Saturday, January 29, 2011

Android fragmentation and why it matters

If you follow Engadget at all, you know that their journalists are pretty unbiased. If there's anything they collectively hate, however, it's Android fragmentation.

I'll break it down a bit:
The Android OS is on many different devices (Google phones, Motorola's Droid line, HTC phones, and Samsung phones, as in their Galaxy S line). Each of these hardware manufacturers are able to put their own "skin" (or UI) over the stock Android software. They do this to differentiate their phones from the competitor's and to make any "improvements" that they see fit. The skins have various names: MotoBlur (Motorola),  Sense UI (HTC), TouchWiz (Samsung). These are the most popular, and are put on top of the stock Android software that you find on the Nexus 1 and Nexus S (Samsung's only Galaxy S phone without TouchWiz).

What the consumer gets then, is a wide variety of devices all running the same software (Android) but with very different user interfaces. In other words, a Motorola user could be very confused when they pick up a Samsung device. Confusion, however, is the least of the consumer's problem.

When a new version of Android is released it takes time for the hardware manufacture to put their trademark skin over that software. Their devices, in turn, are unable to be updated to the latest version of the Android OS until the manufacture puts out their updated version. This might not be so bad, except lately some manufactures have decided to not even put out the newest version of the skinned Android OS to their older phones. Users with phones that are a year old are left in the dust, while only brand new users get the latest software coupled with the latest hardware.

A great example of this is when the latest version of the mobile Android OS was released, Android 2.3 Gingerbread. The flagship Android 2.3 phone was the Nexus S, which (surprisingly) ran stock Gingerbread with no TouchWiz UI. This was a great update to Android and was praised as such. However, many phones could not be updated. Some phones, such as in Samsung's Galaxy S line, had yet to be updated to 2.2 Froyo, let alone 2.3!

How does this affect the consumer in the long term? What we end up getting is a host of Android devices all running different versions of the software under skins that arguably subtract from the best Android experience possible. If you buy a phone now, there's no guarantee that you will receive the next Android update when it comes out, months after it comes out, or ever. Some users may be ok with this, as they might not update their phone even if the update was available. This mentality seems to work fine at first, but what about when a security issue is brought up about the current version of Android? I for one want the most updated software possible, to minimize issues like this.

Android fragmentation is very real and has the possibility to have a very negative effect on users, especially now, in the year of the tablets.

Have you experienced Android fragmentation? What are your thoughts on it?
Interested in what Google has to say? " a red herring"


My take on tech

I've always loved technology. I remember when my big sister set up my first email account for me, and I remember showing it off to all my friends off of our dial up network and thinking I was so cool. I remember the first time I changed the background on a windows computer, and added that annoying mouse trail that all elementary school kids seem to love.

More recently I've grown to love social networking. Starting with facebook, this love quickly branched out to twitter, tumblr, and various other sites fitting the description.

I say all that, not to reminisce, but rather to illustrate that I'm by no means some sort of 'expert.' What I am, if anything, is a consumer that does his research. I enjoy paying attention to tech blogs, like Engadget and Gizmodo. I frequently listen to Engadget's podcast (iTunes link), and have attended one of their shows in New York City.

I've considered writing a tech blog for the last few months and have decided not to. Mostly because I don't have the time, but also because I fell like I'm nowhere near learned enough on the subject. That said, I have some opinions that I want to express, so I will occasionally do posts about tech labeled under the tag "technology" (which I have provided a link for in the sidebar). My hope in this is stimulate intelligent conversation about the topic. I would ask for commenters to stay away from the "Android is way better" type comments. I want to hear your opinion, but please back it up with why. This benefits everyone.

My first post is on Android fragmentation.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

Real Relationship in 2011: I'm not looking for an "effective way to become closer to God."

An out of context picture of the Hudson from West Point
An out of context picture of the Hudson from West Point

I suppose a "Happy New Years" is in order! This is the first real post I've done since winter break due to the usual suspects (including but not limited to a school, laziness, and distractions).

I've never really been into the whole "New Years Resolutions" thing. This year something hit me though. I've never really made my relationship with God a priority in my life. By that I really mean my relationship with Him has been more passive than active.

In my experience, an important part of cultivating a relationship is quality time with that individual. How am I going to get to know someone well without specifically making the time to be with that person? That's part of my focus for this upcoming year: to be with Papa. I want to spend time hearing what He has to say, and reading His words. I don't want to force something to the point that I feel guilty if I'm not engaged. I talk to my girlfriend everyday, whether it be by text message, email, facebook, or phone, not because I feel like I have to in order to grow our relationship, but because I simply want to talk to her and hear how she's doing.

I'm not sure exactly what all this is going to look like. I do know that my heart is to Love Papa and accept his Love.

Example of something I'm not looking for.
I'm not looking for an "effective way to become closer to God." Because really, what does that mean? Is there really a prescribed way to develop any relationship, let alone one with the Almighty? Are there really seven things I need to do in order to feel God's love in a tangible way?

I'd love some advice. Do you do a daily devotional? What works for you? What doesn't work? Does what I have to say challenge you at all?


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Saturday Hugs

This poem by Bradley Hathaway says pretty much everything I want to express on this Saturday morning. May you experience a hug today.