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Schmidt talks Android security and fragmentation

Google's Eric Schmidt declared Monday that the Android platform is more secure than the Apple iPhone. Schmidt made the statement during a question and answer session at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo.

The question asked to Schmidt by Gartner analyst David Willis was, "If you polled many people in this audience they would say Google Android is not their principal platform [...] When you say Android, people say, wait a minute, Android is not secure."

Schmidt replied to that question stating, "Not secure? It's more secure than the iPhone."


Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt

The Google executive didn't exactly offer concrete proof to back up his claim, reportedly dancing around a straight answer and stating that Android has over 1 billion users and with that many users Android gets a lot of real-world security testing.

Schmidt also addressed another common Android complaint of fragmentation. He said, "With Android we have an agreement for vendors that you keep the Android stores compatible and that is a great breakthrough for Android."

Source: ZDNet



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I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By piroroadkill on 10/8/2013 9:50:26 AM , Rating: 5
Fragmentation is also a real and massive issue, regardless of whether they apply shims like "Google Play Services" or any such nonsense.




RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By retrospooty on 10/8/2013 9:53:27 AM , Rating: 1
Massive in what sense? To who?

Android is now selling in 80% of all smartphones. Who exactly is hurt by this "fragmentation" thing you speak of? Certainly not the platform... Maybe some users that bought a low end phone 2 years ago and are crying over no updates... Well, dont buy low end.


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By KC7SWH on 10/8/2013 9:56:38 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry but my Galaxy S isn't what I would call a low end phone and there is still no ICS update from AT&T. :(


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By Rukkian on 10/8/2013 10:11:59 AM , Rating: 3
Either you forgot the /s or trolling, or something, but a Galaxy S is absolutely the definition of "low end" unless you bought it 3 years ago, and then how can you expect to still be getting updates?

If it is working for you (would you still be using it if it wasn't?), then what is the issue?


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By tayb on 10/8/2013 10:17:49 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
unless you bought it 3 years ago, and then how can you expect to still be getting updates?


Maybe because the largest Android competitor provides updates to 4 year old phones? It's not uncommon. Actually, abandoning users is uncommon.


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By retrospooty on 10/8/2013 10:31:28 AM , Rating: 5
IOS will always have an advantage there. Apple makes 1 phone per year with 1 chipset and one resolution and one DPI. A smartphone ROM is a ton of work and Android has a ton of variables... If getting the latest upgrades for your phone is important to you can can either...

1. Get an iPhone
2. Get a Nexus
3. Get a Google edition phone (S4, HTC One, etc)
4. Use Cyanogenmod

Under no circumstances will you get a carrier/OEM based Android phone that is "oficially" updated for 3 years. It's not in the business model and never will be.


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By Flunk on 10/8/2013 12:40:21 PM , Rating: 1
It might not be in the business model now but in the future we're going to a hit a wall for meaningful smartphone improvements. 3-5 years is really not a long time to own a cell phone. Before smartphones became popular many people kept their phones for at least 5 years.


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By retrospooty on 10/8/2013 12:43:40 PM , Rating: 4
What we are seeing now is Google trying to change the model. The Nexus and Google editions get the updates and get them fast. OEM/Carrier editions rely on OEM's and carriers, and will probably always suck. So.... Take control and buy Nexus and Google editions or take matters into your own hands and custom ROM it... In other words, dont bitch about it, OWN it.


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By Tony Swash on 10/8/13, Rating: 0
RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By retrospooty on 10/8/2013 8:24:30 PM , Rating: 2
To an extent most of that is true, the only thing you are over playing is the negative impact of fragmentation. with the insane adoption rates, the platform is booming. No, booming is an understatement. But if timely updates are extremely important to you, options are there. Not just the Nexus program but the Google edition ones as well. Looks like great stuff coming from CyanogenMod to. I hope that takes off, it's really amazing stuff.


By Wazza1234 on 10/11/2013 9:59:04 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
the only thing you are over playing is the negative impact of fragmentation. with the insane adoption rates, the platform is booming


A platform which is given away for free 'booming' does not disprove that fragmentation is a problem. It simply proves that you CAN give things away for free successfully.

