Google: Words With Acer Had Nothing To Do With A Rival OS, and Everything To Do With The Open Handset Alliance


Yesterday, we told you guys about the drama between Acer and Google that resulted in the abrupt cancellation of a smartphone launch. According to Acer, Google wasn’t pleased with Acer launching a smartphone based on the Aliyun OS, an operating system forked off of Android. Well, today we finally have an official statement from Google, shedding some light on the situation. Google had this to say:

“Compatibility is at the heart of the Android ecosystem and ensures a consistent experience for developers, manufacturers and consumers. Non-compatible versions of Android, like Aliyun, weaken the ecosystem. All members of the Open Handset Alliance have committed to building one Android platform and to not ship non-compatible Android devices. This does not however, keep OHA members from participating in competing ecosystems.”

Ah, okay. It’s starting to make a little more sense. It’s true that Acer is a part of the Open Handset Alliance and apparently there was some fine print involved that they may have overlooked. It seems Google’s concerns stem from their belief that the Aliyun OS is actually a “non-compatible” version of Android (in basic terms), and by releasing a smartphone based on the OS, violates the agreement Acer agreed to when they hoped on board the OHA. To sum it up, if you’re apart of the OHA: rival OS = okay. Rival Android OS = not okay.

According to Google, they are just doing their part to prevent fragmentation with the OS, which they’ve apparently been trying to prevent since Android 1.0. In a blog post dated back in 2011, Andy Rubin said:

If someone wishes to market a device as Android-compatible or include Google applications on the device, we do require the device to conform with some basic compatibility requirements. (After all, it would not be realistic to expect Google applications – or any applications for that matter – to operate flawlessly across incompatible devices). Our “anti-fragmentation” program has been in place since Android 1.0 and remains a priority for us to provide a great user experience for consumers and a consistent platform for developers. In fact, all of the founding members of the Open Handset Alliance agreed not to fragment Android when we first announced it in 2007.

I know what you’re thinking, “So what the hell is up with Amazon?” Why exactly are they allowed to release devices based off Android, but removed of all Google services? That’s the thing. Amazon is not apart of the OHA, which means they are not subject to its terms, and are free to do whatever they like.

Things get a bit muddled up with Alibaba — makers of the Aliyun OS — stating that, where the Aliyun OS is able to run Android apps, it’s not technically based off Android, maintaining that the OS was built from scratch using open-source Linux code, not Android’s Dalkvik virtual machine. Guess it’ll take a judge and dim witted jury to sort out this whole mess. Hopefully Google and Acer will come to terms in the meantime.

[TheVerge | MarketingLand | Android Official Blog]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. So, the best option is like Amazon, not been and signing…
    What about Tizen, it is based on Android? Samsung is a partner in the OHA.

    1. Tizen is open-source and based off linux, but not Android. Samsung should be in the clear…

    2. As long as Samsung doesn’t claim that Tizen runs Android apps, they should be fine

      1. I reckon this will make rival companies even more determined to dethrone Google….I can see the start of the next era for Android.

  2. then if aliyun isnt android, there shouldnt be any issues……

    1. According to Google — it is. According to Alibaba — it isn’t. The plot thickens…

      1. I won’t lie, I always thought Aliyun was just a modified Android is like MiUi, Amazon’s Kindle, B&Ns Nooks etc…

        1. I reckon they’ll just go to another OEM not in the alliance…BUT makes you wonder who Amazon are using to make thir devices.

          1. Foxconn is the ODM for the new Kindle Fires but the original KFs ODM was Quanta.

          2. The Kindle Fire may not be blessed by Google but it still runs Android (version 2.3 on the old ones and 4.0 on the new Kindle Fires). You can sideload Android apps on to the Fire and the app should run fine. There were even instances of HTC providing a different app store (SlideMe.org) in some areas before the Android Market supported those areas; that isn’t the problem. The problem is that Google considers Aliyun to be an Android derivative that might not be compatible with all Android apps (where the Fire would be as comptaible as anything running Touchwiz would).

          3. Actually, Amazon can do whatever they want with Androud on their Kindle Fires because they are not part of the Open Handset Alliiance. Its because of that and that alone they can fork n twist and turn and do whatever they want with the OS.

            The problem is Acer is part of the OHA so they are not allowed to make devices with such a drastically alteted build like Amazon and B&N. The whole point of the OHA was to stop such fragmentation in the Android ecosystem.

            What it comes down to is, is Aliyun an Android derivative or is it really its own seperate OS as Alibaba says? If it indeed derives itself from Android, then Acer can’t touch it else they would be in breach of their OHA agreement. If it truly is its own OS built from the ground up however, then Google and the OHA have no say and Acer can do as they please with it. The question is, is Aliyun Android or isn’t it? I sure as hell thought it was…

      2. Aliyun looked pretty Androidish to me

      3. Isn’t the point similar to what Apple computer used to be like (they could not boot Windows)?

        1. Nah, the situation back then was Apple used the Power PC arcitecture and Windows ran on x86. Windows wasn’t able to run on PPC except in virtualized instances within OS# or Linux itself. That’s why it was such a big deal when Apple switched from PPC to Intel and the x86 architecture.

