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Android Platform manager steps down after failing to fix app sales

post #1 of 49
Thread Starter 
Eric Chu has stepped down as manager of Google's troubled software market for Android, and is being replaced by Jamie Rosenberg from Google Music as the company aligns all of its digital content under the Google Play umbrella.

Rosenberg has led Google Music for the last two years after arriving from Microsoft via its disastrous Pink Project acquisition of Danger (the company cofounded by Android manager Andy Rubin).

Chu plans to take another position within Google, leaving Rosenberg to take over his tasks in managing Android app sales.




The failed plan to fix Android Market

Last January, Chu admitted to "anxious app developers" that Google was "not happy" about the limited number of apps actually being purchased in Android Market, and outlined plans for turning the beleaguered software store around in 2011.

Chu delivered upon promises to add iOS-style in-app purchases, and to remodel Android Market and expand its global exposure and the visibility of Android apps last summer after acknowledging that the company needed to clean up Android Market as it had failed to do in 2010 following high profile complaints from developers including ,




Chu said there was a team tasked with "weeding out apps that violate Android Market’s terms of service," an indication that Google's free-for-all market design was recognized to have serious drawbacks. The company also took steps to restrict its licensing partners and discourage them from making drastic changes that fragment the platform.

A very bad year for Android Market

However, Android app sales have not dramatically turned around since, despite the fact that the majority of smartphones not running Apple's iOS incorporate some version of Google's Android platform software, providing the search giant with a large installed base to sell apps.

By the end of 2011, analysts were pointing out that Google had struggled to gain traction for app sales in Android Market. Apple's iOS platform continued to eat up around 90 percent of mobile software revenues.




At the same time, Android Market was targeted as being plagued with malware and spyware by security companies that note Apple's curated iOS App Store doesn't have the same issues, despite much greater sales volumes, the much wider global reach of iTunes, and far higher greater revenues and profits that are supposed to attract malicious attacks.

Throughout 2011, Google focused on launching Android tablets with the release of Android 3.0 Honeycomb, but its efforts had so little impact that both HP's discontinued webOS TouchPad and RIM's dismal sales of PlayBooks largely overshadowed Android's advance among tablets as an alternative to the iPad.

The most successful Android-based tablets in 2011 were those sold by Amazon and Barnes & Noble, but those products used an older version of Android incompatible with the Honeycomb software Google was trying to sell, and both of those products tied app sales to the booksellers' own software markets rather than Google's Android Market.

After a bleak year for Honeycomb tablets, Google's latest release of Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich debuted this winter, aimed at reusing Honeycomb's development efforts for smartphones. However, the new software was initially only available for Google's Galaxy Nexus, and has been slow to roll out on other handsets. The new software is only supported on new phones released in the last year, but even those users must wait for carriers and hardware vendors to release specific builds for their particular phone model.

Apps were not a priority for spreading Android adoption

A report by TechCrunch described a political feud between Chu (who managed developer relations and business development) and David Conway (who managed product development).

"Because there were two heads with relatively equal power, it was difficult to understand who had final say and that led to unnecessary politics," the report stated.

"Because Rubin judges the success of Android primarily through device activations and mobile search revenue, the app store has been a secondary priority inside the group. This is even though apps are a key reason consumers might choose one type of device over another."

Chu had made comments a year ago that Google was "betting on" HTML5 as a way to create apps. Google employees have previously made it clear that the company sees the Java-like core VM of Android as only a stepping stone to a future where apps are created in HTML, as soon as web tools can support sophisticated apps.

Not worth Google Play-ing

Developers have frequently described Google's Android app market, recently merged into the company's music, movies and ebook sales under the new, non-Android specific name Google Play, as not worth their time to support given the added complexities of the wide open hardware configurations among Android devices compared to the minimal revenues the store generates.




Mika Mobile recently explained why it was dropping support for Android, noting that "it doesn't make a lot of sense to dedicate resources to it," and stating, "we spent about 20% of our total man-hours last year dealing with Android in one way or another - porting, platform specific bug fixes, customer service, etc."

The developer told customers, "I would have preferred spending that time on more content for you, but instead I was thanklessly modifying shaders and texture formats to work on different GPUs, or pushing out patches to support new devices without crashing, or walking someone through how to fix an installation that wouldn't go through. We spent thousands on various test hardware.

