HTC continues its decoupling strategy, releases its web browser on the Play Store

HTC continues its decoupling strategy, releases its web browser on the Play Store
Yesterday, HTC's proprietary browser joined the likes of the HTC Gallery, HTC Clock, HTC Lockscreen, HTC Weather, and many more on the Google Play Store. This is yet another step in HTC's strategy of decoupling its proprietary apps from the core, Android-based Sense UI.

Google was first to initiate this process on a significant scale, and nowadays you can get previously-unavailable stock Android apps off the Play Store. HTC's joining in makes sense, and we expect more and more manufacturers to follow. But why do they do it? It's quite simple, actually, and it underscores a very significant issue with Android – that of software version fragmentation. Indeed, the latest Google-published stats indicate that Android 5.0 Lollipop hasn't reached even 0.1% of all devices on the market, while the now mature Android 4.4 KitKat i still under 40%. 

The reasons for this are several. First, a non-stock Android interface, like the one employed by pretty much every manufacturer nowadays, will obviously require extra work and bug-testing compared to just stock Android, and second, the many, many devices sold through a carrier first need to be tested and approved by that same service provider before a firmware is cleared to go. In order to bypass the carriers altogether, Google and HTC both are now pushing updates to their apps through the Play Store, allowing them to react to vulnerabilities at a moment's notice and add functionality at will.

Of course, proprietary apps are still only a part of the entire Android experience, and the process of updating them through the Play Store is a workaround at best and not a solution for software updates. Unfortunately, for the time being, it doesn't look like this issue is going anywhere.

source: Play Store via AndroidOS

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16 Comments

1. tokuzumi

Posts: 1900; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

Two thumbs up for HTC. I wish I could uninstall the browser that came with my S4. I only use Chrome.

12. engineer-1701d unregistered

who dont know allow samsung and other phones to buy and use that would increase the sales numbers.

2. Neros

Posts: 1016; Member since: Dec 19, 2014

I only use samsung's browser. Chrome is laggy as fck.

7. GeorgeDao123

Posts: 432; Member since: Aug 20, 2013

You should reply the upper comment.

3. sip1995

Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

Love the HTC browser on my M7...

10. nyuhsuk

Posts: 12; Member since: Sep 28, 2009

I couldn't handle losing the Labs Pie thing and Flash support. Uninstalled. I think Text Reflow isn't worth it enough to update.

16. gaara6775

Posts: 738; Member since: May 20, 2014

So true. I missed there browser after installing cm11.

4. suneeboy

Posts: 201; Member since: Oct 02, 2012

They need to get carrier bloatware and hoops out of the way like Apple did so that fragmentation can be minimized.

5. Furbal unregistered

Keep it up, 5.0 is looking/working nice on my M8 dev edition convert.

6. xtroid2k

Posts: 601; Member since: Jan 11, 2010

Honestly with the maturity of Android at this point. The next step should be a more unified update process, like with windows. When Microsoft releases Windows 10 it won't be available on select devices it will be available to all and there will be backward compatiblity on select devices. Android is poised to be the next major OS. But needs to make smart business decisions and a more consumer friendly atmosphere.

11. Tziggy14

Posts: 624; Member since: Sep 02, 2014

next major OS? by who? Android is not going to surpass Windows. It's a mobile OS.

14. strudelz100

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

Next major OS with ZERO hardware makers with healthy profits? That's not how business works. Despite its popularity, If Android hardware makers can't start making money selling devices: They will stop.

15. downphoenix

Posts: 3165; Member since: Jun 19, 2010

many of the manufacturers are clearly exaggerating their losses on android if they keep on making them. If they were bleeding money as badly as they complained they would stop. Well there's Sony, but Sony isn't exactly smart.

8. PhoneCritic

Posts: 1354; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

This is indubitably the right move by a manufacture. the one thing I have a disdain for is the major carriers and their irrational months of testing to slow down any firmware and version update. Case in point -Verizon. By the time they are done with their testing it is about 10 months later and by that time the user no longer cares about updating their device because a new version of that device, that has the new firmware and update pre-loaded is out. It seems that this is intentional on their part to get you to pay for a new device and sign another two year contract. However, if every manufacture started to emulate HTC and started moving their core UI apps to the play store then this would be shorten the carriers testing period by months. I hope that one day all the Android updates for devices can be downloaded from the play store bypassing these procrastinating carriers. Good move on HTC part.

9. egbtmagus

Posts: 93; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

I prefer how LG does it on the G3. You can uninstall majority of the included apps like any normal app and if you want to redownload them you just use the update center to choose the LG apps you want. Its also where LG pushes updates for their apps by passing carrier restrictions.

13. strudelz100

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

Thanks HTC. Just downloaded it for my pure AOSP One S Android Toy. But Ghostery is so much better. Protects private data and Saves data bandwidth that I shouldn't be wasting sending analytics to 80 Advertising companies when visiting some websites. And its as smooth as AOSP Browser. And doesn't take up three times the average RAM like Chrome does.

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