back to article Google and Samsung bare teeth in battle for LANDFILL ANDROID™

Does anyone else other than Google, Samsung and Apple make popular branded smartphones? Well, if you follow the market you'll know there are many brands and many flavours of Android today competing for customers. Some 32,000 voices at Nokia will strongly disagree with my opening proposition – you've heard of Windows Phone, …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Phone Dialler

    KitKat's phone dialer consults Google search.

    Why? Pure and simple Why The F**** does it do that? Will it dial Po Lee's Chinese instead of the Bombay TakeAway simply because Po Lee has paid more more to Google to get their page rankings higher?

    Thankfully my old Sony-Ericsson T501 does not do that (I hope)

    1. dougal83

      Re: Phone Dialler

      Well the geographic nature of search results returned for 'places' nearby seems to work(i.e. searching for bike shop, gets bike shops nearby). I'm not sure how searching for "Bombay TakeAway" will return "Po Lee's Chinese" in the results. Maybe you are mentally retarded? In that case, I suggest you should buy an Apple mobile phone.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Phone Dialler

      No, when number thats not in your address book calls, rather than showing just the number, it will look up the buisness online.

      You can carry on wearing your tinfoil hat, but to the rest of us, thats actually a very useful feature....

      There is plenty of room for other Android manufacturers. Having activated well over a billion Android devices, even a small percentage of marketshare is millions of phones.

      I know 10x more Sony Android phone owners than I do people that own the Windows phone disaster...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Phone Dialler

        You know TEN Sony Android owners? I've never seen a single Sony Android, though I don't look closely at every phone I see. I can only recognize iPhones and Samsung Galaxy from a glance, because the large majority of the phones I see are one of those. Maybe people I know or am casually acquainted with around here just don't have much variety in their choices.

        I've seen a couple Windows phones, both owned by Windows admins as I would have pretty much expected.

        1. Bob Vistakin

          Re: Phone Dialler

          There's a windows phone out? Why doesn't anyone know about this?

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Phone Dialler

          >I know 10x more Sony Android phone owners than I do people that own the Windows phone disaster...

          >> I've never seen a single Sony Android, though I don't look closely at every phone I see.

          Well, that's anecdotal evidence for you... the good people in my local beer garden have between them three Sony Android phones (an Xperia Z, T, and P) and three WinPho 8 phones... and that's not including the bloke who has a HTC HD2 running WinMobile 6.x that his sister gave him. But hey, that's just a sample pool of several dozen regular drinkers.

          Amongst the younger pub users, it does seem to be mainly Samsung Galaxies and iPhones.

    3. Oh Homer

      Sour Grapes

      I see a lot of rhetoric about supposedly poor quality hardware and somehow unacceptable default apps, but even if that characterisation is remotely true (and completely ignoring the fact that all the defaults can be supplanted), it doesn't seem to have dissuaded people from buying Android devices, which are currently wiping the floor with everything else.

      In addition to being brutally pulverised by Android in the smartphone market, it seems Apple's tablet market share has just collapsed. And as for Microkia® ... it's a joke, barely able to achieve double figures.

      I find it odd that the openness of Android is being stigmatised as being somehow a Bad Thing®, when it's clearly benefitting so many people ... except Apple and Microsoft, of course.

      1. RyokuMas

        Re: Sour Grapes

        "I find it odd that the openness of Android is being stigmatised as being somehow a Bad Thing®, when it's clearly benefitting so many people ... except Apple and Microsoft developers looking to protect and make a return on their hard work, of course.


        1. Oh Homer

          Re: Hard Work®

          I don't especially care if their work was Hard®, I only care if it's good.

          Then I'll consider buying it.

          As for "protecting" this work, that's exactly the sort of thing that's likely to discourage me from buying it. By an amazing coincidence, those who whine loudest about needing to "protect" their work are also typically those who produce the sort of unholy shit that nobody wants to buy, which is after all exactly why they need to "protect" it in the first place.

  2. HollyHopDrive

    I think samsung and google fell out some time ago...