And it's not necessarily the operating system which is selling, either - it's the individual handsets with various capabilities, such as the large screen or SD card slot (or cheaper price).


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By MichalT on 10/8/2013 3:53:02 PM , Rating: 2
I think you just explained who gets hurt with Android fragmentation, a question you asked earlier in this thread.


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By retrospooty on 10/8/2013 8:31:14 PM , Rating: 2
Who is that? People that buy low end cheap phones and then like to play the victim card and complain when they don't get updates? Yes they should not buy Android. Wrong platform for those people. Then again, what would they buy? There really isn't a low end option on the iPhone. They just came out with the middle range. But these people are not in in that market, they buy low end phones and then complain when they don't get updates years later. There's no way to make those people happy, won't be happy with any phone.


By Wazza1234 on 10/11/2013 10:01:03 AM , Rating: 2
Why on earth do you think that only low end phones are suffering? Even flagships come out with out of date versions of Android, and none of the manufacturer managed ones get updates anywhere close to the release date.

Don't try to make out like this issue is specific to low end phones.


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By ResStellarum on 10/8/2013 11:24:33 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Maybe because the largest Android competitor provides updates to 4 year old phones? It's not uncommon. Actually, abandoning users is uncommon.

Except that in a lot of cases, those older Apple devices receive a crippled version of the update, missing many features, and often degrading performance significantly.

If an Android device gets an update, it gets the whole thing. So in that sense you could argue that iOS is more fragmented.

And of course, there's always custom ROMs built from AOSP, which are aplenty. What recourse does an Apple user have if they don't get an update, or it degrades the performance? They can't even rollback because Apple stops signing the old version. This happened recently with iOS 7.

Many people point the finger at Android and exclaim fragmentation, but so what? Nearly 50% are running the latest iteration, and that's far better than Windows. It's a non-issue as far as I can see. The only people who even mention it are those who are trying to disparage the platform in some way.


By ViewRoyal on 10/8/2013 11:52:33 AM , Rating: 2
In addition, Schmidt stated that the moon is made of green cheese. ;-))


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By Tony Swash on 10/8/2013 6:36:29 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
So in that sense you could argue that iOS is more fragmented.


Only in nonsense topsy turvy land.

The latest version Android 4.3 was released July 24, 2013, and is on just 1.5% of Android devices.

Android 4.2 was released November 13, 2012 and is on 10.6% of Android devices.

iOS 7 was on 58% of all iOS devices after one week and is now on 70% of all iOS devices.


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By inighthawki on 10/8/2013 6:53:52 PM , Rating: 2
Where did you get your statistics? (legitimately curious)


By StormyKnight on 10/9/2013 12:53:25 AM , Rating: 2
By Wazza1234 on 10/11/2013 10:02:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Except that in a lot of cases, those older Apple devices receive a crippled version of the update, missing many features, and often degrading performance significantly.


So here's your claims?

1 - That no updates is better than receiving 99% of the updates.
2 - That Android upgrades work perfectly on all older Android models
3 - That iOS users don't have a choice whether or not to upgrade?

If any of those 3 aren't true, you don't have a point, so I'm assuming you're making those absolutely illogical and clearly incorrect claims.


By quiksilvr on 10/8/2013 10:17:27 AM , Rating: 2
Realize that this isn't the fault of Google but Samsung for not updating their custom OS. If it was OEM Android on there I guarantee you it would have gotten it already.

Also, if you want it, stop waiting on these corporations to do it for you. They want you to upgrade your phone every year like tools.

My recommendation? Don't waste your time waiting on them.

http://download.cyanogenmod.org/?device=galaxysmtd...


By retrospooty on 10/8/2013 10:18:52 AM , Rating: 2
Umm, that is a 3 year old phone. Released in April 2010.


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By Monkey's Uncle on 10/8/2013 10:43:09 AM , Rating: 2
It's not an low-end phone. It is an obsolete phone. Ans samsung will provide you security updates - just not OS upgrades. Those are two absolutely different things.

