HTC continues its decoupling strategy, releases its web browser on the Play Store
posted by Chris P. / Jan 14, 2015, 8:38 AM
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.
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.
posted on Jan 14, 2015, 8:53 AM 6
Posts: 1771; Member since: Feb 07, 2014
Love the HTC browser on my M7...
posted on Jan 14, 2015, 9:23 AM 2
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.
posted on Jan 14, 2015, 12:10 PM 0
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.
posted on Jan 14, 2015, 5:39 PM 0
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.
posted on Jan 14, 2015, 9:40 PM 0
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.
posted on Jan 14, 2015, 12:17 PM 0
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.
posted on Jan 14, 2015, 1:58 PM 0
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.
posted on Jan 14, 2015, 5:27 PM 0
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