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Google Vetting Android Customizations to Reduce Fragmentation

March 31, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Android Fragmentation

Since the coming of Android in 2008, we have seen Google’s mobile OS skyrocket to the top of the market, grabbing 31% of the market share and dominating the world-wide mobile scene. Much of this is due to the “open” nature of Android and the ability that developers have to customize the OS as they see fit. We’ve seen this in a variety of forms, such as HTC’s Sense UI, the Genius buttons on some models, and in a variety of other forms on both the phones and tablets. This same strategy however, has led many to complain that Android is becoming too fragmented. App developers in particular have a hard time of it, since they have to continually retool their apps to work with so many different versions of the OS. Google knew the problem existed, but in the beginning chose not to do anything about it. Hey, it’s an open system and what are you going to do about it?

Well, Andy Rubin the head of Google’s Android group has decided it’s time to do something about it. From now on, companies that hope to gain access to the most up-to-date software will have to get approval of their customization plans from Google. While this does not really effect the home hacker or custom ROM maker, it will greatly effect mobile device makers and carriers. The change comes via language in the license agreement that device makers sign when they get their Android access and Google has made it clear that if you abide by the rules they’ll give you a head start on getting your device to market.

What this means for the average user is that you will hopefully see more polished versions of Android on lower end phones and a greater chance that anything you download from the market will work on any device you have.

[BusinessWeek]

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