Take my word on this: You do NOT want Samsung's bloated version of ICS or Jellybean running in 512M of memory. If you really want to grace the OS your Samsung Galaxy S, take a look here:

http://forum.xda-developers.com/forumdisplay.php?f...

Just keep in mind that The images available there are designed to run on a phone with more processing power and memory.


By Monkey's Uncle on 10/8/2013 10:44:24 AM , Rating: 2
damn funky autonomous typing skills...

'grace' = 'upgrade' in the above.


By retrospooty on 10/8/2013 11:25:34 AM , Rating: 2
"Take my word on this: You do NOT want Samsung's bloated version of ICS or Jellybean running in 512M of memory."

Exactly... Samsung bloat is ridiculous. That is why the Note3 had 3gb ram, 2 is more than plenty, but Sambloat sucks it all up. It's beyond ridiculous. The good side of it is Samsung uses good parts and good NVRam(at least from S3 and newer) and they run fantastically with a clean custom ROM. My old S3 absolutely flies with CM10.2. I dont use it , just collecting dust right now, but it's a decent phone.


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By nafhan on 10/8/2013 10:59:59 AM , Rating: 2
Galaxy S would be something I'd consider low end: they're going for less than $50 on ebay, and they came out over 3 years ago.

More importantly, what do you think that you are missing that an ICS update would provide?

Google's done a good job of making their OS updates "boring" by moving non-core functionality out of the OS update process. Going from OS6 to 7 to get an updated email or map client is silly even if it does make the OS updates seem more meaningful.


By Wazza1234 on 10/11/2013 10:06:13 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Galaxy S would be something I'd consider low end: they're going for less than $50 on ebay, and they came out over 3 years ago.


'Low end' is not judged right now. It's judged when you bought it. The Galaxy S was NOT low end when he bought, so he bought a top end phone expecting software updates, which haven't happened. By your definition of low end, no old phones would need updates since they are all low end when they get old.

quote:
More importantly, what do you think that you are missing that an ICS update would provide?


So are you saying that Android is stagnant and that Google has done nothing whatsoever to improve it over the past several years? See, you can't have it both ways. Either Android isn't improving, in which case their users suffer, or Android is improving, in which case the update would bring him improvements. Either way he loses out.

quote:
Google's done a good job of making their OS updates "boring" by moving non-core functionality out of the OS update process


Or, to put it more correctly, Google has removed anything of value out of Android and locked the source code down every bit as much as iOS is, so that they have a complete lock down on Android and control it to the point that nobody could usefully fork it any more.

But hey at least that tiny part of a phone experience which is technically 'Android' which continues to get smaller and smaller is open, right?


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By CharonPDX on 10/8/2013 11:10:27 AM , Rating: 2
How many people switch vendors? Yes, the highest-end power users may take a real look at switching between Samsung, Motorola, LG, Sony, and HTC; but the average user sees the interfaces as different as Android is from iOS. To the average user, it's "An LG" or "A Samsung", not "An Android device made by LG"

Fragmentation is there. And it is as much a lock-in as Apple's to the average user.


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By retrospooty on 10/8/2013 11:22:08 AM , Rating: 3
That really didn't address anything.

Fragmentation. What exactly is the issue? The same apps store and same apps work... Who is affected and how?

Like I said, Android is now selling in 80% of all smartphones. Who exactly is hurt by this "fragmentation"? Certainly not the platform...


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By msheredy on 10/8/13, Rating: -1
By retrospooty on 10/8/2013 12:18:41 PM , Rating: 5
Uhh... You know there are places other than the US right?

Global, 79.5%
http://vr-zone.com/articles/android-smartphone-shi...

And again, I know there are many phones still running older versions out there... That is well documented. People seem to make it into a bigger issue than it is. The question is what does that affect? Certainly not platform adoption, its growing like crazy.


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By rf40928 on 10/8/2013 7:20:52 PM , Rating: 2
Android is not selling 80% of all phones. Android doesn't sell phones.

