The Tasker developer recently posted a warning on the app’s user group regarding features that will no longer work without root if you’re running Android 4.2. The features in question include control of airplane mode, making the display stay on, WiFi Sleep, and Vibrate on Ringer. The reason? Google is continuing to “improve security” on Android, which seems to basically mean “make it like iOS”. Google doesn’t seem to like that apps do anything outside of themselves, so it’s gradually removing third party access to certain features. The removal of third party pattern lock disabling in ICS is another, older example. You will likely be able to get the features through root, but how much is going to become root only on Android before people wake up?
The kicker here is that Google isn’t just making it more secure, by, I don’t know, throwing as many warnings in a user’s face when enabling it as it does with keyboards. It’s just flat out removing stuff, pulling a “we know better” type of thing that makes it very hard to see Google as any different than Apple. It almost seems like Google is trying to iOS-ify Android, making it more like the competitor by removing the features that sets it apart.
In my opinion, that last worthwhile update to Android was Gingerbread. Since then, each subsequent release has added to the pile of fail that is Android’s update history. By the time 5.0 comes out, you might not be able to change the wallpaper without root.