Google updated the terms and conditions for its Android SDK, which includes a change designed to address fragmentation of the platform.
The paperwork now includes a clause which says: “You agree that you will not take any actions that may cause or result in the fragmentation of Android, including but not limited to distributing, participating in the creation of, or promoting in any way a software development kit derived from the SDK.”
The new conditions apply to the SDK tools rather than the Android source code itself, meaning that vendors can still fork the operating system to create their own variants – as Amazon has with the Kindle Fire.
However, with ExtremeTech describing the Android SDK as “the de facto tool for developing apps for every flavour of Android”, developers could still find themselves in breach of Google’s terms and conditions if they produce apps for a variant of the platform.
It has been suggested that Google is looking to defend its position against platforms which are Android-based, but not fully Android compliant.
Last year, the search giant said it has a “responsibility to app developers” to protect the integrity of the platform, after it moved to block vender Acer from offering a device supporting an Android variant – Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba’s Aliyun platform.
Andy Rubin, Google’s mobile head, said that while there was no requirement for Aliyun to be compatible with Android, it uses “the Android runtime, framework and tools”, and the supporting app store “contains Android apps (including pirated Google apps)”.