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AT&T Looks To Sell Cyanogen-Powered ZTE Phone To Snub Google (droid-life.com) 74

An anonymous reader writes: According to a report out of The Information, the No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier, ATT, is looking into partnering with Cyanogen because it thinks it could make a compelling Android-alternative smartphone for its customers. In other words, ATT wants to use Cyanogen to help it load more bloatware on phones to help sell their other services, like DirecTV. The Information's report suggests that ATT is "snubbing" Google by partnering with Cyanogen, because if the phone were to sell, it could put a damper on Google's continued attempts at making an Apple-like "consistent experience across all Android." Apparently, ATT is looking to partner with ZTE to manufacture the phone, though the U.S. government issued trade sanctions on them just this month, with allegations that they had tried to "illicitly re-export controlled items to Iran in violation of US export control laws."
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AT&T Looks To Sell Cyanogen-Powered ZTE Phone To Snub Google

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  • by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2016 @05:27PM (#51810645) Journal

    ...because that's how you give your customers to Verizon.

    I've always marveled at the ability of marketing people to complete shove their heads completely up their asses like that.

    Seriously - who came up with the thought "OMG the world needs more of our custom and half-baked bloatware!" I ask because I want to burn that individual's house down, then force him to eat the ashes.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Fuck Verizon! That overpriced trash will rape you with a quickness.

      T-mobile for the win!!!

      • T-mobile? That overpriced trash will rape you with a quickness.

        Bell and Telus for the w - ait a minute...

        • Oh, the trouble when all four carriers are allocated the same amount of bandwidth yet customers use them all unevenly. Let's all pile on to T-Mobile... wait a second, that makes them the #1 and therefore sucks as bad as AT&T used to... now it's Verizon's turn... would these people please learn how to ask FCC for more?

    • There's nothing to prevent AT&T from partnering with ZTE to make a true stock Android phone and load it up with all the bloatware they want. Sure, if they want Google Play, they may need to include some other Google stuff, but presumably they're gonna put Google Play on this Cyanogen phone too. I don't think there's a viable rival app store they can use at this point. So what good does using Cyanogen do them - except maybe to get Cyanogen to handle the updates for them. Those updates will probably

      • I am pretty much done with Cyanogen OS and the company. They have proven they aren't trustworthy on at least two separate occasions and in different ways. And while their technical abilities might make their ROMs a good/viable option that lack of trustworthiness is enough to keep me away. Good will counts in business. better to not burn it all up as soon as you have it.

        • They have proven they aren't trustworthy on at least two separate occasions and in different ways.

          I vaguely remember something like that, but can't recall the details. Could you enumerate them?

          • What they did to OnePlus was horrible (India exclusive contract)

            And any deal with Microsoft is treacherous at best. I don't trust Microsoft, even a little. Let me know if you want examples of how making deals with Microsoft is a bad idea.

            There are a few others things out there that are "interesting" but those are the two big ones.

      • Now if Cyanogen actually starts doing timely updates they may have a selling point. The ZUK Z1 was supposed to get Cyanogen OS 13 before March - it didn't and there is no word on when it will. Right now my phone keeps pestering me about a months-old firmware update that's known to render the tilt sensor effectively useless. Cyanogen couldn't be arsed to fix it so far.

        The biggest problem with the Android ecosystem is that there is nobody who gives a shit about it. Google does deliver updates but their Nexu
        • Netbook? They stopped making those when they stopped distributing Windows XP!

        • Between Apple's ridiculously overpriced hardware and overblown software restrictions,

          Apple's phones aren't overpriced: they just don't make the low-end crap that you will try and use as "proof" that Apple is overpriced. And if you compare the malware history of Android vs. IOS, perhaps a reasonable person (but I'm sure that's not you) would conclude that those software restrictions aren't so "overblown" after all.

          • by HiThere ( 15173 )

            FWIW, I won't consider anything buy Linux (or BSD...but I need ext4) on my computer. A phone is something different.

            I haven't decided to get a smartphone, but when I next replace my phone I may decide to go with Apple. Most Apple users seem satisfied, and it's not like I plan on doing software development on it. (Their EULA drove me away a decade ago for that, and I haven't come to think better of it in the interim.)

          • years old tech at premium prices is overpriced.

            and selling old models they stop updating sw for a few months later. apple does that.

            • years old tech at premium prices is overpriced.

              and selling old models they stop updating sw for a few months later. apple does that.

              Citation, please?

            • Agreed w/ sibling... gonna need a citation for that, esp. considering that my wife's ancient iPhone 4 still gets updates (or at least got the last one a few months back.)

