Google has told mobile manufacturers and providers they will have to go through its head honcho to make any changes to the Android mobile operating system.
The Silicon Valley giant has laid down the law to prevent Android becoming more fragmented. Any changes will now have to be approved by the company’s head of mobile, Andy Rubin, according to a report in Business Week.
Companies who faced the stern talking to from Google included LG, Toshiba and Samsung. Even internet rival Facebook has been told to check with Rubin for any customisation of its software before it launches an Android device.
But they aren’t happy about it. A source described as being “familiar with the matter” told Business Week some firms have even complained to the Justice Department about the newly imposed rules.
Android has been growing in popularity since its launch back in 2008 but, as each update has come along, it has taken longer for all the devices to catch up.
Companies like HTC and Motorola, which have customised the software with their own UIs and features, have to do the same again for each release. Providers putting their own stamp on the OS also have to make changes and test it before rolling out to customers.
This has led to Android devices running a range of versions of the software and only new handsets being truly up to date – until the next update comes along.
Although it may sound reasonable to bring this all into line with a “non-fragmentation clause,” the real beauty of Android is its open source nature. It helped smaller manufacturers get to market without needing to develop their own software, whilst still being able to give devices their own distinct feel.
This has turned HTC into one of the world’s top players, for example, but with stricter rules it is questionable whether this success story can be repeated.
A study by ABI Research published today claimed Android would be the dominating force in mobile market share by 2016.
This article originally appeared at itpro.co.uk