Android lock in

Update (Nov 20): See also part 2 of this post.

A few days ago ars technica published an article “Google’s iron grip on Android: Controlling open source by any means necessary”.

If you are considering Android for embedded this article is a must-read to understand the severe ramifications of Google’s tight (and tightening) control on the Android technology and ecosystem.

Some quotes from the ars technica article:

  • “Android is open – except for all the good parts
  • “Android actually falls into two categories: the open parts from the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) … and the closed source parts, which are all the Google-branded apps”
  • “Android open source apps … turn into abandonware by moving all continuing development to a closed source model.”
  • “Joining the OHA requires a company to sign its life away and promise to not build a device that runs a competing Android fork.”
  • “Google Play Services is a closed source app owned by Google … to turn the “Android App Ecosystem” into the “Google Play Ecosystem”
  • “You’re allowed to contribute to Android and allowed to use it for little hobbies, but in nearly every area, the deck is stacked against anyone trying to use Android without Google’s blessing

Compare this with a recent Wired article “Oracle Makes Java More Relevant Than Ever”:

“Oracle has actually opened up Java even more — getting rid of some of the closed-door machinations that used to be part of the Java standards-making process. Java has been raked over the coals for security problems over the past few years, but Oracle has kept regular updates coming. And it’s working on a major upgrade to Java, due early next year.”


— Terrence