickr does pretty much all of this. You can use a Yahoo account, a Facebook account, or a Google account to sign in.
Then make a Flickr group (it can be private or unlisted). Everybody can contribute photos to the shared group and geotag them. Then everyone else can see them on a map. You can also search for tags by keyword.
Which is why I included Nexus devices in my statement. You have even quoted that, you could as well have read it.
Yes, I know. Let's move on from that to the central discussion here:
This is stupid. You like Google's services - and the reason why Google makes so much effort in those services is that they expect profit. Which is because Android devices can be sold to many different kinds of people. Which is BECAUSE of the "fragmentation". Some people want 3 inch screen, some want 6 inch screen. Some want IPS, some want OLED. All buy Android devices, all contribute to potential profit of Google, leading to Google doing a good job for their services.
Basically you want a cheeseburger and don't want to pay for it. Fragmentation is the payment for Google's services.
Yes and no. Fragmentation probably makes Google more money because of wider adoption, true. But the other model -- closedness -- also made Apple a lot of money, and they still pour a lot of effort into their services.
Don't know what you're getting at with the cheeseburgers. I am more than willing to pay for a closed Google ecosystem. I would pay even more for it, in terms of both money and freedom, than what I currently pay for Android.
And yes, I am asking to deprive others of their freedoms, in the same manner that I wish all electronics chargers were standardized with a "good enough" system like MicroUSB. That may prevent better chargers from gaining a foothold, and it might make companies less money, but it adds to ease of use. I feel the same way about mobile phone ecosystems: KISS, and enough is enough, and too much choice is meaningless for the consumer even if it benefits OEMs and Google.
Justifying what? The statement is not a justification, but a statement of a reason why people needing micro-SD slots might find their phone of choice in the fragmented Android world, but not necessarily in the non-fragmented Android world that you propose. Not sure you know what a tautology means, so I'll let that go until you learn that.
I think we're running around in circles without actually disagreeing with each other. You're saying (I think; correct me if wrong): Openness drives the marketplace and provides consumer choice. It also makes Google a lot of money. I'm saying yes it does, but at a cost to simplicity and usability, and I would prefer less choice and a more refined user experience. I don't disagree with you that openness is good for the market and good for Google, I'm saying it's bad for end-users (at least the ones like me, who value ease of use in a phone over freedom).
No it doesn't make sense. If you want closed Google experience - you already have Nexus devices. Motorola devices are plain-old-Google too nowadays. Don't install the dialler replacements, messaging replacements, launcher replacements and you are good.
Still subject to the slower, carrier/OEM controlled updates relative to the Nexus line and iDevices.
Does the existence of Samsung devices, with altered Google experience, which you don't have to buy - affect your enjoyment of the pure Google experience in Nexus / Motorola devices? No if you are sane.
Absolutely. Android fragmentation makes it harder to buy made-to-fit third-party accessories (clock radios, waterproof cases, armbands). There are loads of "generic" accessories out there that approximate the size and connect via some mix of Bluetooth (whose versions differ drastically between phones) and stereo out.
The fragmentation also affects software developers, making it a lot more expensive for them to develop and test against 30,000 devices and 1,000 screen resolutions instead of the 4-5 iDevices. As a result, some developers don't even bother with Android releases and state fragmentation as the reason behind it. So yeah, the mere existence of all those models definitely affects me no matter what kind of Android I choose.
But the open-ness has enabled other people, who do not want a pure Google experience, to also enjoy almost-Android. Which increases application sales. Which improves experience on pure Google devices ecosystem as well. For example I want micro-SD card support which Google refuses to provide so I shop elsewhere. Every person has different needs - openness provides for all to be happy.
Don't really see how you're justifying this except by reiterating it as a tautology.
Your wanting one thing doesn't make other people wanting other things any less important.
It's just my opinion, man, not a dictation of universal morality. I WISH Google would do this because I would prefer, yes. It's up to them to weigh customers like me vs customers who like openness.
