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Thread: Google Tightening Grip on Android - Less Open, "Open Source"

  1. Editor in Chief
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    #1

    Google Tightening Grip on Android - Less Open, "Open Source"


    In a pattern of behavior that has several mobile partners upset, Google appears to be tightening it's control of the open nature of "open source" in regards to the Android OS. An article from Bloomberg/Businessweek indicated that several executives working for companies within the Android community of mobile partners have expressed frustration with Google recently over this pattern.

    The Bloomberg article described the last few months as a message from Google to its partners,
    There will be no more willy-nilly tweaks to the software. No more partnerships formed outside of Google's purview. From now on, companies hoping to receive early access to Google's most up-to-date software will need approval of their plans. And they will seek that approval from Andy Rubin, the head of Google's Android group.
    We recently reported on one example of their behavior, that Google will be holding back the source code for Honeycomb indefinitely. Another example is that Facebook is apparently trying to come up with its own Android handset and that Google has made them jump through several hoops and must allow Google to review any custom tweaks to Android. Supposedly, there have even been complaints to the U.S. Department of Justice from Microsoft claiming that Google has held up certain Verizon handsets because they came with the MS Bing search engine onboard.

    Google's partner system that was once truly easy and truly "open source" has since grown harder to navigate. Apparently, Google is attempting to regain control of a "final say" over any customizations made to the Android OS. Now, Google is demanding that its partners abide by its "non-fragmentation clauses" to stem the tide of junky software ruining the Android experience. Google has publicly stated that it is simply seeking to stabilize the platform and ensure quality control as well. The Bloomberg article said Google had this to say,
    Google says its procedures are about quality control, fixing bugs early, and building toward a "common denominator" experience, says John Lagerling, director of global Android partnerships at Google. "After that, the customization can begin."
    It's easy to see both sides of the equation. From Google's standpoint, they want to improve the Android experience as much as possible to remain competitive with iOS and others. On the other hand, too much control completely ruins the idea of "open source". It's a fine tight-rope they have to walk, and for now it seems, their balance has swung a bit more on the "less open" side of things.

    Source: Android.net via Bloomberg - Businessweek
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  3. Junior Droid
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    This is perfect, this will begin to raise android's standards. Now there won't be so many ****ty android phones out there.
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    #3
    It's a good thing. It's also a bad thing. It really depends on how much faith you have in Google as a company to do the right thing.
  5. Master Droid
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    #4
    I definitely think this is for the better. I agree with the previous post. This will stop manufacturers from putting crappy UI's on top of the platform. See MotoBlur. I have personally never used it, but, at least in reference to the original, i have heard nothing but bad reviews. Apparently the newer version is 'better', but there needs to be common denominator as judge, and that should be Google (with input from users of course). I have also heard good things about the new HTC Sense, but again, a lot of complaints about the original, even though not as many as Blur. I personally LOVE vanilla Android, that, along with being rooted, is why im still rocking the Android phone ever made, the OG.


    THE PRECEDING MESSAGE HAS BEEN APPROVED BY RMART88


    Samsung Galaxy Note II
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  6. Master Droid
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    #5
    Why not allow manufactures to add their own widgets and apps, but leave the core code as close to stock as possible. Then create some sort of "theme manager" built into Android where manufacturers and developers can submit their skins and allow them to pre-install their skins with a choice or download them. It'll be like now, but with more choice and a little less fragmentation.

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  7. Droid Ninja
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    #6
    One of the two reasons I bought my Thunderbolt was for SenseUI. I like it, and I don't see what any of the manufacturers should be banned from putting their own UI on top of Android. Other Linux distros do it all the time.

    This isn't going to kick manufacturers in the butt to get them to put out new updates to their older phones. Samsung will still be Samsung as far as updates are concerned. So will Motorola and HTC.

    Honestly if I wanted every phone to be exactly the same looking and feeling when I turned it on, I'd just get an iPhone. Touchwiz, Moto/ninja blur, SenseUI etc are what sets these phones apart. Get rid of that ability and I'm not certain so many companies will be making Android based smartphones.

    This will NOT solve the so called fragmentation issue. This "problem" stems from 1) older hardware not being capable of running the latest OS versions without issues and 2) Why would anyone think not having Touchwiz on a phone will make Samsung update the software on their already sold phones any faster?

    So much for "Open" huh?
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    #7
    I think it is a very good thing. After HAVING to root and ROM my sister's Droid Eris just so it would be usable, I stand behind this 100 percent. If you are locked into a two year agreement, your phone should run strong the whole time. I just hope it doesn't have a backlash on the ROMing community as a whole.

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    http://creativx.net/forums/windows-7-themes-vannmann/
  9. Droid Ninja
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by VannMann View Post
    I think it is a very good thing. After HAVING to root and ROM my sister's Droid Eris just so it would be usable, I stand behind this 100 percent. If you are locked into a two year agreement, your phone should run strong the whole time. I just hope it doesn't have a backlash on the ROMing community as a whole.
    All you did was root? No overclocking to make sure it could run the latest OS? Just root? The Eris as it stands does not meet the minimum requirements for Gingerbread, but you are saying that with this change in policy you expect the Eris to magically get it now? That's a total pipe dream.
  10. Droid Newbie
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    #9
    I agree, there is more GOOD here than BAD (as long as Google stays away from the EVIL side of the meter)



    Vendors should be able to "add" their crap (that we can remove if we choose) but the movement of vendors to JAM stuff in, derailling built in functions, and locking those "Open" functions out (aka Verizon's Bing and denying download of Google Search) are firmly in the the "EVIL" side for the Vendors.

    The other reason this is a good idea... is the post prior to this one: "Symantec Issues Warning About Another Android Malware". The CORE OS functionality should be FIRM/PROTECTED - to prevent malicious apps from compromising security. Sure, there will always be "malware" - but Android OS "viruses" we can all do without! :-)
  11. Droid Ninja
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    #10
    If it means my not getting 3rd party bloatware installed, YES i agree with this 100%. If this means that aside from a couple widgets and skin colors that every HTC phone will look and act like every Samsung phone which will look and act like every Motorola phone ........ what's the bloody point then? The appeal of HTC is not just the phone (lets fact it, battery life sucks on their phones) but in their implementation of their UI and changes to the default apps.
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