Thursday, March 21, 2013

Who Cares About Forking? Only Google's Android Matters

I'll be the first to admit that I've been concerned about forking by Google's Android partners, non-partners, and folks who use Android in ways it just wasn't meant to be.  But you know what?  At the end of the day, only one version of Android matters:  the one that has Google's apps and Play store on it.
Android Mascot
Sure, Amazon has done a really great job with their version of Android and created a very successful ecosystem for its users in terms of apps and other media.  However, that is competition for Google just like Apple's iOS, Microsoft's Windows Phone, and Blackberry is.  And they're all competing against each other.

For Google, competition from Amazon is a nuisance but it's better for Google to see a user use the Kindle running on a forked Android than on an iPhone or Nokia device.

And as for those Chinese companies taking apart Android for their use? Well, it's not like Beijing and Google are going to be buddies any time soon.  Once more, better some form of Android and another platform entirely.

I think the only angst now for Google is trying to position itself for what comes after Android for some of its partners.  Microsoft, even with limited success if you can call it that, continues to be a viable alternative for some Android partners while Samsung which recently unveiled the uninspiring Galaxy S 4 made no mention of Android at all.  And Samsung is in a multi-year process to move away from Android towards its own mobile OS, Tizen.

Google cannot worry about forking or how Samsung will eventually compete with Android.  In the here and now, Google has a few things going for it.  The Nexus line is doing well and the partnership with LG seems to be on solid grounds.  LG has no where else to go but Android.

Furthermore, we can expect good things from Google's Motorola division.  This much talked about X phone may be what Google needs to show that it has what it takes to turn out a flagship hardware.  We may see it in the next quarter.  And the Galaxy stumble by Samsung has opened a very wide door for Google.

So for hardcore Android users or folks who like to tinker around with their devices, forget what anyone else is doing.  Forked Androids are usually very closed off.  There only one version of Android that matters.  It's one that is released by Google itself.


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