Is Google Bored With Android?

Posted by Matt Birchler
— 1 min read

Several week ago John Gruber wrote this:

Do you get the sense that Google, company-wide, is all that interested in Android? I don’t. Both as the steward of the software platform and as the maker of Pixel hardware, it seems like Google is losing interest in Android. Flagship Android hardware makers sure are interested in Android, but they can’t move the Android developer ecosystem — only Google can.

To which Android Central replied as such:

That's what Daring Fireball had to say recently and it's such a bad take that my fingers started itching to talk about it. Google's definitely not bored with Android and changes in both Android 10 and Android 11 show that Google is even more attentive to Android than Apple is to iOS. Fight me.

Ooh, spicy 🌶

Here’s what I’ll say, iOS 14 has tons of stuff for me to talk about, there are thousands of words that could be spilled about the new user-facing features and privacy protections, and it is worth running the beta on my devices because it’s notably different and better than last year’s release. Android 11 feels almost identical to Android 10, which also felt nearly identical to Android 9.

That’s not to say Android has not improved, and it’s changes to gestures are a big upgrade over the 3 button system they had before, but the tweaks are so minor that it’s hard to get excited about any of them.

in fact, when the Android 11 beta came out for Pixels in May, I planned to spend the 3 weeks between that and WWDC using my Pixel 4 as my daily driver so I could steep myself in the changes from last year. I did spend those 3 weeks basically entirely on Android, but after just a day or two I found myself accessing “top new features in Android 11” articles to even remember what had changed.

I don’t know if Google is technically “bored” with Android, and I’m sure the teams working on the project are working hard on it, but as a company it really does feel like Google is less interested in making Android great, and more interested in making their services more appealing. The company seems more interested in G Suite and video conferencing than Android to me.