Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Holo Theme Is Now Mandatory For Android Devices

Unknown Lamer posted more than 2 years ago | from the a-breath-of-fresh-tron dept.

Android 206

tripleevenfall writes in about the new theme changes in Android 4.0. From the article: "Starting with Android 4.0, support for the 'Holo' theme will be mandatory for phones and tablets that have the Android Market installed. Holo is the stock Android theme, known for its sharp angles, thin lines and blue hue. Third-party developers can now create apps and widgets using the default Android aesthetic, knowing that's how it'll look on every major Ice Cream Sandwich device that has the Android Market. " This is not banning custom themes; instead it is merely giving developers a consistent theme that is guaranteed to be installed if they want a consistent look across all devices. There are even a few improvements to the style protocol to help developers deal with dark and light themes.

cancel ×

206 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

This still doesn't address fragmentation (2, Interesting)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586914)

This doesn't appear to address fragmentation at all. To the contrary, fragmentation will be even easier, according to the article:

To be clear, this doesn't mean the death of phone makers' user interface customizations, such as HTC's Sense or Samsung's TouchWiz. Far from it: Google is also making it easier for developers to accommodate these custom interfaces, with a bit of code that adopts whatever theme the device is using by default. Essentially, app developers will be able to choose whether their apps will look more like stock Android 4.0, or like the phone maker's customized interface.

Recall that TouchWiz is the reason the Galaxy S and Galaxy Tab won't get Ice Cream Sandwich [slashdot.org] despite being only months old. Just look at this chart of the completely broken upgrade cycle [imgur.com] for Android smartphones--and note the 2 1/2 year old iPhone 3GS can run the latest version of iOS. The problem is that the carrier's business model is to sell you a new phone every six months. It's not in their best interests to provide upgrades and support. As far as they're concerned, interaction with the customer is over the moment you purchase the phone, so they don't give a crap about trying to provide a cohesive platform that interoperates with competing Android phones.

Seamless experiences win out in the long term. We saw this when gaming moved from PCs to consoles in the 2000s, and it's happening now in the transition to the post-PC era. The previous mobile web OS usage [slashdot.org] article raised a lot of eyebrows, because despite the fact Android has greater volume, it's turns out that it's actually #3 in web use behind Java ME and iOS, which means the majority of Android users are not using their phones like smartphones, for whatever reason. On top of that, developer support for Android dropped by one-third over the course of 2011 [flurry.com] despite an increase in activations.

The fragmentation issue is something Google desperately needs to solve if it wants to avoid the same fate that desktop Linux did. Throwing something out there, calling it open, and letting "choice" steer the ship isn't going to do it. Requiring support for a theme is a step in the right direction, but all it means is that there is a default theme, not a standardized one.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (-1, Troll)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586994)

Is the first post on Slashdot these days reserved for an Apple or MS shill?

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587050)

And the first reply to the first post is reserved for the Google fanbois.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0, Offtopic)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587068)

He's a subscriber, so it's not surprising he has first post. Is anything even remotely critical of Android on Slashdot these days automatically considered an Apple or MS shill?

The negative moderations of the OP are downright psychotic. There's nothing trollish about it at all, and it's backed by linked evidence. If only the majority of Slashdot comments put in the effort.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (3, Interesting)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587128)

It's the stock phrases, such as "Seamless experiences win out in the long term." They're pretty much copy-paste.

And this from an extremely unhappy Samsung Galaxy S phone, complete with busted GPS and no ICS.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587382)

what's it pasted from? it's a valid point since tablets are huge now and the games industry did embrace the controlled platform of consoles over the open platform of PCs. i wouldn't recommend an Android phone to my grandma because i have to admit the experience is not as seamless as an iDevice. even you say you're unhappy with the Galaxy S

methinks some people just don't like seeing the fragmentation argument come up again even though it's right there in the article

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587426)

what's it pasted from?

Just about every known Apple fanboi's posts have mentioned it, verbatim, over the last couple of weeks, I've noticed. They're all staying on message.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (3, Insightful)

forkfail (228161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587644)

An open platform will always have a certain level of fragmentation. It's part of the cost you pay for having an open platform. The benefit is that you get more apps and options. The downside is that they don't always play nice. So - I admit that there are negatives to so-called fragmentation.

With this said, if you honestly parse the OP's post, look at the structure, language, word choice and links, not to mention the timing of it's posting, and consider modern marketing techniques as they pertain to blogs and social networks, it seems to be at least a reasonable to at least suspect that the author has either professional or monetary ties to Apple, or that he is a true Holy Warrior for The One True Platform.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587784)

An open platform will always have a certain level of fragmentation. It's part of the cost you pay for having an open platform. The benefit is that you get more apps and options. The downside is that they don't always play nice. So - I admit that there are negatives to so-called fragmentation.

Fragmentation is a pejorative, invented by Apple in an attempt to cast diversity in a bad light.

When anyone brings it up when discussing a wide range of options and freedom in the market place you can know they are Apple fanbois. You never see the word applied to any other area, such as Automobiles, where there is even more diversity and choice.

In those areas, phrases like wide selections, lots of choices, wide variety, diversity, freedom, all are positive attributes.
Even "clones" and "Forks" have a positive connotation in the areas of computers and software.

