News by Dan Seifert on Thursday March 31, 2011.
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Google has enacted some stricter policies with regards to what manufacturers are allowed to do with future versions of Android. Previously, phone and tablet manufacturers were allowed to run amok with the operating system and customize to it in whatever way they'd like, without any recourse from Google, who advertised Android as a completely open platform. The consequence of this was that different devices had vastly different experiences ranging from stellar to distinctly sub-par.
Now manufacturers will be required to have Google approve any modifications that are made to the operating system, otherwise they will not get early access to develop on the platform. Google is trying to stem the tide of fragmentation with its platform, and it feels that this is the most effective way to do it.
This practice was evident with the launch of the Android 3.0 Honeycomb operating system geared for tablets. Each tablet that was announced with it had the same user interface and software, despite being made by different manufacturers.
We don't suspect that the larger manufacturers, such as HTC, Motorola, and Samsung, will have much trouble continuing development on their respective modifications. This is more likely to hamper the development of custom skins by smaller manufacturers that might not have as close a relationship with Google as the others. Standardizing the platform is likely to be a good thing, Google just might want to change its "open platform" tagline in the future. [via Business Week]
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.