Feature Article

May 15, 2012

Google Makes Major Change in Android Release Schedule

In a move that might allay concern among Android licensees about Google “favoritism” shown to Motorola Mobility or any other device manufacturer, Google now plans to give multiple mobile-device makers, rather than just one partner, early access to new releases of its Android mobile operating system and to sell those devices directly to consumers, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The change might allow Google to bring a bit more consistency to Android apps across devices, addressing the “fragmentation” issue in the Android ecosystem.

The change should help to allay concerns about potential advantages Motorola Mobility, which is owned by Google, might reap, compared to all other Android licensees. Some might argue the move also will strengthen the Android ecosystem if it succeeds in reducing the amount of incompatibility between apps and devices within the ecosystem.

And though it might not be a direct effect, the shift in licensing might help Google create a stronger ecosystem. In principle, the moves should reduce the amount of friction between apps running on different versions of the Android operating system.

That might also help the ecosystem reduce friction across the entire base of devices, versions of Android and apps designed for consumer and business users, across mobile networks. In some small but important way, that might likewise help Android compete in the “Superstack” wars, as Accenturecalls the development of new ecosystems organized around particular devices and operating systems.

Google’s broader and simultaneous release of the latest versions of Android should promote better consistency of services, apps, devices, the operating system itself and possibly even the hardware used to build devices.

Edited by Stefanie Mosca

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