Only when speaking of Android is the word fragmentation trotted out.

Convince me that is just coincidental.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (4, Funny)

Scowler (667000) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587894)

In other words, you're not a developer.

Android reduces fragmentation. (4, Insightful)

danbob999 (2490674) | more than 2 years ago | (#38588112)

The main fragmentation that interest developers is the one between platforms, not within a platform. If Apple and RIM both switched to Android, it would be much easier to develop for mobile devices. They add a lot of fragmentation by continuing to push their proprietary platform. Google actually removes fragmentation by giving away for free an OS that anyone can use. There would be much more fragmentation in the mobile world if HTC, Motorola, Sony, Samsung and LG all pushed their own OS like Apple and RIM are doing.

Re:Android reduces fragmentation. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38588154)

Of course, the Apple faggots would much rather solve that problem by just banning other companies from making phones entirely....

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38588358)

In other words your not a developer either. Bet your the same kind of code monkey that would have repeated the lie that Netscape didn't have 128 bit encryption and rendered pages in a non-standard way .. the lie that back in the day was repeated over and over again because the "developers, developers, developers" didn't want to do anything but build sites that worked with IE.

Oh well.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587976)

Fragmentation is a pejorative, invented by Apple in an attempt to cast diversity in a bad light.

What an ironic accusation, where usually it's the Apple fans claiming Apple invented something that's been around for awhile. And fragmentation indeed has been used in the hardware/software industry long before the Apple/Android flamewars.

When anyone brings it up when discussing a wide range of options and freedom in the market place you can know they are Apple fanbois. You never see the word applied to any other area, such as Automobiles, where there is even more diversity and choice.

In those areas, phrases like wide selections, lots of choices, wide variety, diversity, freedom, all are positive attributes.

What an awful comparison. When you add a custom theme to a cellphone, it hinders the ability to upgrade it and gives the manufacturer an out to delay or not support future upgrades. Ford does not refuse to service your engine because your car is painted yellow or has a manual instead of automatic transmission.

Even "clones" and "Forks" have a positive connotation in the areas of computers and software.

Only when speaking of Android is the word fragmentation trotted out.

So what you're saying is you have never been involved in developing software or drivers for different types of *nix OSes, or even read any of the forums?

Convince me that is just coincidental.

You like to throw out the term 'Apple fanbois'. It seems as though you are the emotionally invested in a corporate brand and deflect all criticism. Why don't you convince us that you are not just a 'Google fanboi' ?

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38588390)

But when Ford develop new software for the ECU in later models to improve fuel efficency and emissions they don't give you a free upgrade on your old model. They won't even let you pay for it. You can't even offer to pay for an entire new engine to upgrade your last-years-model. They force you to buy an entire new vehicle. In conclusion, Ford refuses to upgrade your old vehicle because it is not a new purchase. Comparing it to servicing your car because its a different colour - that would be an apt comparison if the warranty was void because you bought an Android phone with the TouchWiz thingy on it.

There is no automotive analogy that holds true for this situation.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (3, Insightful)

an unsound mind (1419599) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587832)

The problem here is that the fragmentation is so bad quite a few developers are jumping ship to Apple - resulting in Apple's quite monolithic ecosystem actually looking more appealing even from a choice viewpoint, at least to me.

I could have my choice of poorly working, barely updated Android phones, and having to wrangle with the Android Market being full of malware even if I choose to void my warranty and go Cyanogenmod or get an official Google phone - or I can go for a much, much smoother user experience with iPhone.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587986)

Don't forget the security aspect. We see threads on /. daily about Android malware. iOS is pretty much 100% secure when it comes down to incidences of compromised devices.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38588162)

Dont forget that it's an absolute PITA to program for android compared to iOS.

Android Programming is painful and downright ugly. I HATE having to write android apps and try to convince management here to simply let us create a webside "app" that does not need to be installed and will work on all phones.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1)

maccodemonkey (1438585) | more than 2 years ago | (#38588224)

"With this said, if you honestly parse the OP's post, look at the structure, language, word choice and links, not to mention the timing of it's posting, and consider modern marketing techniques as they pertain to blogs and social networks, it seems to be at least a reasonable to at least suspect that the author has either professional or monetary ties to Apple, or that he is a true Holy Warrior for The One True Platform."

Huh? This sort of response is the sort of thing that hurts actual debate.

"Your point seems valid and I agree with it on principle, however without any solid evidence I'm going to accuse you of being a corporate shill using immature labeling, and disregard everything you've said."

I mean, seriously, I could copy paste what you said right back at you and accuse you of working for Google.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (4, Insightful)

d4fseeker (1896770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587530)

Give this one a try: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1363593 [xda-developers.com]
I think you'll find it icy-sweet enough
True, Samsung doesn't care about software updates, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't either.

Oh, and if your GPS antenna is broken or has bad contacts; you can order a new one for roughly 10-20$ off eBay, replacement is easy with just 2 screws.
However I usually find external bluetooth receivers with SIRF3-chips the best; my "Road66"-one even manages to get a steady and accuracte fix in large cities, has 6 hours battery charge and takes around 10 seconds to cold-start (I dont know how it does it... amazing!)

