So you purchased an Android Smartphone simply because you dislike Apple…and you love Google?
Android is one of the success stories of the mobile era, originally developed by Google as an open source project back in 2007 with the objective to protect Google’s search business from the rise in popularity of Apple. So when you go from zero to hero as in the case of Android which now sits on 80% of Smartphones worldwide how do you control something you have been giving away for free and in the process gain some control of device manufacturers?
The first thing you do is stop making it so “open source”. Google has been locking down chunks of its code in every new Android release for many years now. There are now 2 parts of the code that make up Android, the first part is the open source platform that is also known as AOSP.
The other part is Google Mobile Services, also known as GMS which provides the integration to the all Google services such as Gmail and Maps. This is not part of the open source and is essential in maintaining a quality experience that a user would expect from an Android device.
The next thing you do is make the GMS features only available to manufacturers who meet the Google requirements and getting one of these is not easy with reports of costs as high as $0.75 per phone being charged for licensing costs. The good news is that getting a device licenced is much easier if you are part of the Open Handset Alliance (OEM) and by becoming a member of this alliances manufactures contractually commit to making only Android devices.
It is through this that Google has been able to gain some control over device manufactures as none of the OEM would dare to build any software that competes directly with any GMS features or their devices will not be licenced. They also cannot work with anyone who wants to build a non Android devices, like Amazon and the Kindle.
The next thing to consider is that Samsung is shipping more Android devices than the rest of all the OEMs put together so while on one hand Samsung needs to work within Google’s OEM guidelines on the other hand Google really needs Samsung as they are the face of the Android brand.
It is easy to believe that for future Android developments Samsung will have priority leaving other device manufactures waiting in the queue. The impact you would expect is going to be less innovation in the Smartphone arena coming from the other OEM manufactures. It should be no surprise then to hear that Google recently sold Motorola at a loss to Lenovo and announced a 10 year patent sharing agreement with Samsung.
And you purchased an Android Smartphone because you were worried about Apple.