Google Goes Hard Against Android Fragmentation; OEMs Made To Comply with “Non-Fragmentation Clause”

March 31, 2011 - Written By Anthony Hardy

Google Gets Tough In the Fight Against Android Fragmentation

Google is starting to change their approach towards the massively successful Android platform, the major focus is to eliminate fragmentation. Many of the OEMs have stated that Google is trying to achieve this by having all customizations go through them before being made public. This corresponds to a report we made earlier that an LG executive told media that no Honeycomb UI changes are going to be allowed in the immediate future. The plan is not to take away differentiation among offerings, but to stabilize the platform and ensure a level of quality across the board.

Does This Take Away from Android Being Open Source?

Originally Andy Rubin and the Android Team allowed manufacturer’s to customize their offering in any way that they saw fit hence the OS being an open platform. Along the way Android fragmentation became a major buzzword as new iterations of the OS came out and manufacturers along with the carriers took their sweet time keeping their handsets up to date.

Andy Rubin said that the market would dictate how long the update process would take, but that hasn’t panned out. In term the OS that is working with almost every manufacturer and carrier has been put in a position where they have to take more hands on control of the Android ecosystem.

Threat Of Delayed Access

Google states they have always had “Non-Fragmentation Clauses” in their agreements with OEMs, and that only now are they forcing them to abide by rules.  The punishment for not playing nice is no longer being apart of the “early access program”. That means that you will be at a major disadvantage when it comes to getting your product to market in a timely fashion.  The Honeycomb source code us currently being withheld from a public release, meaning that if you aren’t under the Google umbrella you are being left out and will be at a severe disadvantage.

Android Fragmentation A Thing Of The Past?

Although there has always been “Non-Fragmentation Clauses” recent reports suggest they are being tightened up in a major way. Two things that have been pointed to are other search engines or other navigation Apps from competition such as Microsoft with their Bing integration on a few Verizon handsets coming into question.

It remains to be seen just how much control Google will exercise and if they will finally squash the Android Fragmentation bug. What do you guys think of Google’s stricter requirements, and will they help or hurt the platform?