How Open Is the Open-Source Android Truly?
There are 4 major operating systems in contemporary smartphones: the Android OS, the iOS of Apple, the Blackberry of RIM, and the most up-to-date of all, the Windows Phone 7. One of the important thing benefits of the OS, also supported by way of Google, is that it’s far open-source. Many suppose that the OS being “open” is meant literally, without questioning what’s at the back of the term. Unfortunately, even though the source code is open to everybody, this doesn’t imply that we will freely modify any detail of any feature on any device.
The Android OS is oddly dual in this rely: on the one hand, it’s miles totally open for the software builders, but on the other hand, it is sincerely closed for the hardware manufacturers. This makes Android uniquely skewed.
Re-deciphering one of the well-known sayings of Henry Ford, we would say: “Any customer may have Android in any color he wishes as long as it’s miles black.”
Even although the Android OS itself is open-source, codes of many elemental pars of it are closed, together with the:
• Android Market
• Google Talk
• E-mail customer
• Maps utility
• YouTube patron
• Calendar software
• Framework responsible for the synchronization
Remember the first pill models that had been shipped without the Market app? This became because Google comes to a decision who can get right of entry to the closed applications, and so far, it’s miles handiest the Samsung Galaxy Tab, which changed into granted such get right of entry to. While outsider developers cannot contribute directly to the Android task, the code is handiest made public with the very last release of an Android version. This makes the existence of the outsider builders (which include ourselves) harder, as they (we) do not have the opportunity to prepare the applications for the more recent versions.
Note that Google almost exclusively affects the path of the development of Android. For the everyday consumer, it’s miles almost beside the point if the product is open source or no longer, but permits take a glance what this indicates of us?
The openness manifests itself mostly in the regulation of the Android Market. Due to the shortage of strict manipulate, builders can efficiently exploit the offerings built into the OS or even alter those (i.E. Swype). This would not be possible in the Apple App Store, as in this case, the big bro’ is continually watching, and as long as they locate something within the app they don’t like, there’s no manner you’ll be releasing your app. The unfastened control of the Android apps might be dangerous, however as the community filters the apps (by rating them), the hazard is minimal. Ultimately builders also can directly distribute their apps, even without registering them in the Market.
The Android OS made it also possible for the Mobile Operators to customize the OS of the gadgets they promote and to submit unique packages. Verizon inside the US used this opportunity numerous instances, through signing exceptional contracts with Skype and Microsoft (amongst others), not letting different operators use these offerings. Hardware operators also can modify the OS, see the UI of HTC referred to like Sense or the TouchWiz of Samsung. Unfortunately, Google would love to prevent those tasks in the subsequent variations, as those would possibly result in the platform’s fragmentation. Another subject is that HTC users may have troubled using a TouchWiz device and that the brand new OS variations preserve lower back the updates for these type of changed versions.