Today, Android’s openness to OEM’s is a blessing and a curse.

And if you’re trying to develop software on Android, it feels more like the latter. The same fragmentation challenges we faced getting Flash Lite to work on the variety of Nokia smartphones (Symbian Series 60) apply to shipping an Android app.

On top of that, Android OS update rates are slower because the OEM’s don’t think in terms of software:

the key roadblock in the upgrade rates for Android users is lack of Google’ control over carriers and original equipment manufacturers (OEM) regarding the usage of operating system as it does not have a say that a specific handset should get new version of Android.

Several OEMs or carriers may block release of newer updates to clear existing inventories. Recently, there were media reports saying that T-Mobile accused Samsung of willfully delaying updated Froyo handsets to sell older version handsets.

These roadblocks are eerily similar to what killed the potential of J2ME and Flash Lite…

  1. I’ve been getting a bit grumpy about this very subject recently.
    It occurs to me that the android development community has the power to force companies like samsung (who has my ire today) to toe the line.

    Imagine what would happen if developers simply built their apps so they would not run on a Samsung device, until Samsung stopped meddling around?

    Developers can also stop building against 1.6 of android and targeting only the last few versions at most. This very question was brought up on the Android dev list recently, and it looks like most devs have shifted to at least aOS 2.1.

    The hard (likely even impossible) task to to organize the developers. Only a company like Google could do that, and it’s unlikely that they would.

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