Fifty Q&A About Google’s Android

Well, ZDNet — one of the worst designed sites on the Internet, by the way — claims that it’s fifty questions and answers about Google’s Android OS.

But since they didn’t take the frikkin trouble to number them, you think I’m going to count?

Most of it was well over my head, involving cellphone technical aspects I’d rather not know about.

Of interest:

Q. What if my app uses location api, and service provider shuts that off, can they?

A. They can do that… it’s not a perfect world. Rather than having us dictate what carriers and OEMs support, we let developers develop killer apps that will require it.

We want to ensure all the application development that goes on for Android… we want to give OEMs an incentive to keep things open. It’s a positive, self fulfilling vision.

Yeah, well, hello. The other thing is, you expect a cheapass prepaid phone to have all the hardware features of, say, a Sony Xperia-like device? Android will have to accommodate a wide spectrum of phoneware.

Bad news:

Q. Does Android have USB support? External keyboard, etc.?

A. The hardware should support it but it’s not enabled in the software. Maybe in a point release.

Arrrrrrrgh. You’re letting me down here, geniuses!

Yeah, well, listen you geniuses …

Q. If a small device manufufacturer wants to run Android, can they just download it and go?

A. Once it’s open source, anyone can download and port Android without joining OHA. Android will be open source before the end of the year.

… if any of you happen to do a port to the Palm LifeDrive for yourself, how about sharing that with the rest of us?

Ummmm …

Q. What is Android’s business model?

A. Somebody could rip out the Google stuff and put in Yahoo stuff. That’s ok. Our job is to continue to create killer apps that people will want to use. Google search, GMail, maps, etc.. If we ever fail to delight users our core business will go away. That’s why we felt comfortable using the Apache license.

While we’re showing demos with Google applications, but there is no requirement to use them.

… I’m not sure I completely understand that bit, so we’ll see.

OK, this frankly worries me:

Q. (From a mobile linux startup). I’m concerned about giving user complete control over permissions. Won’t users just accept permission dialogs without thinking?

A. Providing a useful security UI is something nobody has done well. We recognize that as a crucial component since we delegated the decisions to the user. We’re working to come up with something better. The #1 goal is to come up with something that provides real security for the user. One way is to educate users, to call things out.

That sounds like Microsoft talking about Vista’s User Alerts!

This puzzles me:

Q. How synchronous are we going to be able to get with Android?

A. We have an http stack, and you can build whatever you want on top of that. We’re not providing a general sync service.

We have sockets. At some level, 1.0 doesn’t have a general synchronization API, but there is nothing to prevent you from building an app that uses a server to talk to other instances of itself or other apps. Given limitations of network of course. For example GPRS is effectively NAT’d.

Latency is on the order of 200-400ms for a GPRS network; UTMS is getting <100ms.

Maybe I’m misunderstanding both the question and the answer. Maybe they mean “sync” as in constant two-way communication? Some clarification is required on this point. Syncing for backup is a must.

Here’s another Uh-Oh Moment:

Q. Can the carrier stop this?

A. It’s open source, so anybody can do what they want with it. We’re trying to make this open not just source but user control. We’re leading by example, showing it’s ok to do this stuff. Let’s show all the dangers others are trying to avoid don’t really exist.

Signing is to protect the end user. I can’t ship a v2.0 of your app and hijack your users.

“Trust the user” is one of the 10 things Google takes to be true. Give the user enough info to make good informed decisions.

“… so anybody can do what they want” is not, I hope, an implicit invite to malware epidemics.

And yeah, I thought so:

A long term goal is to put Android on set top boxes, car navigation system, sensors, etc..

I like the way ULCPCs and UMPCs happened not to be mentioned there. And let’s not forget mini-tablets.

Previously here:

Google’s Android To Conquer By Infiltration?
Android Devs: Sorry, But Try Again!
It’s Now All Down To Apple Vs. Google
Android’s On Fire!
Quote: KokuRyu & jscott
Android Mania!
Android: Show Me The CC&P!
What eChanges Will High Oil Prices Bring?
HTC Advantage Running Google Android OS!
Your Phone Might Rat On You
iPhone Continues To Swallow The Internet
I Hate You Frikkin Tech Bloggers. I Do!
Reference: Android Site
Google’s Android OS Now Worth Watching
David Rothman Just Saved Google’s Android OS
Apple Has Magic The Others Don’t
Like This Is A Surprise?

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