Possible solution for the patent war ... ?

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Feb 3, 2012 7:15:52 AM

Hello people,

I'm not an expert in this matter but the main issue now that Samsung is facing is that it's being accused of patent infringements for selling phones having an Android OS. The situation I want to describe is as follows:
Samsung or any other android phone manufacturer sells their phones without the main OS, but a BIOS-like booter.
This BIOS would then allow customers to install the OS of their choice (In this case Android). (Just like a normal PC)

That would definitely solve the problem of users bricking their phones, but my questions are:
1. Will this help manufacturers evade patent infringement accusations ?
2. Is it feasible ?

Looking forward for your comments

Feb 3, 2012 1:05:20 PM

Hmm...you make a good point, but I think if it were that simple Samsung and Google would have already considered it as an option.

Also, in the end even if users had a choice of which OS to install (which would already be insanely tedious to implement in a consumer friendly fashion), the OS would still remain on the phone, meaning that the end result would be the same.

Also, having to install the OS themselves on the phone would seem like too much for a lot of consumers, and would most likely push many of them directly to the iPhone.

— modified on Feb 3, 2012 1:06:09 PM

Feb 3, 2012 2:17:05 PM

Thank you for you comment

Eric McBride
Also, in the end even if users had a choice of which OS to install (which would already be insanely tedious to implement in a consumer friendly fashion), the OS would still remain on the phone, meaning that the end result would be the same.
This statement is a bit vague to me, so please correct me if I didn't catch your point correctly. OS choices are already out there. I have a friend who flashes a new ROM every week. So in my opinion, the customer could chose to flash the mainstream ROM, the manufacturer's ROM, or any other custom ROM out there. But in this case the software required to load these ROMs would be hard coded in a bios chip which makes a phone unbrickable.

Eric McBride
Also, having to install the OS themselves on the phone would seem like too much for a lot of consumers, and would most likely push many of them directly to the iPhone.
I thought of that, but this option will make other customers more excited to purchase such devices (like me). After all, Android is mostly attractive for its customizability and this option would just push it to the next level. I do agree that in the end it's all about the number of customers, so in this case Google or the manufacturers should make some sort of survey to study the market's reaction beforehand. I think if a survey like this already exists then this idea was already investigated seriously but not considered. I never saw such survey, this is why I was interested to see your opinions.

Feb 3, 2012 5:30:47 PM

Ah ok..you mean having the choice of which custom Android ROM to install? I thought you meant that you would basically boot up the phone, and you would have a choice between booting android, windows mobile, or another OS. Got ya. But if you mean custom ROMS, that could be a really big headache, as Google would have to check that all the custom ROMS you could boot up would legally comply to Androids standards.

And your right, for people like you and me, that choice would be exciting...but Apple has proven that the average consumer wants something that they can turn on, and BAM..it just works. I really like your ideas, but I think it would be hard to capture the mass market with such a concept, as its more targeted for people like you and me who like being able to customize, root, and modify our phones operating system.

Feb 6, 2012 12:56:19 PM

Alain Haddad
What do you mean by "legally comply to Androids standards" ?

It means that even though Android is open source, you cant do EVERYTHING with it that you want. Maybe you have heard of Cyanogen, probably the most famous Android modder. Check out what Google wrote to him due to the way he built a customized ROM and you ll see what I mean:

http://gizmodo.com/5367420/google-threatens-cyanogen-android-hacker-with-cease+and+desist

Remember..while Androids source code is open source...specific google products like gmail and youtube,ect are NOT. Those applications are Googles intellectual property, meaning that Google controls how they are distributed.

— modified on Feb 6, 2012 12:57:13 PM

Feb 7, 2012 4:19:07 PM

mm, yes I've heard of the guy but never knew Google wrote him to stop...
I'm thinking of another approach now. How about extremely decentralized production.
In this case, main manufacturers like Samsung would not sell the entire device but only sell parts such as processors, screens, etc... to numerous manufacturers.
There's no way you can take on 10000 manufacturing companies...
This will also help boost third world countries' economies by promoting localized assembly and production...

Feb 8, 2012 12:55:10 PM

Well, in all honesty, Google has more than enough power and influence to take on 10000 companies. :) But the issue is, I personally wouldnt like to see 10000 companies actually making the phones. How many of those 10000 would produce high quality devices, and how many would produce bad ones that could in the long term damage Androids reputation?

Also, in terms of the software, how could Google release updates for so many manufacturers? Its already difficult enough doing it for just Samsung, HTC, Motorola, LG, and Sony! The method that you mention, while extremely interesting and creative, would take fragmentation (which is already a problem within the Android ecosystem) to an entirely new level.

Feb 9, 2012 8:16:45 AM

What I'm suggesting is not for near future...
Fragmentation is an issue but it's currently being worked upon. Provided the solution is a scalable one, then we would expect that any new version of Android will be installable on all devices right away. And this is without the intervention of Google to tweak it just right for each device. ...of course provided the system has the requirements.
If this is done right, it will help develop the mindset that differentiates between hardware and software which, in turn, provides more immunity to the presence of bad hardware.
Take a look at what Microsoft is doing in the computer industry. Hardware manufacturers are numerous. Windows is able to run on just about any of the hardware sets. Yes there are people using Macs,but the way I see it Windows-based systems are more numerous.

I also want to add that it shouldn't be up to Google to insure that newest version of Android runs on all devices. It should leverage the efforts of the hardware manufactures to provide the right drivers. This way, the newest version will be released to existing devices with a small fraction of the current time. To further reduce this time, Google should put forward some standards for the drivers that the manufacturers can follow.

Feb 9, 2012 12:29:13 PM

Hmm...its really an interesting concept, and yes, it shouldnt be solely Google's responsibility to make sure Android runs properly on each device. The microsoft example is a good one, but the difference is that Microsofts OS is not open source, so theres no modifying it. If 10,000 different companies are all making Android phones, they would all simply need to comply to Googles licensing standards. In theory it could work. It would be a hell of a job to implement though.

— modified on Feb 9, 2012 12:29:22 PM