    I think the cracks started to show when LG made the nexus 4. Given what a tremendous phone the galaxy nexus was it was a bit odd that LG won the gig for the Nexus 4. And now the nexus 5. Oh, and the galaxy nexus isn't getting kitkat. (unless samsung chose to do that by themselves).

    So, I conclude the gloves are off already. LG is deciding to ride the gravy train with google, taking over from where samsung left off.

    However, the article is also a bit discourteous to google. While kitkat is clearly geared towards google on the nexus devices (this is after all the 'google implementation devices') if you look at their API's you are easily able to replace the SMS, dialer or even cloud storage by implementing your own provider or app. Its not rocket science and google even allow you to do it and sell it via the play store. In fact, you can even do all that on your own build! (as samsung have proved). There are no 'default' applications that now can't be overridden with your own app. The interesting thing with the hangouts SMS is you are now able to put your own app in to deal with SMS so you don't have to share it with hangouts if you don't want to. It was the only thing you pretty much couldn't do before.

    But, given all the money google have put into this you can't blame them for wanting to get something out of it on their 'google' nexus devices. And they have been way more generous with not actually making it so you can't use competitors products as the default - other companies (read apple and microsoft here) don't allow such shenanigans.

    Just my opinion though.....I know there are plenty of others.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That'll be an up-vote for you

      Very much agreed. Not giving the most excellent Galaxy Nexus (a play with one of these prompted me to buy the S3) KitKat stinks of corporate politics.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: That'll be an up-vote for you

        As opposed to not being able to support an obsolete chipset?

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: That'll be an up-vote for you

          >google even allow you to do it and sell it via the play store.

          If a manufacturer forks Android, Google will prevent them from using the Play Store, Gmail Client, Google Maps and any other app that requires the (closed source) Google Play Services library (which they promote to app developers as offering advanced functionality and better hooks into the hardware)... This is maybe why Samsung phones ship with Samsung apps that appear to duplicate the functionality of Google's offerings (i.e there is a Samsung App store, Samsung Translate, Samsung Mail, Calender, S Voice dictation etc.); Samsung have been hedging their bets.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Android is becoming Google Phone

      I've seen people online say that a problem with porting KitKat to the Galaxy Nexus was that Texas Instruments (who made the chipset) have quit smartphones. Doesn't exactly sound like an insurmountable obstacle, though.

      There's great coverage on Ars Technica by Ron Amadeo about how Google are taking over android - basically the plan is to close-source as many goodies as possible and keep them for 'true Android' - they're still free for anyone making a true Android phone, but not for Android fork merchants. And many Android APIs for web services - in-app purchases and the like - depend on Google now.

      For me, on a Nexus 4, this isn't a huge problem yet, but it's alarming. I think my next phone might well be an iPhone, since it still has Google services if I need them, but Apple seem much less interested in grabbing all my data.

      1. Kroneous

        Re: Android is becoming Google Phone

        "Ars Technica by Ron Amadeo" is the biggest back door funded confirmed closet Appleholic on the planet. Meaning he goes all out on every freaking story about Samsung, making out like as if they are the worse device maker on the planet. He totally hates them worse than he does anything else on earth and goes into fits of rage on just the mention of their name. It's like he's been personally attacked he's such a nut case on hating Samsung at all cost. If you go by anything this iDiot Moron has to say, you know it's been approved by the Applewellian Thought Police and their Appleholic Inner Party Members in Society!

        Normally also died in the flesh, self confessed fascist tin foil hat'd Haters and some sleeper cell Apple addicts, who know no other language than trash talking anti-Samsung retarded infantile gibberish from the Dark Side. Which is always centered on how badly Samsung is killing Apple's iPhone market. Now by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1! .......and with Samsung's last 88.7 Million Smarterphone sales this last quarter, they crushed Apple so bad that he was getting back door funded to totally unleash as much misinformation and hatred as he possibly could. Yet..... the loser had little to no affect on Samsung's Record Breaking Sales even beating Apple here in America, while also again winning in the largest fastest growing markets by huge margins!

