« The Droid phone was so important to early Android that it has its very own chapter (Chapter 45, “Droid Did”). You can go read that now if you’d like. I’ll wait. » Androids n’est pas un livre aux chapitres décousus, mais un blog aux articles inégaux. D’une biographie à l’autre, Chet Haase répète encore et encore les mêmes anecdotes, Microsoft-a-acheté-WebTV et Access-a-acheté-PalmSource-qui-avait-repris-Be et rendez-vous-compte-tout-ce-beau-monde-s’est-retrouvé-chez-Android.

Androids souffre d’une double absence. Celle d’Apple, d’abord, dont le rôle évident dans la redéfinition des projets de la firme de Mountain View est minimisé avec une légèreté qui confine à la mauvaise foi. Chet Haase travaille toujours pour Google, ce qui lui garantit un accès de premier ordre aux sources de première main, mais l’empêche de faire entendre une autre voix que celle de son maitre.

Celle d’Andy Rubin, ensuite et surtout, dont l’ombre plane sur chaque citation. Comment écrire l’histoire orale de « l’équipe qui a créé Android » sans « Android » lui-même ? Comment tisser les liens qui unissent General Magic, WebTV, Danger, et Android, sans leur fil de trame ? Comment justifier les décisions qui ont fait le succès d’Android, mais aussi ses travers, sans celui qui les a prises ? Las, à tort ou à raison, Rubin est persona non grata.

Rubin est la colle, Apple est le maillet, Chet Haase multiplie les fragments sans jamais pouvoir assembler la mosaïque dépeignant la genèse du système d’exploitation de Google. (Oui, je mélange mes métaphores. Et alors ?)


Le système éventuellement open source :

But a more significant reason is Android’s “eventual open source” model itself. An external developer wouldn’t have any way of knowing, when they found and fixed a bug, whether that bug had been fixed in the meantime in the internal/future version of the code, or even whether that block of code they’ve been spending all of their time working with even existed anymore. Code has a tendency to move around or get rewritten when future requirements or changes dictate.

Oh bah s’ils s’en foutent :

There is no licensing and there are no protracted contract negotiations; partners can simply go to the website and get the bits they need to ship an Android-based device. And in so doing, they help to enable a consistent ecosystem of compatible Android implementations, because everyone is starting from the same common implementation. If they want to get Google services like the Play Store and Maps and Gmail, then there’s more to it, but the core code for building a phone platform is available for anyone to download and use as is. Romain Guy explained: “That’s what we all think when we think ‘open source’ for Android. Partners don’t necessarily care about contributing, but they have everything they need.”

Le pari faustien des Play Services :

Fortunately, Google had popular apps that manufacturers wanted on their devices, including Maps, YouTube, and the web browser. So Tom hammered out a system where access to those apps was an incentive for partners to maintain compatibility by shipping Android as-is, rather than shipping a forked version of it.

Promis-juré-craché, nous n’avons pas découvert les écrans tactiles au dernier moment :

When the iPhone was announced, the Android team was very much heads-down in development. The device they were working on was called Sooner, so named because they wanted it to come out sooner than the real target device for Android, the Dream (which was based on the HTC Dream hardware). Sooner had no touchscreen. Instead, it relied on a hardware keyboard for UI navigation, which was a common user experience on phones… before touchscreens became must-have features. The Dream device did have a touchscreen, and the Android platform was being designed to incorporate that capability. But Dream was slated to launch later while the team focused on shipping 1.0 with the Sooner device, well, sooner. Suddenly, touchscreen capability had to be prioritized and shifted from a future device to the first device. And that first device had to change accordingly.

Mais promis-juré-craché, Apple a découvert les applications au dernier moment :

The iPhone had originally shipped without any App Store at all, and no intention to provide one.