Google Not Without Fault

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2011-07-15 Print this article Print


However, any Android developer defections to iOS could be happening as much for what Google and the platform aren't providing programmers as they are for what Apple and partners are doing.

For example, financial analysts have said sales of Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" tablets such as the Motorola Xoom and Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 aren't nearly duplicating the success of either iPad.

Global Equity Research analyst Trip Chowdry has been outspoken in his criticism of Honeycomb as a buggy platform that is hard for the average user to enjoy.

Android handsets, while apparently strong in the U.S. and abroad, suffer from other difficulties. Newark-French noted that the development community is concerned about the rising cost of deploying across the Android installed base, due "to the double whammy of OS and storefront fragmentation."

For example, the Android 2.x handset branch is severely fragmented, with carriers offering their customers upgrades to the latest Android flavor (it's currently Android 2.3 "Gingerbread") at their leisure. Moreover, Android phone apps won't work for every OS build.

"With developers pinched on both sides of the revenue and cost equation, Google must tack aggressively at this stage of the race to ensure that Apple doesn't continue to take its developer-support wind," Newark-French said.  

Google is taking steps to alleviate this. It has formed an unnamed group of OEMs and carriers whose goal is to ensure uniform OS versioning for 18 months at a shot.

Google's Android 2.4 "Ice Cream Sandwich" will unify application aspects across Android handsets and tablets. Android 3.2 "Honeycomb," meanwhile, will include the ability for developers to scale phone apps so they look better on the larger screens of tablets.



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