So, today Ars Technica published a story on Android 8.1. I had missed the one on Android 8.0 so I went back to it and was again surprised by the confusion between OS features, APIs, services, apps, and other user-interface enhancements. I was similarly surprised by the same confusion about the story on WatchOS 4.1.

The confusion stems from the authors, reviewer, but also the provider to mix different things into a description of the OS. I am picking on stories published by Ars Technica but they are not the only one to confuse things. It seems that providers (Google, Apple...) have an interest in pretending that their OSes cover all their users' needs.

Here is an example of confusion: the outline of the story on Android 8.0 mixes:

  • Project Treble, a service to update the OS (or parts thereof);
  • Notifications, an API, a service, and a user-interface for apps to alert users;
  • JobScheduler, a scheduler for processes enforced by the OS;
  • Emoji, sets of new glyphs for users;
  • User interface changes (adaptative icons, a new theme, color management...)
  • SDCardFS, a new file system wrapper.

Of course, I understand that the providers want to confuse things, but the reviewers should not mix things up and should clearly state what changes are parts of the OS, what are the new APIs, what are services that can be disabled, what are the apps that come with the OS and could be replaced by better ones, what are the user-interface changes that are just UI tweaking! I mean, come on, users care about emojis, but should emojis be part of the OS? Should you install a new version of an OS to get a new burget emoji? Or a music app?

This confusion only serves the providers but reduces the space available for new comers and gives the false impression, to unsuspecting users, that the OS is a all-powerful piece of software that will fulfill all their needs!