Why it is so hard to get Connectivity working with Android

The below information is from a professor that has to explain the issues with Android to his students.
His name is Terry Austin and he is on Facebook and post on the Oticon OPN users group

I actually think I CAN explain why…

This is one of my favorite topics to try and explain.

I’m an online professor and regularly have to explain to my college students why Android phones sometimes won’t use the software they’re supposed to run on either phone or computer. LOTS of my students’ Android phones will not run the software they’re required to have (relax, they can run it on their computers too)

You can love or hate Apple or Android but you can not escape the reality of these two platforms.

Apple makes the iOS operating system. Apple makes iPhones. They are ONE company in charge of the entire platform.

Meanwhile over on Android… Google makes the operating system

As of 2015 there were 1,300 companies making phones to run Android software, and a grand total of over 24,000 individual phone models. According to a close friend of mine who is an editor for a major technology website the current number is over 30,000 individual models of phones available. In the words of that same friend “”it’s amazing that developers can support Android at all. It’s a hardware crap show!” (Not exactly the word he used)

Now, imagine the headaches that Oticon would have trying to make their product work with over 30,000 distinctly different hardware configurations.

Just imagine the customer complaints they would have if they suddenly announced “now compatible with Android”, only to find that a substantial portion of those 30,000 different models don’t play nicely. Suddenly they get accused of “not supporting MY Android”…

Another thing that is often overlooked: These hearing aids of ours are NOT simple “Bluetooth earbuds”. In Apple’s system they appear in a unique connection area Settings/Accessibility/Hearing Devices. (Other Bluetooth hearing aids have a dedicated top-level area for Bluetooth devices to connect.)

The REASON Apple is able to do this is that they have utter & complete control over both software and hardware.

I would be baffled in this is resolved on the Android side any time soon.

Please understand I respect Android and have used it for years before switching to the IPhone. And if I could connect to android like I do with the iPhone for using my aids I would gladly do it

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OTH, I’ve upgraded to the next Android OS (Pie) this spring and not had any of the issues that Apple users (see a zillion forum posts here) have had upgrading to iOS 13.x. I think the dear professor deliberately exaggerates the number of different phone platforms in use. Here in the U.S. there are only a handful of major Android phone platforms and if you go with someone like Samsung, Google, etc., you are likely to find major features supported and I don’t know about Oticon but I’m sure ReSound these days tries to make sure its HA’s and its app work well with Samsung, Google, etc., the major Android phone OEM’s.

The professor left off price. In August 2020 the availability of OTC is going to dial up a new ballgame. It will be interesting to see how Apple and Google address OTC HA’s. If Apple charges an arm and a leg for MFI licensing, that could have an impact on how things go (ASHA is ~free as far as licensing goes). The conventional wisdom back in the early 1990’s was that IBM’s OS/2 was superior to Windows at the time. Windows was a mess and had the kind of ragtag manufacturer support the professor above subscribes to Android. Whatever happened to OS/2 in the world?!

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Not all of us have had the issues with the IOS13. From what I have read the issues are more issues with security within the MFI Bluetooth setup Apple has had that information out for months before the release of the new IOS. I haven’t had any issues since the firmware was updated on my hearing aids.

Similar problem.
I wear a Fitbit.
It’s supposed to sync with my Pixel 3a I thought.
I have issues with getting the correct names of callers.
Emailed support. Was told my phone is not compatible.
The Pixel 3 and 3 XL is.
Same operating system just a different processor.

I prefer using an Android phone. I’ve found that the only Android phone that is always totally up-to-date with the Google Android OS is the phone that is also manufactured by Google. So I have a Google Pixel 3XL phone and thus I always have the latest Android OS update the moment it’s released. As far as I know the Google Pixel phones are so far the only ones that are fully supporting ASHA. Now that the Pixel 4 phones have just been released I’m thinking about asking Santa to put one in my Christmas Stocking! :blush:

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And I read the topic title and think…umm…because Android isn’t iOS??.. :slight_smile: … Made…For…

Maybe the topic should be connectivity… not MFi.

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I really should add to my original post that I’m a new HA user and a longtime Android user. Because of my Android use, I spent a lot of time researching hearing aids. I discovered that there was only one HA that worked directly with my Android Pixel 3 XL without requiring that I wear an intermediate device around my neck. All other HA’s used MFi (Made For iPhone) and only connected directly with an iPhone. I wasn’t willing to switch to an iPhone so my choice was obvious. I’ve been with my Phonak Marvel for 10 months and I’m quite happy with my choice. I easily connect with my computers, my TV, and of course my Android Pixel 3 XL. I have no problems with Android Connectivity.

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Microsoft windows runs on multiple computers that Microsoft don’t make. It also runs programs that Microsoft don’t make. Most of the time this arrangement works well.
I think Google and Android are in the same situation and most of the time it works well.

