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Android showing favoritism to partners?

by Kristen Nicole

The case against Google’s Android OS has been mounting, with several players on deck to bring Android down. And every once in a while, Google manages to put its foot in its own mouth. A document posted on patent analyst Florian Mueller’s site reveals Google’s intention to give Motorola a leading edge over other Android OEMs, showing favoritism to the electronics manufacturer it’s currently in the process of acquiring. Mueller highlights Document 397 from the Oracle v. Google case, written by Google employees:

-- Do not develop in the open. Instead, make the source code available after innovation is complete

-- Lead device concept: Give early access to the software to partners who build and distribute devices to our specification (ie, Motorola and Verizon). They get a non-contractual time to market advantage and in return they align to our standard.

It’s a proposal that confirms what many already guessed: the Google-Motorola deal would lead to favoritism and more competition amongst Android handset manufacturers. It’s not a total surprise to see Google’s goals around working closely with certain partners, but with the Motorola acquisition still hanging in the balance, this document is a reminder to the entire Android ecosystem that competition is rising. It’s unlikely Google is going to do anything to abandon its entire community of manufacturer and developer partners, but they’re certainly on the path towards a more streamlined approach for its software/device product offering.

Android grows: app downloads to exceed Apple in 2011

Android continues to rival Apple in many regards, and is soon expected to surpass Apple in app downloads for the first time. With forecasts of reaching the 8.1 billion download mark this year, Apple’s projected to reach about 6 billion for iOS devices, according to research firm Ovum. It’s massive growth for both platforms, as Apple had 2.7 billion downloads last year, with Android even lower at 1.4 billion. In an effort to maintain strong growth for its software marketplace, Google plans to launch Android Ice Cream Sandwich in October or November. It’s a fine line Google’s walking here, maintaining control over an entire ecosystem while promoting an open environment for participants to build upon. It’s landed Google in a heap of trouble, but this isn’t a company known for backing down from a challenge, or an opportunity to try and change the world.