I for one am quite pleased with my Galaxy S (first revision), even if not with Samsun'g customer service. Well, that's what homebrew is for, isn't it? ;)

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1, Insightful)

an unsound mind (1419599) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587874)

I could do hardware repairs by myself, then install an unsupported third party firmware... or I could pay a little more, get an iPhone, and not have to learn a ton about my phone and dedicate what little time I have to other things than repairing my phone.

It's like the old saying that open source is only free if your time is worthless - but in this case, I'd have to pay anyway!

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587928)

You too, huh?

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#38588330)

Agreed, and it is blatant. Here is one example. From the above "bonch" post:

Seamless experiences win out in the long term. We saw this when gaming moved from PCs to consoles in the 2000s, and it's happening now in the transition to the post-PC era.

It's the business model, +5 Informative by Overly Critical Guy: [slashdot.org]

Seamless experiences always win out over time. We saw it when gaming shifted from PCs to consoles, and now the industry is shifting from desktops to mobile devices. Fragmentation is a huge for users.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (4, Informative)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587782)

Actually if he wasn't disingenuous to his own damn post, maybe he wouldn't be branded a troll. First he quotes part of the article that hints at Google's plan to make the UI theme more accessible to app developers, and then he turns it on it's head and says this will increase fragmentation... Because nothing says "fragmentation" like making app developers have to do LESS to cleanly support the OS. Then he links to an article as a claim of faith (re: the Galaxy line not getting rev 4 software), and completely leaves out the article from approximately a day later that showed Samsung was reversing their position due to customer outcry. And to top it all off, to not sound too much like a anti-google shill he throws in the sentence "Requiring support for a theme is a step in the right direction" which makes no sense at all given the nature of the rest of his argument.

He slapped together some canned flamebait responses and didn't bring anything about the actual article to this thread (or anything new at all for that matter) so yes he earned those downmods.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (5, Insightful)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587938)

> He's a subscriber, so it's not surprising he has first post. Is anything even remotely critical of Android on Slashdot these days automatically considered an Apple or MS shill?

No, not at all. For instance, I have several large beefs with Google, and I'm not happy with either MS or Apple for several reasons I'd be happy to bore you with at a later time. As geeks we have to use *some* devices to get our work done; the difference is, non-fanbois tend to judge devices on a case by case basis rather than buying entirely on logo and calling it good.

What made the thread originator (since vanished, for some reason) an Apple shill is how he went on and on for paragraphs about how wonderful Apple's philosophy is yadda yadda. People who have any interest at all in the original topic are unlikely to be interested in how Apple is so much better. It's something that's written for the benefit of the writer rather than the reader.

And just incidentally to the original poster if he's still listening, if Samsung won't play nice on Android versions, there's a simple solution: Don't buy Samsung. That's the thing about Android. When the vendor screws up, you don't have to go through the mental gymnastics to try to convince yourself that the vendor is correct and that's the way it's supposed to work and you're a better person for missing that feature. You just buy from a different vendor. Apple fanbois don't have any concept of that, and this causes a cognitive disconnect when they try to talk to the rest of us.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587086)

You would think so. But it also seems that bonch has shit like this typed up, just waiting to copy and paste into any Android article that shows up on slashdot. A pretty good collection of pre-made posts that he modifies just a little to accommodate the article, apparently.

The article was posted at 1:03PM and he posted that at 1:03PM. The length of the post and the fact that he quotes the article seems highly unlikely that he actually had time to read the article entirely, type all of this up on the fly, and put it up. But what's new? It's bonch.

(AC because this is off topic and I'd rather not have it show up for everyone set to only see posts rated at 2 or higher, unless people with mod points are stupid enough to mod this up anyway)

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587182)

RSS feeds with alerts + stock paragraphs = cheep advertising to geeks.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587190)

You would think so. But it also seems that bonch has shit like this typed up, just waiting to copy and paste into any Android article that shows up on slashdot. A pretty good collection of pre-made posts that he modifies just a little to accommodate the article, apparently.

The article was posted at 1:03PM and he posted that at 1:03PM. The length of the post and the fact that he quotes the article seems highly unlikely that he actually had time to read the article entirely, type all of this up on the fly, and put it up. But what's new? It's botch.

The asterisk beside his nick means he's a subscriber, and subscribers see published submissions like half an hour before everyone else. It's one of the advantages of being a subscriber. If you watch closely, you'll often see that the same people get first posts quite regularly, and they're all subscribers.

(AC because this is off topic and I'd rather not have it show up for everyone set to only see posts rated at 2 or higher, unless people with mod points are stupid enough to mod this up anyway)

You're posting as AC because you are NicknameOne [slashdot.org] , some guy who has a beef with Bonch, at least according to the anonymous replies to your posts. Slashdot drama, blech.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587282)

You're posting as AC because you are NicknameOne [slashdot.org] , some guy who has a beef with Bonch, at least according to the anonymous replies to your posts. Slashdot drama, blech.

Haha. You know, pinning an AC as a user is harder than you think, apparently. Want to try again?

I have a beef with any user who posts the same shit on multiple articles that doesn't mean what he's trying to say it means. That is something that is unfortunately very rampant around slashdot. bonch happens to be one of them that I've noticed doing it particularly a lot.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587420)

What do you mean "the same shit on multiple articles"? Is the OP copy and pasted from another discussion? Link?

