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David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Hoaxer

    I am the hoaxer that is responsible for the faked rumours on Android and Me regarding Android 4.2. I do not want to cause lasting harm apart from making Google devs laugh out loudly. I do not want Google to face unreasonably expectations (I’ll explain why some of the proposed feature are cool but unfeasible later). I really like Google (I like Big Bird, too). So, here is my confession (or my petty attempt to milk some more attention, if you will). All the reports about the features of Android 4.2 are nothing more than a wishlist of me.

    The following rumours were not part of the hoax, though:
    - The WSJ Article that reported that there are several Nexus devices this year.
    - The rumour that states that there might be a LG Nexus and the confirmation from CNET.
    - All the 4.2 handy that were spotted on several server log.
    - The rumour regarding the forbidden SD-slot.

    I am sorry that I am a cheap liar and I am sorry for everyone who was fooled - except for Taylor Wimberly, who himself has lied to all of you. Every blog I made contact with passed the test and refused to publish these fabricated rumours. Taylor Wimberly was the only one who not only took the bait but added another layer of untruth to it in order to make the rumour more believable. He has said that I am a longtime source of his, but this not true ( see the whole exchange at the bottom of this post). If he hadn’t done that I would apologize, but there is no shame in fooling another liar.

    He hasn’t released the last batch of rumours yet, which was designed to make more sense of some of the former rumours. Overall, in the comments there were some voices of reason who pointed towards the contradictions of these incomplete rumours, but not enough to make the crowd as a whole suspicious. The biggest caveat should have been what a monumental undertaking this update would have been. All these changes together would absolutely warrant a jump to 5.0.

    - Customization centre:
    I still believe that this is a good idea for Google (sans the OEM skins), basing on my experience with my Iphone-using girlfriend who really likes the customizability of my Android phone, but wouldn’t switch because she hasn’t the patience and the skill to tinker with the phone like I can. For the average consumer an Android phone is not one bit more customizable than an Iphone. If Google changed that, it would be a huge selling point.
    Time and effort: moderate

    - icon templates:
    When you buy an icon set on xda, you often get a photoshop template to make your own icons. If Google would manage to incorporate something similar into Android that would be gorgeous - for consumers and artists alike.
    Time and effort: moderate, but you would probably have to change the icon format, which affects all apps. It would take some time until all icons work with these templates

    - post filters:
    My girlfriend asked me, why she couldn’t use instagram to alter the appearance of her iphone homescreens. I like the idea.
    Time and effort: Google has recently acquired Snapseed, so the filters shouldn’t be a problem. The real challenge is the performance drain of this feature.

    - OEM skins optional:
    Enabling manufacturers to add their skins (only the skin part of their modifications!) to the customization centre is no big deal, but if the nexus devices become dominant, this may be a way to differentiate the devices (and stifling innovation) without delaying updates or forcing touchwiz fans to by non-nexus phones.
    Time and effort: none for Google

    - HAL:
    The customization centre is no solution for the slow updates, but an additional software layer that connects the hardware drivers with the operating system might be (like a BIOS). With this so called Hardware Abstraction Layer (a slightly different thing than Android’s or Linux’s deprecated HAL) the manufacturer could update their drivers without interfering with Android and Google could push Android updates to the devices without OEM support.
    Time and effort: monumental scale. This is especially hard because it affects both the efficiency and the performance of the device. And you would still need custom drivers for unsupported hardware. A HAL would not only be hard to do, but would also take considerable resources to maintain. Last but not least, it would be a return to the 90s. So this is only a humble suggestion because of the enormity of the task.

    - Project roadrunner:
    Obviously this wouldn’t affect the battery life too much. 10% extra stamina would be a huge achievement. But by enhancing the algorithms that adjust the brightness of the screen and radio activity, there is some room for improvements.
    Time and effort: huge, with comparatively small results. It’s hard if not impossible to optimize the energy performance without control of the hardware drivers.