        • Google does deliver updates but their Nexus devices are firmly in the unimpressive camp and sometimes downright suck. Remember, these are the flagship devices for the entire platform.

          2015 actually delivered an exception to the mediocre Nexus phone rule with the Nexus 6p. But that's only viable if you want a large-class phone. The Nexus 5x certainly falls into the suck category.

          • by Rob Y. ( 110975 )

            The Nexus 5X falls into the 'it's actually a quite nice mid-range mid-sized phone if they didn't intentionally cripple it by giving it too little RAM and forcing encryption that it's not powerful enough to keep up with'. I don't know whether Google or LG is responsible for those decisions. But both the 6P and 5X prove that there's no reason Nexus devices couldn't be perfectly good.

            In any case, we've reached the point where 3 year old flagships are good enough to handle the latest software - except that no

            • Cyanogen did that, to my knowledge. However, they did stuff like giving one company (OnePlus) a worldwide license without telling them that they gave another company (Micromax) an exclusive license for the Indian market. OnePlus had to develop a different Android distro for India and then decided they'd rather maintain their own distro than keep working with Cyanogen - hence no further Cyanogen-powered OnePlus devices.

              If Cyanogen were more considerate of their partners they certainly could have much great
      • by jtownatpunk.net ( 245670 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2016 @07:08PM (#51811299)

        Of course AT&T can add whatever crap they want to an Android phone but maybe they want to remove Googles free stuff and replace it with their own fee-based stuff. Why let people use Google Maps for free when they can block it and offer their own navigation for $2.99/month? Free storage on Google Drive? Nope. But you can activate 5 gigs of storage on the AT&T cloud for just $0.99/month.

        Most people wouldn't have a clue if the Play Store was replaced with some crappy knockoff. They don't understand how things work. They think whatever they're presented with is all-inclusive of what is possible and available.

    • Do you want to give your customers to Verizon? Because that's how you give your customers to Verizon.

      AT&T seems to think that anyone will swallow their products and enjoys being fucked by high monthly fees while they sit on their asses and watch it all happen.

    • by OhPlz ( 168413 )

      If you're trying to escape bloatware, Verizon is not your salvation.

  • by TechyImmigrant ( 175943 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2016 @05:36PM (#51810699) Homepage Journal

    How are we to conclude that an AT&T phone of this sort will be anything but horrible?

    If you want a straight up Android, buy a Nexus. If you want a straight up IOS, buy an iPhone.

  • We all saw how well this alternative to Google Android experience worked the last time.
    • It sure is hard to come up with a new OS... you start with GNU Linux then add your own custom programs. Just like when there's a lot of Linux distros for different uses, it's hard to attract users to an OS that doesn't have the apps yet, and hard to get developers to work with your OS for not enough users.

  • Doesn't "Snubbing" Google mean that people will actually have to buy that trash?
    • Let's look at the grid...

      Windows Phone comes with Microsoft Windows as a desktop cousin, a Windows-based app store, MSN for content, Bing for search, Outlook for e-mail, SkyDrive for storage...
      Android comes with Chromium as a desktop cousin, a Google app store, Google's partners for content, Google for search, GMaill for e-mail, Google Drive for storage...
      iOS comes with MacOS as a desktop cousin, a xCode based app store, iPhone-customized sites for content, Yahoo for search, iCloud/.me for e-mail, iCould fo

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Is this how we will receive system updates to patch say... Stagefright? Cyanogen has their own updating system.
    Apple and WP seems to be able to handle updates without having to buy a new device.

  • I thought "Cyanogen" was a new chemical for the battery supply....

  • by Freshly Exhumed ( 105597 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2016 @06:02PM (#51810883) Homepage

    With their utter failure to have any meaningful presence in the mobile phone world, Microsoft is using Cyanogen to infiltrate:

    http://www.businessinsider.com... [businessinsider.com]
    http://www.techtimes.com/artic... [techtimes.com]
    http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/20... [wsj.com]
    http://www.engadget.com/2015/0... [engadget.com]

  • by linuxguy ( 98493 ) on Wednesday March 30, 2016 @06:19PM (#51811011) Homepage
    As an AT&T customer let me say this, I totally and completely hate the utter garbage that is AT&T bloatware and that they shove down their customers' throats. And to make the offense even more egregious, they make it very difficult to remove the said junk. I buy Nexus devices now so that I do have to deal with this shit. What a clueless company. Please don't tell me to go to Verizon, they do the same thing. And so does Sprint. T-mobile might not, but they don't have the coverage I need.
    • Four down, zero to go...

