Thursday, July 5, 2018 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Who Will Steal Android From Google?

Steve Yegge (Hacker News):

Why does everyone need mobile devs? Because the web is slowly dying. I have friends — well, probably ex-friends now — in just about every org at Google, who used to point me at their gloomy graphs, and it doesn’t matter how you slice it, the web’s in a steady decline as the whole world moves to mobile.

[…]

And don’t even get me started about device compatibility. I have a bunch of angry 1-star reviews in the Google Play Store because my Wyvern game app randomly didn’t work on LG devices, so I had to go on eBay and buy a crummy $60 LG device (as opposed to a crummy $600 LG device) to repro the bug and discover that hey, there are two Android APIs for getting mouse-click events on a scrolling list, but one of those APIs doesn’t work on LG.

[…]

So here’s what has happened: A bunch of competitors, big and small, have come out with their own replacement Android frameworks. I’m not just talking about support libraries for missing functionality, though those exist aplenty. No. I am talking about full-scale replacements for Google’s entire Android development stack. Microsoft has Xamarin, Adobe has Cordova, Facebook has React Native, I mean it’s crazy town.

[…]

The thing about these dev frameworks is that they make Google vulnerable. Most of them are cross-platform, which means you write a single app and it runs on both iOS and Android.

[…]

But consider: If all mobile developers were to start using a particular cross-platform framework X, then literally any other hardware/OS manufacturer or consortium could come along with their own competing hardware/OS platform (like, say, Windows) that supports that framework X directly, and all the apps would run on it (probably faster, to boot), which would cut Google out entirely.

Via Michael Love:

This is a more realistic approach to how Microsoft or whoever might break the Google/Apple app duopoly, but still requires a lot of stuff to be rewritten that it no longer makes financial sense to rewrite.

Apple have correctly recognized cross-platform frameworks as an existential threat, which not only explains Marzipan but also why iOS 12 tries so hard to make native apps buttery-smooth / clearly-superior-to-React-et-al again.

Previously: Airbnb Switching Away From React Native.

2 Comments

> and all the apps would run on it

But that's... good... right? It sounds like Yegge is saying that Google is doing something wrong, when they're really doing everybody a huge favor by not trying to lock people into their ecosystem. So now I can run Android apps on my weird Sailfish device, and I can write code in Unity and compile it for the Mac and for Windows and for Android without having to worry about platform-specific code. All of this is amazing and great, both for devs and for users!

I assume Google had realised that and invested in Flutter

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