    - media streaming, game program:
    I would love Google to step up their game in the content wars to close the gap to amazon and apple. This could make Nexus devices more attractive to non-geeks and henceforth be an incentive for OEMs to release more devices with stock Android.
    Time and effort: Huge for Google’s business department. They have to compete in fields where other companies like Sony, Amazon and Apple are better. Maybe a dedicated secure memory that is used for buffering media streams can be used to make Android more attractive for content providers.

    - enhanced video app:
    The main selling point should be a very comprehensive API, that can be used by third-party software to tie in. If Google cannot get the necessary licences to improve their media portfolio, they could let other companies step in. Give netflix, spotify, and so on direct access to the main media apps and make these services more accessible for the user.
    Time and effort: Moderate

    /end of my wishlist

    If you want to be the next hoaxer, here are some tips from me:
    - Read Going Postal and Making Money from Terry Pratchett. This will teach you everything you need to know.
    - Prepare a good story. Don’t just contact a blog and tell them “I have some rumours. Please post them with your name attached”. You need a (fictional) motivation why you would share your information.
    - Make sure that the info you are trying to spread matches your cover story. For example, if you pretend to be a game developer, you cannot feasibly have knowledge about upcoming device specifications.
    - Be specific about things your fake identity can feasibly know. Vague rumours mixed with already established stuff don’t convince anybody.
    - Timing is everything. Start with your false leaks when real rumours start to appear in a very vague fashion. If you start too early it is suspicious why there is such a huge leak out of nowhere. If you start too late, there are too much people in the know who can debunk your stuff very easily.
    - Be patient and don’t panic if no blog bites in the first days. If your plan is not working at all, seed some minor rumours that confirm a small part of your initial rumour. That adds credibility to your claims and puts some pressure on the blogs to release their rumours before anyone else does.
    - In the end, it all comes down if your rumours make sense and if your cover story is convincing enough to be taken seriously.
    - Don’t do it. It’s bad.

    @ Android Blogosphere:
    Overall: good job. Only one of you was foolish enough to publish it. The rest of the gang only posted the story after Android and Me brought it and warned their readers explicitly about the nature of these news.

    -----------
    Conversation with me and Taylor Wimberly:
    Hoaxer >>> Hi,

    I am interested in rumours regarding the nexus games program and companies that may participate in it (I have heard THQ and Bigpoint). If you hear something, even something that is not reliable enough to put on the site, please contact me. I can provide you with information about the main features of Android 5.0 (and 4.2) and details about the nexus games interface and the control API in return.

    We were told that 4.2. will be formally introduced at a LG event in Nov not in Oct. Maybe Rubin drops some hints at Dive Into Mobile this month, but the main event is one month later. 5.0 is due next autumn, but there will be some huge changes, both to Android and the Nexus program.

    If you are interested, hit me back.

    Cheers,
    Peter

    Taylor >>> Hi Peter, let me dig on Nexus games. I bet I can find some info.

    Hoaxer >>> Thanks in advance. This is much appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Peter

    Taylor >>> Ok I reached out to several Android game devs, a couple of veteran bloggers, and some inside sources at >>>DELETED<<>>DELETED<<>> Thank you very much :)

    It’s LG Optimus G Nexus. The whole flagship phone concept is a thing of the past. Every manufacturer can release phones as part of the Nexus program. It’s their own choice, but they have to adhere to some standards: the device uses vanilla key lime pie while custom UIs are only available through the new customisation centre, the devices must have a 64 mb secure memory for media streaming, it must have the specs to run Nexus games and so on. So manufacturers will probably release some of their phones as a normal and a Nexus version, but I don’t know the plans for every company. But the LG Optimus is the first device with Android 4.2 and to make use of google’s streaming services.

    Cheers,
    Peter

    Taylor >>> So you say the device must use vanilla KLP, but I was told that Android 4.2 will still be Jellybean. Are you talking about future devices for next year?

    Hoaxer >>> Hey,
    have you heard from your >>>DELETED<<>> He said he was digging on it. I believe he can come up with something. I'll email him again and see what he found.

