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Google Targets Android Fragmentation With Updated Terms For SDK 154

Posted by timothy
from the eula-do-what-we-say dept.
SternisheFan writes "Google has expanded its legal agreement with developers working on Android applications to specifically prohibit them from taking any action that could lead to a fragmentation of the operating system. The prohibition was added to the terms and conditions for Google's Android SDK (software development kit), which developers must accept before using the software to build Android apps. The previous version of the terms of service, published in April 2009, didn't address the issue, but the new terms published on Tuesday include this new paragraph: '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.' Google did not respond to several requests for comment. The issue of Android fragmentation has been gaining increased attention, but it's happened largely as a result of actions taken by Google and Android handset makers, not developers. It's a problem because it means that Android applications may not run properly across all Android devices. 'It continues to be a problem, both on smartphones and tablets,' said Avi Greengart, research director at Consumer Devices. 'Google has talked about multiple initiatives for dealing with it, but none of them have successfully addressed it.'"
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Google Targets Android Fragmentation With Updated Terms For SDK

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  • Re:No SDK forks? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @07:23PM (#41997073)

    There is a very high likelihood they are violating the GPL already. Maybe this scumbag move will get the GNU project to finally get off their asses and deal with the situation.

  • by AuMatar (183847) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @07:31PM (#41997135)

    It doesn't prohibit things like Swype. If they wanted to kill Swype, they could do it in one blow- delete the InputMethodService class in the next version. Without it, no more 3rd party keyboards (source: I worked at Swype). As much as Google seemed to love making me jump through hoops to work around their code, I don't see them doing that anytime soon.

    I dislike how vaguely this is worded, but it doesn't block libraries either. What it blocks is people making phone specific SDKs, or taking the SDK and making it compile Android app to non-Android devices. Its meant as a counter to some Chinese OEMs doing just that. The only thing I really see that it blocks that was good are things like the original x86 sdk/ndk that people used before Google finally moved from ARM only.

  • Re:So... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by thedarknite (1031380) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @07:47PM (#41997235) Homepage
    I would have thought that it was targeting OUYA from forking the SDK and bundling it within their console.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @07:49PM (#41997251)

    What it blocks is people making phone specific SDKs, or taking the SDK and making it compile Android app to non-Android devices. Its meant as a counter to some Chinese OEMs doing just that.

    Hey guys, Andy Rubin just tweeted a new definition of Open!

    "The new definition of open:
    if ($phone.location() eq "China") { print "LOLOLO NO. BAD ASUS/ALIYUN."; exit 1; }
    if ($phone.mfgr() ne "Motorola" ) { print "Sorry, preferred partners only!"; exit 1; }
    if ($phone.ageYrs() 2) {print "Your phone is good enough on whatever version it shipped with. Stop fragmenting our lovely fenced garden and wait for your 2 year refresh."; exit 1;}

    # if by some miracle they make it to here, we might as well let them compile the fucking thing.
    mkdir android ; cd android ; repo init -u git://android.git.kernel.org/platform/manifest.git ; repo sync ; make”

    Who would've guessed that openness would require so damn many restrictions?!

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