It's a fine line to walk. How can you remain as open as possible, yet still create enough cohesion and structure to avoid fragmentation? It almost sounds like a dilemma question on a college philosophy test doesn't it? Unfortunately it is precisely this razor's edge that Google must walk with Android everyday, and today's news suggests they made the choice to stray across to the "less open" side of things.
Google has updated their Android SDK licensing terms and agreements to help keep things more focused and reduce fragmentation. Here's a quote with the details,
In many ways this is good news. Addressing the fragmentation problem will benefit Android greatly. It helps consumers avoid obsolescence a bit longer with their devices, and greatly helps developers from having to create extra versions of their apps to be compatible with the various Android versions. Still, Google always strives to "not be evil." While this new "control mechanism" helps to keep fragmentation reduced, it also bends Google toward a more rigid and "Apple-like" way of doing things. Share your perspective on the subject.Section 3.4 of Google's new terms, which were updated Tuesday, reads, "You agree that you will not take any actions that may cause or result in the fragmentation of Android, including but not limited to distributing, participating in the creation of, or promoting in any way a software development kit derived from the SDK."
The new clause is the first significant update since the 2009 terms, which did not address the issue of fragmentation.