back to article Google gets smooth early Android releases. OEMs are struggling

The rollout of Android 7.0 on some Samsung devices has smacked them right in the battery. Meanwhile in the background, further competition issues around the Google mobile OS are brewing. Testing by GSMArena reveals a dramatic loss of battery life on the Samsung S7 Edge (Exynos 8890 version) using the platform update. Battery …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Joke

    Loss of battery life???

    Hey, that functionality belongs to Apple. Stop copying it!

    Te-he

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Loss of battery life???

      It's been a not uncommon issue with Android updates on non-Nexus hardware in the past... normally fixed a little while later.

    2. wolfetone Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Loss of battery life???

      The Josbian cult won't like that.

      Not the joke, but the fact another manufacturer has stolen their USP!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Loss of battery life???

      Well, I have a Nexus 5x and the battery life is slightly improved since Android 6, with the jump to 7.1.1

      So It's not Android, it's Samsung that is the issue here. Nice try thou.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Loss of battery life???

        > So It's not Android, it's Samsung that is the issue here. Nice try thou.

        Not just Samsung, it's sometimes others, as the article notes. I use Android and not iOS, and before upgrading the OS i wait a couple of weeks and lurk around forums to see if other users of my specific handset have experienced any issues.

        Of course there are more handsets out there that use Snapdragon SoCs - including most Nexus phones - than use Samsung's Exonyss or whatever it's called.

    4. LDS Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Loss of battery life???

      It's just a specific feature which activates on Samsung devices, hoping to put them on fire.... <G>

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    Awww.... come on !

    You practically have to have your head up your ass to NOT see the conflict of interest here...

    From the moment Google started to make their own phones...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Awww.... come on !

      Yes and no. If Google's aiming to make money on Pixel it would be one thing, but if it's making Pixel to try to get the OEMs to produce better phones it's a different matter.

      1. AMBxx Silver badge

        Re: Awww.... come on !

        Is Samsung are complaining now, just wait until Google decide to stop releasing updates outside of their own phones leaving their OEMs stranded on 7.0

        1. Paul Hargreaves
          FAIL

          Re: Awww.... come on !

          You mean, unlike the customers who are stranded on old versions?

          My S6 Edge says 'Android 6.0.1', 'Android security patch level 1 October 2016'.

          What happened to 7.0? LG managed to ship that back in August.

          Or even, just more security updates since Google keep providing Samsung (and everyone) with patches.

          Funnily enough, my (HTC) Pixel says '7.1.1', and is currently updating to the February 2017 patches.

          The whole point is that Google are showing that it's entirely possible to bring updates out, consistently, and frequently. That's probably because they don't distract themselves by releasing 1000 variants yearly (SM-G920 / SM-G925 / SM-G928, in F and I variants - and that's just the S6 brand), or some of the recent junk such as the Galaxy J1 mini prime, J3 Emerge, C7 Pro, etc....

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Awww.... come on !

            Precisely, if the manufacturers stuck to a handful of well designed phones, a entry, a mid and a high end, and stick to using a global capable chipset, rather than cutting corners and producing phones for each market, then they wouldn't have the vast number of phones to support, and could focus on supporting them properly.

            If Google can make 1 Pixel that works across the Globe, then so can Samsung, HTC, LG and Sony.

          2. Justin Pasher

            Re: Awww.... come on !

            "The whole point is that Google are showing that it's entirely possible to bring updates out, consistently, and frequently."

            I don't quite see why people miss the big reason why non-Google phones have a longer delivery cycle. Have you ever used a Google phone versus another manufacturer like Samsung? If you have, you'd notice the obvious difference. Samsung has put a lot of work into making their interface consistent across all of their devices via the TouchWiz interface. If you compare the S4 through the S7, you'll notice that all of them operate very similarly (interface-wise). Google simply takes what they've created as stock and slaps it on the phone. When a new release comes out, they can easily deploy it because everything in the release is basically exactly what goes on the phone. Samsung has to update, tweak, and compatibility test all of the customizations they have made to integrate them into the new release. If Samsung ran stock, I'm sure major updates would be released a lot faster. If you look at the security point releases for the S7, Samsung actually keeps pace quite well.

