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Google explains why Acer had to drop support of Android-based OS

News by Andrew Kameka on Saturday September 15, 2012.

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Chinese firm Alibaba ignited controversy and confusion Thursday when it accused Google of pressuring Acer to abandon its Aliyun OS phone hours before its announcement. Amid allegations of being anti-competitive, Google has responded with multiple statements about Android's openness and compatibility efforts.

Google issued a statement to Marketing Land explaining that compatibility is a core part of its efforts in Android. A spokesperson explained that while companies are free to modify Android features under the open source agreement, some companies, including Acer, agreed to maintain core functions and not build products that dramatically alter the operating system. The statement reads:

"Compatibility is at the heart of the Android ecosystem and ensures a consistent experience for developers, manufacturers and consumers. Non-compatible versions of Android, like Aliyun, weaken the ecosystem. All members of the Open Handset Alliance have committed to building one Android platform and to not ship non-compatible Android devices. This does not however, keep OHA members from participating in competing ecosystems."

Members of the Open Handset Alliance, the official group of companies that have developed standards and products for Android since its inception, agree to limit their modifications in order to maintain compatibility for apps and core OS functions. While non-OHA members like Alibaba or Amazon are free to modify Android in whatever fashion they see fit, Google contends that Acer, which joined the OHA in 2009, cannot release an Aliyun OS phone because it is an Android-based product that breaks compatibility.

Andy Rubin, senior vice president of Mobile at Google, added that Aliyun OS "tries to, but does not succeed in being compatible [with Android]." He then pointed to a new blog post that provides more technical details on the importance of maintaining device compatibility among Open Handset Alliance members. He echoes Google's argument that while Android is open source, members of the OHA face tougher guidelines.

source: Google+

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Andrew Kameka
Andrew is based in Miami, Florida.

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