Android needs more extras from networks, says founder

One of the inventors of Android has declared that manufacturers and networks should change the way Android works.

One of the men who invented Android has declared that phone manufacturers and networks should make more of an effort to change the way Google's mobile operating system works. Yeah, I know what you're thinking -- is he nuts? But bear with us: he may have a point.

Speaking at a conference on open sourcery, Rich Miner said adding extras to Android is "a big opportunity" for manufacturers and networks "that they seem to have left on the table", Fierce Mobile Content (!) reports.

Miner was one of the founders of Android Inc in 2003, before the company was bought by Google in 2005. Why is he so keen to see others mess with his baby?

Many phone fans prefer manufacturers and networks to just leave them alone with untainted Android. But we can see Miner's point, in that Android represents an opportunity to come up with eye-popping, cool and clever new interfaces.

Android can be customised up the wazoo, thanks to its open-source code. That varies from making small tweaks to the basic look and feel to completely reinventing the interface. Sadly, few companies really go to the trouble of transforming Android -- the best example I can think of is Amazon's dramatic revamp on the Amazon Kindle Fire HD tablet. It emphasises that slate's multimedia capabilities and channels users into buying more music and movies and books.

Half-hearted

Instead, manufacturers have bodged on skins such as HTC Sense or Samsung TouchWiz that barely change the operating system at all -- no wonder the lack of differentiation between Android phones is a problem if they're all using basically the same software.

Meanwhile, networks load on pointless bloatware apps. C'mon guys: the whole point of an app-based device is that you only download the ones you want!

And to the chagrin of phone fans, all these half-hearted tweaks just get in the way when it comes time to update to a new version of Android, such as Jelly Bean.

The only network service I'm interested in is checking how much data or minutes and texts I've used, and quickly and easily paying for extras such as roaming. Apart from that, the only bloatware app I've ever used is Orange Wednesday, and I actively avoid things like Sony's TimeScape. Enough of these half-hearted tweaks! For me, networks and manufacturers should either change everything or change nothing.

Do you ever use any of the extras added to your phone? What would you find useful for your network to add? Or should networks, manufacturers and everyone else leave your phone alone completely? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.

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Phones
About the author

Rich Trenholm is a senior editor at CNET where he covers everything from phones to bionic implants. Based in London since 2007, he has travelled the world seeking out the latest and best consumer technology for your enjoyment.

 

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