"These are the unsung necessities of offering our apps on Android. Meanwhile, Android sales amounted to around 5% of our revenue for the year, and continues to shrink. Needless to say, this ratio is unsustainable.

"From a purely economic perspective, I can no longer legitimize spending time on Android apps, and the new features of the market do nothing to change this," the developer wrote.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 49
I think Google's approach must change! I think the options for Android are:

1. Have an OS that provides core functionality and is open to everyone to use. But have your own Google flavoured version. This is similar to the WebKIT model. The core is similar but Safari and Chrome flavours are out there.

2. Follow an Apple model and stop releasing Android. Put it on Moto hardware and sell it under the Google/Moto brand only. The rest of the industry can move to Windows!

I cannot see anything else that could be helpful for Android at the moment!
post #3 of 49
Eric Chu has stepped down as manager of Google's troubled software market for Android. It is reported that he plans a new career as a Captain for the Carnival Cruise Lines. Although the name of the vessel as yet has not been announced. Rumour has its name as a blast from the past.
post #4 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

[...] Chu plans to take another position within Google, leaving Rosenberg to take over his tasks in managing Android app sales. [...]

I'm sure Amazon would be happy to poach Mr. Chu from Google. I hear the Kindle Fire, with its proprietary, closed, customized version of Android 2.3 is selling pretty well.

Then there's Samsung. It's only a matter of time before Samsung does the same thing. They're crushing all other Android smartphone makers already, and having an optimized fork of Android for their own hardware would give them an even bigger advantage. But Google won't lift a finger to help Samsung extend their lead because they're stuck with Motorola Mobile. It'll take decades to recoup that $12.5 billion purchase price with the thin little trickle of money they'll get from all those FRAND-encumbered basic technology patents. So Google won't even do thing #1 to help Samsung optimize Android.

I'd bet a dollar that Mr. Chu is waiting for a big fat offer from Samsung.

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post #5 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrFreeman View Post

2. Follow an Apple model and stop releasing Android. Put it on Moto hardware and sell it under the Google/Moto brand only. The rest of the industry can move to Windows!

Once you release something as open source (Apache 2 and GPLv2) you can't just take it private. It is not like a public company taken private by buying up all the shares.

Android is in the wild, cat out of the bag, can't put the toothpaste back in the tube, opened a can of worms, etc.

Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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Life is too short to drink bad coffee.

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post #6 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Once you release something as open source (Apache 2 and GPLv2) you can't just take it private. It is not like a public company taken private by buying up all the shares.

Android is in the wild, cat out of the bag, can't put the toothpaste back in the tube, opened a can of worms, etc.

I agree you cannot do that lightly. However you can restrict the amount of code you dedicate to future versions of Android and rebrand your build to a different name. You could even create a new OS based on some core functionalities of the current open source Android and with the rest of the code being proprietary.

Again I agree with you that it is not Easy to do but the current Android business model is not sustainable!
post #7 of 49
Likely no one but developers will be interested in this particular video, but I've noted there are a few here who mentioned building apps for both iOS and Android. So the Google Developer's SXSW Lightning conf. video from yesterday is here (nothing of interest until around the 13 minute mark:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...v=zH5bJSG0DZk#!
melior diabolus quem scies
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melior diabolus quem scies
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post #8 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by DrFreeman View Post

I agree you cannot do that lightly. However you can restrict the amount of code you dedicate to future versions of Android and rebrand your build to a different name. You could even create a new OS based on some core functionalities of the current open source Android and with the rest of the code being proprietary.

Again I agree with you that it is not Easy to do but the current Android business model is not sustainable!

They could even start a paid program for developers that would get Google to certify apps as being malware free and doing what they claim to do that could be sold in the same store as Google Play Certified. Or is that simply not possible to do with any level certainty with their design?

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #9 of 49
As Steve used to love to say...

"Boom!"

Pity the agnostic dyslectic. They spend all their time contemplating the existence of dog.
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Pity the agnostic dyslectic. They spend all their time contemplating the existence of dog.
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post #10 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by htoelle View Post

Eric Chu has stepped down as manager of Google's troubled software market for Android. It is reported that he plans a new career as a Captain for the Carnival Cruise Lines. Although the name of the vessel as yet has not been announced. Rumour has its name as a blast from the past.

