Google's Android team isn't worried about wireless carriers building Android distributions that are incompatible with one another, according to Google developer Dan Morrill. He also said security problems on Android-powered smartphones will be minor compared to the potential benefits.
Android is Google's open-source mobile operating system and software stack for building smartphone applications. Some observers have said the open source initiative could prod wireless carriers to open their devices to more third-party applications; others worry it will lead to numerous versions of Android that lack interoperability or that handset vendors might prevent Android apps from being used on their phones.
Morrill took an optimistic view when asked by an audience member whether he is worried about carriers distributing incompatible versions of Android.
"In the past, that problem has essentially been solved by contractual approaches," he said. "The holder of the platform won't license it to another company unless they agree to a certain set of compatibility rules. I view that as the stick approach and we prefer the carrot approach. We believe that this open mobile thing is a very powerful concept. We don't think anybody will necessarily have an incentive to build an incompatible platform."
Though Google has trumpeted the open nature of Android, the platform uses the Apache open source licence, which allows some restrictions. As a result, mobile vendors will be able to make changes to Android code without contributing those innovations back to the open source community, the Google-led Open Handset Alliance states on its website.
Morrill touched on several other Android topics during his ETech session, titled "Connecting your life to the web with Android."