Is “No Central Point of Failure” at Risk with New Chinese “Mobile” Underdog?

October 3rd, 2012 by

Android vs. Aliyun

Google says a central point of failure is at risk if it allows Acer hardware and Chinese technology giant, Alibaba, to continue their romance and launch the Aliyun operating system (OS), which Google says is engineered off the Android platform; but is not compatible with Android.

Everyone is used to China pressuring smaller nations not to trade with its nimble island neighbor, Taiwan, but now Google appears to be throwing its weight around as it strives to protect the original tenants of the Android operating system; which it spearheaded, stating many years ago that, “we created Android in response to our own experiences launching mobile apps. We wanted to make sure that there was no central point of failure, so that no industry player can restrict or control the innovations of any other. That’s why we created Android, and made its source code open.”

The result was the immensely popular Android Open Handset Alliance, which governed the use of the Android and now has its sights set on stifling the launch of Aliyun, which it declares is a ‘forked’ version of Android and essentially falls under the Android ecosystem.

Open-source fans, many of which utilize applications on websites hosted on professional Linux hosting platforms, now find themselves witnessing a new battlefield in the open-source arena, which pits new technology from China against established U.S. mobile ecosystems. While Google does appear to have the moral high ground, many may question its tactics.

“Imagine a hypothetical situation where the platform on each phone sold was just a little bit different,” said Google. “Different enough where Google Maps would run normally on one phone but run terribly slow on another.”

“Let’s say, for sake of example, that Android implemented an API that put the phone to sleep for a fraction of a second to conserve battery life when nothing was moving on the screen. The API prototype for such a function might look like SystemClock.sleep(millis) where the parameter ‘millis’ is the number of milliseconds to put the device to sleep for.”

“If one phone manufacturer implemented SystemClock.sleep() incorrectly, and interpreted the parameter as Seconds instead of Milliseconds, the phone would be put to sleep a thousand times longer than intended! This manufacturer’s phone would have a terrible time running Google Maps. If apps don’t run well across devices due to incompatibilities, consumers would leave the ecosystem, followed by developers. The end of the virtuous cycle.”

Since Acer is part of the Alliance, Google is pressuring Acer to discontinue its previous goal of launching new phones with the Aliyun OS.

“The fact is, Aliyun uses the Android runtime, framework and tools,” said Andy Rubin of Google. “And [Aliyun] app store contains Android apps (including pirated Google apps). So there’s really no disputing that Aliyun is based on the Android platform and takes advantage of all the hard work that’s gone into that platform by the OHA.”

Aliyun fired back saying “Aliyun OS is not part of the Android ecosystem, so of course Aliyun O-S is not, and does not have to be, compatible with Android. This is like saying that because they own the Googleplex in Mountain View, therefore anyone who builds in Mountain View is part of the Googleplex.”

What do you think?

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One Comment

# 11th December, 2012

i am glad that there is an alternative out there. android is too intrusive. google has a bad reputation as being totalitarian, and is too cozy with the u.s govt. apple tracks your gps locations. naturally, people will want a 3rd alternative. i welcome aliyun