We're at Google's Android event here at Mountain View. Sumptuous breakfast aside, we expect Google to talk in-depth about their Honeycomb release, other updates to the Android ecosystem and some hands-on time with tablets running Honeycomb and possibly other devices.

Breakfast and Android...

Youtube app on the Motorola Xoom Tablet running Honeycomb


Stay tuned for a more detailed analysis of the event later today.

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  • DigitalFreak - Wednesday, February 2, 2011 - link

  • aegisofrime - Wednesday, February 2, 2011 - link

    Top on my wishlist is a way for Google to deliver software upgrades straight to the user... Without having to wait for the manufacturer to release them. Look at just how long Sony Ericsson took to release the 2.1 upgrade for their Xperia X10. It's horrendous.
  • Red Storm - Wednesday, February 2, 2011 - link

    Unfortunately that's not up to Google, but the carrier. Your best bet would be to get the "main" Google phone such as the Nexus One (or today the Nexus S). They do seem to get updates very quickly and are stock Android.
  • micksh - Wednesday, February 2, 2011 - link

    Really? SE update is worldwide. Most of the phones outside North America are not bound to carriers.
  • ImSpartacus - Wednesday, February 2, 2011 - link

    In those cases, it's just the phone manufacturers and their lovely skins.

    Either way, it's a big problem and it needs to be fixed somehow.
  • CharonPDX - Thursday, February 10, 2011 - link

    Uh, Apple has no problem sending their updates to all carriers at once...

    It's the manufacturer, not Google, not the carrier. That is one problem with the multi-manufacturer route Google is taking - you have to rely on the manufacturers.

    It would be nice if there were multiple 'reference' platforms that would work with stock Google-supplied updates, though.
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, February 2, 2011 - link

    The problem is that Google doesn't have device driver code for all the SoCs and components being used in Android phones. I think the best we can hope for is that they set a minimum level of upgrade compliance for OEMs in turn for access to the marketplace, and the right to use various other Google owned items in the platform.
  • Exelius - Wednesday, February 2, 2011 - link

    I don't see the manufacturers going along with this; it doesn't allow them the ability to differentiate their devices from other manufacturers (either through hardware or software.) Almost all of the major manufacturers produce most of the semiconductor parts (RAM, SoCs, LCDs) in-house. This lets them design an SoC with certain power optimizations, and they're the best people to write the driver code for that. Such a move would likely cause a fork for at least one of the major phone OEMs, which would cause the dreaded fragmentation...

    This is probably the #1 reason Apple went in-house for their SoCs as well. I don't think that the threat of being cut off from Google's proprietary apps is very intimidating; it's nothing that these companies couldn't work around in 6 months (keep in mind we're talking about companies like Samsung who have access to resources on-par with Google.)
  • Exelius - Wednesday, February 2, 2011 - link

    This is the biggest problem with Android, and it's a bigger threat than true fragmentation. The device manufacturers don't want to give up control because they see how much money Apple is making, and they want a cut of the mobile revenue as well. The problem is, the manufacturers don't see revenue from updating the phones after the first sale, so they really aren't willing to put any effort into keeping them current. Apple does make additional revenue through updating their phones; the features they add help them sell more apps (not to mention it's an expectation of quality thing, your iPhone 4 works exactly the same as your 3GS, just better.)

    Google's in a tough spot here. They need to provide an incentive to the phone manufacturers to update their phones through ongoing revenue from content/advertising sales, but from what we've been able to gather publically, there's not much to go around. Google isn't even charging a licensing fee for the OS; and they don't have a lot of opportunity for revenue on Android because it's TOO open. Anything they implement, the manufacturers or carriers can just replace. The Android App Marketplace is the only real revenue generator, and from all the data we've been able to see, people just aren't as willing to pay money for Android apps as iPhone users are.

    Apple makes WAY more periodic revenue off their platform than Google does because they have multiple revenue streams (iTunes, iAd, App Store.) These revenue streams can't be worked around easily (see Apple's policy that to provide in-app content purchases, you have to use Apple's system.)

    I would think the carriers would welcome a situation where Google could push updates; if someone buys a phone and it's functional for 4 years, that's 2 years of monthly fees from the customer that aren't paying off a subsidized phone. But because that's a hard number to quantify, they're not interested in paying phone manufacturers to update the phone OS because it's not tied to a revenue stream (the customer is locked into a contract for the first 2 years so they don't care about maintaining support during the contract because it's pure expense without a quantifiable payoff.)

    Long story short.. don't expect the situation to change unless either Google or AT&T/Verizon are willing to cough up more money for the manufacturers. Until then, they'll probably keep a 2-3 person team on updates and they'll continue to lag 3-6 months behind what Google releases.
  • y2kBug - Wednesday, February 2, 2011 - link

    Is the 3-6 month delay with upgrade that bad? Check out Nexus S forums, 2.3 is not perfect yet. Let the early adapters catch most the bugs, and then others can upgrade to a mature 2.3.1.

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