Google is a strange company.
It’s not really a hardware manufacturer, and it’s not a simple software company either. Sometimes it seems to be a test center for machine learning algorithms. Really, it’s a strange combination of all of the above.
It’s also in a weird place when it comes to the smartphone industry. While Google knows that its future depends almost entirely on the smartphone, it must confuse being an Android business with selling the phones themselves. And the Building services that work across platforms.
This is why Google gets more regulatory attention than Apple – a bigger, richer, and more ruthless company. Google has to find a way to play fair with Samsungs and Xiaomis in the world because these companies rely on one of their biggest products: Android.
Google used to do a decent job here. We’ll see features debut on Nexus phones built on top of the Android APIs available to any company that wants to license a proprietary version of Android. Some of them were free and open source, so anyone from Amazon to an independent amateur developer could integrate them.
This started to change when Google started creating Pixel products, and the Pixel 7 event threw all that aside. Google keeps some of the best features, especially when it comes to accessibility, to itself, and I’m not sure why. I’m not entirely sure, anyway.
To understand what I’m saying, you need to have a little understanding of how Android works. Much of it is open source and available for anyone to use and modify freely. There are rules you’ll need to follow if you want access to Google’s proprietary software, but anyone can license Android once they’ve proven they have compatible hardware.
Then there are parts of Android that are closed. These usually come from hardware makers who are not forced (or willing) to share their work with competitors. So far, everything is good, and none of this really affects consumers.
The most important part of Android is different, as it is sold on Google’s own devices. It’s 100% hands-off for every other company and built with the data Google collects from all of us about the things we want and need to do with our smartphones. Proprietary APIs and ML models power many of Android’s best features, and the only way to access them is to buy a phone directly from Google.
Some parts of the new features require support through the “normal” Android APIs, and are there for any other company to use. Some are powered in part by technology licensed through GMS or Project Mainline. It’s as if Google knows it has to make a bare minimum to keep the Judicial Committees in limbo but isn’t ready to move on.
Of course, Google does not mention this aspect of its business during hardware events. Let’s say features like new contextual spatial audio could be available to all phone makers or that Clear Calling, Real Tone, and Guided Frame are locked into the Pixel brand “just because” looks aren’t good. But it will be correct.
These features aren’t exclusive to the Pixel 7 either, by the way. They are all coming to the Pixel 6 and 6a series Through Pixel feature drops, very. It will probably be faster on the Pixel 7 due to the new TPU in the Tensor G2.
this is the problem. Google has locked these features, along with others, into its hardware platform through machine learning models. Your phone, whether it’s made by Samsung, OnePlus, or any other company, actually tracks your face and can announce when you have to click the camera button. Likewise, your phone uses artificial intelligence to determine the tone and tone or sounds people make versus the sounds a loud air conditioner or exhaust pipe makes, as well as the direction they’re coming from.
These are accessibility features, and these features must be available to every Android device partner directly through Google through licensing. Yes, it may not be accurate or happen as fast as it does on the Pixel because it uses a custom chip to interpret certain ML models, but it can be designed in a way that still works as advertised.
I have no idea why Google would do this. Google is, at best, an unsuccessful hardware company—Samsung sells more phones in six months than Google sold in total. Locking features behind their brand wouldn’t be the catalyst that changes any of this.
Google would be more successful if it shared its “Pixel features” with Samsung because it would collect a lot of data. Data is dollars for a modern technology company, especially one that can use that data the way Google can. The same goes for things like keeping Fitbit premium locked to its own devices. I can’t understand it.
What I can understand, however, is that a person who would live a better life if they could use contextual spatial audio or audible camera signals due to a disability would not be happy to know that Google is segmenting Android in such a way that they force you to buy their own products when there are so many great phones out there. other.
Everything we saw from the Pixel 7 event should have been part of Android 13. In the past, it could have been. Perhaps Google plans to license its ML models or even Tensor TPU to other companies, and this is all part of the research and development process. Maybe not. I just wish it was different.
#Google #Androids #features #Pixel #paywall