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The future of Android support

asked 2015-02-11 22:22:39 +0300

simo gravatar image

updated 2015-04-14 15:00:59 +0300

We know by now that Play Services are not officially supported on Jolla. Meanwhile, Google's policy seems to be that more and more apps for Android are dependent on their Play Services, latest one being Chrome browser (link to the issue at EDIT: Why I'm especially linking Chrome, is because when it doesn't run on Jolla, it'll be a challenge to use ARC (Android runtime on Chrome) too. ARC might have been an option (...but not as fast) when Dalvik gets outdated - but now, it isn't.

EDIT: Additional to apps requiring play services more and more often, they might require a later Android version. The current support is for Android 4.1.2, and there seems to be no plans from Myriad to get that number higher either. This makes the future of Android support even more relevant question. END_OF_EDIT

So, maybe this question should have been asked already a while ago: What is Jolla's solution in the future, and what's the schedule? Some options:

  1. Keeping the official support in the current level, possibly taking us to even more non-functional Android apps
  2. Relying on 3rd party (Myriad) work on the issue, or cooperating with them, contributing for better support
  3. Searching for another partner, e.g. different service that Alien Dalvik, to achieve better Android support
  4. Accepting Google's terms of service, playing by their rules, aiming towards official support for their Play Services
  5. Something else, what? (please comment with your ideas)

At the same time, I'm sure that all of us, including Jolla, wishes that many native apps are supported and developed to reduce the need of using Android apps in total. However, looking behind for the actions taken...

  • support for paid apps on Jolla Store
  • upgrades on apps developed by Jolla
  • support (inc. paying) for app developers
  • upgrading SDK
  • harbour QA, accepted libraries
  • open sourcing of apps
  • enabling Silica components seems that there are some things done, but that the road ahead is a bit longer than many of us might want to see. So, while patiently waiting for even more native apps (few great ones are there already!), I wish we could have an official statement from Jolla on the future of Android support, maybe including some updates/schedules to the native app support and development as well. Thank in advance!


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There is Jolla Sailor answer about android support =>

Doesn't look promising from android support improvements point of view

Kari ( 2015-02-11 23:30:07 +0300 )edit

From wikipedia): note: add ) to the end of the url... askbot issue

An alternative runtime environment called Android Runtime (ART) was included in Android 4.4 "KitKat" as a technology preview. ART replaces Dalvik entirely in Android 5.0 "Lollipop".

simo ( 2015-02-11 23:50:54 +0300 )edit

The answer is already in your post simo. There's a reason why it's called Alien Dalvik. It's made by myriad to resemble the original behavior of google's dalvik. So we would need "alien" ART, but that wouldn't solve anything, as google switched because their dalvik was too slow.

dmnk ( 2015-02-12 00:11:18 +0300 )edit

Go on freenode irc #sailfishos-porters and help to get an open source dalvik to run on sailfish OS. There are some people who try that and also that support would be android 4.4 I think but currently they are stuck and it didn't get much further so any help is appreciated.

taaem ( 2015-04-14 15:57:05 +0300 )edit

Another idea is to mock google play services with something like mircoG, but it needs android 4.4+:

petRUShka ( 2016-02-23 22:51:59 +0300 )edit

4 Answers

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answered 2015-02-18 22:40:58 +0300

coderus gravatar image

Detaching Android apps from Jolla Store is okay, but removing Android support will force many users to sell Jolla and switch to Android then, including me.

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Agree. It is idealistic or even naive to think Sailfish could cope without Android support.

Upp15 ( 2015-04-14 16:01:42 +0300 )edit

Agree too, but this doesn't yet answer the question... What is the future of the Android support? No news on Android version on the Tablet yet for example, but 4.4 seems likely, looking at edits on github

simo ( 2015-08-09 04:28:16 +0300 )edit

Without access to 98%+ of Android apps (Google store), the Android support is nearly-useless to me, so I couldn't care less about this.

dhardy ( 2015-09-14 19:05:55 +0300 )edit

@dhardy: You can get the official Play Store apk working with microG

ale5000 ( 2016-09-05 01:51:39 +0300 )edit

@coderus I was googling to find aliendalvik's alternatives and failed to find one. Can you please explain what makes it technically difficult for developers to implement it and keep it up to date?

