We’ve said it before (Bad Robot!), but after the Android 2.0/Nexus One developments, it really bears repeating: Google either do not understand or do not care about community once their immediate corporate goals have been met.
In the Bad Robot! blog, Greg commented on the disparity between Google’s talk of Android’s openness and their provision of early candidates of the cupcake release only to selected customers with NDAs. Google needed to get Android into the hands of developers to create the rich library of apps that would make Open Handset Alliance’s handsets attractive to customers and compete with the iPhone. Yet, by holding back on the releases, they left a lot of these developers in limbo, not knowing what the future held and being unable to plan how to allocate scarce resources or whether their work would even have to be thrown away. Bear in mind that most mobile developers are small companies or individuals, and so are greatly effected by this kind of treatment. Why screw with the very people you need for your success?
Eventually the cupcake release was made public and everyone picked themselves up, dusted off the software and got on with it. I, for one, was hoping that Google had learnt a lesson from the understandably angry reaction on the android developer lists. However, the launch of the Nexus One handset and Android 2.0 shows that Google have not. In fact, they probably weren’t even paying attention the first time around.
Other commentators have remarked upon the numerous ways in which Google’s release of their own-brand handset screws over their partners in the Open Handset Alliance and others in the industry, but what has been missed from most media commentary is the callous disregard Google have shown (again) for their developer “community” with Android 2.0. The fact is that the 2.0 release was announced on 27th October 2009, but yet it is still not available on the ADP1 development handset, and indeed may never be.
About a year ago developers were encouraged to pay $US500 for the handset in order to try out their apps on a real phone. In conjunction with HTC, the producer of the handset, Android updates for the ADP1 were made available for web download. Yet, despite repeated pleas from the community such as here and here, no release of 2.0 is forthcoming. Indeed, Google has not even had the courtesy to make an official announcement on the future of the ADP1.
So here we developers are again – cold shouldered by the corporate giant and yet expected to provide apps to lure customers to buy their phone. Google’s behaviour is also rather contemptuous of customers – some developers are receiving feedback that their widgets don’t work properly under 2.0, and yet are unable to recreate and fix the problem because there is no access to 2.0 on a dev handset.
So whilst I heartily agree with the rhetoric of Android and the Open Handset Alliance, I like the Android UI, API and linux/java-like platform, and I enjoy developing i-jetty, the realization of the rhetoric falls far, far short of what we should expect of a company like Google. Or …. is it exactly what we should expect of a company like Google?
This judge awards you nul points, Google.