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Motorola Takes Android To China, With Or Without Google 42

Posted by timothy
from the alternative-paths dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google's spat with China could affect Motorola as it vies to crawl back into the mobile market, but recent partnerships will allow it to pursue the Chinese mobile market alone. Circumventing the fallout, Motorola on Thursday introduced its own Android app store for China and a deal with Baidu, the leading search provider in China."
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Motorola Takes Android To China, With Or Without Google

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:49AM (#30857438)

    Competition with Android in the Chinese marketplace is always a good thing. So far, even if Google doesn't play, Dell is already on the field, and I'm pretty sure HTC is in the game as well.

    What does this mean for Android? Good and bad. The good is that it gains exposure in the most up and coming nation in the world, with a lot of people climbing the career ladder from rice paddy to corner office. The bad is that the Android platform ends up more fragmented. Windows Mobile's weakness for a long time was no central app store where one could buy items for the phone, on the phone.

    Time will tell though. If Android fragments so much that apps have to be designed to deal with multiple Dalvik VMs, many hardware configurations, and many phones before the app can run, this will hamstring this platform's future. However, if Android apps are compatible to an extent, where it is almost certain that an app downloaded will run, then this might propel Android into a front runner smartphone platform.

    Android's competition isn't stopping. Apple's app store "just works" on all iPhone models (unless there is a specific feature like GPS or 3G an older model lacks.) RIM, Nokia, and Microsoft are not standing still either.

    • by RMH101 (636144)
      The issue is: Dell and Moto's smartphone business in Asia is dependent on Android, and a big untapped market in China. Android is dependent in a big way on Google. If China decides they don't want the Big G playing within their borders, Android phones are unlikely to get sold. The phone manufacturers work to an incredibly tight schedule for build and release - even if China just delays things it'll put massive pressure on Dell/Moto and of course Google. If I were China, I'd be likely to use this as a st
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by sabernet (751826)

        However, Android being an open source Linux based OS, they'll just take it, change it and call it "Red Robot" or something with different PIMs then default(though, being China, likely direct ripoffs with the G logo changed to a Chinese flag). This won't affect its ability to be marketed in China at all.

    • Competition is good until the Chinese govt. decides it wants the Chinese companies to win. Great Article on this: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/01/14/chinas_foreign_internet_purge [foreignpolicy.com]
  • by asdir (1195869) on Friday January 22, 2010 @05:26AM (#30857574)
    Does this mean, we might possibly see a version of Android that does not build on Google services? I was wondering for quite a time now, why handset-makers do not partner up with competitors of Google and make their own version of Android; or even better: let the consumer choose the services they activate for apps like maps, calendar, or e-mail. Or is there a technical obstacle I do not see here?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Calinous (985536)

      Google would be able to "diverge" its Android OS from the modifications made by the mobile phone operators - this would force them to rewrite their modifications from a version of Android to another, or to start back-porting into the version of Android they started with any change Google made.
            As for the simple solution "make our modifications available to any competitor by open sourcing them", good luck with that.

      • by Jeeeb (1141117) on Friday January 22, 2010 @05:52AM (#30857664)
        Google would be able to "diverge" its Android OS from the modifications made by the mobile phone operators - this would force them to rewrite their modifications from a version of Android to another, or to start back-porting into the version of Android they started with any change Google made.

        Why would handset makers care about google "diverging" it's modifications? It's not like handset makers have exactly been known to care about keeping users up to date with the latest version. They could just take a snap shot of the Android code base make all the modifications they need and then run with it.
        • by rsborg (111459)

          Why would handset makers care about google "diverging" it's modifications?

          The same reason that corporations using Linux worry about "diverging/forking" from the main branch... the future promise of things like Linux and Android is what's exciting, not exactly what currently exists (ie, Android without Google services isn't that much better than Symbian or Mobile OSX, but next years or next decade's Android certainly might be).

          Keeping up with software innovation is not free or cheap.

    • Why should they it is very convenient to partner with google, it does not cost them a dime, and you get the added services, like search, maps, mail etc... on the phone.
      No one else so far has those services written for Android.

