Google Planning To Make Android A Closed System?

August 24, 2011

Android is quickly becoming one of the most popular operating systems around and this is mostly because of its open nature. However, not all is as it seems. Many open-source advocates have criticized Google for keeping the operating system one of the most “closed” open platforms ever. Before you get confused, Google’s Chris DiBona says that’s all nonsense, pointing out the over 10 million lines of Android code that are under an open-source license.

However, with the recent purchase of Motorola Mobility by Google, this may soon change. It will be a big temptation for the search giant to close off Android, to gain more control of their OS.

With a hardware foothold via Motorola, Google can now pretty much force updates to the latest Android releases, reduce Android fragmentation, and also make sure hardware requirements for the OS are standardized. However, these advantages do come at a cost. With the mobile business shifting the way it is, Google needs to be part of the changes in the industry. This means that better integration of Android with Motorola Mobility hardware, which can shut out other developers from experimenting and tinkering with the OS.

It’s the inevitable result of the market getting more competitive. Google’s choice to buy Motorola Mobility and its hardware assets was a good decision in the long run for the company. However, the fact that it brings the temptation of closing down their popular software platform from outside interference is bad news for developers.

We’ll have to see what choice Google makes in the long run.

Source: The Register

Comments

  • user01

    The temptation will be there but remember that Android (and handsets and other devices) are primarily conduits for Google to get its services (and ads) to people. That may change and evolve over time but it’s more or less the way things are now and for the future.

    The best way to do that is to have as many partners as possible using their technology…device makers etc.

    That’s also the best way to have more folks in your corner legally since a lot of the partners do business in greater or lesser degrees with “the rest” (MS, Apple, RIM, etc.). The patents are vital too but the more strategic protection and tie-ins you have, the better. Think how much MS and Apple do this already (the fact that they are fighting so hard should make it clear how threatened they are).

  • lopu

    You’re a fucking idiot

  • Fandroid

    Because Android is under an open source license, I don’t see how they can legally close it. Anyone can demand a copy of the code, and anyone can make a fork of it.

    • Vincent

      That’s a false argument a forked android will be dead in the water compared to an official android with the android market and enhanced by more than 300 google engineer.At best it could enable manufacturers to be competitive during a year but not much.

      Aldo I agree, that it wouldn’t make sense at that point to close android. However in business the truth of one day is not necessarly the truth of tomorrow.

  • Mike

    While it is possible you have presented very little to enforce your conjecture. Lets take them one at a time shall we:

    - lock it down to gain control….
    Every mobile os requires some customization by the manufacturer. If Google wants more control then they would do so with licensing restrictions …. as they do now. It is a significant hurdle to make a successful android device without the android market. It is through access to the market that control of manufacturers is enforced and there is no need to change that. Closing Android does not really improve Google’s grip on the situation.

    - Google will tightly integrate with Motorola and shut out others.
    This would be on of the most ill thought out things Google could do. Ignoring that it is the exact opposite of what Google has publicly stated, it is simply stupid. As much as i love android it can not go head to head with the iPhone as a single vendor solution. The strength of Android is that it provides a large amount of choice. Close it off and give 3d party manufacturers less access and you will generate significant ill will with both manufacturers and the community. The ill will with manufacturers would mean a less preferred status and thus less android devices. This would directly harm Google’s android business. It is possible but it flies in the face of everything Google has done to date and would generate a s**t storm of bad press. It is more likely that Motorola will have better access to Google engineers and thus reduce their development time but even that is conjecture (and does not imply Google closing Android) .

    So yes, what you describe is possible but you did not make your case as to why it is even vaguely likely. It is also possible that Android will get abandoned by Google. After all, Google has pushed the mobile world along. They might simply decide it is not worth the number of lawsuits involved…. it is just as likely as your scenario.

    Do not pen a poorly backed opinion piece and call it an article. This is pure conjecture.

  • AndroidUserNo22410577

    Do you people just randomly speculate on stuff or do you have any evidence to back up some of your wild theories?? Kindly presented a logical argument to show how Google could possibly be more profitable with a closed system.

  • sabir ayaz

    if that happens, i am migrating back to apple,, only reason i am fan of android and use their cheap built quality phones is cuz it gives me the ability to change OS and the opensource goodies..

  • sabir ayaz

    if that happens, i am migrating back to apple,, only reason i am fan of android and use their cheap built quality phones is cuz it gives me the ability to change OS and the opensource goodies..

  • http://crisdelvallelife.blogspot.com/ CoreAn_Crack3rZ

    Does this mean that Android handsets will be expensive similar to iPhone? WT_!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BUNNN7BITFW5XA5QCAQ2TOJ33U ditto

    If Google becomes a CLOSED System, then it’s time for me switch over to MEEGO. Closed systems like iOS is against the free nature of “BORN TO BE WILD”. We love Android for its Openness, its huge range of devices, apps, etc.