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You clearly don’t appreciate the challenge presented to HA manufacturers to get Bluetooth working. Comparing a HA to a generic PC and claiming that since Microsoft can get windows to run on just any PC, so Google Android and HA manufacturers can do the same with Bluetooth streaming is just insane. The HA manufacturers can hardly get it right with Apple (and apple with the HA manufacturers) yet it is with a much smaller sized number of phones to support. I wonder why?? Maybe because the HA’s are tiny devices requiring extremely low power consumption?? And there’s a very, very wide range of Bluetooth versions and manufacturers of the chips that run the Bluetooth inside the phone? Could be a factor but what do I know

@focusandearnit Last time I checked, Bluetooth is also used on PC’s for a wide variety of functions over several generations of Bluetooth and with many different manufacturers and devices, mouse, keyboard, head phones, microphones, speakers, you name it. So I don’t think singling out HA’s and their Bluetooth functionality makes them any more special and esoteric than PC’s. Maybe the only thing that makes it special is that HA OEM’s unlike PC manufactures seem to see less need to agree on a common standard and more advantage on going with proprietary standards for some of their functionality - so that might be greed and stupidity rather than technical difficulty at play, though. And also in the PC business, although Macs are favored with the young and “cool,” Macs have been a relative failure - laying waste to the theory that a single manufacturer that controls both hardware and software inevitably leads to world dominance - Oh, wait - I forgot that Google is vindicating that approach with Chromebooks, which are probably going to leave both Windows PC and Apple Macs in the dust the way things seem to be going in education and enterprise.

I think what happens on this forum is that every time things get slow, someone kicks the cat (iOS vs Android) leading to a lot of yowling and screeching about which is best. I think there is room for both in the world and I was just poking fun at @cvkemp’s view that Apple controlling both hardware and software is the key to the future - until Steve Jobs invented the iPod, Apple was almost a goner - even though back then it controlled both the hardware and software of its devices, too.

Isaac Asimov identified the key to the way things evolve in the Foundation Triology. Harry Seldon’s psycho-historians have the future figured out with their analysis of patterns and trends - until an unforeseen mutant arises and screws everything up. So we’re all here predicting the future but we don’t know about any other “mutants” that are going to come along and screw things up for our infallible foresight. Parrying off MDB’s remark awhile back, predictions aren’t really hard until it comes to the real future. Who really knows what it’s going to be - maybe greenhouse gases will really take off and we don’t have one? The world will dissolve in civil unrest and mass migrations, crop failures, droughts, much more severe storms?

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That book is partly to blame for why I am where I am today. Way back when, I went into psychology in University because I’d just read that book and I wanted to become a psycho-historian. I then jagged over into perception psychology and neuroscience because social psychology wasn’t as fun as I’d thought. But still, what a neat idea.

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One of the things about those books that sticks with me is the opening view of Trantor, the planet at the center of the Galactic Empire. It’s been completely paved over with concrete and covered “wall-to-wall” with towering skyscrapers that reached into the clouds. It made a strong impression on me as to how far man(and woman) might go in overriding nature. And beyond that Asimov’s lesson that the future has both predictable and unpredictable components to it has really stuck with me. The same is probably true for HA’s (to get back halfway on topic!).

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It’s hard to reply to your very lengthy post when you steered off into so many different directions, seemingly looking to argue with every other statement you make.

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To me the difference between Window’s implementation of Bluetooth and Android is that Windows is sticking with standard Bluetooth and has been doing it for years. Except for the very recent introduction of the ASHA “standard” (I use quotes as I have no idea if it really become a standard), there has been no standard for LE Bluetooth. Apple developed made for iPhone a number of years back. Google is just now getting into the game. And just to be thorough, Phonak decided to stick with standard Bluetooth, but supposedly has some tricks to decrease battery consumption.

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But regular Bluetooth isn’t used in most hearing aids due to battery requirements

Phonak developed the new SWORD chip that advances miniaturization to a new level and advances energy requirements. The SWORD chip has 42 million transistors on just 6mm² and it is currently the lowest power consuming solution for a hearing aid.They combined that with new formula Lithium Polymer batteries that advance the capabilities of Lithium-ion batteries to allow longer daily life and longer total life to 6 years. This is what allows Phonak Marvels to use standard Bluetooth and thus have connectivity with all the devices that use only standard Bluetooth including, of course, Android devices.

That is great for them. Not all of us want rechargeable hearing aids, because not all of us want or like behind the ear hearing aids.

Absolutely! One has options to use what works best for them! I’m not so sure I might not choose disposable batteries next time to allow such things as listening to music while going to sleep.

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Only the latest flagship Android phones get the latest upgrades, just one or two years. Google Pixels is the only which have guaranteed upgrades.

When a new Android upgrade hits the market it must be adopted by the manufacturer (that takes time, months), then your carrier (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint…) must adopt the upgrade too; if they don’t you don’t get the upgrade.

Manufacturers of Android devices have multiple models. For example: Samsung Galaxy S10 is a whole line with lot of models (S10, S10+, S10e, S10 lite, S10 5G), all of these models have variants per country, for example: the Samsung Galaxy S10 have at least 4 versions: SM-975U for United States, SM-975F for Canada, SM-975F and SM-975-DS, for Europe and global markets; the “Galaxy S10 5G” have at least 5 versions: AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, China and Global. So, when I say “Samsung Galaxy S10” I mean at least 5 models, each one with at least 4 variants, which mean that “Samsung Galaxy S10” comprises at least 20 devices with minor hardware differences.

I have two 2015 flagship phones: LG G4 and iPhone 6s. The iPhone have the latest iOS 13.1.3, meanwhile the LG G4 is stuck with Android 6. Some G4 upgrades to Android 7 Nougat (neither T-Mobile LG G4 or Sprint LG G4 gets the upgrade, only the global one).

So, the issue is a real one: you will need the latest Android flagship phone and that’s not a guarantee that it’ll work. Apple, on the other hand, guarantees their phone working for a long time.

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This is the real and one of the reasons I switched from Android to Apple a long with the fact that the hearing aids that work best for me only work with Apple directly.
I don’t have a religious relationship with my cell phone but I do with my hearing aids.

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