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Google contradicts itself on question of stock Android

updated 02:00 pm EDT, Fri September 24, 2010

Google chief says Android can't be forced as stock

Google chief Eric Schmidt in an interview posted today (video below) from from the Zeitgeist conference provided contradictory answers on why the company refuses to require an option for unaltered Android on smartphones. He insisted to Search Engine Land that the company couldn't make carriers or phone designers give the choice since it would be "violating the principle of open source." The principle demands that everyone have control, even if it means options being locked out for end users.

Sun had tried a pseudo-open implementation of Java during Schmidt's tenure there that failed, the executive said. Most of Java is now completely open source under a GNU license.

The statements run against some of Google's own stated policies. Although the core OS is modifiable, Google prevents companies from using the full apps and feature set unless certain branding terms are met. Its decision to use "basic compatibility requirements" to ensure a "consistent experience" have also come under fire, as the company is facing a lawsuit from Skyhook for allegedly excluding competition. Motorola and others had tried to use Skyhook for location services on their phones but were forced to use Google's method to move ahead.

Phones exist that have pure Android, including the now mostly discontinued Nexus One and the T-Mobile G2, but almost all devices now have a custom interface and in some cases have artificial restrictions that prevent choices for owners. Samsung Fascinate owners on Verizon aren't allowed to use or install the Google search widget, and all AT&T Android phones are banned from using non-Market apps. The customization also regularly delays OS updates by several months and has fragmented the Android user base by keeping some running old versions even when the hardware is fully capable.

iPhones only have one choice for the default OS install, but the decision to deny control to carriers has in a handful of cases given more choice than Android phones. The Apple handset gives users a choice of three search engines OS-wide.

by MacNN Staff



  1. lkrupp

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Lewis Black

    I'd love to hear Lewis Black's take on this sort of c***. His latest album has a really funny bit about the iPhone and at&t. He rakes at&t over th coals pretty good while also jabbing the iPhone over the pictures it takes.

  1. bjojade

    Joined: Dec 1969


    comment title

    "The principle demands that everyone have control, even if it means options being locked out for end users."

    So, end users don't count as everyone?

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    That policy seriously sucks...

    The end user gets the shaft. Is this really what the Droidtards want? Sure it's fine for the tech-head end users that don't mind downloading ROMs or rooting the phone, but for the average consumer, they're going to be stuck with the same c*** bloatware that OEM Windows users get when they buy computers from various computer vendors. That's why Google should continue to make its own brand phones that run a stock version of Android for end users that really want a standardized version of Android.

    At least Apple is up-front about it. You're getting an Apple "walled garden" smartphone and that's all there is to it. It seems to me that Android end users are getting carrier and vendor "walled garden" smartphones. In this case, the carriers seem to be taking back control to some degree. Apple tried to stop that carrier interference and Android is allowing it to come back. Android fragmentation will continue as more carriers and smartphone vendors use Android OS.

    I'd bet that Google could stop it, but I guess they say that carrier and vendor interference is the price end users have to pay for getting a free OS. Yeah, they say it's because it's open source, but I wonder about that.

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