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Print 34 comment(s) - last by Tony Swash.. on Oct 27 at 9:54 AM


  (Source: Geardiary.com)
Developers cite open-source as major boon, bane

Yesterday, Google officially passed the 100,000 mark for applications available on its Android Market, Electronista reports. The feat is quite impressive, considering it's been only two years since the now dominant OS launched, and only six months since hitting the 50,000 app mark. That means that the Android market has doubled its offerings in the last half-year alone.

Even The New York Times has taken notice of Android's tremendous growth, highlighting the market in a tech piece that appeared in yesterday's print version. While NYT profiles how the market has grown quickly, the piece also cites some of the issues that have plagued the platform, which is still behind Apple's in total apps available (250,000 in the Apple App Store). For one, the Android market is not quite as lucrative as the app store, because users are required to pay for apps through Google Checkout rather than a more common payment system, like PayPal, or by being billed through their carrier. This makes developers more apt to support their applications with advertisements, while the apps themselves are free.

It’s not the best impulse-buy environment,” developer Matt Hall told NYT. “It’s hard to think of an application that you would sit there and put your credit card information in for.”

Andy Rubin, Google's vice president of engineering, said that despite it being "version 1.0 of the ecosystem," there are currently more than 270,000 developers writing software for Android.

But NYT also points out -- as many commenters here on DailyTech and elsewhere have already done -- that Android's fragmentation, while helping the platform spring to smartphone ubiquity thanks to its open-source nature, is also its greatest weakness. Unlike Windows Phone 7, which requires minimal hardware specs and demands a degree of uniformity across carriers, Android OS is available on dozens of devices that range in size, form factor, speed, memory, resolution, etc. Then there are the third-party skins and bloatware (can someone say "MOTOBLUR"?) that are overlaid on top of the proprietary OS, designed to differentiate devices from one another, but which only add to the degree of fragmentation. Not to mention that only a third of Android devices are running the latest version, 2.2 "Froyo," while the rest are stuck in Android purgatory, waiting to be upgraded to a snappier version, or left to rot in Eclair hell. 

It’s so fragmented,” another developer told NYT. “It’s a lot more challenging than developing for one device, like the iPhone.”

In fact, developers must take extra steps to make sure that an app that works on, say, a Motorola Droid X, works just as well on a Samsung Galaxy S variant. This leads to more work and longer development times.

But there is also the issue of freedom. Developers aren't at the mercy of a single entity telling them what they can and can't include. While Apple has total control of what apps it deems worthy for its store, the Android Market isn't directly regulated by Google. A developer may work for months on an app, only to be denied by Apple. With Android, there is a quicker satisfaction because an app can be launched immediately. Its success hinges on how well it is embraced by the users, not whether some tester at a multi-national corporation thinks it's worthwhile.

Google is reportedly working on a way for developers to charge for transactions within an app. For example: In the future, you may be able to download a side-scrolling adventure game, but you'll have to pay an additional dollar to unlock the last three levels. This will give developers the chance to make a heftier profit, which many aren't making much of in the current market thanks to the expectation users have of everything Google offering being free (though the tech company itself is raking in the dough). We should see soon whether the additional purchase-within-an-app functionality is part of Android 3.0 "Gingerbread," or if it's slated for a later iteration of the OS.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is making a major push to try to recapture a piece of the smartphone market with its new OS, and Apple's iPhone may get a boost when -- and if -- it becomes available through Verizon. But Rubin, who is also Android's main architect, remains positive: “The promise of Android goes beyond one device,” he told NYT. “We’re going to see products running Android that no one has ever envisioned possible.”



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Good Ones
By Mitch101 on 10/26/2010 9:06:45 AM , Rating: 2
100,000 sounds great but how many of them are they able to thoroughly examine to ensure they dont contain malware? What is googles app review process?




RE: Good Ones
By bug77 on 10/26/2010 9:14:46 AM , Rating: 2
I thought a permission-based system was in place, so apps can only do stuff you authorize them to do. You need more protection than that?


RE: Good Ones
By Mitch101 on 10/26/2010 9:24:12 AM , Rating: 2
Ive had the popups for access to other areas of the device and denied a few of them and I guess its OK for security. What I would like to see is a certified safe by Google logo or something to that degree from them. My wife doesn't understand the technology enough to know if she should allow an app access to an area or not.


RE: Good Ones
By bug77 on 10/26/2010 9:44:50 AM , Rating: 4
Well, if you want Apple, go buy Ap-ple. :-D

I see your point, but reviewing apps is costly, don't expect Google to do it anytime soon. No one reviews apps for Windows either, yet that doesn't seem to deter many users.


