Skyhook CEO hints at non-Google Experience device from ‘major’ brand coming this year


Amazon Phone? Facebook Phone? We’ve heard all the rumors, but we have yet to see the drastically forked Android smartphones they describe. There has been the INQ Cloud series and HTC Salsa and ChaCha, but those were basically standard Android experiences with glorified social integration. The Kindle Fire has demonstrated Amazon’s ability to create an Android tablet that differs drastically in appearance and ecosystem from all others, but a smartphone it is not. One thing the Kindle Fire has done is proven to manufacturers that launching an Android product without the final approval of Google can be a worthwhile endeavor.

Skyhook Wireless CEO Ted Morgan recently revealed to Technology Review that Android manufacturers are starting to sour on Google’s control over Android and looking to Amazon as a model of how to successfully cut ties with the big G. Morgan should know a thing or two about Google’s power over handset makers after the tech giant forced OEMs to use their own location technology in place of that developed by Skyhook. Skyhook, which earns its keep thanks to technology that uses nearby WiFi networks to help better pinpoint a user’s location, took Google to court over the whole ordeal.

That chip on the shoulder comes along with the revelation that Skyhook technology will be implemented in a “major” handset release that bucks the Google Experience in favor of a more unique Android device. Morgan provided no clues as to who would make the handset, but Amazon and Facebook are obvious possibilities. Amazon is hard at work on future Kindle Fire models and could very well be using the platform as the starting point for a mobile phone. Facebook has been pumping tons of money into R&D, and as The Verge points out has very little to show coming out the end.

The introduction of such a device, if it proves as popular as the Kindle Fire, will be a further roadblock in Google’s attempts to eliminate Android fragmentation and develop a standard implementation of their mobile OS. Though fragmentation has long been named as a huge problem for the ecosystem, the fight to end it is starting to look like one Google can’t win.

[via The Verge | image via IdentityMine]

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  1. Apt article photo is apt.

  2. LOL. If device manufacturers are sour on Android, then then they should REALLY be sour on Apple. Apple is WAY WORSE! That wasjust the funniest comment yet. Look who owns an iPhone.

    1. Apple makes their own devices. They don’t allow others to make devices with their OS.

      1. Kinda like the Samsung screen and processor they Apple uses? Apple “assembles” their own “product” with help of Chinese slave labour.

        1. I wrote a paper about this. I would support apple if they moved those jobs to america they are charging tripple price for last gen hardware in their computers they can afford american labor. I dont mind samsung useing korean labor since they are a korean company.

          1. Hey Chuckles87

            Good to see that you have a conscience! They can afford american labor. How would they become a trillion dollar entity? They can only do that by exploiting the poor. This is why I’ll never buy Apple.

  3. Personally, I think there isn’t ENOUGH Google experience devices out there. Less extra junk and more Vanilla please.

    1. This!

    2. I agree!  After 4 months with my G-Nex, I wonder why anybody would want anything other than vanilla.  I’ve used Sense, Motoblur, and TouchWiz before and all pale in comparison to ease of use I get with skinless.

  4. The kindle fire was successful under the guise of an e-reader/ pretty screen that you can play angry birds on.  It was only successful under the guise of a full form tablet to people that understand the concept of rooting.

    A phone developed by amazon or facebook or whoever will be crippled by an awful appstore.  The current amazon appstore has nothing on the Play store– but like i said earlier, its succesful because of kindle books, amazon mp3, and amazon instant video.

    1. ^


  5. Yeah OEMs souring on an os that’s making them money!! Allot of android hate out there!

  6. Sour over the Google’s control? Google let’s these assholes do whatever they want with androids os

    1. This is why I wish Google used the Chrome/Chromium model for Android, too. Everyone can do whatever they want to Chromium, but it’s Chrome what Google promotes, and nobody but Google can modify it.

  7. I think everyone is missing the point.  Non “Google-Experience”… meaning it won’t be branded as “with Google” on the rear ass of the phone.  I fully expect it to be Android, or an Android variant.  It just won’t come with Google Apps by default.

    1. google apps, most especially the android market are one of the major things that make android the best mobile OS out there. It’s one of the reasons why those chinese tablets (even the good quality ones) fail, its why the kindle fire can’t be a computer, only a media consumption device. 

      Software is a major breaking point for a system. and google’s software is some of the best there is. Forsaking google’s software support and hurting your device’s functionality because of a chip on your shoulder? idiotic.

      the only reason the kindle firs sold was as a $199 media player. it would have never sold if it was marketed as an android tablet, because frankly, its pub-par. there are plenty of cheap ass android tablets out there. they don’t sell. if amazon didn’t have their vast content library and successful kindle branding to fall back on, it would have been less of a tablet than the original nook color with stock firmware. a text reader and web browser with a crippled OS. 