    Hoaxer >>> Looking forward to an answer. Every bit helps. As I have promised, here are the details:

    Android 4.2
    4.2 is a small update, mainly female/consumer/casual targeted. The UI is the more or less the same as JB. The biggest change is that homescreens are shown as tabs.

    There is a new Customization Centre, where you can change ringtones, language packs, background, launchers, and so on. There is nothing too sophisticated (for now). The centre is mainly a convenient way to enable the average customer to do some basic customizations. The range of options can be expanded via google play of course. However, there are two new features: templates that change the appearance of all (newly introduced) dynamic icons at once, and post filters that change the appearance of the whole UI - think of Instagram.

    Project Roadrunner enhances the battery life.

    The video player stock app gets a major revamp and provides an API for other video services to tie in.

    Enhanced Google Play with personalized search, optional promotional campaigns + notification centre integration, more billing options and for developers: easier in-app micro-transactions.

    Google Now provides help for handling the stock OS, aka “Where can I activate bluetooth?” or “How can I tone down the brightness?”, to make it easy for newbies to settle in.

    This update targets the casual audience and lays the groundwork for the next big upgrade. But I don’t know the finer points, so maybe there is something more interesting in this upgrade. Developers may be excited to hear that they get more access to the OS, although the customization centre may have additional constraints. In addition, we are a little bit worried how much performance the visual filters cost.

    Nexus programm
    The nexus program changes drastically. Every manufacturer can produce Nexus devices or Nexus versions of existing phones. They closely work with google on the hardware and driver details (there is a more efficient solution for this in 5.0), but google is responsible for the updates (don’t know how the carriers factor in). The phones don’t necessarily have to have “Nexus” as part of their name, it works more like a certificate like “HD Ready”.

    The devices have to fulfill some basic requirements. The manufacturers have to support google closely. The phone need to have the hardware power to run all Nexus games. They have to support google wallet, aka have NFC and secure memory, which is upgraded to 64 mb minimum and probably lots of other requirements that only google and the manufacturers know of. Important for us is, that we can plan our games for a certain hardware equipment and don’t have to worry over oddball configuration (unless we want to support non-Nexus devices).

    The manufacturers may provide their custom UI through the customization centre, but don’t have to and surely don’t have to on devices of other manufacturers. When google upgrades android and a manufacturer fails to provide a compatible version of their custom UI the device reverts simply to the stock UI (or the user waits with the upgrade until the manufacturer catches up). Non-standard hardware features like extra buttons or a stylus are still only supported when used with a custom UI - that means for us, no games with stylus control, etc.

    There are two carrots on a stick that probably make the Nexus brand a huge selling point. Google Play gets expanded with a media streaming service component and there will be games that only work on nexus devices. The streaming service uses the secure memory, making it harder to pirate the content. No word of the type or source of the media (besides that it isn’t gaming related), but it seems to be a big deal.

    Android 5.0
    The big feature of this update is the tabbed interface that is deeply integrated into the OS. From 5.0 on everything is a tab: browser windows, home screens, opened apps, folders, etc. If you open an app, it occupies the whole screen in a normal fashion, but you can simply navigate back and forth from there on. Tech-unsavvy people cannot get lost anymore - everything is only a finite number of swipes away. 5.0 also integrates real multitasking, making it possible to show two tabs beside each other - no matter which kind of tab that is. We worry a bit what happens when you play a game and accidentally swipe to the next tab, but I am sure there will be a solution in time.

    5.0 will introduce the Nexus game program, basically an enhanced and easy to use library and API for developers that covers all the basic controls. Google is working with some game studios to have some exclusive launch titles.
    The library concentrates mostly on AI, graphics (but doesn’t provide a complete engine) and controls. For example, you don’t have to code your own controls for a strategy game, you can use a standard method: draw a rectangle with the touch of two fingers and select everything inside it. Or you can use the Nexus gamepad, a software gamepad, consisting of two circles with an inlaid X. The X can be used as four buttons or as a directional input area by gliding across the screen.The feature that makes this game pad work is that you reset the circle under your thumb when you tap the screen. You can make your own interface, but Google makes it really easy for the developers with this huge library (and the customer gets used to controls that are shared between several games). There will be several titles at the launch of 5.0 that use the Nexus gamepad, but, as far as I know, more casual stuff.