    • T-Mobile's coverage has changed dramatically in the past year. Hit their website for a current map of your area. Check out the hexagons - that is where a handset of theirs has recently confirmed the mathematical theoretical coverage map. Adjust for your indoor status (are your walls straw, wood, or brick?) Note that non-T-Mobile branded handsets likely don't have support for 700Mhz/Band 12/Extended LTE using VOLTE turned on - and that can make a big difference.
    • As an AT&T customer let me say this, I totally and completely hate the utter garbage that is AT&T bloatware and that they shove down their customers' throats. And to make the offense even more egregious, they make it very difficult to remove the said junk. I buy Nexus devices now so that I do have to deal with this shit. What a clueless company. Please don't tell me to go to Verizon, they do the same thing. And so does Sprint. T-mobile might not, but they don't have the coverage I need.

      Funny, I have an AT&T "sponsored" iPhone, and I don't think it has a single byte of AT&T bloatware on it.

      Perhaps LG, Samsung, HTC need to man-up the next time if is time to renew contracts, instead of just seeing how many units they can dump on the Carrier, then giving them the Source to their OS, so that said Carrier can fuck over its customers with Bloatware.

      • by halivar ( 535827 )

        Funny, I have an AT&T "sponsored" iPhone, and I don't think it has a single byte of AT&T bloatware on it.

        Boo iOS! I demand that my carrier have the right to add bloatware to my phone so I can bitch about it on Slashdot!

      • Android is Open Source. Or at least historically has been. Giving the source to the carriers isn't a bad thing. It's the behavior of the carriers that's the problem. Even if the OS were closed source, some vendors would choose to implement these 'features' on behalf of the carrier. I don't think we should portray the distribution of source code as something negative that enables bad behavior.
        • Android is Open Source. Or at least historically has been. Giving the source to the carriers isn't a bad thing. It's the behavior of the carriers that's the problem. Even if the OS were closed source, some vendors would choose to implement these 'features' on behalf of the carrier. I don't think we should portray the distribution of source code as something negative that enables bad behavior.

          And perhaps that also illustrates why being slavish to F/OSS in ALL situations (ala RMS) is not always the best approach.

          iOS stays blissfully Bloatware-Free in large part because it is Closed-Source. Plus, it makes it all the harder for malware-writers (and Nation-States) to discover and exploit vulnerabilities.

          Sometimes, "Many Eyes" aren't really what you want. And considering how many F/OSS projects have support issue after support issue that languish for long periods of time (not to say that some Clo

          • This seems to be neither a "many eyes" issue nor an open vs. closed source issue. It has more to do with negotiating power and incentives. Apple is the world's most valuable brand. This gives them leverage in negotiations. It also means it's high-risk for them to bundle bloatware. Google comes in #3 (surprisingly) behind Microsoft and Nexus branded devices never have bloatware. These are also premium devices with high margins. As you move further down the food chain there is more temptation to bloatwa
        • Well, my understanding is that AOSP is open source... but Andoid is not.

          If AT&T does the AOSP thing, they will lose out on all the stuff that most people associate with Android, namely: Google Play and all of the Google apps (Mail, Chrome, etc).

          So they will have to come up with their own store and app ecosystem for this device.

          I am also wondering if this would threaten their ability to sell other handsets with full Android on them? My understanding is that Google shuns those who don't pay for a spot at

    • I like AT&T's prepaid network because it is cheap, you can BYOD and it has many payment options (including cash at payment kiosks). AT&T is actually cheaper than Straight Talk now too, which I find surprising.

      Verizon seems to be very strict about what they allow on their network and will even snip features out of devices before selling them.

  • On one hand, CyanogenMod is definitely a useful ROM. Next to having a Nexus phone, having a ROM that has a consistent UI (especially if used with Nova Launcher), well maintained, and constantly updated far beyond the 1-2 year life of most Android devices, is quite useful.

    CyanogenOS... different story. Not familiar with it, but if it can't use Android/GApps, I wouldn't bother. I remember the application stores (not apps) on another telco's devices with regards to Windows Mobile, and the limited, costly, l

  • Instead of the WSJ paywall, let's go to the source at the U.S. Dept. of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security. Page 6 of the "Proposal for import and export control risk avoidance" is very interesting. Remember kids, they aren't shell companies. It's "Detached [Business] Models" !

    Documents Pertaining to the Addition of ZTE Corporation and Related Entities to the Entity List

    BIS has added ZTE Corporation and three affiliated entities to the Entity List. The Entity List (Supplement No. 4 to Part 744) i

  • All the companies we really hate, bundled up into one convenient easy-to-loathe marketing partnership. Truly we live in the future.

There is no royal road to geometry. -- Euclid

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