I guess we'll just have to disagree on that, then.
Right, and isn't that the problem in this instance...?
Wait, what? WHAT?  because most of those things would stll have happened. Many of them have actually happened on iPhone.
I think the devices themselves are citations. Compare the Nexus line (except the Verizon Galaxy Nexus), straight from Google, with the vast mess of third-party Android phones out there. 95% of the other Android phones will be several major versions behind, be filled with manufacturer crap, and will likely never see the latest versions of Android.
As for iPhone, as far as I know it doesn't suffer from those same issues because Apple doesn't allow the carriers to mess with them like that, but I have to admit I don't have that much firsthand experience with them. If this is wrong, please let me know and explain how they are similar in this situation.
And it's wrong, for two reasons. One, AOSP. Two, there have been non-crapped phones all along, and unlike in iPhoneLand we had customer choice. But there has been no iPhone ever which has embraced customer choice. They spend all their effort preventing you from doing things with your device.
Not sure how AOSP fits in to this argument. It is because of AOSP that carriers and OEMs are able to take a Google phone and turn it into their own wannabe POS.
The non-crapped phones are the ones direct from Google (or perhaps lately, the Google "Edition" ones) -- the same ones that Google retained control of and did not let third parties touch (beyond manufacturing them).
And about iPhone: Yes, you had customer choice, and that's great for you, the carriers, the OEMs, and anybody else who wanted 10,000 variations on the same basic design. I (and maybe anyone else who is lazy like me) just wanted a Googlephone that works well, not an open-source Android phone stuffed with crap that I have to endlessly tinker with.
Again: I don't care about the iPhone. I hate Apple. I only mentioned it to illustrate a difference in design philosophy, one that I hope Google will adopt.
The more relevant comparison is between a Googlephone (like the Nexus ones) and a generic Android phone. They may be built on top of the same AOSP framework, but the Googlephone's closedness is what makes them better for the aforementioned reasons (usability, clealinness, updates, etc.). To be clear: Android is not the draw. Google is the draw.
And, again, this is just me expressing my personal preference for a closed and neat ecosystem versus an open yet messy one. It is not a universal design requirement, just a preference, and one that I'm happy Google is increasingly embracing.
I just want a Google phone designed in the style of an iPhone, meaning first-party and vertically integrated. Not an actual iPhone, because I want to be a part of the Google ecosystem and not the Apple one.
And knowing Google, I doubt it will be a completely binary thing. Even as they close off certain parts of Android, the Nexus bootloaders are still open, AOSP is still open, etc. They don't need to completely wrest control away from the open-source community, but I hope they do reign in the carrier/OEM abuse of their previous openness in order to preserve the Googly bits.
Hope that makes some sense...
Left out a word. That first sentence of the last paragraph should read "I know you're pooh-poohing that whole "everything Google experience"..."
That's why, my GSM galaxy nexus is running the latest official google version of android -4.4- (which, it is perfectly capable of running). Oh wait, there's no such thing.
I believe the Nexus phones get updates far before third-party branded phones, no?
What there is, is AOSP, openness (in a way), that openness gave me (and many many others) the possibility to to get updates, tinker, add features (caller name display comes to mind, there was none for a long time, and it wasn't free).
Those things could easily have come from apps, without having to cede control of the core OS over to carriers and OEMs. Modular design can allow for openness where it benefits the consumer, but prevent obnoxious carriers and OEMs from tarnishing the end experience by endlessly pushing their crap.
You want the "Google experience"? Fine buy a google phones from the google play store using your google wallet, not available for your carrier?? well, that's just too bad (not all phones are available for all carriers, this isn't new thing, been like this as far as I can remember).
The moment a Google controlled phone launches on my carrier, I'm all over it. And I'd switch, but Big Red is the only one who has 4G in my semi-rural area -- and often, the only one with any reception, period.