    Google introduces a new virtual machine-like software layer right on top of the driver level to decouple the OS development pipeline from driver upgrades to a certain degree. We are not sure how much performance is lost by this or if it is still possible to access each device’s hardware directly. We were promised be a complete new SDK to handle all the additional and revamped stuff by the time of Google I/O.

    Keep in mind that I was not involved in the talks personally. Beside the game stuff, which I see with my own eyes on a daily basis, there may be bits that I have missed.

    Hope, this helps. and thank you for your time, digging for me.

    Taylor >>> Thanks for the update. Still nothing on Nexus Games. I sent a couple more email and I'll let you know if I hear anything.

    • AaronGingrich

      Just so everyone knows, we got a rumor tip from a gentleman named Peter a few days ago. It appears the above comment is from the same person who sent us that email, based on a few factors.

      • Hoaxer

        Yep, that's right. You were one of the blogs that didn't took the bait.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          You are a man with some serious dedication.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000338649747 Omario Amriky

          Soooooo. No Android 4.2 next month?

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            No, that's still very likely happening.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000338649747 Omario Amriky

            I sense a bit of sarcasm. Correct me if I'm wrong.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            No, no sarcasm. I believe 4.2 is real and will be coming soon.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000338649747 Omario Amriky

            Good to know. :)

        • http://twitter.com/azrienoch Jeff Smith

          Say, Peter, hit me up.

        • Jeremy626

          you're an f-ing
          asshole.

      • skynet11

        And yet you guys still parroted the rumor from Android and Me...

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          The rumors we received were nothing like the ones A&M did and there was no connection between them.

          • skynet11

            Yeah, that make sense - he must have "leaked" different sets of rumors to each of the blogs...

        • neowiz73

          plus rumors are just rumors, not to be taken serious anyway. and they have been clearly stated as such.

    • Umer Salman

      I was really hoping for Customization Center...

      I commend your dedication and amount of energy you actually committed to your "rumors", but in the end, a lie is a lie...

    • coolsilver

      Good job trying to save your own ass.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

        You think Taylor is doing this after he found out it was fake from another source or something?

        • Kenny O

          I don't see him doing that, even if he found out the rumors were off, Why? At worst he's wrong, generally there is always so much buzz when things are finally revealed people have short memories of missed predictions. This hoax thing just makes him look like a fool that took the bait. I'm sure Taylor is an intelligent guy, he just got bested.

          • Chester Moy

            I think the point was that he straight up lied and said Hoaxer was a long time informant that has provided reliable leaks in the past.

          • Kenny O

            Got ya, that makes sense......Yeah, him saying that does diminish his credibility for any future rumors. Unsurprisingly, Taylor's comments on his redaction post do not make mention of his lying about this either.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            I'm just trying to figure out what @coolsilver:disqus was talking about.

    • BaconEater

      ..an LG *

    • http://twitter.com/azrienoch Jeff Smith

      To add to tips on how to start your own rumors, make sure that they actually align with Google's business plan for Android. You don't license something under the Apache license and then dictate how it has to be used, beyond what's in the license itself. Their only dication has to do with Google Apps, and whether or not they display correctly on the device.

      In other words, the Customization Center and tabbed launcher were obvious fakes. A lot of the other rumors were very suspicious for the same reason. Requirements for Nexus were iffy--we don't know enough about how Google plans and dictates Nexus candidates. Project Roadrunner was brilliant, though jcase picked up on that one's illegitimacy. So were the minor tweak details to Google Play. Well played, Peter.

      • Hoaxer

        I think this is not true. A hoax that is slightly unrealistic but contains the wishes of many is far more effective than a hyperrealistic hoax.

        This very hoax is a good example for that phenomenon. You said yourself that pretty much every point was debunked by one or the other commenter. But this didn't get traction, because the majority wanted to believe. Terry Pratchett explains this better than me.

