Google has always been known for starting their projects as open (and in beta) to attract as many people away from the competition as possible. They do this until the product or service gains enough popularity to finally pull the open plug and put the item on a closed circuit. This happened recently with Chrome and their removal of the accepted and soon-to-be standard H.264 support. This week, Google has decided to close up the shop to the public with their Android operating system, citing reasons like fragmentation and confusion on the market. Companies will now have to have their design changes to the OS approved by Google before they will be able to receive Google's latest updates and nod.
Not only did we mention those issues would cause problems for The Goog in the future, we also called it that Google would do this, like they do everything else, in an effort to control everything on the web. Put forth a "people-friendly" front and then lock them into whatever they are using because they made a complete transition seems to be Google's continued M.O. and theme of their business. That and hiring an entire staff to come up with April Fool's Jokes year after year, of course.
This is a huge issue that affects companies ranging from LG, Toshiba, Samsung and HTC to even Facebook. Why? Hit the break to find out.
Google reeled these fish in with the allure of a royalty-free, open platform like Android and everyone bit. Google would come up with the base code and hardware and software people alike could use the platform for whatever they wish. The result was hundreds of awful applications, disastrous products like $99 tablets sold at CVS and the inability to update your hardware, let alone update your software from version to version. We also saw releases of older software versions after the release of newer software versions on a different device on the same carrier! As we've talked about before, things are free for a reason and you will get what you pay for when you choose not to have standards for your products.
These companies made changes to the OS such as the Samsung Swipe and HTC Sense features. These features will now have to abide by the rules Google sets forth to even appear on future devices, and if the companies do not abide by the terms set by Google, they will face having their competition being approved for advanced development and market exclusivity, which is simply a death wish in the mobile space.
Of course, being free and having 48,000 devices does something good as well, at least temporarily. Android saw a 9% market share soar to a 31% market-leading market share worldwide from 2009 to 2010.
That good, however, does not outweigh everything that has happened so far and everything that will occur in the future. We now have left Google up to deciding what direction they want to take this in after developers have given them thousands of great ideas, free of charge. They can now tweak their next version to be the best of all worlds and deny silly changes and threatening apps (Google Voice on the App Store anyone?).
Obviously the manufacturers are not too pleased with this, but it is par for the course for Google. The companies will just have to suck it up and deal with what they're given. Maybe they shouldn't have jumped aboard the Android ship so quickly without regard.
Moreover, because of the mentioned $99 CVS tablets, maybe the hardware manufacturers shouldn't have been so quick to produce a ridiculous number of varying tablet devices. This has done the opposite of what the Apple-slayers were attempting to do. This has not chipped anything off Apple's market share block, but instead has allowed them to reign supreme while the others have over-saturated the market to a point where they can only pick up the scraps. Aside from the iPad, the PlayBook and the HP TouchPad, you are left with a confusing sea of Android tablets (sans a couple of Windows devices), ranging in size, shape and flavor, but more importantly ranging in quality, content and reliability.
The iPad is successful because it is the only device that has that operating system. Period. If you want this particular feature, you buy this device and you have no other options. Regardless of the fact that the iPad can't even come close to performing or generally being as good as what the others could possibly do, consumers (and sheep) flock to it because it is understood, unique and clearly a separate entity from the rest of the pack. The free use of Android has caused a shift away from the original goal of the operating system, apart from the original goal of Google, which was to control this market in the first place.
Now that they have the control, they're going to use and abuse it. I can't say I'm quite excited for it other than for the fact it will limit the amount of just plain awful devices that are out there. Google will do what Google wants to do and has done in the past, and that is make life difficult for anyone who wishes to oppose the fact that it will, one day, form a coupe to overthrow the World, then buy it, so that the term Google will be synonymous with "over-controlling and unbearable, but we learn to live with it".