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Android’s open-door policy days are numbered

by Kristen Nicole

Android’s open-source approach to mobile operating systems had enabled Google (GOOG) to spread its platform far and wide, at a relatively rapid pace. But the now-established OS faces another challenge in maintaining security for apps and user access. After dozens of Market apps were riddled with malware, and Amazon’s (AMZN) new Appstore promotion as a safer marketplace for app downloads, Google’s got to do something about its tarnished reputation.

Google lays down the law

Google’s already taken measures to unify its platform, which is still rather fragmented, though OS use is evening out amongst carriers and users. But the company’s looking for even more control over its Android OS, landing yet more responsibility on Android’s lead developer, Andy Rubin.

"The Google that once welcomed all comers to help get its mobile software off the ground has become far more discriminating—especially for companies that want to include Google services such as search and maps on their hardware," Bloomberg reports. It may be a necessary level of control for Google, but it certainly forces the mobile industry to re-think its goals and capabilities around Android.

Industry importance of de-frag

It’s a method that may be more akin to Apple’s (AAPL), and it’s a format that even Microsoft (MSFT) has advocated in the early stages of the Windows Phone 7 roll out. With Nokia (NOK) now a part of Microsoft’s picture, avoiding fragmentation will be an easier task, as partnerships are more limited than Android’s. Google took a big gamble in its Android launch, teaming with a myriad of manufacturers and carriers to get its product to market. Even Rubin predicted the fragmentation that’s resulted, and the time has come to clean things up.