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Google’s War for Android Integrity

Acer canceled the launch of its A800 CloudMobile smartphone in China. This gadget was supposed to run the operating system Aliyun, but due to pressure from Google which threatened to deprive the Acer of the right of Android support, the presentation was foiled.

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After that event Google tried to explain to the public its position on the matter, but its application was more than the evidence for the fact that Android is not a completely open ecosystem. Here are statements by the search giant, Resource Acquisition Marketing Land:

“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. By joining the Open Handset Alliance, each member contributes to and builds one Android platform — not a bunch of incompatible versions. “

Also Andy Rubin from Google, said:

“We were surprised to read Alibaba Group’s chief strategy officer Zeng Ming’s quote ‘We want to be the Android of China’ when in fact the Aliyun OS….was apparently derived from Android.”

These statements make it clear that Google is trying to prevent the emergence of branches of Android OS, watering down the platform and dividing the Android users. It is logical because this policy has allowed Android-compatible phones to reach 500 million in number. The only problem is how to determine whether the platform is Android-compatible or a completely separate (though Android-based) operating system. Amazon Kindle Fire lineup comes to mind immediately. New tablets in this series are running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, but the OS does not provide an access to the official Google services.

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According to the Chinese Internet giant Alibaba, behind the development of the Aliyun operating system is similar to an Amazon Kindle Fire one. Alibaba hastened to respond to Google statements, making reproach to the Corporation in creating a closed platform:

“Aliyun OS is not part of the Android ecosystem, so of course Aliyun OS is not, and does not have to be, compatible with Android. It is ironic that a company that talks freely about openness is espousing a closed ecosystem.”

Thus, it seems that the members of the Open Handset Alliance, which develop and promote Android, agree that it is necessary to maintain the integrity of Android, so that eventually everybody could win. Membership in this organization is not an obstacle to work with other operating systems (Windows Phone, Firefox OS, Tizen, Bada) but requires only a unique development of Android platform.

So, Alibaba claims that its operation system isn’t an Android, but Google says it is. It made John Spelich, the vice-president of international affairs in the Chinese company to ask a reasonable question: “Perhaps someone will ask Google to define the concept of Android?”

However, another rather surprising question can be asked. Why has Haier, a Chinese company which is an OHA member making smartphones based on Aliyun, not become a subject to the same pressure from Google, like Acer has? Amazon is out of the question as this company is not a member of the alliance.

One way or another, Acer and other members of the OHA are between the upper and nether millstone. This situation also raises questions about the plans of Google in the Chinese market where Alibaba is very strong. Unfortunately, it seems that Acer will have to rethink its strategy for promoting CloudMobile A800 on one of the world’s major markets. Maybe soon the device will soon get a new Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS.

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