        Take that all you closet Appleholic losers!

        This whole story is a big fat joke out of some of the Register's finest Hate Mongerers. Out to do their part in attempting to sow seeds of doubt in Google Android as well as Samsung's Dominance in selling it's devices in selling the biggest part of the Android Dominated Smartphone Market now at 80% to Apple's 13% and if that's where YOU want to buy.... then YOU are the only one that's been fooled by Ron Amadeo's bull pucky crock of iPoo Poo on Android! Samsung Wins by losing you anyway!!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Re: Android is becoming Google Phone

          Kroneous, people can have opinions without being paid shills.

        2. Nat C.

          Re: Android is becoming Google Phone

          Sure you're not thinking of Engadget?

          While Ars aren't exactly a crowd of Fandroids, they tend to be pretty objective one way or the other.

          For example their piece on Android fragmentation is not all doom-and-gloom like some other tech sites and actually explains what frag is, why it happens, and concludes that it's not necessarily bad.

          (NOTE: That's just the first piece I came across. I could probably find others, but it's lunch time and I've better things to do that argue on the Interweb)

          Granted, their Apple v. Samsung patent coverage was fairly biased, but you'd be hard pressed to find an IT site that wasn't. IIRC the Reg's own coverage wasn't exactly glowing for Sammy.

          Now, Engadget on the other hand, are your dyed-in-the-wool Apple-holics for certain. Just visit the site within 48 hrs before or after an Apple Press Conference.

  3. David Roberts

    Why Android?

    The latest generation of tablets and phones have enough hardware resources to run 'PC' operating systems.

    Linux is the obvious alternative (yes, I know Android shares a lot of origins with Linux) to provide proper multi-window multi-tasking and provide fully functional programs (not Apps) to those users who would quite like things like Thunderbird as a mail client.

    What about Microsoft porting Windows 8.1 (or perhaps XP) to ARM systems? Goes completely against their ethos but I suspect that if Mr&Mrs Average were offered a choice of tablets running a well known and familiar OS at a less than stellar price then they might be quite receptive.

    The fly in the ointment, as usual, is the App store - but Google has been messing with this recently as well, like removing AdBlock Plus and other ad blockers so it can monetise Android even more.

    Everyone hates Microsoft because they have a reputation for locking down the platform and screwing the customer. Apple have been accused of similar. Is Google now going down the same route and trying to become 'most hated'?

    In the same way that Linux had a boost from people fed up with Microsoft, it might get another boost from people fed up with Google.

    Here's hoping!

    1. Nate Amsden Silver badge

      Re: Why Android?

      most linux apps aren't touch oriented would be one.. and I assume you've heard of Windows RT ? You know, the Windows 8 that is a port to ARM ?

      Why Android, well I think the answer is pretty simple - it was there first, and has a ton of momentum, that is very hard to counter, second is cost for the folks making the phone. Making a (good) mobile OS is expensive and difficult, making an ecosystem around it even more so. I've never used Android for more than a few mins though I am planning to go to Android from WebOS at some point soon.

      I do feel it's a sad state of affairs that Android has basically become the Windows of the mobile era, I suppose it could be worse though (speaking as someone who uses Linux exclusively on their desk/laptops).

      1. PyLETS

        Re: Why Android?

        I do feel it's a sad state of affairs that Android has basically become the Windows of the mobile era"

        You might prefer Cyanogen Mod if you want something you can compile and hack yourself which runs on a respectable selection of mobile phone hardware. But most users like myself who benefit from the competition which occurs within Open Source systems tend only want to act as developers in respect of small parts of these systems if at all.

        Much better for the most popular choice on this form factor to have sufficient openness to allow for greater openness for those who need it and have the time to develop it.

    2. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Why Android?

      Microsoft has ported Windows 8 to ARM. It is called Windows RT. The main problem with it is that there are approximately 4 apps available for it, Outlook (new in RT 8.1), Word, Excel and Powerpoint.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why Android?

