What’s even more fascinating is how closed Android is, despite Google’s do-no-evil mantra and the permissive Apache 2 license which Android SDK is under. Paraphrasing a famous line from Henry Ford’s book on the Model-T, anyone can have Android in their own colour as long as it’s black. Android is the best example of how a company can use open source to build up interest and community participation, while running a very tight commercial model.

Google touts Android as being Open Source, but those knowledgeable have always pointed out the lack of access to critical components that would make the growing operating system actually open.

This article examines exactly how open Android is, and how Google maintains control over the OS, and as a result, the devices, manufacturers and carriers which use it.

What’s most fascinating to me is the analysis of the Open Handset Alliance, the limiting role of the compatibility test suite and the recognition that “Android is no more open–and no less closed– than Windows Mobile, iPhone OS or Palm OS.”

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