Android's rapid rise to the top of the mobile market was accompanied by a number of legal battles, and perhaps none of them was so central and so contentious as Oracle versus Google. The fight over the legality of patents and copyrights in some of the portions of Android that used allegedly proprietary Oracle-owned Java software has been raging since 2010, eventually being considered for review by the US Supreme Court before being bounced back to the lower appeals court. The fight was a constant, and sometimes dramatic, part of legal software news at one point.
Apparently Google is as tired of dealing with the legal headache as we are of writing about it, because the company has confirmed that Android will do away with the remaining Java APIs starting with Android N, which will probably be released sometime in 2016. Android will be using OpenJDK, an open source-licensed version of Java SE that has been in development since 2007 (before Oracle bought Sun Microsystems and became the de facto owner of Java). Google confirmed the upcoming change to VentureBeat after several users on the Ycombinator Hacker News forum spotted "mysterious" commitments to the ongoing open source development of Android over on Google's Git. VentureBeat quoted a Google spokesperson who said the following:
As an open-source platform, Android is built upon the collaboration of the open-source community... In our upcoming release of Android, we plan to move Android’s Java language libraries to an OpenJDK-based approach, creating a common code base for developers to build apps and services. Google has long worked with and contributed to the OpenJDK community, and we look forward to making even more contributions to the OpenJDK project in the future.
The representative went on to say that the change was being implemented because Google wanted to utilize features in Java version 8. But there can be little doubt that the larger change is due to the legal animosity between the search company and the software giant. The change will probably be a footnote for Android developers, and won't affect end users at all.