Andy Rubin, SVP of mobile and digital content for Google, said that the company has a “responsibility to app developers”, following reports that it has moved to block Acer from offering a smartphone using an operating system derived from – but not the same as – Android.
In a blog post, the executive said that the Android developer base “contribute to making the platform better – because when developers support a platform with their applications, the platform becomes better and more attractive to consumers”.
Where device makers use a version of a platform that is not compatible with Android, there is a possibility that the user experience will be negatively impacted, Rubin continued. “If apps don’t run well across devices due to incompatibilities, consumers would leave the ecosystem, followed by developers. The end of the virtuous cycle”.
Acer was set to offer a smartphone powered by Aliyun, an OS developed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, which uses a variant of the Android platform which is not compatible with the core platform. Alibaba said that Google had threatened to withdraw “product cooperation and related technical authorisation” for Acer’s Android product line if it went ahead.
Alibaba is not the only company to use a variant of Android – the most high profile device following a similar strategy is Amazon’s Kindle Fire. However, the Kindle has its own supporting content and apps ecosystem, provided by Amazon itself, rather than connecting to Google’s various properties.
When first announced last year, Alibaba said that Aliyun is “fully compatible with Android-based applications”.