        • http://twitter.com/azrienoch Jeff Smith

          Oh, I agree. However, you got Android & Me to bite, but nobody else until everyone had someone else to point fingers at. Easier to get started with something realistic, then play on people's dreams. Haven't read much Terry Pratchet beyond a few Discworld books, but Hitler had a few good tips. ;)

          • Benji Hertel

            Getting android and me to bite is like trying to find a bad post on XDA.

            Too easy. This is what happens when you really know nothing. Everything seems plausible.

        • Joshua Akonom

          I still dont' get it. In your "plans to be a liar (i mean hoaxer)" you say that you have to have a credible reason to be leaking this information. You did not supply that one bit. If it was "trading" information you certainly got nothing in return. I'm not surprised only one blogger bought this. It was poorly planned and nothing special at all...

    • Scotty Brown

      LOL, Android community drama... just can't seem to get enough of this, can we?

    • Aaron

      TL;DR

      Never seen a finer example...

    • Eye4Detail

      I'll tell you what, you submit this to Google and all is forgiven. Granted, some of it most likely wouldn't happen but a lot of it actually seems feasible. It hurts how nice this list looks.

      • warcaster

        Yes, I think he nailed a lot of features many people would want, and at least Google is getting feedback over this, and hopefully will implement some of them in the near future.

    • Kenny O

      I love a good con. You sir are on some next level ish.

    • Himmat Singh

      Wow, I am pretty surprised reading about this. I usually go back and forth between AP & A&M. The way Taylor took the bait is really, really surprising. Don't know what to make of the hoax itself. If anything, I hope this teaches Android sites to not just post loose rumors all the time.

      • http://twitter.com/azrienoch Jeff Smith

        He didn't just take the bait, he lied about Hoaxer/Peter being a long-time source. But I'll hand it to Taylor... Stephen Glass himself couldn't spin getting caught as well as Taylor in his redaction.

        • Himmat Singh

          Yeah, and I've read about him apologizing on the website. He's no other choice really, because by claiming this hoaxer to be his 'longtime source', his reputation has taken a severe hit.

          • fixxmyhead

            i hope they lose viewers cuz of this. bunch of liars

    • Josh Berg

      What about the rumours from Paul O'Brian at MoDaCo who he trusts 101%?

    • SANJAH_KADEEM_2075

      It is currently 6/23/2013. Google announced Play Games and now some OEMs ARE making Nexus-Experience devices. Although you were completely kidding, some of your thoughts did come true. Kudos.

  • Kenny O

    Mind blown. Amazing.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    Well, this is officially the most eventful week in review post ever.

    • skynet11

      I'll say :D

  • fixxmyhead

    this is why i dont visit A&M. there pathetic lying about there 'sources' and there readers defending them saying its not his fault

    • cas_e

      The people defending him on his "apology" post are unbelievable. He blatantly lied to them. Morons.

      • fixxmyhead

        i know there freaking delusional just because its his site everyone is looking the other way. i wish i could comment but i cant and even if i could i would probably have my comment removed by saying something truthful

  • Joshua Akonom

    I think Android Police is absolute shit for even posting this. Anybody who feeds fuel to hoaxing fodder is opening themselves up for the chance to be duped. Yeah, if you think you are so good you can't be fooled keep thinking that way. In the end, the more hoaxers out there the more threat to good media coverage ensues. Love how the hoaxer says, "It's bad don't do it" as his one saving grace to not admitting to be a steaming pile of sliced assholes.

    • D0c5i5

      I'm guessing people like drama. My take? He probably didn't lie outright. He, like some lazy editors I know, didn't keep a contact database with basic notes. In the end, it's discipline and verification what divides journalists and columnist(blogger, gossip, et al.)
      You can't always be first AND right. Any attempt to do so is just gambling.

      Sorry, just checking out my kids new nabi2 (no spell check for u!)

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Wait, we're absolute shit for posting what? A week in review? Or for having a comment posted on our site by the real hoaxer? Huh?

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