      • it does not cost them a dime, and you get the added services, like search, maps, mail etc... on the phone

        Not costing them a dime is one thing. Not making them a dime is another.

        • by cl0s (1322587)

          Verizon & T-mobile also make money from Google ads that I guess come from their networks. I imagine this would include Apps that use Ad mob also.

          How much money that actually is though... no idea.

        • Besides that google is paying the phone companies part of the ad revenue back, not costing a dime is a big deal compared to 50$ per phone Microsoft charges for WinCE

    • No deep technical obstacle, just a matter of time and convenience and development cost. Also, google has some leverage.

      Handset makers can already make fairly significant cosmetic changes on top of more or less stock android(Motorola's "blur", HTC's "sense", etc) and handset makers or carriers can pre-install their own applications easily enough. Since they can already do that, the motives for hostile forking, which requires time and money, would be fairly weak. Easier and cheaper to stay close to mainlin
    • the AOSP (android open source project) doesn't depend on google services. google services are added to phones whose manufacturers license them through google.

      there are already many android devices that do not license from google. the b&n nook is one example.

  • by Katatsumuri (1137173) on Friday January 22, 2010 @06:17AM (#30857748)
    Motorola should send Google flowers, or something.
  • Android != Google (Score:5, Informative)

    by salesgeek (263995) on Friday January 22, 2010 @06:43AM (#30857830) Homepage

    Analysts still don't get that Android is no longer owned by Google. It is now owned by the Open Handset Alliance [openhandsetalliance.com].

    • Yes thanks for the clarification analysts (anal is in front of the word) are not the brightest people on the planet, and I wonder if any of those really ever had a look who was behind android.
      Google does most of the grunt work but the code base is basically written under the umbrella of the OHSA Google just provides additionally to that the programs which hook into their services.

      • by gad_zuki! (70830)

        So what? Its open source. They cant dictate things like where it can be used. They cant apply their current corporate issues onto it. Its software outside their control. They are free to quit maintaining it if they like.

        Im sure there are lots of weapon systems linux is running on. Im sure Linus isnt too fond of that, but none of that makes any difference.

  • I would like to see a distro of Android with Apt, and a repository for Open Source apps.

    Gnometris, Kpatience, ScummVM, Pidgin (or something similar), Tango GPS, GPsDrive, the ability to sync with your Linux Desktop, or OSS apps running on another Platform (TB/FF) and a whole plethora of other apps. Use a selector like Add/Remove programs in Ubuntu.

    • Android doesn't use X, and its provision for execution of native code isn't really optimal for running straight ports of standard Linux software.

      There are some hacks [hackaday.com] that involve running stock applications on top of the same linux layer that Android's VM uses, with Xvnc as an X server and an Android VNC viewer; but that doesn't exactly scream "elegant".
    • Sounds a lot more like you would like to see Maemo.
  • And here I thought it would get there by being open source.

  • by PCM2 (4486) on Friday January 22, 2010 @07:48AM (#30858190) Homepage

    Let's see, late in the TFA it says this:

    Motorola stood to lose a significant amount of business if the issue had it waited for Google to enter the country.

    (Hey, I didn't edit the thing.) Anyway, that was preceded immediately by this:

    Android, developed originally by Google, is open source, meaning partners are free to use it even if Google decides not to support it.

    And so this is a story how? I propose a new headline: "Motorola Not Stupid (full story page B13)"

  • I was looking at the Droid, but now I have to reconsider. Sadly, with the size of the Chinese market Motorola doesn't care what I or any other American consumer thinks about their business practices. There is so much money to be made and corporations are inherently amoral.
  • Google is not the sole owner of Android. The Open Handset Alliance is in control and Motorola is part of that alliance there. This is also the great thing about it being open source. Whether you agree or not with China's activities (I don't), each company should be able to decide what to do and hopefully if western consumers don't agree either they will use their free will to vote against Motorola by not buying from them.

Put no trust in cryptic comments.

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