No he has been hired to captain the Costa Concordia.
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An Apple man since 1977
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post #11 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

They could even start a paid program for developers that would get Google to certify apps as being malware free and doing what they claim to do that could be sold in the same store as Google Play Certified. Or is that simply not possible to do with any level certainty with their design?

I am not sure you can do that! Because developers have to disclose their secrets to other developers which can complicate things ...
post #12 of 49
I have to admit that I cried like a little girl over the news in this story... so sad. Google is doomed, doomed, I tell you. Hehehehehhe...!
"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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"That (the) world is moving so quickly that iOS is already amongst the older mobile operating systems in active development today." — The Verge
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post #13 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Once you release something as open source (Apache 2 and GPLv2) you can't just take it private. It is not like a public company taken private by buying up all the shares.

If you own the copyrights, yes you can. Obviously you can't make previous versions no longer open source, but they can for anything in the future. Now they can't make the Linux kernel closed-source but since they own the copyrights to the userland part (which is the major hunk of the code) they can easily close source it. Also, even if they didn't own the copyrights to all of the APLv2 code, it allows you to modification without source distribution.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Android is in the wild, cat out of the bag, can't put the toothpaste back in the tube, opened a can of worms, etc.

If that were true, they would have been obligated to open source Honeycomb and the only code they released was the kernel
post #14 of 49
Completely aside from this topic, a family discussion this afternoon - just watching business news on the TV - concluded Google is starting to look like Microsoft in many ways.

This just adds to that conclusion.
post #15 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



As bad as this data looks for Android and Google, note that it is biased in Android's favor. The Android figures include an extra month and a half of sales compared to iOS - so a fair comparison would be even more dramatic.
"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
Gatorguy 5/31/13
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"I'm way over my head when it comes to technical issues like this"
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post #16 of 49
If he's trying to make the platform a success, it's a bit counterproductive to go around saying it's all temporary, and they're really waiting for HTML5 to kick off.
post #17 of 49
Eric Schmidt & crew chose "open" and customizable as the Google mantra. Even the word "mantra" has that invincible feel to it like the feel of being The Google God CEO, and being known worldwide, ala "do no evil".

If the mantra were "Do the most Good", maybe an analysis on day 1 would have shown that an entirely open, & ultimately forked and essentially bastardized OS was doomed to become anything but controllable. EI, each user of a forked open OS was limited by the ability to deliver developers.

In one way, Balmer was right when he screamed and bounced across the stage yelling "Developers, Developers, Developers". Steve Jobs said things in his own way about the subject.

But Schmidt thought he was smarter than the rest, or maybe he was uninterested and simply OK'd and repeated what his Android team leader told him, but he certainly ignored the lessons learned by Apple and Microsoft.

It is probably too late for Schmidt & Google because the genie is out of the bottle and it could take years to try to pop that slippery character back in, if ever. Meanwhile, Apple is absolutely running at breakneck speed to steamroll everyone else in the smartphone OS sphere with a top to bottom integrated system.

Apple may be "closed" on the OS side, but as far as developers of hundreds of thousands of apps goes, it is open enough for them to earn an incredible amount of both exposure and income and Apple understood what it took to get developer loyalty...and that was stability above all. You can NOT waste programming time and still make a living.

Schmidt forked himself.
post #18 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

By the end of 2011, analysts were pointing out that Google had struggled to gain traction for app sales in Android Market. Apple's iOS platform continued to eat up around 90 percent of mobile software revenues.

I think a large part of this comes from the mentality of the respective audiences. Typically, people who like free, open software like all of their software to be open and free.