  3. I may get flamed/downvoted for this but, “apart” is extremely different from “a part”. Please learn the difference.

    1. Who said I don’t know the difference? -_-

      1. I don’t mean to offend, but I would think if you knew the difference, you would have used the appropriate form. -_-

        1. Not offended, but I promise, it was a typo. Sometimes I’ve typo’d the wrong “there, their, they’re” even though I’ve known since 6th grade the appropriate usage.

          It’s tough when editing your own work to pick out typos when you’re looking for misspellings picked up by spell check. Unfortunately, “apart” and “a part” is grammar usage, not spelling so you don’t get the squiggly line.

          Good lookin’ out though. Appreciate it.

    2. Give the guy a break. He is providing us with timely and good information totally FREE to you. I think you can overlook minor things like that. Imagine thousands of people reading everything you write or say 24/7 and offering corrections to every minor flub.

    3. It was just confusing for you too post this.

  4. I think the big thing was that they were marketing it as being able running android apps.

  5. Well that makes sense. But how come Acer wasn’t aware of this? Or were they just trying to see if they can pull it off anyway?

    1. Maybe since it was built from scratch with linux they thought it wouldn’t apply.

      1. Sounds like Google bullied Acer into dropping the rival OS. This could spell dark days for Linux on mobiles.

      2. It wasn’t built from scratch. That’s just Alibaba’s ridiculous spin. Whether they’re using Dalvik or not, you can bet they’re using at least part of the Android application framework implementation. There’s no way they rewrote the whole thing.

  6. its official. Google hates competition, Android is Clopen, and The OHA cares about android fragmentation….lol


    1. Doesn’t look very fragmented to me… no more so than any other OS out there.. 500 million android devices and almost 60% ~ 300million on the same version

      20% or ~ 100million on ICS, the only other relevant figure is for froyo 14% or ~ 70million

      there will always be older handsets that don’t get updated, I doubt the owners mind , they probably just use them as standard phones and haven’t even thought of upgrading in much the same way than many people still use old iPods or desktops and laptops running XP.

      Apple fans tend to spout off about fragmentation of android ignoring the fragmentation issues in iOS such as iPhone 4 users without Siri.

      Google are doing what they can to keep an open system from being abused.. no easy feat but I’d rather have it that way than a complete mish mash of forked versions or a closed system built to force every user to comply and extort cash from every transaction.

      1. lol. you doubt the owners mind that their handsets don’t get updated.

        yeah…nobody cares….until its yours that doesn’t get updated.

        12+ revisions of the OS deployed, app devs need to support their customer…who bought the app…or they cry and then no one buys…

        oh wait….android users don’t buy anything….

        my bad.

        it doesn’t look fragmented to you because you aren’t supporting it.

        the android ecosystem is so pooch screwed that google and other software development environment engineer need to build a java to objective c compiler just so developers won’t leave the android SDK becaus you people don’t support your coders with money.

        now….they can dev apps in the run time java that android needs…and then get it compiled into obj C (pretty close at least) and have it ported to iOS where it has a slim chance of getting some revenue created.

        hell, even Andy Reuben agrees with me. that’s what the article is about…having the same experience in any given application across platforms…..

        guess who taught him that? his senior engineer at apple.

        it’s amazing that finally Google seems to give a shite…a small one but a shite none the less, about giving their android ‘users’ a decent experience and all I hear from users is ‘no body cares….nope….they don’t mind’
        ’13 deployed and supported operating system versions isn’t fragmented…nope…there isn’t any fragmentation’

        well for once I agree with Google…and we both disagree with you.

        1. OK, but what Android has already done for the world is a lot, and that is what counts.

          And Apple’s approach and they way Apple has presented itself has certainly not done more good. I think Android is going to be just fine.

          1. you can have your mobile OS crusade. I’m disinterested in whose code ‘is best for doing the world good’, and more interested in how applications impact users lives.

            iOS and Android don’t do anything except allow some UI modifications, and deploy applications to users. Operating Systems aren’t the product…they are the delivery system. I got tired of the jelly joke settings app/widget page transitions in about 3 minutes. OS provides I/O and services to the application…no one sits around and navigates the springboard and the settings and system console all day.

            The point is…Google bought something awesome from a group of individuals who had a vision…an the screwed it up. Now they seem to care a little about protecting it.

