Barely Legally

Confessions of a Moot Court Bailiff

Not Still a Boy, Not Yet a Mandroid

Wow. April Fool’s Day came early. Android is now Open-ish:

Playtime is over in Android Land. Over the last couple of months Google has reached out to the major carriers and device makers backing its mobile operating system with a message: There will be no more willy-nilly tweaks to the software. No more partnerships formed outside of Google’s purview.

From now on, companies hoping to receive early access to Google’s most up-to-date software will need approval of their plans. And they will seek that approval from Andy Rubin, the head of Google’s Android group.

The rest of Do Not Anger the Alpha Android is a must-read.

Proving a separate (if not completely unrelated) point about the app ecosystem, Google removed a Playstation emulator from the Android Marketplace earlier this week. This may have had something to do with the Android-powered Playstation phone. I mean, the emulator was questionably legal to begin with, but it spent six blissful months available in the marketplace before being removed the week it becomes commercially inconvenient for one of Android’s many benefactors.

None of this is terribly surprising (although John Gruber is having a schadengasm that’s as predictable as it is amusing). Google knows what’s wrong with Android like the rest of us: fragmentation. The best solution to the fragmentation of the OS itself probably looks a lot like Apple’s model; you can lock down parts of the OS that end users won’t care too much about, and still manage to create a platform that’s open enough to encourage development. These are the growing pains of an operating system that’s grown even faster than the iPhone.

Again, none of this is surprising. What surprises me is Nokia’s announcement that Symbian is now fully open source. Yes, they planned this all out years ago, but last I’d heard it was still under a proprietary license and the Symbian Foundation owned the license but you could borrow it if you promised not to keep it out too late, etc. etc. etc. Now they just use Git.

And this is before I check the April Fool’s stories on Slashdot, too. I’m going back to bed.