            You also have the issue with carrier tie-in. It's why the Samsung on AT&T can receive the update on a different timeline than the exact same Samsung on Verizon. Each carrier will want their own control over how things are built to make sure their own cruft gets included.

            1. Paul Hargreaves

              Re: Awww.... come on !

              I agree.

              Samsung tried stock for a while with the Google Play Edition, but even when they weren't adding TouchWiz they still took forever to release updates. Example: http://www.gsmarena.com/samsung_galaxy_s4_google_play_edition_finally_receives_android_51-news-13959.php

              S7 only got recently updated because there isn't a newer flagship; I had the Note7 (RIP), and I suspect the second the S8 ships the S7 will start to get the same treatment the S6 gets currently.

              Samsung are crazy; not only do they have TouchWiz, they also have Good Lock, which is actually more useful IMO than TouchWiz but... wow... they must really have nothing better to do than maintain (or not) all these different versions of stuff, an entire Store. Oh, and the Game Launcher stuff, GearVR, etc. etc. etc.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Awww.... come on !

              There is nothing standard about a Samsung. They intentionally swapped the back and task switch buttons around so once you own a Samsung, it's too traumatic to change.

  3. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Devil

    Pixel is the reference phone, code works for Google, OEMs sort out the mess on their hardware

    I can't see a conflict of interest there at all.

    1. Anonymous Blowhard

      Re: Pixel is the reference phone, code works for Google, OEMs sort out the mess on their hardware

      "I can't see a conflict of interest there at all."

      But if Google is taking technical decisions and making updates to Android, based on it's knowledge and implementation of Pixel hardware, and not communicating to the OEMs about this then the OEMs are at a trading disadvantage; remember that the big Android OEMs are paying Google money for it, so they can expect some consideration in this.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Pixel is the reference phone, code works for Google, OEMs sort out the mess on their hardware

        From what I've read online, it is difficult to lay your hands on a Pixel phone. Indeed, there have been some reports in the last few days that production is to end. I dont know if this limited supply is a deliberate decision by Google.

        1. WonkoTheSane
          Linux

          Re: Pixel is the reference phone, code works for Google, OEMs sort out the mess on their hardware

          "Indeed, there have been some reports in the last few days that production is to end."

          In the last week or two, rumours have begun to surface of a "Pixel 2" later this year.

          In other news, my Pixel C tablet updated itself to Android 7.1.2 yesterday.

          No news of updates on my Nexus 6P

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pixel is the reference phone, code works for Google, OEMs sort out the mess on their hardware

        Pixel hardware, Nexus Hardware, Qualcomm and MediaTek chipsets and more, MUCH more.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Odd...

    ..you can't get Google Assistant on a Google OS, but you can get Cortana.

    Go figure.

    1. Paul Hargreaves
      WTF?

      Re: Odd...

      And yet, I click on the assistant button on the Pixel and have this conversation:

      me> what are you

      pixel< I'm your Google Assistant

      me> what can you do

      pixel< Here are some things you can ask for:

      [stuff]

      For non-Pixel phones you can *also* get it. All you have to do is install a copy of Google Allo from the Play store.

      I launch that on my S6 Edge, click on 'Google Assistant', and...

      me> what is the point

      s6 edge< i think the point is to leave the world better than you found it

      So, you *can* get it on any modern phone that runs Android (and has the Play store) though it's not directly linked to a button like, for example the trash that S-Voice.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Odd...

      Isn't Google Now a voice assistant type thing?

      Oh, I just checked and it's being discontinued, oops, carry on.

  5. AndrueC Silver badge
    Unhappy

    First they introduce Doze which didn't improve my battery life but did make receiving push notifications for my email client a bit problematic. The next major version of Android is supposed to include an even more aggressive version of Doze and co-incidentally worsens battery life on my device.

