The Road That Leads To Android Freedom Is Getting Narrower.

Road That Leads To Android Freedom Is Getting Narrower.

The headline screams, 

Twitter officially kills off key features in third-party apps

Here is the story.

These days, platform owners are killing off functionalities left, right and center.

First, Google wanted to restrict drastically what could be done with the accessibility service (still mulling this after serious oditeatat) impacting password managers badly – making developers scramble for alternative methods.

Going ahead with this plan would kill many apps (functionalities) that creatively do nifty things with this service on the Android platform.

There was a time File Managers on a particular android iteration were prohibited from writing to external storage devices. I think this has been lifted.

Then in Android 7 Nougat, third party apps were stripped of the ability to draw over system elements. Some apps simply went into oblivion because of this.

Android 9 Pie has now completely removed the ability for apps to record telephone calls without root, effectively rendering a class of apps redundant immediately. Manhours and investments down the drain.

Now Twitter is stripping third-party apps of functionalities it intends to keep for itself only. That’s in addition to the restriction on tokens that prohibited third-party Twitter apps from having more than a prescribed number of users.

Rooting am Android devices ised to be child’s play.  But this is getting progressively more difficult with each iteration of Android, with a wide class of functionalities (and Apps!) being rendered impotent as a result.

How dangerous is it to spend so much time and energy developing certain functionalities into am Apps, only to have them rubbished overnight? This sometimes happens when the Operating SystemPlatform. Owner itself suddenly incorporates that app functionality natively,  or the platform owner decides to go into competition (e.g – Datally vs Firewall apps, for example).

[Apple is particularly notorious for doing this kind of thing. Remember how only their own browser could do some things while third-party browsers are prohibited from doing those things? Or,third party keyboard apps being prohibited from some things the native iOS keyboard can? ]

In more recent iterations of Android (from Nougat), memory management is now more stringent (to prolong battery life). You find vital apps (like firewall or clipboard management apps – being closed down in the background despite making the appropriate settings.

I hope the freedom that Android (and developing for Android) is known for is not being systematically decimated,  making it less attractive?

Time was,  when we would cheekily taunt the Apple iOS users, I can do XYZ on Android,  can you. Those things are getting less and less!

Many of these things are clearly the result of policy and not any technical encumbrance. If this kind of situation continues, there wouldn’t be much difference between choosing either iOS or Android. We complain of iOS restricting this and prohibiting that, but Android appears to be going in this same direction now.

What would be the essence of adding features in new versions while simultaneously removing other older important functionalities?

On hearing that the latest Android Pie disables quick charging on some Pixel smartphone, my respond to someone was,

For the tech savvy, you can basically install any Android OS version through Custom ROMs.

Rather than worry myself about OS updates with the attendant changes that are often annoying, I would rather use apps to bridge whatever deficiencies or necessities.

I still run Android Marshmallow, ably supported by apps,  by the way.

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