Without quality control, there's also a problem when it comes to trust. It's much harder to trust publishers in the Android Store.
post #19 of 49
it really is "fragmentation" that is holding back the Android app market/sales. the post yesterday at Ars Technica by Ryan Paul about this - Android fragmentation also a challenge for Web developers - is worth reading:

http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/news/...0#comments-bar

the most telling information was deep at the end of the comments by a European iOS/Android developer with the user name Bernstein. he was actually defending Android, but provided a great deal of insight into its issues. i can't in fairness quote his entire comment here, but the punch line (whether he realized it or not) was that, because Android updates to older hardware are rolled out so slowly or not at all:

"apps for android coded today are mostly at API 2.1," i.e., the lowest common denominator to sell to the biggest number of user, which is a much more limited OS than Android's current ICS 4.0 - and not even as good as Honeycomb 3.1.

it would be like most iPhone apps still being designed today for iOS 3.x. it explains why so many Android apps are clearly inferior to their iOS counterparts. and why users don't buy nearly as many of them.

this is the fault of the OEM's and telcos of course. but it is deadly. and there is nothing Chu, or Rosenberg, or Rubin himself can do about it.
post #20 of 49
Open Source looks good and inviting until you actually have to deal with the carriers and all their BS. No thanks, fragmentation suks.
post #21 of 49
Quote:
Chu said there was a team tasked with "weeding out apps that violate Android Market’s terms of service," an indication that Google's free-for-all market design was recognized to have serious drawbacks. The company also took steps to restrict its licensing partners and discourage them from making drastic changes that fragment the platform.

What? That's not "open." Sounds like a curated store to me.

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"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #22 of 49
Stepped down? Looks more like "stepped sideways."

That could be Google's problem.
post #23 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

What? That's not "open." Sounds like a curated store to me.

having guidelines doesn't make something unopen...if I have a restaurant that anyone can eat in as long as they wear a white T-shirt and jeans that I provide them free of charge and don't bring a gun I don't see how my restaurant is now closed.

It may be curated, sure...but curated and open are not mutually exclusive.
post #24 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alfiejr View Post

"apps for android coded today are mostly at API 2.1," i.e., the lowest common denominator to sell to the biggest number of user, which is a much more limited OS than Android's current ICS 4.0 - and not even as good as Honeycomb 3.1.

This is what I've been saying all along (and I've even used the "lowest common denominator" example). BTW, I develop for iOS (and also have for Android, but abandoned it due to this very problem).

Android fans will tell you it's easy to code an Android App that will run on all versions of Android, thereby trying to say there's no fragmentation. Which is true if you write an App with the most basic of features. If you want to write an advanced App that takes advantage of the latest API's in ICS, then you're going to be severely limited as to how many potential customers you might have.
post #25 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbsoluteDesignz View Post

having guidelines doesn't make something unopen...if I have a restaurant that anyone can eat in as long as they wear a white T-shirt and jeans that I provide them free of charge and don't bring a gun I don't see how my restaurant is now closed.

It may be curated, sure...but curated and open are not mutually exclusive.

Apple managed the astonishing feat of getting the equivalent of a personal computer into the hands of everybody from eight to eighty year olds, and did so while providing absolutely no instructions...
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Apple managed the astonishing feat of getting the equivalent of a personal computer into the hands of everybody from eight to eighty year olds, and did so while providing absolutely no instructions...
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post #26 of 49
There are so many problems with Android, but even if their app store was perfect, they can never fix their biggest problem. And it is a problem that they themselves invited, as it is part of their wonderful strategy. That problem would be Android's customers. This customer on average is simply not willing to spend much money on any apps.

I constantly see Fandroids on various forums bragging about how they don't have to pay for many apps, as there are always free alternatives, even though they're infested with ads. There are also other Fandroids who pirate apps, and you end up with a customer base who is not willing to open their wallets, not like there is much in those wallets to begin with. Google invited these cheap customers by letting everybody and their brother release junky Android devices that are one step above something that you'd find in a land refill.

And from a developer's point of view, developing for Android must be a complete nightmare with all of the gazillion devices out there. Anybody who uses Android deserves what they get.
post #27 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

There are so many problems with Android, but even if their app store was perfect, they can never fix their biggest problem. And it is a problem that they themselves invited, as it is part of their wonderful strategy. That problem would be Android's customers. This customer on average is simply not willing to spend much money on any apps.

I constantly see Fandroids on various forums bragging about how they don't have to pay for many apps, as there are always free alternatives, even though they're infested with ads. There are also other Fandroids who pirate apps, and you end up with a customer base who is not willing to open their wallets, not like there is much in those wallets to begin with. Google invited these cheap customers by letting everybody and their brother release junky Android devices that are one step above something that you'd find in a land refill.

