March 1, 2015

Google Tightening the Android Reins

Google is taking steps to ensure that fragmentation and “willy-nilly” customization doesn’t slow the growth and success of Android. According to roughly twelve executives spread across various players in the Android space, they have begun clamping down so much that Andy Rubin personally approves who gets early access to software. According to these anonymous inside sources, Google has even tried to delay the release of Verizon’s Bing-flavored handsets. Is the Android team closing the doors on their open source platform? Not so much. Rather, they are taking a more active role in how devices perform and feel to the end user.

Bloomberg Businessweek is reporting that Google is beginning to more strongly enforce clauses in the Android distribution agreement, giving the company a “final say” as to how handset makers and carriers “tweak the code”. While some might see this as signaling the closing of an open platform, others will view it as being quality control.  Nothing here is new, it’s just that Google is living up to their end of the deal.  Well, unless Andy Rubin has taken on a Jobs-ian role for Android after all.  Then we’re talking about a different approach.

Fragmentation between various platform releases were a sticking point for the first few years of Android’s existence, something which has slowly begun to wane. As new builds are released further apart, device makers are able to stay on top of the game, putting out cutting edge hardware with the latest software. Just ask Sony Ericsson how much better things are this year by having the best of both.

As Android continues shooting skyward, Google would be wise to play a more active role with the platform.  Just because anyone and everyone can release an Android device, doesn’t mean they are doing it right.  Getting players to stick closer to Google and abiding by their rules is nothing but good for the consumer.



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13 Comments

    • Anonymous
      Reply

      And how’s that?? Apple won’t let anyone use their OS at all. Google is just trying to make it so we get our updates much faster. I’m sure some samsung and motorola customers can appreciate that.

      • Nobuyuki Sakamoto
        Reply

        Some of both, I’d say. Google doesn’t want Bing (as the standard search) on Android and they’re making sure that it’s difficult for Verizon or anyone else to do it. Google will tighten their grip on other things eventually, as they figure out what they’re doing, just like Apple did.

    • Tony McAfee
      Reply

      no one is saying you can’t root your device and do whatever the heck you want to it after that. it’s just to keep these manufacturers from adding, and, more importantly, taking things away because they’re “making it better”
      they shouldn’t be the ones deciding that. we should as the users

    • MrBucket
      Reply

      It’s been a while since any carrier but TMo got a vanilla Android handset and I’ll be waiting to replace my og Droid until they do. Some people like sense but I can’t stand it (pull down to unlock? wtf). And blur sucks but it looks like it will be better for gingerbread (although I still prefer stock Android).

  1. Terrormaster
    Reply

    I see this as a very good thing. Personally I feel Android should have two main standards… Creating a mobile phone? Here are the standards… Creating a tablet? Here are the other standards. Neither? Ok, you’re free to fork Android and do what you want.

  2. Andrew Hall
    Reply

    I’m all for this. I personally think the best thing for Android is for all OEMs being obligated to have their phones ship with the latest, unadulterated version of Android so that they can be upgraded almost as soon as new Android updates come out. The OEM’s can then offer their own skinned ROM’s additionally for the user to choose to download and use, they can be whatever version they want. With that choice there, it’s the best compromise. I’d love to one day see a world where all Android devices, regardless of price point, make or features are all united under the same OS version. Like some sort of nerdy martin luther king dream.

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