        While I take your point, I have to add that it's a little more complicated than that!

        Don't have a smartphone or tablet myself, but ocassionally use them for short periods. It seems to me

        - most of what you'd like to do is on the web anyway

        - the app store policies are very different

        Read a summary of Microsoft's rules recently; the full requirements are set out in some detail at

        App certification requirements for the Windows Store

        Bottom line? Windows Store apps have to prove their worth as an app. By contrast, with Android, anything goes (more or less). I would imagine most Android apps would simply never get admission to the Windows app store.

        With these circumstances, comparing app store numbers is entirely meaningless...

        1. Dave Fox

          Re: Why Android?

          Please! Have you seen some of the apps on the Windows App store?

          There are huge numbers of apps that simple aren't worth the few seconds to download - they certainly haven't "proved" their worth at all. Try searching for a video player that purports to play DivX - you'll find loads that they they do, but the handful of reviews usually say they don't. All these apps presumably pass the Windosr STore certification, but since they don't actually do what they are advertised to do, what's the point?

          That's not to say that Play or the Apple App store aren't full of crap as well, but because they are both well frequented, you can sort the wheat from the chaff by looking at the reviews. This is almost impossible on the Windows App store, because unless we're talking "marquee" apps, most apps seem to have reviews in the single digits!

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Why Android?

        You also need to add three extra hardware buttons to use Windows effectively

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Why Linux?

      Android is already Linux. You want to run Android apps on Linux, why not do so? As Android proponents never fail to mention, Android is open, so that should be easy, right? Oh, by "open" you mean that allows someone else to take care of the hard work making that happen for you...

      1. Richard Plinston

        Re: Why Linux?

        > You want to run Android apps on Linux, why not do so?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why Android?

      What about Microsoft porting Windows 8.1 (or perhaps XP) to ARM systems?

      Windows 8.1 is available for ARM it is essentially RT. Unfortunately google is anti competitive and has a monopoly on the smartphone and search industry. By giving away their operating system for free to promote their search platform they are effectively no better than Microsoft in the 90s....

      1. Richard Plinston

        Re: Why Android?

        > has a monopoly on the smartphone ...

        Google doesn't have a monopoly on smartphones at all, they do have a small marketshare with Nexus devices. Phone manufacturers are not tied to Google and can use whatever OS they wish to. It happens that the public want to buy various different brands that run Android. These sell alongside other OSes.

        > and search industry.

        You, and everyone else, can select whatever search engine you prefer. A simple click can select from over a dozen different ones. Those that _choose_ to use Google do so because it has better results.

        > By giving away their operating system for free to promote their search platform they are effectively no better than Microsoft in the 90s..

        When did Microsoft ever give away an operating system ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Why Android?


          So you for one welcome these creepy new overlords. What a joke of a fanboi post!

          I know noone who's bought Androd, they've bought Samsung, LG, Sony or whoever. Android isn't the driver, the hardware maker is.

          I'm glad too that you consider Google, MS or anyone else holding in excess of 80℅ of ANY market a healthy thing that results in best value for end users. Users may be able to use minnows but advertisers can't, and time and again the point has been proven that small policy changes to Google`s algorithm can kill other businesses.

          You're also right MS never gave away an OS but they used monopoly profits from Windows to kill innovation in many other markets.

          Are you Eadon?

          1. Richard Plinston

            Re: Why Android?

            > So you for one welcome these creepy new overlords.

            First of all I don't see them as 'overlords'. I can easily avoid Google or I can use it. Whereas, for example if I ran Windows 8 I would find it harder to avoid having an MS account or Bing.

            >I know noone who's bought Androd, they've bought Samsung, LG, Sony or whoever. Android isn't the driver, the hardware maker is.

            Exactly. Google isn't the driver, the hardware makers are. They can build WP, Maemo, Meego, Tizen, or any other (except iOS), or write their own. It happens that their customers buy Android so that is what they make.

            This is unlike the Windows OEM where if they made other stuff (DR-DOS, BeOS, NetBooks with Linux, etc) MS 'punishes' them by removing discounts, or per-box pricing, or similar.

