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Gabriel Walsh's profile photoErick Engel's profile photo
I own apple products (4s and Ipad2) and android ones (GN and TP - both on ICS) and I have to say that I agree 100% with every word written on this article. I love my Android products. In many way they are far more flexible and powerful than my Apple ones. however, it is kind of annoying when I see some fantastic apps that get developed only for IOS, or where the IOS version is always superior or the first to update. a perfect example is the TWC app (and HBO/Cinemax apps). The TWC app came out first on IOS. and updated first on IOS. It lets you program your DVR, see a program list and watch live TV - Including subscription channels. If you are traveling (and not on your home router) you can always run HBOGo or MaxxGo and watch their content from wherever you are. On ICS the TWC app didn't come out until last fall. To this day it still does not have the ability to stream content. HBOGo and MaxxGo are not even compatible with ICS. Sadly this is too often the case and it seems to be an increasing situation with some of the newer and higher end apps.

I completely agree that Google needs to leverage it's market position and tighten control over the android environment as a whole for all members of the open handset alliance. It helps little to have excellent hardware and a truly powerful OS, if the the ecosystem takes a backseat to app development from independent devs.

As I see it, Google's market position with android is big enough now, that it can afford to take back some control and tighten the rules for overall development. for example some things Google could do:

1. Make OEMs add the ability to disable UI skins so that Users can choose between using stock android or an OEM launcher;

2. Do not allow apps to be preloaded that cannot be uninstalled. This is a major issue. ICS adds the ability to disable apps, which is a start, but we should really be able to remove them without having to root the device.

3. Make app devs stick to Android design guidelines and require that they adapt their apps to run on tablets (read, not just stretched versions of their phone apps, but rather apps where the UI itself is adapted to take advantage of the large screen real estate).

4. Make it so that more apps give users the option to pay for an unlocker in order to render an app add-free.

5. Give OEM's tighter hardware guidelines for specific applications and force OEMs and carriers to commit to OS upgrades in a more timely manner (or give user the option to connect to Google or the OEMs directly and run those updates directly from them - as opposed to waiting fro a Carrier to decide when to do it).

6. Lastly, develop a version of Android for arm based computers as well as x86 based systems, so that the ecosystem can expand to the desktop/laptop market. this would give users a full featured ecosystem across all device categories, as well as give app developers a much larger market where to sell their apps, and OEMs a much huge market to sell something other than windows based rigs.

The goal is to make the overall environment and the overall user experience more stable and cohesive, while at the same time making development for Android, more worthwhile for Devs.
As a die hard Android fan, I must agree that many of these points are valid.

If a device doesn't have the hardware specs to run ICS, etc. I understand. But the skinning of the UI (Sense, etc) does add unecessary delays to a new OS rollout.

And letting a carrier add to much junk to the OS is never a good thing either.

As far as tablets, I still don't think that the Android tablets have penetrated the market enough to woo a large amount of developers over. It seems like when people think of tablets, they immediately think of iPad or Kindle Fire to some extent (which I know is Android). The ASUS Transformer line and Samsung Galaxy Tab's are awesome devices but they need to sell more units to encourage development on the platform.
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