      To think the kindle fire’s success away from google can be duplicated by another company is laughable. Skyhook will fail. miserably. 

      (and what the heck is with google having too much control over android? they can barley keep their hands on the reigns as it is!)

      1. You are correct.  The Android/Google ecosystem is crucial, in my opinion.  However, I am not talking about a Kindle-like device.  I am talking a device that does not say “with Google”.  It’s a device that must be sideloaded with GooglePlay.apk.  It just gives the user a little more control.  There haven’t been too many “non-Google Experience” phones lately, so I’m sure this is just announced to create a buzz around the launch of yet another device.  But really… if you use Android… why the F wouldn’t you use Gmail and the Google ecosystem?

        There used to be an advantage of getting a non-Google Experience phone, but I forget what it was.  Oh well.  Bring on the Samsung Galaxy S III.  I want it badly.

        1. I want the SGS III really bad too, but as to brought to my attention while browsing the web Sammi is wanting to cut ties with Android. That would be a damn shame.

          1. They’re not cutting ties with Android.  They want to push Bada (their own OS), but it’s pretty crappy.

  8. “Android manufacturers are starting to sour on Google’s control over Android”
    What is this I don’t even…

    Android is open source you idiot!  You can already do pretty much whatever you want with it (ask HTC).  If anything I wish Google had MORE control over Android. Why are CEOs always so out of touch with reality?

  9. OEMs are growing sour over Google’s controlled over Android? OEMs can do whatever they want with Android. If Honda wants to make a lawnmower powered by Android they’re free to do so, without tying the OS to Google’s core apps.

  10. Morgan is just sour over Google imposing the use of their own location technology.  I fully agree with Google, who do you think makes the OS?  They make the OS free to the device manufacturers  in order to use Google products which with advertising makes them money.  If he’s so hell bent on Google, then he should just go out and create his own OS with its own app store and ecosystem.  Then release a statement a year later and let us know how that’s working out. 

    Manufacturers sour on Android?  Why?  It’s a FREE OS with great support and a following unlike the world has ever seen.  If the manufacturers are sour on Android, just think how sour they are on WP7.  Much much much more control by MS over WP7.  

    This guy is just trying to get back at Google for insisting on manufacturers use their product.  

  11. Non-Google experience? No Google services? I sure won’t be buying it then. These guys, who get mad at Google and think they can do it better just to spite Google all while using their own version of Android, are just ridiculous. This reminds me of Grid10 and the guy who ran that company. They basically trash their own products by trashing Google and isolating any potential customers from any of the services that makes Android what it is. That’s not to mention the Android community they basically shun at the same time. Who cares what the manufacturers think. It’s what the customers want that’s most important. I’ll honestly be surprised and tip my hat to them if the majority of the customers want this.

  12. Can someone tell me if this is even possible. Google can close down android some and require certain hardware specs for it to be the OS on a phone. And require updates to come within x amount of time or there is a fine or something. But keep aosp so we can still rom and mod our phones.
    Or they can lock down android and just use moto to manufacture devices.
    Are either of those possible? It seems that would fix fragmentation but would they kill aosp?

  13. I don’t know if I would be looking at the usual suspects for a feature phone but would instead look across the Pacific to Korea.  South Korea has been steadily moving towards self-sufficiency in the mobile market.  They have their own in-house display, processor, and storage(ultra-high speed microsd cards) departments, and their announcement just the other day to move into the mobile advertising business.  Samsung has released phones running it’s own Bada OS(which outsells WP7) and has said in the past it does not like to be dependent on outside companies.  They would be my first guess.  Self-sufficiency is important to them.

    1. The question is if Samsung is able to give customers the same quality of experience you get out of an Android? Do they really want to stick it to the company that has given them the throne in the phone industry?

      1. Yes, look at the facts. Samsung is already selling phones with their own operating system, and they already work with androids competitors. They make WP7 phones and retina displays for Apple. They don’t seem too worried about upsetting Google to me.
        As for the quality of the software, I don’t know. It’s certainly not Samsung’s strongest area but they would be building it on top of android so who knows, maybe they could pull it off. Don’t forget they are a huge multinational corporation from over 30 different countries and hundreds of partners and subsidiaries. From heavy equipment to displays to petrochemicals Samsung had their fingers in everything.

        1. If they are building it on top of android than the base of it would still be android right? Like a CM mod?

  14. What OEM is sour?  He sounds the sour one.

  15. This horrible fragmentation thing – Android only took over the smartphone world in 2 years. Quit whining already.

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