RE: Good Ones
By Mitch101 on 10/26/2010 10:20:35 AM , Rating: 1
Apple devices just aren't secure. Might as well tape my house key and address to it and leave it on a park bench.

It could be a paid service for certification. Many other areas have paid services like this that certify a product or service is secure and free from malware.

Might have to go blackberry or see Mobile 7 for business.


RE: Good Ones
By bug77 on 10/26/2010 11:13:37 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
It could be a paid service for certification.


That's another area Google still has to work on: getting cash to flow through the ecosystem. I mean, they still haven't figured out how to enable users to get paid for their apps. You want to publish a paid app? You have to live in one of the about 30 selected countries. You want to buy an app? Again, you have to live in a selected area.

On the flipside, whatever we see now is just a fraction of what the ecosystem will be, once it is truly global. And we get to enhance our junk filtering skills in the meantime. See? It's a win-win situation!


RE: Good Ones
By Tony Swash on 10/26/2010 1:04:43 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Apple devices just aren't secure.


I guess that must be why there are so many viruses, trojans and malware on Apple devices and computers compared to other platforms ;)


RE: Good Ones
By acer905 on 10/26/2010 1:27:34 PM , Rating: 2
Who needs to spend time writing a piece of malware when any simple hack gets you through the security


RE: Good Ones
By Tony Swash on 10/26/10, Rating: 0
RE: Good Ones
By Gio6518 on 10/26/2010 2:00:08 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Odd though, isn't it, how there are no actual real world exploits ;)


there you go once again with the B.S. Propaganda ...evrytime you jailbreak an iPhone, iPod, or iPad is through an exploit. Obviously crApple isn't talented enough to keep their closed system shut...LOL


RE: Good Ones
By Tony Swash on 10/26/2010 2:44:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
evrytime you jailbreak an iPhone, iPod, or iPad is through an exploit.


So what you are saying is that there no malicious exploits - that all the exploits are voluntary and benign. So why the fuss?


RE: Good Ones
By Alexstarfire on 10/26/2010 6:42:31 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think a bootrom exploit is harmless. In fact, didn't the people who made the latest jailbreak say that this exploit could be used for malicious purposes? Don't know what they could use the exploit to obtain which is why it might not be used yet. Though, taking about phones in general is pretty pointless. There hasn't been any real malware on any phone yet AFAIK.


RE: Good Ones
By Tony Swash on 10/27/2010 6:08:25 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I don't think a bootrom exploit is harmless. In fact, didn't the people who made the latest jailbreak say that this exploit could be used for malicious purposes? Don't know what they could use the exploit to obtain which is why it might not be used yet. Though, taking about phones in general is pretty pointless. There hasn't been any real malware on any phone yet AFAIK.


I said no malicious exploit existed or had happened. You don't deny that - how can you deny it - it's true.

The we wander into the hypothetical "could be used for malicious purposes".

Could be.

But hasn't.

Lots of things could be true but are not.

I prefer the real world to an imaginary one.

Let's stick to the facts.

No actual exploits


RE: Good Ones
By Alexstarfire on 10/27/2010 6:53:17 AM , Rating: 2
I'll still take the phone with better security, and IMO better overall, even if no malware exists for any phone.


RE: Good Ones
By themaster08 on 10/26/2010 4:02:30 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Good Ones
By Tony Swash on 10/26/2010 5:32:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
http://www.dailytech.com/Apple+iOS+41+Security+Hol...

Mmhmm


Still - no actual exploits in the real world - how very odd ;)

What could be the explanation?


RE: Good Ones
By Alexstarfire on 10/26/2010 6:44:25 PM , Rating: 2
We already went over this. Just because it's a new day doesn't mean the reasons have changed Tony.


RE: Good Ones
By Tony Swash on 10/27/2010 9:54:13 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
We already went over this. Just because it's a new day doesn't mean the reasons have changed Tony.


So no exploits and no response.

As usual all this guff about Apple security problems is just an attempt to whip up a bit of FUD about Apple's products.

Tired stuff.

At least with the iPhone nobody comes out with the 'security through obscurity" drivel.


RE: Good Ones
By Motley on 10/26/2010 12:18:43 PM , Rating: 2
Plenty of people review apps for Windows, but nice try.


99,950 of them are trash
By spathotan on 10/26/2010 9:12:49 AM , Rating: 1
I use a Droid incredible and I'm a huge android fan, but the marketplace is full of trash. 99% of the apps are useless and/or copy-cats of others. There are probably 60,000 Damn jigsaw puzzles that took some kid 15 minutes to make after he changes some images and renamed it. The Apple app store has the same problem, but at least Apple actually screens for useless trash apps.