    I thought Google employed clever programmers? Or maybe there's something in this unfair competition malarkey after all :-/

    Either way since buying my S7 Edge I've increasingly felt that Android was no longer the home for me. I used to have a fairly generic, pocket sized computer I could carry around with me that I felt would do whatever I wanted. Now various developers of applications I use are starting to complain about the API not allowing them to do certain things they need to do. For IMAP push notifications I believe developers have been advised to switch to Google's proprietary notification system which incurs a financial cost on them and a privacy cost on the users.

    IMAP v. Android.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Thanks, I wondered why K9 battery usage had shot up.

      Now I need to disable battery optimisations for just for K9 to bring it back down.

      Welcome to Google, where this even makes sense.

      1. Duffy Moon
        Joke

        "Thanks, I wondered why K9 battery usage had shot up.

        Now I need to disable battery optimisations for just for K9 to bring it back down.

        Welcome to Google, where this even makes sense."

        Maybe you need Professor Marius to take a look at the little fella.

    2. Paul Hargreaves

      Unfortunately, you've not got many choices.

      iOS. Where software guys have to program specifically for the background API: https://developer.apple.com/library/content/documentation/iPhone/Conceptual/iPhoneOSProgrammingGuide/BackgroundExecution/BackgroundExecution.html

      Fail to do it and your app gets paused (and killed, to free RAM)

      Android: As per the link you posted, follow the process properly or your app gets paused (eventually) and killed (to free RAM)

      Microsoft: Err...

      BlackBerry: Now Android

      Simbian: ?

      Any other contenders?

  6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    OEMs largely only have themselves to blame

    If they contributed more actively to things that use AOSP then not only would they be able to release security fixes (the most important part) and OS updates much more frequently, but they would have less work doing so.

    LineageOS (the successor to CyanogenMod) already has an impressive list of devices and, minor problems aside (do make sure you backup before trying it, is working well. Smoother than CM13.1 on my Samsung S5 and battery life seems better – could be down to Doze. Notifications on CM 14.1 were definitely more of a problem.

    IMO Google will only be in trouble if they stop providing timely updates to AOSP. But this would also give OEMs more power and also drive people away from the services they're hoping to make money on.

  7. Lamont Cranston
    WTF?

    Samsung, et al. complaining about not receiving timely Android updates?

    No, stop, my sides...

  8. LDS Silver badge

    Microsoft copies Google, Google copies Microsoft...

    Google get some tricks from the MS bag this time, when MS products too advantage far earlier of new OS features, often some "undocumented" ones... and they could even upgrade some pieces of the OS itself.

    After all did someone believe they wold have let MS copy their slurping doing nothing?? <G>

  9. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    bah and humbug

    will give the latest and newest android upgrades a skip... don't need a flattery that goes phut as soon as you start browsing...

  10. RyokuMas
    Facepalm

    Somehow...

    ... I told you so just doesn't seem to cut it...

  11. Daggerchild Silver badge

    Power issues and responsibility

    Spin it any which way you like, but the 'competitive' Android market collectively decided to connect the Android maternity hospital directly to an Orphanage, screwing the consumer.

    Google's line exists to stop the competitive bar falling into the mud again. There aren't really any other ways to do it beside competing.

    The remaining question is should Google be allowed to bundle Google Assistant. That's really the only discriminating factor. Everything else is noise.

    1. Bucky 2

      Re: Power issues and responsibility

      That's pretty much exactly where I stand.

      If the OEMs didn't have such difficulty typing "make" every few weeks, I might have a different opinion about monopolies and bundling and Google's new handset.

      But they've exhausted my sympathies.

  12. Mikel

    It would be a conflict of interest if it were Google holding things up. I don't see that happening. I see the hitch being OEMs dragging their feet.

  13. Planty Bronze badge
    FAIL

    #fail

    Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 7.1.1; Xperia Z3 Tablet Compact Build/NMF26V) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/55.0.2883.91 Safari/537.36

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