Google won’t fix bug hitting 60 percent of Android phones

“Just as Google is coming under fire for publicizing a Windows bug two days before Microsoft released a fix, the company is now in the crosshairs because of its approach towards updating its own software,” Peter Bright reports for Ars Technica.

“Not for the first time, a bug has been found in the WebView component of Android 4.3 and below. This is the embeddable browser control powered by a version of the WebKit rendering engine used in Android apps,” Bright reports. “Android 4.4 and 5.0, which use Blink rather than WebKit for their WebView, are unaffected. But by Google’s own numbers, some 60 percent of Android users are using 4.3 or below.”

“The normal procedure would be to report the bug to Google, and for Google to develop a fix and publish it as part of Android Open Source Project release. But, writes Tod Beardsley, developer of the Metasploit security testing framework, that’s not what happened this time. The Android security team was notified of the problem, and the response was, ‘If the affected version [of WebView] is before 4.4, we generally do not develop the patches ourselves, but welcome patches with the report for consideration. Other than notifying OEMs, we will not be able to take action on any report that is affecting versions before 4.4 that are not accompanied with a patch,'” Bright reports. “Google will tell OEMs about the problem, but has no interest in fixing it.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Fragmandroid.

Of note: iOS 8 now powers 68% of iPhones and iPads – January 7, 2015

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “Martin B.” and “Sid” for the heads up.]

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  1. Meanwhile, Google provides very laudable security testing for everyone else’s OS. They have provided a slew of security holes to Apple. Just recently Google has been encouraging Microsoft to fix a long standing security hole in Windows.

    But WHY doesn’t Google better deal with the Android’s security holes, albeit stuck amidst the fragmandroid problems??? It’s as if Google wants to be known for great security scrutiny of everyone else’s software EXCEPT their own. Really odd and really poor.

    1. Fixing security bugs in old versions of your OS would mean that Google would move closer to moving the OS out of the “beta” stage, thereby creating expectations that Google actually wants to produce final or Gold Master level software. /s but not really.

      1. Therefore, it’s a question of priority scrutiny by Google. The more expensive the software, the more scrutiny Google provides. So, but that illogic, Google isn’t going to scrutinize Linux either. And they haven’t, that I know of.

    1. “Google will tell OEMs about the problem, but has no interest in fixing it.””
      That says it all. !!!!!

      What Google means is “Advertising money, we are interested in working on, the rest is up to you to worry about.” LOL

      1. Can you quantify “a LOT of people” cause everyone I know that uses Yosemite myself included are not having any problems with the OS. Can you post a link showing the user base of Yosemite against the ones reporting problems.

        1. Did you miss the recent MDN post on Wi-Fi problems? Or this 9t05mac post: I especially like the results of the poll at the end.

          Go to Apple’s discussion boards and search on the topics. You’ll find hundreds to thousands of on each. Call Apple tech support about your Mac and see how long the wait time is. It used to be 5 minutes or less, now it’s 15 minutes or more. I asked a tech if Apple fired two thirds of them and he said no, they’re just getting a lot more calls since Yosemite came out.

          I’ve called so many times I actually know my Mac’s serial number by heart and have begged them to update their on-hold music playlist.

          Some people don’t have problems but many do and Apple is taking its sweet time to address these problems. I dot so tired of Mail no longer filtering junk from my .icloud account that I’m using a third party email client for the first time since OS X came out, thank god I don’t have the Wi-Fi problems, I wouldn’t want to have to buy a third party dongle to fix that.

          Just because the problems don’t effect you don’t assume they don’t exist.

      2. Since there do appear to be some problems with Yosemite, it makes sense that Apple Tech support is busier. I do not consider a 15 minute response time to be a disaster.

        The question that was asked of you regarding the problem rate remains unanswered except in general, sensationalist terms. What percentage of Yosemite users are experiencing one or more significant problems? While the number would ideally be zero, it is inevitable that some people will experience issues with any software.

        I am also not surprised that there are thousands of people responding on each of the trouble topics. Even if these are unique people and not a lesser number of people posting multiple times, thousands out of tens of millions is not necessarily the sign of impending doom.

        I agree that recent Apple software releases have not met the quality standards that Apple users have come to expect. But I am not willing to join the Chicken Little brigade at this point. Apple has pride and the situation will improve in 2015.

  2. If Apple stopped supporting this number of users the stock would immediately tank 10 percent. With Google it’s like, “Hey, cut us some slack. We are an advertising company. What do you expect -rainbows and sunshine? Bada-Bing-Bada-Bo-Zip-Zip”.

    There is a reason why Android owners use their phones much less than users on competing platforms – Android phones are a failure and now they are barely supported.

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