2010-08-03

The difference between web and handsets

Having recently started to revive my interest in OpenGL-hacking (has it been 10 years already!) I've been reading up on what has been going on.
A lot it seems, several major versions of OpenGL, shader language, programmable pipelines. My head is still rotating around the Y-axis.
Now the really fun thing is that Android supports OpenGL ES, which handily combines my two interests at the present. Android and Open GL is fun, and it works, you might even say it zooms. But still, there is an uneasy feeling, it has to do with quality control.
The title of this blog posting is in regards to the difference in roll-out speed for a web application and the software in a consumer device.
Thing is, google has made several slip-ups with both the Nexus One and Android.
My N1 has a digitizer that goes haywire sometimes, I loose WiFi connectivity all the time. Oh and then there is another touch screen issue that I really love, the synaptics multi-touch. On occasion (not hard to reproduce) the Nexus One digitizer confuses X1 and X2.
Android 2.2 introduced the Open GL ES 2.0 (and there was much rejoicing) but they messed up royally and forgot to handle VBOs. At least they admitted to it which I think is really, really nice.
But you see where I'm going with this. My HTC Hero recently got updated to Android 2.1 and will probably never be upgraded to 2.2. Phone manufacturers never want to upgrade a phone unless the bad-will is seriously affecting their brand name. There is no money in upgrading a sold phone, simple as that.
Google on the other hand has built their fame and fortune on web-applications. Those can be upgraded several times a day. Release early, release often actually works there.
But that mind-set will not work so good when releasing consumer devices. At least not in the price range of a Nexus One, EVO or HTC Desire.
Anyway, I still think that Android is a success story, if you asked me a year ago I would have said that there is no way google can take a share on the phone market. So I hope that they come up with a good way to release patches to android that the handset manufacturers will bless and prove me wrong again.

Post Scriptum: If the VBO fix for GLES 2.0 only appears in Android 3.0 (Gingerbread) we are all royally hosed, the specs for that version does not match even the fanciest phones right now so it will never come to the android phone you hold in your hand right now.

1 comment:

  1. Who better to summarize than the Register
    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/07/01/schmidt_on_nexus_one/

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