Kenny in Briarcliff Manor, New York asked:
I’ve been hearing a lot that Android manufacturers such as Samsung might be switching over to their own OS and away from Android. Wondering about your thoughts on that and what it means to Google, those hardware manufacturers and the end user who may be a fan of Android.
Kenny, there have been rumors about some manufactures wanting to ditch Android for a while, but now the rumors seems to be getting louder, and according to other rumors Google wants to ditch manufacturers too, so it could happen. It probably doesn’t mean as much to Google, plenty of phone makers will want Android, and Android is nothing without Google’s services. Without Gmail, Calendar, Maps, Google Assistant, Photos, the Play Store with its apps, music, videos, books, podcasts, and everything else Google provides, what’s left of Android?
If you’ve used any non-Nexus Android phone, you probably know just how awful manufacturer’s apps are, imagine a whole operating system by the same companies? Now take a look at what happened to BlackBerry and Microsoft, who made pretty decent operating systems. It will be hard for anyone to fully drop Android, Google’s services, and Google’s app and media libraries.
Although, let’s be honest here, Samsung had their proprietary OS, called “Tizen,” working back in 2013. If they were going to switch away from Android, they probably would have by now. Even though Samsung has been known to stubbornly pursue a course of action that seems unreasonable to the rest of the world, it’s quite likely that this is all bluster, trying to negotiate with Google. Google is under fire from a lot of directions for insisting that, to use Android, you must have the Google Play store and certain core Google apps on your phone. That’s not only drawn ire from Samsung but it also has the EU climbing up Google’s corporate backside.
Three years from now, we’ll probably all still be deciding between iOS and Android, with precious little else to choose from. On the other hand, too many operating systems dilutes the app market and no one here likes watered down apps. We think it’s likely that the major names in phones stick with what they have.
Jeff in Bainbridge, Georgia asked:
Wondering if you have any information on the Google Home, when it’s going to be released. I know it’s supposed to be Fall, but what month? And what the differences in features between it and the Amazon Echo.
For those who don’t know, Google Home is basically Google’s version of the Amazon Echo, a speaker that can access Google Assistant (the old Google Now), play Google Music, and interface with home automation device.
Now, Jeff, the truth is that we know next to nothing about Google Home, we know Google says it will be released “later” in 2016, but nothing specific about when, know it will feature microphones and speakers, but we don’t know how they will compare to the Echo’s (which are very good).
We don’t know how Google’s voice assistant will compare either. We expect that the information you’ll get will be exactly as good as what you get when you ask your Android phone question, you just won’t get the images, or movie trailers, but we don’t know how quickly you’ll get responses. Waiting without a spinning circle to remind you that something’s going on may not be very pleasant.
We really don’t know much at all about Google Home. We know Google is working on it and plans to release it, we know it’s supposed to do home automation and have a speaker and microphone, we know you’ll have access to different bases to make it fit a little better with your home decor, but that’s about it, we don’t even have a price for it.
Jeff, if you’re interested, you’re probably better off waiting until it’s released, and until you’ve had a chance to look at it with a cool head when it’s out. So far we don’t know enough to really know what to expect from it.