Google acquires Android optimization firm FlexyCore
Google has announced its acquisition of the French company FlexyCore, best known for its performance enhancing software, DroidBooster.
Droidbooster was an app (it’s already been removed from Google Play) that gave slower and older smart phones more power and much-needed acceleration. The company said that it could enhance the performance of “any Android embedded code” and make it “ten times faster,” a claim which many felt to be a bit of an exaggeration. Apparently not Google, though, which paid $23.1 million for the company.
Online demos of a very slow phone running the DroidBooster software do indeed seem to show a significant performance enhancement, particularly when interacting with animated menus and other dynamic content. In this demo, you can see the value of DroidBooster to the consumer right away.
The value of the software to Google should be obvious: With FlexyCore under its belt, it may need to devote considerably fewer resources to optimizing the Android code base. While the general consensus is that the acquisition means we’ll see better and better performance as FlexyCore’s code is folded into the core of Android, at least one observer has hopes that this will also mean decreased fragmentation among Android devices down the line.
Fragmentation is the phenomenon of multiple versions of an operating system existing side by side in the marketplace. As time goes on and more and more versions of an OS are released, fragmentation tends to get worse and worse. This has been especially problematic with Android, which undergoes very regular updates, but which are rarely rolled out to older hardware in a timely fashion. In fact, even when older devices are updated, they often aren’t updated to the latest version of Android, but merely to a “less old” version. It’s a reflection of the emphasis many manufacturers put on caring for their most recent – and upcoming – hardware releases.
Why don’t older phones get upgraded to the latest version of Android? Compatibility can be an issue, but it’s less of a big deal than you might think. Performance is likely the bigger culprit, as more recent versions of Android are designed to take advantage of the latest hardware, particularly the latest capabilities of advanced processors like the Qualcomm Snapdragon. If the FlexyCore acquisition and inclusion of its code into Android improves performance on older handsets, the road is cleared for more phones to get on the same page and all run the latest version of the OS.