Forked Android Smartphone Shipments rise to 20%, Is Google Worried?

August 5, 2014 - Written By Alexander Maxham

Forked Android smartphones are beginning to become pretty popular. The first popular device to have forked Android was the Kindle Fire a few years ago. But there have been Chinese manufacturers forking Android for years and years. And with China being the largest smartphone market now, it’s not surprising to see forked Android smartphones reaching 20% marketshare. But is Google worried about that? Yes and no. As we found out recently, Android currently has 85% market share, which means almost 9 out of every 10 devices are made with Android on board. Which is quite the feat for Google. But the growing issue is companies like Nokia and Amazon who are selling hardware with forked versions of Android.

For those that are unaware, there are two versions of Android. There’s the Android that Google endorses, and that members of the Open Handset Alliance uses. Which has all kinds of Google services in there, like Gmail, Google+, Google Play Store, well you get the picture. Then there’s the AOSP version, which basically allows OEMs to tinker with Android as much as they want. And like we mentioned above, Amazon is the one that made forking Android somewhat cool. Nokia’s Android devices also run forked version of Android, but don’t forget all those other OEMs in China that do forked Android as well. So should Google be worried? Yes and no.

Google’s big reason for having Android is revenue. And as we all know, iOS still brings in more revenue than Android, even though they have a whole lot less users. Google creates all these services for you to use, so they can get more ad views. Because after all, Google is an ad company. So yes, Google should be worried, but I don’t think it’s a huge deal yet. Especially when people realize that all those forked devices have their own app store.