Today, Facebook announced the Facebook Home suite that we've been hearing so much about. Well, to be more accurate, we've been hearing that Facebook is going to build its own phone and fork Android and create its own special social OS and that it would be the end of Google and that civilization will crash around us and we'll all wear monkey pelts and "Like" statuses by hurling spears through our enemies. Or something. Well, as it turns out, the world didn't end, Android is still whole, and Zuckerberg even thinks the idea of forking an entire OS to make an app is silly.
Google recently updated its SDK license terms for the first time in a long while. While most changes are minor, one change has been grabbing quite a few headlines – Google's proclamation that those using the SDK are disallowed from taking "any actions that may cause or result in the fragmentation of Android". Here's the full clause in question:
Last night, we reported on some pretty strange rumors concerning an Acer product launch set to take place Thursday in Shanghai. The rumor was that Google had put its foot down over Acer's announcement of an Aliyun-powered smartphone, and threatened to "terminate all android-related cooperation" with the Taiwanese manufacturer should it proceed with the CloudMobile A800's introduction.
In case you missed the story, Aliyun is an OS developed by Alibaba Group, China's largest Internet firm by transactions. The OS, while not explicitly marked as an Android fork, is pretty closely related to the original platform. The OS boasts a reliance on cloud storage, and can even run Android apps using a "virtual machine."
Today, looking to clear the air, Google released a statement on the issue, indicating that yes, the search giant had put its foot down.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A major national bookseller decides that they want to make "The Reader’s Tablet." So they grab the Android source code, and they don’t bother to get their device approved by Google so that it can run their apps. Instead, they charge full speed ahead, with not just a custom UI layer but a complete reimagining of what an “Android” device should look like.
The app drawer? Gone. Pull-down notification area? Canned. Hardware keys have gone the way of the dustbin, except for a single iPad-style button. Even the concept of the home screen has been done away with, to be replaced with a bookshelf and a store.