I know you're kind of pooh-poohing that whole "everything experience", but I did do exactly that with my Nexus 10 tablet, buying it from Google with my Google wallet and tying it to my Gmail account and using it to access GCal, etc., and that is the single technological device I have actually come to love. It just fucking works, and works beautifully, because it wasn't opened up to incompetent third parties to mess with. Google said "This ecosystem is a mess. We're going to make our own tablet." They did exactly that, and to this day it remains one of the best Android tablets out there.
Yes, but I don't trust Apple to maintain Googleness or even Google-ability forever... or even for much longer.
I don't want to use Apple Maps or Bing with Siri or iCal or iTunes or iAnything, really. I want it all to be Google, and Google's the only one who can ensure that happens -- their competitors tolerate but do not celebrate their presence. And Apple has already shown it is willing to drop Google bit by bit the first chance it gets.
First off, I just want to clearly state that I have nothing against open source in general. I use VLC, Firefox, FileZilla, Putty, Linux, blah blah quite regularly. I appreciate openness as a design philosophy, and I CC-license almost everything I create. And besides, in many cases the open-source solutions are simply better than the proprietary ones.
But I do not believe Android to be one such case. The thing is, for lazy users like me, openness is just one criterion to be balanced against simplicity and usability. And Android does not do so well in that regard, which I believe to be a direct result of its intentional openness. I will explain in more detail below.
Then your problem is with the OEMs, not the open source components. And if you're in the US, the carriers.
No, I believe my gripe is with the inherent openness of Android. Please let me explain.
I believe Google embraced open source Android out of necessity, to get the carriers and OEMs on board. My guess is they believed they didn't stand a chance against iPhone's impending dominance unless they could convince the carriers and OEMs that they would be able to modify and brand their phones however they wanted to, to create a distinctly "them" experience and not just another behemoth out of their control -- meaning, they probably thought the OEMs and carriers didn't want to just swap Apple for Google and in so doing be reduced to indistinguishable common carriers. That would be a race to the bottom for them where all they could compete on would be minutes, data packages, and price (which is the situation now, but not when the iPhone and Android first came out). Instead, they sold the openness as an opportunity to for carriers and OEMs to create competitive advantages -- and charge non-commodity prices -- by differentiating their phone models from one another.
When all iPhones are the same, your carrier doesn't matter as much. When one Android phone only exists on a single carrier and that's the phone you want, well, suddenly the OEM and the carrier both have meaning to you as the consumer again.
Not terribly relevant, especially when you consider that Google created all of the open source bits of Android.
It's not the Google open source stuff that's bad, it's the stuff everyone else added, changed, or removed because Android's openness allowed them to do so. It's a subtle but significant distinction. Openness isn't inherently bad, but Android's openness ceded Google control to less capable third parties, who by and large produced crap.
The crappiness in this wasn't intentional (I would hope), but the openness was.
If Google had retained complete control over its platform from the get-go, we would not have seen things like carrier-disabled tethering, Verizon's betrayal of the Nexus line, slow-ass/eternally-forgotten Android updates, useless bundled apps, conflicting address books / calendars, SIM/phone storage storage differences across vendors, device-specific apps and accessories, 400 different screen sizes and resolutions, etc.
And if Google had done that, Android probably never would've taken off. So it's understandable why they chose it, but the result for end users is a much messier ecosystem of products and even services.
For folks like me who just want a way to effectively use their Google accounts on the go, Google usually does it a lot better first-party than third party, open-source attempts.
>> Do you even know what you're talking about?
I'm not sure what you dislike about that statement, so please clarify.
I mean things like third-party Gmail clients (sometimes integrated into the phone), annoying OEM skins instead of the Google launcher interface, carrier-specific tethering solutions instead of the stuff built into Android, third party camera and gallery apps that leave out Panorama, Photosphere, and Picasa sync, third party address book solutions inferior to the Google contact manager, etc.
None of that stuff is bad because they're open-source or not. They're bad because Google, as a SIDE EFFECT of openness, allowed third parties to replace the good stuff with crap.