RE: 99,950 of them are trash
By quiksilvr on 10/26/2010 9:23:15 AM , Rating: 4
What do you care? Oh no, I see "trash" apps. Just peek at the reviews and see if you want the app. There's a ton of trash software in the PC world but that doesn't mean you have to go look for it.


RE: 99,950 of them are trash
By spathotan on 10/26/10, Rating: -1
RE: 99,950 of them are trash
By pequin06 on 10/26/2010 9:23:18 AM , Rating: 2
One thing I don't understand is how these crap apps somehow continue to stay on top while other quality apps are buried.


RE: 99,950 of them are trash
By spathotan on 10/26/2010 9:41:32 AM , Rating: 2
Good point. Often I have to dig around until I find quality.


RE: 99,950 of them are trash
By GaryJohnson on 10/26/2010 9:53:48 AM , Rating: 1
For a company whose main thing is searching, Google has done a shitty job on the android market search. All the apps I downloaded have come from seeing a review online and then searching for the exact app name in the market. I've never found anything by keyword searching the market. We need to be able to sort market search results by # of total downloads, # of downloads in the last week, user rating, price, etc.


RE: 99,950 of them are trash
By Shadowmaster625 on 10/26/2010 10:14:38 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe someone will write an app that does that.


RE: 99,950 of them are trash
By Paj on 10/26/2010 10:16:33 AM , Rating: 3
Clearly youre not very good at searching either. Thats what appbrain is for.


RE: 99,950 of them are trash
By GaryJohnson on 10/26/2010 2:56:54 PM , Rating: 2
As far as I can tell, Appbrain won't let you sort a keyword search either. Am I missing something?


RE: 99,950 of them are trash
By The Raven on 10/26/2010 1:02:24 PM , Rating: 2
From what I know that may be true. That is why it is good that Google won't have a monopolistic stranglehold on their app store. Maybe when Amazon starts publishing/selling apps they will do the marketplace better.

But for certain, something much better than the APPle store will come of this sooner than we think.


RE: 99,950 of them are trash
By Chaser on 10/26/2010 1:29:52 PM , Rating: 2
Outside of a snide comment yes check out App Brain. It may address some of those issues for you.


3.0 Gingerbread
By SpinCircle on 10/26/2010 9:07:28 AM , Rating: 2
I thought 2.3 was going to be Gingerbread and 3.0 would be Honeycomb.




RE: 3.0 Gingerbread
By theapparition on 10/26/2010 2:21:25 PM , Rating: 2
Google hasn't stated.

Gingerbread will be either 2.5 or 3.0.
Similarly, Honeycomb is rumored to be either 3.0 or 4.0.

However, most discussion boards refer to Gingerbread as 3.0. From the tech previews I've seen, Gingerbread does seem like a minor update and it wouldn't surprise me if it is indeed 2.5.


Goodbye
By Tom Kamkari on 10/26/2010 6:07:33 PM , Rating: 2
Let us sing apple a song:

LaLa la la, lala la la, hey hey, goodbye

lol




sorry
By sprockkets on 10/26/2010 6:52:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But NYT also points out -- as many commenters here on DailyTech and elsewhere have already done -- that Android's fragmentation, while helping the platform spring to smartphone ubiquity thanks to its open-source nature, is also its greatest weakness. Unlike Windows Phone 7, which requires minimal hardware specs and demands a degree of uniformity across carriers, Android OS is available on dozens of devices that range in size, form factor, speed, memory, resolution, etc. Then there are the third-party skins and bloatware (can someone say "MOTOBLUR"?) that are overlaid on top of the proprietary OS, designed to differentiate devices from one another, but which only add to the degree of fragmentation. Not to mention that only a third of Android devices are running the latest version, 2.2 "Froyo," while the rest are stuck in Android purgatory, waiting to be upgraded to a snappier version, or left to rot in Eclair hell. “It’s so fragmented,” another developer told NYT. “It’s a lot more challenging than developing for one device, like the iPhone.”


The "fragmentation" myth is an Apple BS lie. Apple has 3 different resolutions, two different ARM architectures with each being incompatible with each other (which is why i-pos 4 runs like crap on the 3G), different form factors and different CPU speeds and memory sizes. Win7 has no fragmentation because it is on version one, and of course just sent WinMob compatibility to hell.

Even those who have the original G1 can upgrade to Froyo if they want, because THAT'S THE REAL BEAUTY OF OPEN SOURCE.




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