            > I'm glad too that you consider Google, MS or anyone else holding in excess of 80℅ of ANY market a healthy thing that results in best value for end users.

            Did I say that ? No I did not.

            > the point has been proven that small policy changes to Google`s algorithm can kill other businesses.

            Actually most of the complaints along those lines are where someone manages to manipulate the results in their favor and then complains when Google levels it all out again.

            > Are you Eadon?

            You can see who I am, are you Richto, the vogon, or AC the shill ?

          2. Richard Plinston

            Re: Why Android?

            > anyone else holding in excess of 80℅ of ANY market

            It wasn't Google that killed off Symbian, Maemo/Meego and Metemi, it was Microsoft via its puppet Elop. It was Microsoft and Nokia that reduced the number of different products in the market leaving the race between two plus BB and WP fighting they way downwards.

            OTOH it was Microsoft that killed off DR-DOS first with illegal 'per-box' pricing, then the AARD code, then by bundling MS-DOS and Windows 3.x at the Windows price (actually that was giving MS-DOS away for free to kill off DR-DOS). Then they announced the 'Netware would not be supported by the next DOS/Windows' so Novell bought DRI so that they did have a client OS that supported Netware. They planned to give a copy of DR-DOS with each Netware client licence. MS and Novell settled by MS continuing support for Netware and Novell having to remove DR-DOS from the market.

            So DR-DOS died, not because it wasn't wanted, but because MS had engineered that it not be available to be bought.

            MS also supported SCO in their attempt to kill Linux, getting SCO $50million funding and also spending $millions in buying Unix licenses from SCO that they didn't need.

            It was MS that engineered that the alternatives to WP, and Android, could also not be bought.

            Fortunately, Tizen, Jolla, Ubuntu, Firefox OS, and possibly others are becoming available bringing back choice that had been strangled by Microsoft.

        2. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Why Android?

          It was true for the MS 'monopoly' as well. Nobody forced anyone to use Windows or IE. They just came preloaded like Android on mobile phones, and Google in Firefox and Chrome.

          1. Richard Plinston

            Re: Why Android?

            > It was true for the MS 'monopoly' as well. Nobody forced anyone to use Windows or IE.

            Yes they did. Microsoft forced the OEMs to use Windows and IE, or more specifically, they forced them, via 'loyalty' discounts, per box pricing, and other means to _not_ use anything else. This made the only things available in retail stores was Windows or Apple (who made their own hardware and OS). Even if you wanted to run Linux you were often forced to buy Windows by lack of availability of alternatives.

            > They just came preloaded like Android on mobile phones,

            But with phones there used to be a choice in the retail shops or on-line of several OSes. That was deliberately reduced by Microsoft's agreement with Nokia, not by Google.

            In many, probably most, cases Google has no contact with the phone maker and they can choose whatever system they want to. They only need to deal with Google if they want to include Google services.

            It wasn't threats from Google that killed WebOS, it was more likely that Microsoft extended the 'loyalty' discount threat to HP with WoA and RT.

            > and Google in Firefox and Chrome.

            The search bar on Firefox contains Yahoo, Bing, Amazon, eBay, DuckDuckGo and others and there is a link to add others and set preferences. Chrome also offers other search engines: Yahoo and Bing or easily add others.

            In fact Ubuntu's Firefox defaulted to using Yahoo because Yahoo paid them to do so.

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Why Android?

        @Mr Roberts

        You can easily experience what a desktop UI feels like on a mobile phone by using a remote desktop app and controlling your desktop machine from your phone. It's doable, but you wouldn't want to make a habit of it. Early versions of Windows Mobile, aka WinCE (for good reason) also tried to bring something that look like desktop Windows to small screens.

        Microsoft with Win8 and Canonical with Ubuntu are trying to develop UIs that can be used across screen sizes... Apple aren't bothering, save for bringing some iOS-style multitouch gestures to OSX (note to MS; OSX incorporated gestures in addition to existing menus, 'corners' and keyboard shortcuts. Not genius, just common sense.)