If you're not NicknameOne, then you're Galestar.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587624)

What do you mean "the same shit on multiple articles"? Is the OP copy and pasted from another discussion? Link?

If you're not NicknameOne, then you're Galestar.

Wrong again.

Look at just about any Android article and the same things pop up to make the same argument. It's typically updated to new articles whenever a new one comes out and updated a bit for that, then modified to fall in line more with the article they're posting under. It's all the same shit about Android being fragmented and ending up just like Linux on the desktop, which has yet to be shown what-so-ever (there is some fragmentation issues, so that has some validity, but most people making points like bonch is making blow it way out of proportion). The line of Android phones not being used as smartphones is pretty generic as well, even though the article linked for this one really doesn't mean that at all. In fact, I don't really surf the web much on my Android phone. It's perfectly fine to do so, but that's just a little side thing for when I'm bored. I would venture to say there's a number of Android users who use their smartphone like smartphones have always been used--email and apps to manage time, etc. as opposed to surfing the internet with them.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587200)

... you must be new here...

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587970)

> You would think so. But it also seems that bonch has shit like this typed up, just waiting to copy and paste into any Android article that shows up on slashdot. A pretty good collection of pre-made posts that he modifies just a little to accommodate the article, apparently.

...the Slashdot equivalent of email forwards... The sad thing is, he probably doesn't even get paid for it.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (2)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587188)

Are there still MS shills? I thought they all had to get real jobs.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1, Offtopic)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587266)

There's always at least one "squad" of 4-8 MS shills operating on Slashdot.

Apple doesn't need shills, they have fanboys :-P

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1, Offtopic)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587332)

> There's always at least one "squad" of 4-8 MS shills operating on Slashdot.

I've noticed a couple, but they usually get shouted down fairly quickly. My impression is that the users at large just aren't buying it anymore.

> Apple doesn't need shills, they have fanboys :-P

I noticed that... It's built into the culture. Why spend extra money astroturfing when your fans will do it for you? Apple marketing has to have the most brilliant strategists on the planet.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587570)

I have to say, this is an openly pro-Linux website and has supported Google for many years, so posts about shills are admittedly pretty ironic.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587810)

I have to say, this is an openly pro-Linux website and has supported Google for many years, so posts about shills are admittedly pretty ironic.

You have to admit that all the best flamewars occur when the MS shills, the Apple fanbois and the Linux nerds actually engage on a topic.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38588092)

Sorry, I had to chuckle at that. Rule 34: "openly pro-Linux" sounds like an invitation to group sex. Or would, were we talking about any other group than computer nerds...

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587496)

There's always at least one "squad" of 4-8 MS shills operating on Slashdot.

Yes, what an open-minded, neutral place Slashdot would be if not for 4-8 MS shills.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38588050)

> Yes, what an open-minded, neutral place Slashdot would be if not for 4-8 MS shills.

It would definitely be less entertaining.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38588132)

IT seems the first reply to it is reserved for a Android fanboi that is blind to reality.

He speaks truth, you chooseto ignore it, much like the Morons that watch Fox news.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (4, Insightful)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587168)

The problem is that the carrier's business model is to sell you a new phone every six months.

I don't think carriers and handset makers are actually that clever. I just dont' think they consider software updates at all relevant. Given even in the days of yore, with WinMo and PalmOS, OS updates were largely nonexistant. Want Winmo6 from Winmo5? Buy a Winmo 6 device!

The idea that you can have the latest and greatest OS with out custom flashing your ROM is kind of new.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587458)

Remember that Apple is the only mobile phone manufacturer that actually has a computer background. All the others come from a background of selling disposable devices.
It's really a tragedy how hard it seems to be to get the latest version on Android without buying a new device.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1)

msk (6205) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587736)

PalmOS updates were far from nonexistent, but they weren't as easy to obtain as Android updates are through the free software development paths like Cyanogenmod.

I flashed my PalmOS devices many times. Only the last one with the Handspring name had an OS in unalterable ROM.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587914)

IIRC, major OS updates for palm devices largely didn't exist. Going from Palm OS3 to 4 or 5 was impossible.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38588318)

I'd flashed both my Treo 180 and Treo 650 with updates. Mind you those were closed-source OSes, but you just entered the phone's serial into a page on the Palm website and received the update image.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (-1, Flamebait)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587234)

Yes yes we know you have a fiery hate for Google and you wuvvy-duvvy-love Apple, let's move on...

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587978)

We'll move on when you do. (hint: I'm looking at your sig)

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38588202)

I have good logical (and hopefully obvious) reasons for hating Apple and I'm not a fanboy of any company (well, maybe GoG...).

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587488)

Mod this asshole down for fucks sake!

Subsidized (4, Insightful)

Dan East (318230) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587684)

The problem is that the carrier's business model is to sell you a new phone every six months.

Why in the world would they do that? The carrier's primary goal is to get customers is to commit to the most expensive 2 year contract possible. The insane overage rates are really just to prod customers into upgrading to more expensive contracts is all. Smartphones require the most expensive contracts because they consume voice minutes, SMS texts and data more than any other type of phone. Thus carriers subsidize the phones to give customers the equipment to consume those resources. The ideal customer is one with a modern enough smartphone to require an expensive contract, who that keeps that same smartphone as long as possible.