And from a developer's point of view, developing for Android must be a complete nightmare with all of the gazillion devices out there. Anybody who uses Android deserves what they get.

Agreed. Google's strategy as an ugly cheap imitation simply makes it dysfunctional.
post #28 of 49
"the beleaguered software store"
Daniel,
You scalawag you.
,dave
post #29 of 49
Don't let the door hit you in the a$$ when you go!
post #30 of 49
"...our Android apps aren't making money"

"...The .apk will need to be under 50mb"

http://mikamobile.blogspot.com.au/20...h-android.html

...The dirty truth...
post #31 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunilraman View Post

"...our Android apps aren't making money"

"...The .apk will need to be under 50mb"

http://mikamobile.blogspot.com.au/20...h-android.html

...The dirty truth...

..a perfect example of how Android fragmented hardware and no minimum spec destroys the experience and fucks developers. The app needs to be so tiny because many android phones have so little internal storage. Additional content is download upon the launch of the app and moved to the SD card. Yeah, what a messy system.
post #32 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

There are so many problems with Android, but even if their app store was perfect, they can never fix their biggest problem. And it is a problem that they themselves invited, as it is part of their wonderful strategy. That problem would be Android's customers. This customer on average is simply not willing to spend much money on any apps.

Those of us old enough to have been around for the dawn of the "home computer" market during the late '70s thru the mid '80s have seen this exact dynamic play out once before. What's happening to Android is nothing new.

Anybody remember the Commodore 64? It was a low-quality rip-off of the older but superior - and far better-built - Atari 800. Commodore moved boatloads of the things - I think it's probably still the single best-selling computer model ever (if you don't count the iPhone 4!). Atari was so poorly mismanaged by the idiots Warner Communications hired to run the place they couldn't get their manufacturing costs under control to compete. Tramiel over at Commodore launched a price war and forced Texas Instruments out of the PC business. Tandy got bloodied. Coleco crashed and burned with their Adam.

Oddly, the only one of the bunch to survive the onslaught was Apple, which had the oldest, least technically-impressive hardware. They did however have the nicest cases, the best build-quality (by far), a classier dealer network, vastly superior support and - crucially - an enormous if expensive software library. The machines also sold for at least twice as much as Commodore's.

And that's why Apple survived while the rest of the bunch - even Commodore - was destroyed in competition with the IBM PC and its clones. Because Apple users had enough income to spend on software. Lots and lots and lots of software. So Apple's platforms - the // series and later the Macintosh - became a haven for developers looking to actually make money from their efforts.

Oh sure, Commodore sold millions more machines. But their users couldn't afford to buy much software, and worse didn't have to since the huge install base virtually guaranteed they knew someone they could pirate software from. This freeloader mentality carried over to the 16-bit successors to the 8-bit machines from Commodore and Atari, so the Amiga and ST were also plagued with users who didn't pay for software, which in turn meant they never built the kind of ecosystem that would make those platforms attractive to a broader audience. The Mac ultimately outsold both the Amiga and the ST, even though the cheapest Mac cost at least twice as much when the ST and Amiga hit the market, and several times their cost a few years later, as first Commodore and then finally Atari collapsed into bankruptcy.

We're going to see the same scenario play out with Android. It's going to end up on ever cheaper, ever junkier, poorly-supported devices sold to idiots as part of a massive race to the bottom. Those users either won't buy any software, or they'll pirate it, or their junkphones and junktabs will only be capable of running stuff for a 2-year-old version of Android nobody wants to develop for anymore. Apple will walk off with the entire userbase of people willing to pay for software, because the iOS ecosystem will be the only one vibrant enough to attract such users.

Apple isn't doing anything new here - they're only executing (better this time) on the same strategy they used to survive the home computer wars and the arrival of the PC clones almost 30 years ago.
post #33 of 49
[QUOTE=sunspot42;2069375]Those of us old enough to have been around for the dawn of the "home computer" market during the late '70s thru the mid '80s have seen this exact dynamic play out once before. What's happening to Android is nothing new.

Your thoughts are mine in different words.

A race to the bottom is a death spiral.