    5. ScissorHands

      Re: Why Android?

      I have one of those Linux phones. It's two years old. It's called a Nokia N9.

      And some people have another one as well. It's four years old. It's called a Nokia N900.

  4. Wanda Lust

    Comparison of openness

    I'd really like to see a comparison of openness between these leviathons, Google Android & iOS (& I'm not suggesting any allusion to FOSS).

    I've been using iOS for some time & it hasn't forced me down any roads I don't care for.

    We've a Nexus 5 coming into the household next week so maybe I'll get to work that out for myself.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Comparison of openness

      I don't know about the Nexus 5, but on most Android devices, you can side-load apps from outside the Play Store, and that can include apps that let you buy stuff from other competing App stores such as Amazon's. That alone makes it much more open than iOS.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Comparison of openness

      My reason for preferring Android is it feels more productive. It's easier to transfer stuff from one app to another - you just highlight what you want, hit share and choose the app you want to move it to - widgets mean I can quickly look at my e-mail, calendar and news in a few swipes across the homescreens. It also has SwiftKey, which is absolutely stunning. Utter magic.

      The flip side is it's controlled by Google, who want to grab all your data. I've disabled most of the hooks like keeping a record of search history with my name attached, switching to Opera Mini and so on...

      Also, many of these advantages are cancelled out for me by the fact that even my Nexus 4 has a truly laughable camera, rubbish plasticky edges and a totally uncalibrated screen. I suspect my next phone will be an iPhone. I'll have to use swiftkey in a separate note app, but I think I can live with that.

      1. Dave Fox

        Re: Comparison of openness

        I find it quite hard to believe that your post here has prompted some down votes!

        I should be an iOS person - I have 3 Macs in my house (typing this on an rMBP) and I bought my wife an iPhone and an iPad. However, for my phone and tablet requirements, I too find Android a better fit. That's not to denigrate iOS - it does what it does very well, but at this point in time it doesn't do what I *need* it to do as well as Android does.

        Your point about data sharing (via intents) is a prime example of this. Another is screens size - I regularly use my Galaxy Note 3 (and the Note 2 and original Note before it) to access servers using remote desktop. The screen size and resolution of the Note range is vast superior than the iPhone's for this particular purpose, and the S-Pen makes an absolutely superb mouse replacement when a finger simple doesn't give the required precision.

        The point is that it's all horse for courses. iPhone for works you? Great! WP8? Brilliant! Android? Good for you!

        Personally, I welcome the choice.

        So, here's an upvote for your trouble.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank goodness for Root

    Both Google's and Samsung's apps are frozen on my phone. Android works acceptably well without logging into a Google account (delete /data/system/accounts.db) with K9 email (inlcuding Gmail a/c push IMAP), GrooveIP or Skype. Google Maps works unlogged, but Google Play asks you to log in - so that's out - and contact syncing gets complicated.

    'A pox on all their houses', I say...

  6. adnim


    If I can't root it, I won't use it.

    1. Adam 1
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Shrug

      Did someone call?

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Shrug

      >If I can't root it, I won't use it.

      Are you Australian ?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sony forcasts 42m Android Xperias sales in 2013.

    10m in the last 3 months, 42m for total in 2013. More than the total and the total forcast for the failed WIndows phone...


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sony forcasts 42m Android Xperias sales in 2013.

      Not surprised. When my wife wanted a new phone, I advised her to get a Z1. Why? Because she works outside and a waterproof phone is a brilliant thing. All the fancy bling and pointless gimmicks mean nothing. A simple, logical and useful feature won the day.

      1. Bob Vistakin

        Re: Sony forcasts 42m Android Xperias sales in 2013.

        Sure a Brite yellow "look-at-me-I'm" Loonier wasn't just a little more tempting?

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Sony forcasts 42m Android Xperias sales in 2013.

        Yep, when there doesn't appear to much to choose between Sony's, Samsung's and HTC's flagship offerings, go with the waterproof phone. Let's hope that it becomes a standard feature on phones in future.