mdidaryan ( 2018-03-26 17:39:48 +0300 )edit

answered 2015-02-12 01:52:15 +0300

Claudio Maradonna gravatar image

I think the Android Support need to die in the future ,at the moment is essential for someone but not essential later. We need a more powerfull and open oriented store. Yes to paid apps but in first position donations every project need money to go over and the donation need to be easy to make. We need an easiest way to have logs for upgrades and link to code sources. Possibility to handle team account on the store so in the future we can connect directly github or other services directly to the store like a platform as a service (Heroku, Openshift...) We need the community behind this too, we can make a better internet of things together. yes,we can.

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Something along the lines of google play store. Where you can load the money on the store account and then transfer small amounts to the developers. Would cut down on the transaction fees paid to the banks/paypals/whoever and instead keep most of the money where it belongs (developers pockets and a bit for jolla to run the store obviously)

AxMi-24 ( 2015-02-12 13:41:54 +0300 )edit

Yes like this one. Money charging on the account to be spent on all jolla services. Store ( too!

Claudio Maradonna ( 2015-02-13 01:50:59 +0300 )edit

Yes. Google-Play-Services is merely a hidden "Vendor-Lock-In" which we absolutely not desire. Furthermore this is Sailfish OS and therefore a plain GNU/Linux, not Android/Linux. We currently need some sort of Android-Support but we should not become a extend version of Android, this will lead us straightly into the "WINE-Situation": If every Android-App runs, more or less on Sailfish OS we provide the execuse for every developer not to support Sailfish OS in long-term.

Native first!

Going native is not about competition, but a requirement for well working applications. I suggest donations or paid apps and keep the Android support on the same level.

hoschi ( 2015-04-14 16:18:07 +0300 )edit

answered 2016-09-05 01:48:23 +0300

ale5000 gravatar image

updated 2016-09-05 22:48:48 +0300

  • With microG you get app that need Google Play Services working out the box (this need signature spoofing, can be enabled with Tingle).

  • With F-Droid you get a store with open source apps.

  • Also there is a free app where one can buy/sell apps and developers get 100% of app revenue:

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answered 2016-09-05 12:54:25 +0300

yorambh gravatar image

updated 2016-09-05 12:56:25 +0300

The most important feature of SailfishOS is being a Gnu/Linux modbile distribution. if it was mainly about being a platform for Android Apps, then I would prefer Cyanogen (which is at least free as in freedom). so, the most important step, in order to handle lack of applications support, is to develop SFOS ecosystem.

yet, at the current state of SFOS, Android support does seem to be a vital work-around, and the ongoing process of Android ecosystem, to increase propriety frameworks dependency, makes SFOS Android support less and less practical. the only way I can see to work-around THIS problem is to create the best-possible support of microG in SFOS, including but not limited to: upgrading Alien-Dalvik, enabling Signature spoofing, patching microG or even implementing parts of microG as native SFOS services.

another important point, which I don't know what it's status but might be addressed, is SFOS support for HTML5/js applications.

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patching microG

microG already works, what patch you need?

enabling Signature spoofing

It would be nice an out of the box support but in the meanwhile it can be done with Tingle or Needle.

ale5000 ( 2016-09-05 14:24:56 +0300 )edit

microG indeed works, to some-point. what I meant was to patch if-needed.

as for signature spoofing, AFAIK, it needs some manual changes in Alied-Dalvik. whatever package is used for that, it should be doable via pkg installation and configuration, is it ?

yorambh ( 2016-09-05 16:16:43 +0300 )edit

@yorambh: To enable signature spoofing you must patch the framework.jar to add a feature that doesn't exist natively in Android, that feature allow an app to be seen by other apps with a different signature of itself. Some Android ROMs like OmniROM come with this feature natively. microG identify itself with the signature of Google Play Services (when signature spoofing is enabled) so apps use it without knowing; it is the only way to replace Google Play Services.

ale5000 ( 2016-09-05 22:45:47 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2015-02-11 22:22:39 +0300

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Last updated: Sep 05 '16