Does your monthly rate decrease after your contract is up? Does it decrease if you buy your own phone straight out? Of course not. Yet the carrier makes even more money off of you because you're still paying a monthly rate that factors in the subsidization cost of the phone.

So to sum it up, there are only two reasons a carrier wants to put new cell phones in their customers' hands. To upgrade customers with regular or premium phones to smartphones that require a more expensive contract, and to keep the more demanding customers from switching to other carriers because they offer more cutting edge hardware.

Re:Subsidized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38588152)

Agree, my smartphone consumes more data than my old feature phone, but my SMS and phone call volume have stayed the same over time. I'm going to guess that it is that way for most people. A smartphone doesn't enable one to make more phone calls or do more SMS texting.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (5, Insightful)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587718)

With all due respect, you don't understand what you're talking about. The greater fragmentation threat revolves around custom implementations of core parts of the OS. Most specifically "ContenProviders" (the API, not media companies, although those are a problem for everyone of a different sort). This is even a problem with Google not following their own APIs but asking developers to use the MediaStore API (but that's a different discussion).

With regards to upgrades, certain older devices had limited inter protected storage for the OS an apps. The original Samsung Galaxy S is one of these. Right after that phone came out more and more devices were implementing larger internal storage. This particular problem with upgrades, is an unfortunate one-time-only growing pain. That's not to say those devices cannot receive security updates, just that they cannot fit the entire ICS image + apps + a skin on the protected storage.

You can sit back and play monday-morning-quarterback, but the truth is the internal storage+SD had some nice advantages for the user, but ultimately it was decided (rightly so) that there needs to be more room for apps and the OS.

Finally, the point of this article, which has little to do with upgrades, is that app makers now have some more reliable and consistent APIs for UI widget appearance. There is nothing bad about this. Sure it's a small step, but it's a step in the right direction. It even allows devs to maintain a style inline with whatever skin the user is currently using, or use the more stock looking one. Finally, when you consider many apps use their own look and feel above and beyond any OS look and feel, this is probably not a huge deal regardless.

Your tirade again fragmentation, especially being so uninformed on the issue, just seems irrational. iOS is great, Android is great. They have different strengths and weaknesses.

Flurry is a joke to Android devs. They specifically cater to iOS devs, and were embroiled in a privacy scandal in early 2010 on Android. Further, Google Analytics provides a similar service for free, and one that is already hugely popular among web developers. Flurry puts out that same press release every year to garner press about themselves. This is absolutely the worst kind of skewed statistic. "Iphone analytics company that was previous burned by bad behavior on Android, says more of its customers are iphone devs than in the past" It was sad to see so many media companies pick up the PR release.

With regards to who does the most web surfing, you would need a statistic that accounts for the fact that many Android phones used to report the UA string as "mobile safari" and that many Android users use a variety of browsers: Firefox, Opera, Dolphin, xScope, and more. I'd look to admob or comScore as at least decent approximations. Certainly

There are some very valid fragmentation and bloatware arguments to be made against Android, but none of what you brought up holds any water when you dig a little deeper.

Full disclosure: I'm and Android dev myself, as you can see in my sig.

Bingo (4, Interesting)

jareth-0205 (525594) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587998)

*Thankyou*. I'm an Android dev too, and it constantly astonishes me that the form of "fragmentation" that most of the tech world complains about (OS version number) has nothing to do with the form of "fragmentation" that actually causes me any sort of real problem (screen aspect ratios / device bugs / differing OS implementations).

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587788)

Some of what you say makes sense, however:

1) How are you enjoying all the $S (not microsoft, the version of phone) features on a 4? OH WAIT, you can't. Calling it the "latest" version is NOT accurate. Bits and pieces may be left out.

2) You Mobile web OS usage link: How does this indicate how people use their phones? It only indicates the user's browsing habits and user agent. For example, this would NOT include Facebook as most people (on any platform) would use the native application.

Since there are miniscule developer support these days for JavaME applications, most people MUST use their browser. Add this to the fact that JavaME phones far outnumber all smartphone platform combined, it's no wonder why there's a vastly larger "percentage" compared to Android.)

Additionally, a lot of Android browsers are defaulted (or can be changed to) and iP* user agent (which a lot of people do since most websites don't look for an Android UA and provide a mobile-optimized version), artificially decreasing Android usage statistics (and increasing the other).

There have also been studies showing that 70%+ of all smartphone platforms are actually used mainly for games / entertainment, and not browsing. Even if the statistics were accurate, who cares about "web use" when people are playing games, watching Netflix (native app, not web), or using native applications?

3) Fragmentation? Even when Android 3.0 came out, most companies stuck with something closely resembling the Holo theme anyway. Sure, Samsung decided to make the Home icon look a little more "homey" and less "futuristic", but nobody really cared.

4) Tell me, what's the difference between a 3G and a 4$ models of the phone compared when they originally came out? Nothing. There's almost no difference in UI. There's almost no difference in functionality improvements in the base OS. Oh, I'm sorry, did they forget copy and paste and finally add it in? Or finally add cloud syncing your contacts and possibly other content?

Compared to the difference between Android 1.5 to 4.0: a whole new JIT engine. Facial recognition features. A whole new interface that adds image previews to the recent apps list. Live wallpaper. NFC library. etc, etc.