        There is a waterproof version of the Galaxy S4, (S4 Active) but it isn't available as part of a UK contract AFAIK, at least on EE.

  8. Barry Rueger

    Value vs Features vs Price

    My trusty Nexus S has died finally, so I'm shopping. Probably I'll find a used Nexus 4 on Craigslist, or maybe go one further and pay Google $350 for a Nexus 4. I'm tied sufficiently into the Googleverse that using hardware that's also predominantly Google makes sense.


    In the interim I'm using a cheap and crappy Samsung Discovery, running ICS, with no hope of ever upgrading to the beauty of JB - much less KitKat. It's slow, and kind of ugly, but I only paid $100 for it - new - and it runs everything that I use adequately well. You might call it a "landfill" phone, but for 90% of people it would actually work just fine.

    If an adequate phone can be had for $100, why would I spend $700-1000 for new Samsung or Sony device? (The asking price from any of Canada's network operators.)

    For that matter, how come the Nexus 5 which sells for $350 on Google's web site is being offered for $500 by the Canadian telcos? (Greed of course, pure unfettered greed)

    The thing that allows this level of price gouging is obvious: it is more or less impossible to buy a cel phone from anyone other than a cel provider. Whether you're paying the full (inflated) price up front, or going for the the "free" (inflated price) phone with a two year contract, you're pretty much stuck with buying from the greedy cel companies.

    The reality is that virtually no-one will know about or buy a phone from Google, because they are awash in advertising from the cel companies that imply that you have to buy from them.

    Ultimately what we in Canada need is a big enough, tough enough retail operator who will specialize in selling unlocked name brand phones at good prices. Someone with enough marketing budget to blast through the wall of cel company advertising.

    Until we can separate the hardware from the phone service we're going to continue to get screwed.

    1. Adam 1

      Re: Value vs Features vs Price

      The author doesn't seem to recognise that low price and landfill are not necessarily synonymous. The landfill expression refers to phones where critical engineering compromises were made in order to hit a particular price point. We saw this especially with touch screens and insufficient internal storage and RAM.

      Look at it this way. A galaxy s2 was in its day arguably the best smartphone. Today, a phone of equivalent specifications would easily be in the landfill price point yet as a phone it would work fine and would not blink at running words with friends or angry birds.

      To paraphrase a famous quote. Phones should be as cheap as possible; but no cheaper.

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Value vs Features vs Price

      > offered for $500 by the Canadian telcos

      Greed, plus people's stupidity. I have a Nexus 4 I bought from Google, then bought a T-Mobile SIM for $3 and signed up for $30/mo service. And that's total, including taxes and the rest.

      I have a ton of acquaintances on Verizon or AT&T or whatever for $90/mo to $160/mo PER PHONE and I tell them about this, and they say something like "oh that doesn't sound right" or "you always do weird stuff" and they keep paying their triple-digit fees.

      People are stupid.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nexus 4 owner here - caveat emptor

      It has major build quality issues. The camera is truly rubbish. The screen is very obviously inaccurate. The fake chrome edges wear away very fast. The glass back was a huge mistake. (I've been lucky so far, but who knows?) The battery life is depressing, though Android 4.3 did seem to make life a bit better.

      The Nexus 5 appears to fix many of these issues, though obviously nobody's had long to look at it yet. If you want the best Android there is, I'd wait. I'm with you on killing carrier phones, though - one reason I bought the Nexus 4 was it gave me a way out. None of these things are show-stoppers (and it is great value given the performance and screensize), but they're all annoying. As I hate OEM Android, I'm considering switching to iPhone - for all Apple's flaws, they do get hardware right.

      1. NinjasFTW

        Re: Nexus 4 owner here - caveat emptor

        I'm not sure what you mean by build quality issues in the nexus 4. I have one and the only complaint is the glass back but I use a cover so its not an issue anyway.

        I have never noticed any screen inaccuracies and get 2 days battery use with light usage (including background tasks that sync backups and lot of push messages).