The overarching point of my argument is that Android would be better if it were solely controlled by Google in a fashion similar to iPhone or Kindle Fire, not because open-source is inherently bad, but because Android's particular implementation of open-source design meant that carriers and OEMs could and did take good open stuff and replace it with closed crap. Yes, that also meant that in some cases good hackers could replace the closed source crap with even better ROMs, but I still prefer the Vanilla Google experience, a la the Nexus 10, to something like CyanogenMod. If only because Google's new releases usually do more for features, stability, and speed than new ROM releases; having a ROM means having to wait for nightlies to turn into stables, whereas with my Nexus 10 updates are immediate and usually fully functional. Because it's all Google controlled and vertically integrated.
Which is neither here nor there with respect to the software being open source.
Maybe this is the crux of it: The issue isn't that the SOFTWARE is open source, but the PLATFORM. An open platform is what allowed bad software and hardware and carriers to become so pervasive, and in so doing made Android more popular but also more messy than the iPhone.
Perhaps you would be better off with an iPhone?
But I don't want to be a part of a closed Apple ecosystem, or a closed Amazon or Microsoft ecosystem for that matter -- because those companies don't give me what I like in exchange for their closed-ness. I want to be a part of a closed Google ecosystem.
It's not the closed-off-ness that gives it value, it's the Google control.
Apple means nothing to me aside from prettiness and patent bullying. OTOH I love Google services, and I love having a centralized Google account that ties 90% of my life together. I don't care that I'm handing my entire online existence to one organization, because what they give me in return is worth it. I just want a phone that works well with this ecosystem WITHOUT the ability to have it tinkered with by third party crap that I don't deliberately install myself.
Which, again, is irrelevant. Of course, that you're at +5 just shows there are people with mod points that have equally poor understanding.
I'm not sure how it's irrelevant. My argument, again, is this:
Google makes good apps and good phones, then opens it up to third parties to help sales.
Third parties take them up on their offer, discard much of the goodness, rebrand it and sell it to consumers. Sometimes they will go so far as to remove the Googleness altogether, to the point that it takes significant hacking to restore it, as with Nook, Kindle Fire, or cheap Chinese tablets.
In relative terms (meaning excluding differences between versions), an iPhone is an iPhone, an iPad is an iPad, and almost entirely controlled, and vertically integrated, by Apple. The result is a much more seamless user experience.
I just want something like that but with the Google ecosystem, and I have it with the Nexus 10 -- entirely Google controlled, but still open enough that I could hack it if I wanted to. I don't want to because I have no reason to.
My phone (a VZW Galaxy Nexus), on the other hand, is crap because Google ceded some of its control to Verizon. So I can't tether or get timely Android updates or clear off the Verizon crap unless I install a third-party ROM, and even then I have to jump through hoops to get the latest Google Apps, and I will always be months behind on Android version updates. If Android were closed to begin with like iPhone was, Verizon could not have done that -- but they also probably would not not have taken Android in to begin with.
So yes, my ultimate gripe is with the carriers and the OEMs because they are the most direct villains, but Android's openness was the weak gate in Google's paradise that let them in.
You know, as counter-Slashdot as it is to say this, I am really glad Google is closing off its Android apps. The worst parts of Androids have always been the open-source components, the modifiable OS and UI that third-party carriers and OEMs routinely turn to crap. The best parts of Android have always been the Googly bits, everything from Gmail to GCal to Hangouts to Google Now.
This may be an unpopular idea around here, but it can be argued that Google makes better software -- and more significantly, UX designs -- than the open-source world. For folks like me who just want a way to effectively use their Google accounts on the go, Google usually does it a lot better first-party than third party, open-source attempts.
To be clear: I've preferred Android not because it is open source, but because I hoped it would become Google's answer to the iPhone, an easy-to-use mobile access point for the Google ecosystem, free of clutter, viruses, etc. I WANT a closed Google Phone because it's less messy and better integrated.
It's just my opinion, but open source isn't everything to everyone. Usability matters more to some, and in this case Google is a lot better at it than most third parties.