Andy Rubin’s Tweet Proves Steve Jobs was Right About Android Openness

Submitted by lalit on October 19, 2010 - 8:41am.

At Apple’s financial results call yesterday, CEO Steve Jobs questioned Android’s openness and called Android “fragmented” rather than open platform. This has provoked Google’s Android guy Andy Rubin to retaliate on Twitter. He tweeted “the definition of open” highlighting that anyone can download and modify source code for Android. But as you can see even his tweet would mean gibberish for 99 percent of Android users.

Most Android users buy their handsets from either the carriers like Verizon and AT&T or from the handset makers like Samsung and HTC, which comes preinstalled with modified UI and applications. Customers can’t change the UI or uninstall applications that have been modified or added by the handset maker or the carrier, without jailbreaking. And once jailbreaking comes into the picture, you can’t call that handset with Android on it OPEN.

This means that almost all Android customers are locked in by either the carrier or the handset maker and they can’t even download and install the open source Android kernel on their device, which Andy highlights in his tweet. Yes, some customers can jailbreak their devices and install open source Android on it, but as 99% of Android users won’t understand Andy’s tweet, 99% of those customers won’t ever get open source Android device. They will get a device with Android platform fragmented by the carriers and the handset makers.