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31 March 2011, 11:04

Report: Google taking more control of Android

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Android restrained According to a report in Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Google is taking more control of Android by requiring that changes and customisations made to Android by companies with access to the most up-to-date versions of the operating system get Google's approval. Last week, Google revealed that it would not be releasing the source code to Android 3.0 "Honeycomb" for the forseeable future.

The report says the rules are the "new reality" that "a dozen executives working at key companies in the Android ecosystem" described to them. In recent months, Google has been adding "non-fragmentation clauses" to Android licences which give Google the right of approval upon any changes made to the Android code. According to Google, such clauses have always been present, but Businessweek's sources report that Google has been tightening up those policies. Allegedly, Facebook, currently developing a variant of Android for smartphones, is unhappy that Google reviews their changes.

The procedures concern quality control, says Google, building towards a "common denominator" experience and fixing bugs early. John Lagerling, director of global partnerships at Google is quoted as saying, "After that, the customization can begin". The position would explain why the first generation of Android 3.0 devices are remarkably similar in terms of user experience. Once the code is released as open source, Google lose that control and the second and third tier device makers are free to make any modifications they wish.

Over the next month, the UK will see the arrival in store of Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablets such as the Motorola Xoom and the Asus EEE Pad Transformer, taking on the recently launched iPad 2.


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