Google aims to clamp down Android fragmentation

As Android continues to grow and become the de facto smartphone operating system, it’s time for a bit more uniformity.

That is the message coming from the man in charge of the platform, Google’s head of Android development Andy Rubin. From now on, he wants manufacturers to come through him to get approval before they start tinkering with the operating system.

That is a different take than the company has previously had, as Android is meant to be open to all, giving everyone free access to do with it what they please.

From day one, Google has taken the tough position of making Android an open platform, yet trying to make everything as cohesive and uniform as possible.

But that becomes tough when Android is the #1 mobile phone platform in the world, and the experience is different for each of the millions of users.

In order to sustain the growth, Google realizes it needs to put some restrictions in place. For now, it just wants to limit how manufacturers alter the appearance and functionality of Android, but in the future it might change from the hardware side as well.

Previously, Google has said the Android 3.0 will act as a sort of refresh button for the platform. Every device with Android 3.0 will have to meet a strict set of hardware requirements. That way there won’t be the confusing disparity between phones with an accelerometer and those without, some phones having GPS and others only a network data connection, etc.

It’s probably a move in the right direction for the sake of continued growth, but some are likely to see the move as Google moving away from its open-source roots. Nevertheless, it’ll never be as authoritarian as iOS.