Apple this time around has taken competition to a new level with superior and some would say maximally competitive supply chain contracts, which can effectively keep out entrants for some period of time, meaning the competitors are perpetually behind Apple's advanced equipment.
post #34 of 49
Quote:
Mika Mobile recently explained why it was dropping support for Android, noting that "it doesn't make a lot of sense to dedicate resources to it," and stating, "we spent about 20% of our total man-hours last year dealing with Android in one way or another - porting, platform specific bug fixes, customer service, etc."

The developer told customers, "I would have preferred spending that time on more content for you, but instead I was thanklessly modifying shaders and texture formats to work on different GPUs, or pushing out patches to support new devices without crashing, or walking someone through how to fix an installation that wouldn't go through. We spent thousands on various test hardware.

"These are the unsung necessities of offering our apps on Android. Meanwhile, Android sales amounted to around 5% of our revenue for the year, and continues to shrink. Needless to say, this ratio is unsustainable.

"From a purely economic perspective, I can no longer legitimize spending time on Android apps, and the new features of the market do nothing to change this," the developer wrote.

This is exactly why Apple has succeeded in it's App Store and iOS platform. By making it a closed platform (controlled), Apple allowed itself and its developers to concentrate on making great content and better profit margins. The haters alway degrade the so called "walled garden" as a huge negative but Steve Jobs knew better. Google can make their marketplace for their version of Android work if they follow Apple's lead and wall off there platform with Apple-like control.

Tight control of Apple's platform wasn't revolutionary to Apple's iOS platform. Its been their history. Apple has from its beginning tightly controlled and supported its developer community, whether they made software or peripherals. As a long-time computer users (and an Apple Old Timer), I agree with this control philosophy because it produces better products, that work together, in the innovative computer field. How closely a developer adheres to the platform's guidelines is the first thing I look for when researching products I want to buy for my iMac or iOS devices. It surprises me that Google, and others, are just now realizing it.
post #35 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slurpy View Post

..a perfect example of how Android fragmented hardware and no minimum spec destroys the experience and fucks developers. The app needs to be so tiny because many android phones have so little internal storage. Additional content is download upon the launch of the app and moved to the SD card. Yeah, what a messy system.

I tend to disagreed. I started programming in the late 60s. The first personal and business computing devices had to deal with a code base that fit into less than 64k. When memory and storage became abundant, some programmers got lazy and no longer made their code tight, elegant, or recursive. Many of today's developers don't even know how to program with limited storage. That's too bad because it can be done.

However limited code isn't the only problem Android programmers and its app marketplace face. The biggest problem IMO that is holding back the Android platform is its openness and ability to control the devices at its lowest level. The security problem is keeping many from purchasing Android apps. The cheapos and pirates expect infections and malware but potential customers won't put their money in these apps because of these risk but they're even more concerned with losing control of their data. Apple's control of the sandbox is what Google needs. The pirates, telcos, fandroids, and developers looking to make a buck selling personal data won't like it but it needs to be done for the platform to survive.
post #36 of 49
Trying to code for android is like playing whack a mole. There are too many flavors of android and too many different types of phones, which makes it near impossible to make good, optimized software.

And once you finally get your app done, you just know you have another 6 months of fixing all the issues to accommodate all those different configurations.

Also, the imitation is never as good as the original. This plays out in everything associated with android when compared to the iPhone.
post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunspot42 View Post

Those of us old enough to have been around for the dawn of the "home computer" market during the late '70s thru the mid '80s have seen this exact dynamic play out once before. What's happening to Android is nothing new.

Anybody remember the Commodore 64? It was a low-quality rip-off of the older but superior - and far better-built - Atari 800. Commodore moved boatloads of the things - I think it's probably still the single best-selling computer model ever (if you don't count the iPhone 4!). Atari was so poorly mismanaged by the idiots Warner Communications hired to run the place they couldn't get their manufacturing costs under control to compete. Tramiel over at Commodore launched a price war and forced Texas Instruments out of the PC business. Tandy got bloodied. Coleco crashed and burned with their Adam.

Oddly, the only one of the bunch to survive the onslaught was Apple, which had the oldest, least technically-impressive hardware. They did however have the nicest cases, the best build-quality (by far), a classier dealer network, vastly superior support and - crucially - an enormous if expensive software library. The machines also sold for at least twice as much as Commodore's.