            Google doesn’t want to be in the mobile handset OS business. They want to be in the mobile infrastructure advertising revenue business….just like they are in DT.

            it’s funny…android user fan boys call apple fan boys iSheep….but you guys don’t even realize that when google bought android…they already had a customer base…advertisers…that is who googles customer is.

            what they sell to their customer, is your data, your exposure to ads, and your metrics and analytics of what you do on the device….so they can sell it to their customer for better target marketing.

            You are right. Android will be fine. that’s not the issue. The issue is…will the developer community.

            no devs, no applications.

            without tools, books, videos, games, catalogs…etc….without that….what is your Android good for?

            let me guess….customizing the icons on the home screen and configuring a 3rd party launcher.

            icons of what? launching what?

          2. Damm you sound crazy to me ….

            “no devs, no applications.
            without tools, books, videos, games, catalogs…etc….without that….what is your Android good for?”

            devs come to android because it thriving massive customer base… good apps get money… and you know what people havn’t stopped writing books or making videos yet… in you free time do you walk around with a sign reading “REPENT…THE END IS NEAR!!”

          3. The reason devs make less money on Android has nothing to do with fragmentation. It’s down to the fact that not all Android devs are intent on making cash. For every paid app there is typically a free one that is equal or better. If you wanna make money on Android, step up your game…

            Regarding fragmentation – it’s true, most people don’t care. Aside from the odd person, the vast majority of people I know with Android devices don’t even know what version of Android they are on

          4. I cannot make sense of your article tight now but I am a developer and I will support open source software where ever the people are!

        2. try to twist my words as much as you like but I can assure your that people with android phones released with cupcake don’t expect their device to compeat or compare with a new device released with ICS or JB

          consumers know that products age and don’t expect a 4 year old device to run the latest apps.

          I do support android and many operating systems, in doing so I know they have a shelf life, past that they are written off and any good developer should know he cannot please every user… if they cry because they cannot take advantage of features only available in new revisions of the OS then they need to update. you know like Apple has told them to do with Siri

          if you or any developer chooses to develop for old versions of the system its their fault not Google’s for implementing improvements.

          1. again…I’m less interested in the operating system as a feature or benefit to the user. From the perspective of the user experience specifically from an application standpoint…the topic of this thread, applications have to be supported, re-versioned and sometimes re-coded for OS migration decisions.

            that’s why Reuben and Acer had the tiff. alibaba could execute android applications. since they weren’t part of the covenant of standards….which describes a closed and restricted environment, Google saw what they were doing and viewed it as a threat to the mission statement of the OHA….open….just as long as you don’t do what you want.

        3. How about all the iPhone 4 users who can’t get Siri… Can you say that iOS works the same on all devices? No, you can’t. In fact, with the new iPhone, you now have letterboxing? Again, more fragmentation? Yes. Why doesn’t the 3GS work the same as a 4S? Fragmentation? What are the percentages of phones that work with the current iOS vs the ones that don’t?

          I’ll bet you screamed kike a little girl when you found that your iPhone 4S wasn’t getting Siri. Keep moving, you trolls will never be able to keep up.

          And before I go. How come Apple only spends 1-2% on R&D for your beloved devices? Probably because you still have the same look on your device since 2007. Why not upgrade to 2012 like the other 500 million?

          BTW, I have a 2 yearold Motorola DroidX, which runs Gingerbread. It is not rooted, and it works great. And no, I wasn’t upset that I wasn’t getting Jellybean. You know why? Because Google learned from Apple’s mistakes. Whenever Apple updates their OS, they break their older phones. The older phones are slower, not all the features are there, and they become paperweights.

          TROLLS!!! Gotta love em.

          1. reading is fundamental sir. again….as I have stated numerous times before, and as is clearly the topic of this thread, we are discussing applications runniing on the OS.

            the 4S does have siri.

            apple code signs FW to mitigate fragmentation

            im not an apple research and development analyst

            sorry you cant afford a better handset.

            jelly joke is awesome on my nexus 7…..unless i need an application to run webGL…..the performance is terrible,

            here is your slower……



            enjoy watching the ipad own a nexus 7…..much like i owned your argument

          2. iPad – high end device
            Nexus – low/mid range device

            Point – bad comparison

      2. That’s right…just don’t call it open.

    2. That’s not fragmentation. That’s legacy. Google explains what the fragmentation they’re trying to prevent is. Try reading their words.

      1. it’s official:

        alibaba is an open source open ecosystem platform based on Linux.

        it seems google doesn’t like operating systems that are really open to compete with their ClOpen model.


        you would think Andy Ruben would know the difference between Linux and android.

        1. It’s official: google doesn’t like people who rip off Play apps like Temple Run and Granny Smith to sell on their stores. Do you?

  7. I knew it. What is important now is that we take a look at what effect all those news articles that said otherwise had.

  8. Piracy WAS part of it. Google is being very diplomatic to save Acer from a major embarrassment.

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