-- A.R. Ammons
Maybe that's why it took Google
The much-touted openness of Android opened the doors for developers to write whatever programs they wanted, and for consumers to install and run code from a variety of sources. So far, so good -- except that with that freedom comes a plethora of badly thought-out and executed apps, which raises questions about quality control. Oh dear.
OK, so perhaps a third-party app store could clean up that mess by imposing stricter quality standards? Amazon.com
App developers don't like to deal with a huge variety of devices, because it makes testing more difficult. They also don't enjoy submitting their apps to a spectrum of app stores, just to make sure they didn't miss their best customers.
Then there's the fact that a really open development model makes it A-OK for Verizon or Sprint Nextel
Compare and contrast this to the Apple
Android's fragmentation troubles stem directly from its openness. That's also why Google is coming under fire for trying to fix it.
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, device designers and service providers now need approval from Android chief Andy Rubin before applying any monstrous tweaks to their software. "The Google that once welcomed all comers to help get its mobile software off the ground has become far more discriminating," says Businessweek, and that includes early access to new versions of the Android codebase. The new, hard-line code-access attitude explains why Google is keeping the source code for tablet platform Honeycomb a secret for now: Presumably, some would-be Honeycomb eaters haven't agreed to the tougher standards.
Leave it alone and watch Android slipping into total chaos, or play bad cop and take flak for hypocrisy. It ain't easy being Google. As a part-time Android developer myself, I'll settle for delayed source code releases in return for a stable platform. Let Google copy a page from the Apple playbook -- just don't copy the whole kit and kaboodle.
Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares of Google but holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. Yes, that tribute to National Poetry Month is the entire, unabridged work. Google is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple and Amazon.com are Motley Fool Stock Advisor choices. The Fool has written puts on Apple. Motley Fool Options has recommended a bull call spread position on Apple. The Fool owns shares of Apple, and Google. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. You can check out Anders' holdings and a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.