Some devices have partitioned their internal memory badly (Galaxy S, I'm looking at you) preventing an upgrade or just simply don't have enough internal memory (most 1.5+ year HTCs, etc).

It's one of the reasons why Google dropped the SD card slot out of the nexus lines.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (2, Informative)

nahdude812 (88157) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587838)

As I've observed in other comments [slashdot.org] , the iPhone 3GS running the latest version of iOS by version number isn't that impressive since the major new functionality is still locked out of the device (typically for sales reasons rather than hardware reasons such as with Siri). It's cool that you get to see a number which is the same number on newer phones, but it only grants you a carefully selected subset of the most basic of the new functionality, so it's not really the same version after all.

In contrast, on Android, if your device is at certain version, it has access to all the features from that OS version that your hardware can support (eg, you can't depend on a gyroscope if none is present).

Your chart should be updated to indicate how far back all the new major features are supported. Apple's roadmap will suddenly terminate full-feature-support for each phone line on the first SDK release after a newer phone is launched.

In the mean time, although you can still target back to iPhone 3 OS versions in XCode (letting you include people with a device that is more than two years old but excluding you from using any newer features), you can still download Android SDK's back to API level 3 (the first public api level). So you can target every commercial Android phone at once as long as you either stick within the feature set from those original devices or you're clever enough to write code that knows how to fail gracefully when a more modern feature is unavailable. For example, we do this with one of our apps which has an NFC option (first available I think in API level 10, Android 2.3.3), but has plenty of non-NFC functionality as well - targeting API level 7 (Android 2.1) and conditionally using more recent APIs if the phone's OS supports them.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38588114)

Other than Siri, what does iOS 5 on a 3GS not support?

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1)

yodleboy (982200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38588438)

absolutely correct. Saying they are the same is wishful thinking and Apple have no intention of giving you new features indefinitely. I bought a Gen1 iPhone and loved it as there was very little real competition at the time (i wasted a lot of money trying the ones i could get). As always, I was not a big fan of the closed environment, but I still enjoyed my phone.

Fast forward to the iOS 4 release. What? I can't get iOS4 on my phone (w/out a jailbreak anyway). What's that Steve? It's because my phone is underpowered? Wait a sec, except for 3G and a GPS chip my phone has the same internals as the iPhone 3G iPhone Spec Comparison [wikipedia.org] , which is eligible for the upgrade. OOOOOHHH what you really mean is you want me to get a new phone! Okie Dokie! Now I have a Galaxy S and my wife has moved from iPhone to Android as well. You know if they'd just come out and said "we want more money, time to buy a new phone people" I might have gotten a 3GS. My wife had one and liked it ok, but by burying it in a lot of "for your own good user experience" BS, it just bugged the crap out of me.

Anyway, I reserve the right to screw up my own user experience in whatever way I want and Android at least gives me the choice. : )

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587906)

Maybe Google should demand that phone makers have their devices be able to keep up with the latest version of Android for at least two years (the length of a contract.) No, a Motorola CLIQ running ICS may not be fast, but it would allow someone to keep up with the latest apps, not to mention security fixes, such as on disk encryption, SD card encryption, etc.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587982)

This doesn't appear to address fragmentation at all.

Customisability isn't something that needs to be "addressed". It's only a problem when the customisations break applications, and this change is designed to help avoid that.

Re:This still doesn't address fragmentation (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#38588274)

Perhaps the Android users are playing Angry Birds for free instead of paying their carrier to go on the intertubes

Err (1, Insightful)

recoiledsnake (879048) | more than 2 years ago | (#38586940)

Will the users be allowed to change the theme?

They're still restricting the OEMs and carriers ability to customize the theme's look by using the Android Market stick.

That's still good if it makes the UI consistent though, compared to iOS and WP7, the Android UI is all over the place.

Re:Err (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587002)

Will the users be allowed to change the theme?

"This is not banning custom themes; instead it is merely giving developers a consistent theme that is guaranteed to be installed if they want a consistent look across all devices."

I think you missed that sentence.

Re:Err (1)

k_187 (61692) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587388)

The problem is that having the Holo theme installed is no guarantee that it will be used on the phone.

Re:Err (2)

sootman (158191) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587638)

Yeah, but will the users be allowed to change the theme?

Re:Err (5, Interesting)

DrGamez (1134281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587008)

It's depressing when my mom asks me to do something on her new Verizon Android phone and I stare at it in confusion for more than 5 minutes. I've owned a Nexus One since they were sold though so I guess it's my fault in thinking the phone companies wouldn't slather their layer of ugly paint on everything.

Android is nice because it allows the companies selling/branding the phones to do it their way.

Unfortunately they are better at stealing money then they are designing UIs.

Re:Err (3, Interesting)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587254)

Think of it this way - if they didn't use Android, there is a very good chance they would still have a horrible UI. But it would then be a phone with a horrible UI and no vast library of Apps. That doesn't make what they are doing good. But it's at least a silver lining.

Re:Err (4, Funny)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587288)

It's depressing when my mom asks me to do something on her new Verizon Android phone and I stare at it in confusion for more than 5 minutes.

That is quite common with Tier I family tech support. Suggest your mom escalate incident to Tier II.

