I disabled all built-in Google apps, installed F-Droid and stuff from there
that I normally use. To my surprise, most Leia apps, including the Appstore,
don’t work. Is that a known feature/bug?
I disabled all built-in Google apps, installed F-Droid and stuff from there
The device uses Google Services, and our Login system and Analytics all integrate with Google.
Blocking Google services would be expected to break Leia apps and experiences, as we only test on devices with Google Services enabled.
Let’s not get things mixed up here.
The device does NOT use Google services.
I made sure of that.
The problem is that, as you state, Leia’s SW
happens to “integrate with Google” so thightly
that barely anything branded Leia works
with BigBrother disabled.
That’s a bummer.
Well… you may have expected this. I did NOT.
I certainly haven’t seen this advertised anywhere.
Your marketing material harps about a Leia ecosystem,
not a house of cards built from Google’s deck.
Have you considered an unencumbered “ecosystem”?
You really don’t NEED Google to make stuff work.
Not even on Android.
The device absolutely uses Google services, and is fully Google GMS certified. In fact it even has optional services that require special certification, like ARCore.
Leia’s services are integrated with the OS and also use Google services such as login.
We plan on continuing to use Google Services for our Android based devices, and I don’t see this changing in the future.
I expect almost everything running on Android to be integrarted with Google in some way… either a little or a lot. Not expecting that is like buying an iPhone or iPad but not wanting any apple infrastructure integration.
Assuming that we’re still talking about my LumePad2 specifically,
I’ll need to correct this for you, since you are still mixing things up.
The device is absolutely INTENDED to use Google services.
Similarly, GMS and ARCore certifications become markedly irrelevant
when those services are DISABLED.
Yes. I noticed. That’s exactly my problem.
Although via another channel (email with Leia),
I received information that the Leia Appstore
SHOULD also work with a Leia account;
i.e. no Google account required. I think that’s
likely only partially true, since the app seems
to rely on Google SDK(s), but I’ll certainly try
that next when I have a little time over.
That’s also a pity, but I guess for a small start-up
with small software engineering team, that does
make some business sense.
UPDATE: just to avoid potential controversy I change
the wording ever so slightly from
team, as I didn’t mean to imply that
Leia’s SW engineering team is incompetent, only small.
A little might be OK, but Leia’s own apps not working
with Google services disabled is unacceptable.
Nonsense. Had I bought a Google tablet, like one of their
Pixel units, I’d expect that.
Samsung’s Galaxy tablets work (mostly) fine DeGoogled.
The Nothing Phone Nothing Phone (2) - Nothing United States – Nothing US
comes from the factory with most Google bloat removed.
Leia’s marketing talks about their apps and ecosystem,
not Google’s… That set my expectations, I’m afraid.
BUT, I should’ve known. Leia seems prone to mis-marketing.
They’ve done (some of) that with every single consumer
device they released (which aren’t that many… )
UPDATE: I almost forgot AOSP.
That’s living proof that Android without Google’s
service bloat is possible. That’s quite different from
Apple’s completely closed operating system(s).
Of course it’s possible. But AOSP is missing a ton of apps and services compared to Google Android.
To be 100% clear: we considered all possibilities, including building our own fork of AOSP. We didn’t choose the difficulty of supporting Google Android because it was easier (it’s not, anyone with knowledge of building hardware would know that), we did it because it’s what customers want. 99.9% of customers want a certified Android device with built-in WideVine, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Play support.
Users who are anti-Google and don’t want Google services are a market we simply do not care about.
I don’t want to be overly critical of Leia here, because Leia apps depending on Google Services is industry standard behavior and totally understandable.
But what I would prefer is that anyone who wants to build their own software from scratch on the bare metal of their own device they bought should be able to access at least the minimum information necessary for their code they’re responsible for writing themselves to be able to utilize all of the features of the hardware with code they can fully control and understand: specifically the 3D display in this case.
I understand Leia’s not required to provide that and providing that is not industry standard because it has the potential for competitors to gain some advantage from it. Leia is stuck dealing with the real world consumer hardware market as it exists today.
Still, if I got to make tech policy in the government, I’d legislate that requirement or something like it so that independent software innovators aren’t limited by proprietary drivers, encryption and secrets locking them out of the hardware they bought. If that policy makes computing devices more expensive to produce, then raise prices.
Individuals not being able to fully control their own computers fundamentally undermines the concept of individual private property. But I don’t blame Leia or even Google for that: I blame the government.
Well, at least in the United States, you are legally protected if you choose to modify your own devices and software in whatever way you so choose. Even if it violates the Terms & Conditions a user agrees to, a user can’t be held legally responsible for hacking or modifying their own device (distributing it to others is a different story).
That said, there’s no law that says manufacturers have to make that easy. Though I totally see where you and others are coming from, I’m just going to say: be careful what you wish for. If manufacturers were required to write, create, and maintain additional software and systems making hardware and software modification easy, I guarantee you prices of all consumer electronics will go up for everyone.
It’s actually a similar argument as to why lots of software isn’t open source. It’s not because people don’t like open source (most engineers and product managers do), it’s because getting software to a place where others will actually contribute to the open source project takes a LOT of time, money, and resources that are almost always better spent elsewhere.
One interesting case study was when Facebook fully unlocked the boot loader of the Oculus Go. This was a project that took a long time and worked on by John Carmack and multiple other engineers at Facebook. It took them 9 months from when it was announced to when it was released, and they were surely working on it before they announced it. Not a single project or app or alternate OS or launcher was built for it. Not one. Nobody did anything with a fully bootloader unlocked Oculus Go. It was a complete waste of time and money for Facebook.
That’s fine (honesty appreciated), but you may want to adjust your marketing
to clarify that Leia’s “ecosystem” has a very strong reliance on Google services,
to the degree that many of the 3D apps don’t actually work without them.
Thanks for the feedback. I did not previously think this disclaimer was needed, but we’ll take this into account from now on.
That’s interesting but I’m not clear on exactly what took Facebook that entire six months?? Seems like all they needed was a way for owners to bypass any encryption the bootloader normally had, plus publishing whatever documentation of the hardware that they needed to write for internal purposes anyway. Seems like writing actual code, like a reference implementation for instance, would be just a bonus. Making it easy isn’t what I’m saying: just making it possible (no breaking encryption or working around intentional obfuscation to do it) is good enough. Also it’s OK for this to break the warrantee.
Also (this is thinking about policy for the government) people should have a right to redistribute their custom software, at least non-commercially, at least for consumer electronics.
Yes, this policy would raise prices across the industry. Just like printers would cost more if they weren’t a scam. Freedom isn’t free.
(Later edit) Oh and I also realize that the line between hardware and software can get a little fuzzy in some devices. Just not in these VR and 3D ones, because these are clearly general purpose computers running Android.
Also for smartphones, being able to fully control this particular type of device which is so close to your person that you physically carry it around all day every day, would be especially important. Making that into spyware you can’t control is especially bad.