Android is Open, dammit

Gurgle’s Vice President of Engineering and head of Android is getting jolly cross that people think his operating system is becoming closed.

Andy Rubin has penned a stiffly worded post from his bog in which he claims that there has been a lot of misinformation in the press about Android lately and he wants to knock that on the head – now.

Rubin says that since the launch of the first Android device, Google has been “committed to fostering the development of an open platform for the mobile industry and beyond”.That’s fostering, not festering.

The big idea is that it is the likes of Apple who control their customers and Google is not interested in being that evil.

However the press has been claiming that, in a bid to stop Android fragmentation, Rubin has adopted stricter controls on who is allowed early access to the source code. Now if someone wishes to market a device as Android-compatible or include Google applications on the device, there has to be some basic compatibility requirements.

Rubin said that it was not realistic to expect applications to operate flawlessly across incompatible devices.

This “anti-fragmentation” programme has been in place since Android 1.0 and the founding members of the Open Handset Alliance agreed not to fragment Android when it was first announced in 2007.

Google is not locking down or putting in restrictions against customising UIs or anything else like it, he said.

Of course Rubin does not say when Google will stop making such frequent upgrades to its operating system, nor has he answered accusations that he has introduced a much stricter regime around approving devices for Android use.

But it does indicate that Google thinks that Android has thrived because it is Open Sauce.