Friday, 13 April 2012

Android Fragmentation & Secure Android

News broke today that the Vodafone SGS2 ICS update is rolling out, and it kinda hit close to home with it since I'm still using the slightly older (original) SGS phone on Vodafone.

To say Samsung are leading the Android world, they are so slow when it comes to updates. The 1 thing that is killing off stock roms is how bloated they are, and how stubborn carriers are. TouchWiz is so bloated that the TouchWiz in ICS can only be run on GS2 and not Galaxy S, yet both can run CyanogenMod9 perfectly fine. I love Samsung devices, they are of very good quality, but Samsung suck when it comes to supporting their devices. If they'd listen to what the people want and get rid of TouchWiz instead of thinking about only themself, LOTS of other Samsung devices could already have Ice Cream Sandwich right now. Think about it, the original galaxy tab 7 & 8.9 & 10.1 can ALL run CM9 without problems, even lower end phones like Galaxy Ace CAN run CM9.

To me, all they do with this is push people away from stock roms and push them over to CyanogenMod. Stock is just so bloated with TouchWiz it's beyond stupid. I've seen posts like this across several other forums and the main reason companies like Samsung aren't doing this is the whole money issue. If they supported EVERY device, then they wouldn't make as much as they could with upcoming future devices and I agree, but this is nothing but greed.

Some of the devices released recently like the Galaxy Nexus and a few other phones rocking the NFC chip is a good move forward, but NFC has yet to be adapted around the UK so it's not much use, only in a minority of places.

However, Samsung should still adapt their slightly older devices, the original Galaxy S is only 2yrs old and it's been proven it can run CM9 ICS (Team Hacksung CM9 build 17, Team ICSSGS 4.0.3 , etc) perfectly fine minus a few bugs from missing kernel code, but again, Samsungs fault. Samsung should be adapting their the OS to their devices, not forcing customers to upgrade needlessly.

There is absolutely no reason why companies can't adapt current CM9 builds around their devices, Android is open source so theres no copyright issues to worry about. I KNOW for a fact XDA & the Cyanogen team would happily work with carriers to make ROM's better, that's what the Android community is all about.

In more recent news, Boeing are moving forward to develop a "super secure Android phone" for military use. There isn't much detail so far, but I would love to know what they mean exactly when they say "super secure" - I assume this means it will have some kind of root protection, but when it comes to Android, no phone is secure against being rooted. As quoted in a thread on XDA, "it CAN and WILL be rooted".

Don't get me wrong, I like the fact that US military are adopting to the Android system, but "super secure"? hardly. A military level secure phone might be harder to tinker with, but it is possible with all the various Android hacking tools out there.