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Wishlist for Android support in 2018

asked 2018-02-17 20:03:20 +0300

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updated 2018-03-29 18:23:01 +0300

pakman gravatar image

The news that 2018 will see an update to Android support in SFOS is very welcome. This cannot come soon enough: Android app usability on SFOS seems to be degrading further with every month that passes, and the native SFOS app ecosystem is nowhere near ready to fill the gap. Obviously we can't expect much detail at this early stage, but that needn't stop the community from making our opinions known about what we see as important. Here is my list to get us started: please feel free to add to it.

N.B. What I have in mind is a list of protocols and facilities that are needed, rather than requests to get particular Android apps to work. I suggest that app-specific discussion goes in comments and answers rather than in this top-level wiki. Thanks.

  • Hopefully Android version 5 or greater will be targeted, but if we are going to be stuck at some version 4.x then Jolla need to be up front about this straight away. Keeping us waiting for months for a big announcement, only to be eventually told that apps that need Android version 5 still won't work, will feel like a slap in the face.

  • If we are going to be stuck at 4.x, it is essential that support for TLS v1.2 is provided. Android 4.x gets TLS v1.2 support from Google Play Services. Apps that don't bundle TLS either don't work under Alien Dalvik if they need TLS v1.2, or they fall back to the insecure TLS v1.1 protocol. And TLS v1.3 has now arrived

  • Notifications from Android apps need to be handled properly, and ideally need to be configurable like on Android. Solutions like Android apps notifications and Android notifications are a welcome contribution, but relying on third-party apps to handle something as fundamental as notifications is not sustainable in the long run.

  • Provide a way to enable signature spoofing so that microG can be installed. Even if signature spoofing isn't enabled out of the box, it would be great to have a way to turn it on. I'm not an expert, but the most recent patch that microG attempted to get into LineageOS makes me think that this shouldn't be too hard to do if dealt with at source. See also here for some very interesting discussion of the myths surrounding the security implications of signature spoofing. (TL;DR: signature spoofing isn't the security risk that some people assume that it is.)

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  • fix camera issues with some android apps like telegram and improve sound quality over bluetooth
h.berd ( 2018-02-17 20:16:39 +0300 )edit

add a more robust google calendar & address sync.

danfin ( 2018-02-18 08:53:10 +0300 )edit

btle gadget support, as watches, speakers, hearth monitors and so many other small things are using it nowdays.

netvandal ( 2018-02-18 09:18:46 +0300 )edit

They could give support for apps like (Firefox, often crash), Google Music, or iTunes app, and support for Google Maps that this app could use GPS

Stanislav1988 ( 2018-02-18 09:48:24 +0300 )edit

NFC app from Vodafone called Wallet, but that means NFC must be working on Sailfish x , i hope its coming in the near future updates!

aQUICK1 ( 2018-02-18 11:31:03 +0300 )edit

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answered 2018-02-18 11:11:58 +0300

yorambh gravatar image

the real wishlist for Android support should be : make it unneeded and drop it

Sailfish OS is still in a stage that makes Android support an essential feature for most users. however, lets not forget that this is not what we want, and that spending to much on Android "comparability" instead of Sailfish ecosystem means creating a poor Android machine instead of alternative. music players, video players, camera apps or email apps are all replaceable, even if the native app is currently less feature-reach. a good native browser is a must, and should be developed. So, android support is only really needed for connectivity (IM, Skype) and some proprietary services (navigation), and this should be the main focus of Android support improvement. on the infra-structure level, anbox+sfdroid should be considered as free, container-based replacement to Alien-Dalvik.

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In the long term you are right, but this topic is a wishlist for 2018. There is no way that SFOS with native apps alone will ever be ready for mainstream adoption this year, probably not next year either. Even the bundled e-mail and calendar apps are borderline unusable, and many other native apps are abandonware or works in progress.

What would encourage the growth of a healthy native app ecosystem? This question does not have a simple answer, but one essential part is a large user base. Improving Android support is the only way that the user base is going to grow. We don't disagree, the way I see it: Android support needs to be taken seriously in the medium term, to enable SFOS to get to a situation where it can later be dropped.

Also, SFOS may also be squeezed by the Librem 5 in another year or two. I would expect that on that platform PIM apps and clients for e-mail and Matrix will work well at launch. Android support in the medium term is essential for SFOS survival IMO, whatever happens in the long run. Nevertheless, have an upvote from me for reminding us of the bigger picture. ;-)

pakman ( 2018-02-18 13:19:04 +0300 )edit

I agree, but as, for example, CalDAV / CardDAV do not communicate with android support, we need to install something like DAVdroid in order to serve contact info to WhatsApp, which is not very elegant.

danfin ( 2018-02-18 14:15:57 +0300 )edit

In the sort term, Android support should be improved, of course. but my point is that those improvements should be planned as part of transition plan that focuses on the areas that can not currently be covered by sailfish native apps. this plan should include good native replacements for the exact same areas in the long term. those areas include: IM (including whatsup, signal skype etc...) navigation (waze ?) google (and other cloud) services access

under this approach, device management apps (wifi, camera) should be at lowest priority for Android support, and the focus should be on improving native support.

yorambh ( 2018-02-18 15:46:04 +0300 )edit

@danfin If you are using CalDAV/CardDAV on a standard Android system, you will still need to install something like DAVdroid in order to make your contact data visible to the system. I don't think that SFOS + Android support needs to do anything different from Android proper here.

pakman ( 2018-02-19 01:24:39 +0300 )edit

@pakman the point is, on Android I'll not use CalDAV nor DardDAV normally. On SailfishOS, however, I'd happily move my data away from Google (to a DAV server), but as, for example, I still use WhatsApp, I would like it to read my contact's data, which it does not, if SailfishOS syncs with CardDAV, as far as I know.

danfin ( 2018-02-19 09:06:45 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2018-02-17 20:03:20 +0300

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Last updated: Mar 29 '18