Re:Err (1)

robbyb20 (651479) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587744)

hilarious...but this is the problem with BYOD type stuff(and Android fragmentation). I work at a company that allows people to buy their own phones and bring them in and get email set up on them. I cant tell you how many different ways there are to get to the same settings on an android phone. Its in stark contrast to the way iOS devices work since they are all the same. Like it or not, this is how it is with android phones.

Re:Err (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38588010)

Using the same devices from the same manufacturer will give you basic UI consistency. If you do not use the same company's products as the rest of your family, then that's your collective choices.

For example, if you buy a Samsung BADA phone, you'll be right at home compared to a Samsung Android phone.

Re:Err (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587020)

I know it's a lot to ask of a first post to actually read past the title of the article. So, right beneath the first quote is the answer to your question:

This is not banning custom themes;

Re:Err (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587030)

They're simply mandating support for a default UI, which isn't as a good as an official standard, but it may act as a de facto standard, which is at least a step in the right direction for Android.

Re:Err (-1, Flamebait)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587136)

If asking a stupid question that's answered within the article isn't a reason to mod-down a post then what is? C'mon mods, do your thing!

Re:Err (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587142)

They're still restricting the OEMs and carriers ability to customize the theme's look by using the Android Market stick.

No, they aren't. Carriers and OEMs can still use different themes -- even provide them as the default theme. TFA (and this is even in TFS) explicitly notes that all Google is doing is requiring that the Holo theme be available on all Android 4.0+ devices with access to the Market.

They aren't requiring it to be the only option available, or even the default theme. And, in fact, TFA (and TFS) also highlights that Google is also improving the facilities that exist to allow apps to fit in with whatever theme is in use.

That's still good if it makes the UI consistent though, compared to iOS and WP7, the Android UI is all over the place.

And it still will be with this change, and that's, I suspect, intended. Google wants to guarantee that there is a common choice available to users, but still wants to wide range of freedom in how Android is used (by users, carriers, and OEMs), rather than tight monolithic control.

Re:Err (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587278)

Users can still change the theme, it says so right in TFS, it's just setting a standard default theme like most OSes had from day one.

Re:Err (1)

toddmbloom (1625689) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587690)

One would hope since "Holo", like most Google designs, is hideous.

What's this? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38586958)

I'm starting to see the foundations of a wall. The first steps down a slippery slope. Welcome to the real world, Android fanbois.

Re:What's this? (2)

drosboro (1046516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587010)

Really? Having a consistently-available UI is "a wall"? Or even the "foundations of a wall"? I think we've forgotten what a "walled garden" actually means.

Re:What's this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38588406)

It's okay, I think the people who insist on using the term "walled garden" have forgotten exactly how easy it is to get mauled by a rabid bear in the "wilderness," too, so I'd say that makes it roughly even.

Re:What's this? (5, Informative)

wanderfowl (2534492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587022)

There's no wall here at all, just a foundation. You can still do whatever the heck you want with your device as a consumer, and this is just saying that manufacturer's shouldn't completely break the underlying UI structure, even if they want to supplant it with some theme of their own. "Do what you want with the field, just don't salt the Earth so nobody else can use it".

Re:What's this? (1)

wanderfowl (2534492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587130)

There's no wall here at all, just a foundation. You can still do whatever the heck you want with your device as a consumer, and this is just saying that manufacturer's shouldn't completely break the underlying UI structure, even if they want to supplant it with some theme of their own. "Do what you want with the field, just don't salt the Earth so nobody else can use it".

"manufacturer's themes", that is. Not a plural apostrophe.

Re:What's this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587204)

Without exception, every single time anyone has used the word "fanboy" (regardless of how you spell it), they have really meant "someone who likes something more than I do".

Re:What's this? (2)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587350)

No, it generally means "someone who likes something different from the thing I really really like in the same domain". See sports teams, etc. Generally its a result of it being a zero sum game (Only one team can win the super bowl/world cup/whatever), whether that means there's an actual limitation or a perceived one (I only get one phone so my choice is the best, or "My mom said I can only get one console, so that one that I have is obviously the best"). Those of use who recognize that one can often have more than one flavor of ice cream/console/operating system/mobile device/programming language/text editor are perplexed by the behavior, but understanding the base motivation helps a bit.

(Except of course for people who like the Dodgers. They objectively suck, and their fans are doo doo heads. That's a fact.)

Re:What's this? (3, Informative)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587636)

No, I think it's generally applied to people who are incapable of seeing the flaws in the things they like, and cannot have a rational discussion about them. It's people who somehow have an emotional investment in their chosen product being "the best" and anyone who chooses differently, for any reason, is "wrong".

It's perfectly fine to have a favorite, it's not perfectly fine to be blinded to alternatives.

--Jeremy

Re:What's this? (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587870)

Except that this is patently untrue in at least one instance that I can think of: Apple products. The most vicious Apple-bashing posts I've ever read were from Apple fanboys who got their feelings hurt when they found out some bug was unfixable or a key feature was changed to some other behaviour. They (perhaps I should say "we"? But I don't see myself as a fanboy, despite having a lot of apple gear) are also quite capable of having reasonable discussions about the failings of their favourite products when not being attacked by "outsiders" and fandroids. You're right that it's the emotional investment that makes the fanboy wars so nasty, but don't make the mistake of believing that these people all are incapable of seeing the flaws in the products they've invested their emotions in. It's less about "blind faith" and more about "let's keep our dirty laundry in the family."

