Android 4, Ice Cream Sandwich, is expected to be released and demonstrated on new products this week. It’s about time but the wait shall have been worth it:
- Android 4 will be back to fully Open Source.
- It will run on (almost) anything.
- Some recent phones may get an update and the whole system of updates should be smoother.
- With two months left before Christmas, a bunch of us should have an excuse to buy one. This will put iPhone well back in the pack and take a bite out of iPad’s lead.
The point about being again open source has huge repercussions. It will put all OEMs on the same footing, restoring any faltering confidence in the platform and all the tweakers on the planet can actually explore the code and submit improvements. Being closed source put a damper on too much.
So far, in 2011, the field of tablets has been abandoned to Apple somewhat. This will put an end to that as any OEM can now put out a first-class tablet just like the big guys. This will provoke an explosion of innovation and competition which should be good for us consumers.
The point about running on anything is also huge. This will inspire the Android-x86ers to put this thing on desktops and notebooks for content generators as well as consumers. Combine that with LibreOffice being ported to Android/Linux and to a web application and my prophecy that ARM will take on desktop roles should be achievable and soon. There is still likely a year before M$ releases “8” so, between hardware and software developments and growth of markets, M$ will be far back in the field.
All in all, this development answers the majority of criticisms of Android. From my point of view the only thing better would be a change of licence but I doubt that will happen. Still, 2011 is going to end on a strong note for Linux, Android and Free Software. The only cloud on the horizon is Apple’s machinations which are being entertained by courts. The sooner the courts wake up the better. Having every high tech business able to block every other high tech product is not sustainable. Either the courts or legislators need to fix software and business methods patents sooner rather than later.