And when Samsung sells a phone - it hurts Motorola, HTC, Sony, etc. None of these guys are helping each other. They are just trying to make money off the hardware because they make pretty much nothing from Android itself.

Some like HTC are looking at leaving Android. HTC lost Android sales, but had decent gains in Windows ( where it did make a profit )


By retrospooty on 10/9/2013 8:12:03 AM , Rating: 1
I said its "in" 80% of smartphones. The point being this "fragmentation" is a largely imagined issue. It's not stopping anyone from buying it.


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By TakinYourPoints on 10/9/2013 5:51:33 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Android is now selling in 80% of all smartphones.


And 80% of Android is in the low end. Samsung is the only real dominant force in Android smartphone sales, high and low, and even the flagship GS4 barely sold more than the GS3 did the prior year. High end growth has stagnated while the low end has exploded.

quote:
Who exactly is hurt by this "fragmentation" thing you speak of? Certainly not the platform... Maybe some users that bought a low end phone 2 years ago and are crying over no updates...


Most people buy Android because it is readily available and cheap.

Being cheap and working well are not interconnected by default. Those users may or may not be bothered by fragmentation and security, but either way they have no choice when price is a main factor for them. If it doesn't bother them, great, and if it does then they have to deal with it.

quote:
Like I said, Android is now selling in 80% of all smartphones. Who exactly is hurt by this "fragmentation"?


The majority of users on the platform that aren't being served well by Google and OEMs.

You confuse popularity with working well, and the two aren't always interconnected. There are loads of products out there that sell well, not because they are high quality, but because they are cheap and/or readily available.

Android is the McDonald's of mobile operating systems when we're talking about the low end: cheap, everywhere, and its customers don't expect or demand much from it.

quote:
Well, dont buy low end.


Which is a fine attitude for the minority of Android users that are on mid or high end devices. Those who are on low end, which is about 4/5 of what Samsung sells and almost all of what runs Android worldwide, still have to deal with these issues. It kind of sucks that they aren't being served better.

Demanding better service from these companies is better than berating or mocking people for having a low end phone and daring to expect updates.


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By retrospooty on 10/9/2013 8:09:12 AM , Rating: 1
I dont totally disagree. My point was that the people complaining about lack of updates are mainly the whiners that buy low end and get no updates, or buy medium range and get an update or two and complain 2 years later. High end Androids do tend to get updates, and NExux and Google editions do it right.

As for your McDonalds comment, its not the whole picture. It is on the low end, but you still leave out the high end. On the high end, it smokes the other existing platforms. And until something else comes along to knock it off, it will be the high end smartphone OS of choice.


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By Wazza1234 on 10/11/2013 10:08:47 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
On the high end, it smokes the other existing platforms


Um, no? Please cite Android sales specific to models which are as expensive as an iPhone, compared to iPhone sales.


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By retrospooty on 10/12/2013 9:55:49 AM , Rating: 2
I am not talking sales, I am talking features. Any Android flagship smokes the iPhone. Higher res, higher DPI, smaller bezels, widgets, live wp,multi user, multi window, NFC,wireless charging and a TON of other features the so called "high end" iPhone is STILL missing. Other than being plenty fast (which any high end smartphone is) it's still in 2009.


By Wazza1234 on 10/14/2013 2:59:11 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Massive in what sense? To who?

Android is now selling in 80% of all smartphones. Who exactly is hurt by this "fragmentation" thing you speak of? Certainly not the platform...


quote:
I am not talking sales


...

quote:
I am talking features


Subjective.


By Wazza1234 on 10/11/2013 10:09:13 AM , Rating: 2
And then you would also have to prove that those sales had nothing to do with hardware but were due to the operating system.


By unimatrix725 on 10/9/2013 6:53:17 PM , Rating: 2
Well my droid x2 wasnt cheap or low end on my wallet!


RE: I like Android, but this is bollocks.
By tayb on 10/8/2013 10:30:12 AM , Rating: 1
I agree that it is an issue but it is not Google's fault. They update their Nexus line pretty well. Blame Samsung for adding bullshit UI tweaks to their phones and then never updating them. Google can't force Samsung to update phones. This is the primary reason I will never buy an Android phone that doesn't have a Nexus branding.