        I don't use the camera much but the odd pics I take with it seem ok to me.

        I wont be getting the Nexus 5 (unless something happens to my N4) and am hoping that a Ubuntu/Tizen/Sailfish phone gets up and running for my next phone because I'm not 100% comfortable with the direction that Google/Android is heading.

        I find it funny that you think that Apple do hardware right after so many issues with home button breaking, dust in the screen in the 3's, various antenna issues in the 4, 5s accelerometer etc. It is a high quality product but not so good that its worth putting on a pedestal!

  9. Will 28

    I think you underestimate MS benefits from this

    As companies try to tie you to their services, it increasingly breaks consumer confidence. My last 3 purchases have gone:

    iPhone 3G

    Galaxy S2

    Nokia Lumia (recent, so I can't be sure if it's a great improvement)

    Each time I moved because I was pissed off with the constraints of the device. My iPhone would not work without pledging my undying loyalty to iTunes and binding everything to Apple. I moved to the open platform, suddenly Google Play would periodically start on my phone, and I couldn't uninstall it, it appears contract phones from 3 are not able to. Then other google services started running in the background, without any user interaction. So I move to a windows phone. Granted it doesn't tell me what's running, but so far it seems to be much easier to customise than the "open" platform that is/was Android. What I can be sure of is that those other two systems are driving people away by trying to take too much from them.

    Just saying, the more Google tighten their grip...

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: I think you underestimate MS benefits from this

      I agree about apps starting in the background at regular intervals.

      Google apps are definitely the worst offenders - I've removed some apps simply because I don't use them frequently enough to justify the constant periodic slowdowns.

    2. Aaronage

      Re: I think you underestimate MS benefits from this

      That's some pretty funky logic.

      Google Play/Services has always, and will always, run in the background on an Android device. It handles syncing, notifications etc. Killing it would be a bit silly.

      Moving to another platform because you see this as a loss of control is just daft. You've moved from a platform that allowed you to strip back everything to one which strictly defines your use of the device.

  10. Schultz

    Rumors of a 삼성 - Google break-up...

    I don't see if there is actual hard evidence for a break between good and Samsung. In my impression, Samsung is very pragmatic and will simply produce and sell what the customers demand. No need to break up if there is money to be made. The duplication of functionality is probably to cover their behinds just in case Android moves in an unexpected direction.

    For Google, it's harder to tell what they want out of their runaway success. Is Android still a tool to ensure open mobile access (to Google search) for everybody, or do they want to build a bright new world, following the lead of Apple. Open seems to be more successful gauging from the apple-google fight so far.

  11. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Rather good article on ArsTecnica


    Summary: Anyone who wants to take on Google is forced to copy Google Play Services' API. Only Amazon is half-way there.

  12. No Quarter

    Chill people

    I wasn't aware that Microsoft, Apple, Google or Samsumg were actually raping us up the back passage. They are just trying to sell us shiny toys and make a bit of money.

    Cut them some slack.

  13. phil dude

    let's just say it...

    let's just say it...

    we all want fantastic nokia hardware running the best of linux...;-) No?

    Ok flame bait I admit. But my experience with Android on the TF101 is that everything the manufacturer does to it, makes it worse (in this case ASUS). And of course, they stop supporting it to sell their NEW shiny product so you are compelled to root it to get anything recent e.g. malware patches....

    At least google has an incentive to keep things working,no? And since it is opensource that is at least a non-zero possibility?

    As with most of the other posters anecdotally who see phone type X vs Y, but I believe Samsung is in the stats the current leader?

    For all of you who doubt it, you can run Android on "recent" regular linux, and it has been codified into a library (bionic+libhybris I believe.). The approach taken by the Jolla folks is the Alien VM.

    I think we should all be glad there are alternatives, there is some hope that competition will make things better...


  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Far better out there...

    Yes, there are some highly acclaimed phones out there even better than the likes of Galaxy S4.

    It just happens that we sheep seek approval from our mates so the one we buy can be a bit of a downer.

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