And that's why Apple survived while the rest of the bunch - even Commodore - was destroyed in competition with the IBM PC and its clones. Because Apple users had enough income to spend on software. Lots and lots and lots of software. So Apple's platforms - the // series and later the Macintosh - became a haven for developers looking to actually make money from their efforts.

Oh sure, Commodore sold millions more machines. But their users couldn't afford to buy much software, and worse didn't have to since the huge install base virtually guaranteed they knew someone they could pirate software from. This freeloader mentality carried over to the 16-bit successors to the 8-bit machines from Commodore and Atari, so the Amiga and ST were also plagued with users who didn't pay for software, which in turn meant they never built the kind of ecosystem that would make those platforms attractive to a broader audience. The Mac ultimately outsold both the Amiga and the ST, even though the cheapest Mac cost at least twice as much when the ST and Amiga hit the market, and several times their cost a few years later, as first Commodore and then finally Atari collapsed into bankruptcy.

We're going to see the same scenario play out with Android. It's going to end up on ever cheaper, ever junkier, poorly-supported devices sold to idiots as part of a massive race to the bottom. Those users either won't buy any software, or they'll pirate it, or their junkphones and junktabs will only be capable of running stuff for a 2-year-old version of Android nobody wants to develop for anymore. Apple will walk off with the entire userbase of people willing to pay for software, because the iOS ecosystem will be the only one vibrant enough to attract such users.

Apple isn't doing anything new here - they're only executing (better this time) on the same strategy they used to survive the home computer wars and the arrival of the PC clones almost 30 years ago.

Most excellent analysis, sunspot, undoubtedly fortified by hindsight.

I too recall the heady days of the Atari ST (my first microcomputer) and the rival Amiga system, excitedly poring through the enthusiast magazines and LOOT (a printed precursor to eBay and CraigsList in the UK) for utility software and links to pirated stuff like C-Labs Notator (now Apple Logic Pro) and Cubase, two software giants that survived by leaping the chasm onto the more durable platforms.

So much water has flowed under the bridge since then, but some things never change: Good design (as per Dieter Rams' 10-point guidelines), Customer Support, sharp marketing/execution and, yes Mr Ballmer: "Developers, Developers, Developers!" will win out in the smart device marathon.

A word is enough for the wise., those that have ears let them hear, etc etc
post #38 of 49
For the most part, Apple is synonymous with quality but that's not why I remain loyal to their brand. The main reason, and most important to me, is trust. I trust Apple to do everything in their power to keep my privacy and personal data securely safe within their ecosystem. I allow them to keep my credit card numbers on their servers and devices because of trust. I allow them to send me advertisements through email, without flagging it as junk mail, because of trust. I know they need to make profit. I buy the products they sell, and those of their developers who live Apple's mantra, because of trust. Those who gain my loyalty through trust, have longterm profit security, for I will always look first to buy their products.

I don't trust Google, Facebook, or the Android platform. Google and Facebook's main product is you; those who use their free services. Many Android developers are more of the same. I'd rather pay for those services and not be open to an invasion of my privacy or sold to the highest bidder. Many Apple customers respect and trust Apple simply because they earned it over the years. I realize free services like those within Facebook or Google services, plus their search engine, aren't cheap to give away for free. However, I am not for sale and I value my privacy. The way I do this is by keeping within Apple's ecosystem as much as possible, using monitoring software like Little Snitch and DNT+, and paying for software that respect these principles.

It's these sentiments that Android developers, Google and Facebook need to learn to earn my trust and wallet, in order to profit from me, the consumer. I would be happy to use their products if they have my trust. Trust and Privacy are paramount to me, and if these companies act more like Apple, it will also benefit their profit margin too. The Telcos could also learn a thing or two from Apple's mantra.

/ End of Rant
post #39 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljocampo View Post

For the most part, Apple is synonymous with quality but that's not why I remain loyal to their brand. The main reason, and most important to me, is trust. I trust Apple to do everything in their power to keep my privacy and personal data securely safe within their ecosystem. I allow them to keep my credit card numbers on their servers and devices because of trust. I allow them to send me advertisements through email, without flagging it as junk mail, because of trust. I know they need to make profit. I buy the products they sell, and those of their developers who live Apple's mantra, because of trust. Those who gain my loyalty through trust, have longterm profit security, for I will always look first to buy their products.