The fragmentation also has a lot to do with the fact that a huge percentage of Android phones (about 40%) are cheapo phones sold overseas running Android 2.01 - 2.3.2. A lot of these phones aren't even running Google services, don't have access to the Play Store, and honestly aren't really part of the ecosystem.

The rest of the fragmentation is from companies like Samsung not updating their phones. 23% of phones are running 4.0.x, 32% are running 4.1.x, and 5% are running 4.2.x.

The only other fragmentation you get is hardware fragmentation. Different devices with different size screens and different hardware. It's both a plus and a minus. Google tried to remedy some of this with 4.0 and the virtual buttons but there isn't much you can really do about this. It's not a negative on the platform but it makes development a little bit more difficult. I think the trade-off is more than worth it. You get a huge selection of phones that basically no other mobile OS can offer right now.


By Monkey's Uncle on 10/8/2013 10:46:33 AM , Rating: 2
Add to the above that OEMs also add their own stores to the ecosystem (i.e. the useless Samsung store). It can get confusing to the average user.


By Monkey's Uncle on 10/8/2013 11:19:31 AM , Rating: 2
Much as I like my Android phones, this guy is seriously blowing smoke out of his ass.

I really hate it when CEOs that haven't a clue about the products their company is selling get up on their soapbox and run their mouths with this kind of verbal diarrhea. It is freaking embarrassing.


I dont know...
By retrospooty on 10/8/2013 9:52:00 AM , Rating: 2
I dont think Android is more secure than IOS, but the Malware thing has been greatly overblown...

http://www.androidauthority.com/android-malware-th...

less than 0.001% of all surveyed Android app installations lead to harmful effects to the user.





RE: I dont know...
By Gio6518 on 10/8/2013 10:11:36 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
less than 0.001% of all surveyed Android app installations lead to harmful effects to the user.


and the extremely few are due to side loading..not much different than jailbreaking...

Apple has always been extremely poor at security...

http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2262231/a...


Fix the title
By Freeseus on 10/8/2013 10:00:04 AM , Rating: 1
You mean Android is more secure than iOS...




RE: Fix the title
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 10/8/2013 10:06:21 AM , Rating: 2
The title is based on his quote.


RE: Fix the title
By Freeseus on 10/8/2013 10:15:06 AM , Rating: 2
They changed the title which included a typo and they added quotes. My original post is no longer relevant.


Why
By exeedorbit on 10/8/2013 4:33:19 PM , Rating: 2
And this warranted a post? Wow... Daily Tech is certainly becoming a bit low brow these days.




RE: Why
By Cheesew1z69 on 10/8/2013 9:26:23 PM , Rating: 2
And yet here you are, complaining about it, don't like it, don't read it, plain and simple.


User Knowledge
By Deployed Nate on 10/8/2013 10:36:09 AM , Rating: 3
I find these arguments about what platform is more secure sort of useless. These discussions should begin at the user. While some platforms may in fact provide better security, it’s not all about the device or OS itself. I believe we are all smart enough to know by now, that security in an electronic device is only as strong as the user's knowledge of threats and how to apply the correct security measures.




HAHAHAHAHA
By daveinternets on 10/8/2013 11:21:57 AM , Rating: 2
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Oh man, I needed that. Thanks, Eric.




By Constable odo on 10/8/2013 12:41:33 PM , Rating: 2
Android OS has more holes in it than Swiss cheese. That's the reason why Samsung had to come out with Knox Security solution. Not that it matters since few Android devices are being used in the enterprise. Nice try, Schmidt, but you've never been a person who can be trusted to tell the truth.




all suck
By OS on 10/8/2013 10:20:32 AM , Rating: 1

The NSA has already said that IOS is laughable and they can break into iphones as they need.

Not that I am saying android is secure. Arstechnica already posted an article about how the Google Play Process is a humongous Google backdoor.




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