Re:What's this? (1)

governorx (524152) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587954)

Except it is true and the drivel you posted shows that you don't understand the difference between a fanboy and an upset customer.

Re:What's this? (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 2 years ago | (#38588018)

Except you didn't read my post properly. What I was saying is that the fanboy often is the upset customer. The person who comes to slashdot to viciously defend his favourite phone is often the one screeching loudest about some flaw in the phone or its os on the support forums. Just because he doesn't acknowledge his phone's flaws here doesn't mean he doesn't acknowledge those flaw to himself (and subsequently rage about those flaws in a friendlier forum).

Shit, I just been trolled, haven't I? Ah well.

Re:What's this? (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 2 years ago | (#38588130)

I think you're in the wrong - we're trying to quantify "fan" and "fanboy/fanboi", which is a much much more radical, rabid version of a fan. The type of behavior you'll see when presented with some evidence of a flaw or weakness in comparison to a competitor is flat out denial or applying spin (aka resolving cognitive dissonance). Given the emotional ties, there's no way they can then just go and admit in another forum that "ok yeah, that sucks and product X is better". They truly believe what they're saying. Otherwise that's just trolling or flat out lying, and I don't think those are quite the same behaviors.

Re:What's this? (1)

m.ducharme (1082683) | more than 2 years ago | (#38588176)

But it's the emotional ties that make them so vitriolic about the flaws they do find in their favourite product. Ah well, it would take some actual research to sort out who's right, and I for one won't be doing that.

bad subject line (3, Informative)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587276)

Holo theme is not mandatory, only support for the Holo theme for devices that use the Android marketplace. So applications can be written that use the Holo theme with some confidence that they will display correctly. This is a good thing. It gives developers a minimum standard look and feel that is required to work.

Confused fogey here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587716)

I thought the whole point of themed GUI toolkits was to separate the policy and details of presentation graphics from the applications. Does all of this suggest that the application actually requests or controls the theme, rather than the user? The last thing I want, as a user, is some application overriding my UI preferences such as theme and displaying differently!

To me, the proper market restriction for quality would be that all applications must be usable with a set of test/regression themes which exercise the extremes and corner cases of themes, such as differing contrast, brightness, and saturation levels in the palettes. This would include test themes geared towards color-blind users, etc. It is the app which should be forced to be theme-neutral, not the phone or user which should be forced to have a fixed theme!

Re:Confused fogey here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38588252)

Does all of this suggest that the application actually requests or controls the theme, rather than the user?

That's how it's done on iOS and Android. An app controls its own look-and-feel. On stock Android, users don't get to make a theme preference. Some custom ROMs allow for theming; I'm assuming that they change the Holo theme (and other system themes) itself, so any apps using it will also change in appearance (and apps not using it won't), but I'm not positive about that.

Re:bad subject line (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38588116)

Most GUIs on PC work perfectly accross different look and feels why is it such a big problem on mobile?

Halo theme (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587484)

I thought it read "Halo theme".

The Problem... (4, Interesting)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38587494)

...for me has always been that any OS or device I've used has been riddled with bone headed design decision. Things that break easily with normal use. UI elements that are the wrong size or in the wrong place. Poor choice of fonts. In all honesty, you'd have to be pretty simple minded to love every product that comes out of a single company or every bit of software that comes from the same developer. I mean look at the Ford vs. Chevy guys. That's the ultimate outcome of customer loyalty: a lack of thinking. Given that most of us here are rugged individualists, it's a natural assumption that we're going to want to do things our own way. Sometimes that will be just giving in an saying, "Oh the heck with it, Apple makes a pretty decent device and I don't have the time to fiddle". Other times it will be, "Good lord Microsoft can't code a decent UI to find their way out of a virtual box of nothing. Screw this I'm going back to (insert better OS choice for your needs here)". Show me a person who says, "Everything that (insert company or developer) created has always been perfect and I've had no need to change a thing" and I'll show you a liar. Config files, preferences, options, themes, control panels all exist for a reason: nothing is perfect.

Wrong Holo... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587622)

And here I thought that Spice & Wolf's Holo was going to be seen on every Android device. Certainly would've made my day brighter to see her smiling face everywhere. :(

UI fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38587682)

Colors are not the problem. The problem is apps designed for phones running on tablets, or apps made for tablets running on phones, or basically any app designed for one platform running on a different one with a different UI. Touch-screens can be single or multi-touch, most apps don't adjust to that. There are even apps that were designed to be used with a multi-button mouse that are being run on touch screens, where the buttons are too small, scrollbars are irrelevant, etc., etc.

UI fail is getting more and more common since developers are assuming what sort of hardware will be used, often incorrectly.

I don't farking care about the colors, but when you want to scroll by swiping, and the app only uses scrollbars, UI fail. The buttons are too small because you're on a tablet but the app thinks it's on a phone, UI fail.

On the desktop, there are "accelerators", which are keyboard shortcuts. Nice, until you don't have a keyboard. I can't even get the mouseover text on xkcd because I don't have a mouse.

that look is not Holo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38588220)

it's Maemo!

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?