I don't trust Google, Facebook, or the Android platform. Google and Facebook's main product is you; those who use their free services. Many Android developers are more of the same. I'd rather pay for those services and not be open to an invasion of my privacy or sold to the highest bidder. Many Apple customers respect and trust Apple simply because they earned it over the years. I realize free services like those within Facebook or Google services, plus their search engine, aren't cheap to give away for free. However, I am not for sale and I value my privacy. The way I do this is by keeping within Apple's ecosystem as much as possible, using monitoring software like Little Snitch and DNT+, and paying for software that respect these principles.

It's these sentiments that Android developers, Google and Facebook need to learn to earn my trust and wallet, in order to profit from me, the consumer. I would be happy to use their products if they have my trust. Trust and Privacy are paramount to me, and if these companies act more like Apple, it will also benefit their profit margin too. The Telcos could also learn a thing or two from Apple's mantra.

/ End of Rant

I totally agree with you. BTW you can add LinkedIn to that list of what not to trust!
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
post #40 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

And from a developer's point of view, developing for Android must be a complete nightmare with all of the gazillion devices out there. Anybody who uses Android deserves what they get.

I wrote a simple iPhone game (it's a port of a DOS classic by the way, it's called Snipes! and you can all go get it if here you're feeling nostalgic ), and even though I considered porting it to Android (well, at least for a few minutes ), I would never ever be able to justify to myself spending time on it.

The problem starts with the SDK and dev tools. They are all freely available, but it will take you at least a full day to get them up and running. You need slow, bloated, inconvenient and overly complex IDE to be able to work somewhat comfortably. You need a dog-slow simulator that makes it almost impossible to do quick fix-and-debug cycles, since it takes minutes to start up each run. You cannot do _any_ preliminary performance testing on the simulator (the iOS simulator isn't representative for the device, but at least on iOS you can to comparative profiling using Instruments). All peripheral debug/testing tools need to be installed and configured separately and many do not integrate with NetBeans or Eclipse.

So I'd say the dev tools suck big time compared to XCode, which has many flaws, but at least it is fast, easy, full-featured, well-integrated and documented, and you'll have it installed within minutess.

Even if I would have gone through the effort of setting up the development environment, I would still be stuck, since the 2D graphics and sprite framework I used was not available on Android, nor any credible alternative. If I would have to do all the sprite stuff and the animation effects I used, it would have taken me at least 2 months on top of the total effort to just port the game logic. The same problem holds for many other third-party frameworks: iOS has a very rich ecosystem of high-quality, freely available third-party libraries.

And then there is Java. I know different people have different preferences if it comes to programming languages, but anyone telling you Java is 'just as nice' or even nicer than for example Objective-C simply never used anything but Java for anything non-trivial. I've been developing software for over 10 years, with over 2 years of experience in many languages (Java, C, C++, Objective-C, Python, PHP), and I think I can honestly say I'm a polyglot programmer by now. I can only say that Java is a terrible language to develop in. It's too verbose, too restrictive in how you are supposed to do certain things, it makes simple things hard, the standard libraries are a big convoluted mess full of legacy stuff, it's slow to compile and start, and the whole language is very archaic and static, missing many of the modern features of other languages. It's a PITA to work with, and I would never voluntarily choose to use it over some other language (even C++), unless absolutely necessary.

So all in all, I can verify that at least for me, this article is spot on. It's not even so much that I think Android would not make me any money (it's only a hobby for me, not my day job), it's just too painful and annoying. XCode + Objective C + Cocoa = fun, Android + Java + NetBeans/Eclipse = pain. I would rather port my game to WP7 than Android, because I know from experience that Microsoft dev tools are fantastic and pleasant to work with.

My brother who used to be a big Android fan but switched to WP7 a while ago confirmed the sorry state of Android apps many times as well. All the apps from big companies are great and very well done, I'd say almost on par with iOS. Then there is a *huge* quality gap, where the iOS App Store is full of great applications by small developers, this whole category is almost absent on Android. With some minor exceptions, the indy/small developer apps that are availble on Android are inferior to even the mediocre ones on iOS. It's this category that makes the iOS app store so interesting to find new stuff, not the Facebook and Google Apps you have on every other platform. In terms of crapware made by wannabe-developers though, Android definitely has the upper hand .
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